Get an Elf, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. The kids will behave because they think they’re being tattled on every night to Santa, but they love it because they get to play hide-and-seek every morning!
And they DO love it! Every morning they skitter around the house looking high and low and then….
“Mo-OM! Marty didn’t move!”
“Um. Hmm? What’s that?”
“Marty didn’t move! He’s in the same spot as yesterday! Why didn’t he go see Santa last night?”
“Uhhh. Gee, I don’t know. Maybe the weather was too bad? Maybe he was tired? You know, Daddy and I stayed up pretty late last night, maybe he couldn’t sneak out in time?”
This year Marty was in the same spot for THREE days! And in my defense, it was right when my mom was supposed to get on a plane and go home after Thanksgiving, but broke her ankle and needed surgery instead. I had things on my mind! Who can remember to move a doll around at a time like that? Then the 5-year-old got worried: “I think Marty is a bad elf – he hasn’t been going to see Santa. He’s not doing his job.”
No! Don’t judge the elf! Darn you and your second-child, rules-need-to-be-followed ways! So Marty had to write a note, begging for forgiveness:
Crisis averted (sorry it’s blurry).
And NOW you’re telling me that the elf is supposed to do “cute” and “naughty” things? I’m supposed to put him in the sink with a bunch of marshmallows so it looks like he’s taking a bath? Pour out some perfectly good goldfish crackers so it looks like he’s fishing??
Know what our elf does? He sits. On a shelf. That’s the name of the toy, the book, AND the movie! It’s not Elf Doing Crazy Schtuff That Mom Has To Clean Up Later! That’s not how it’s supposed to work. And I thought I could avoid it by keeping my daughter off Pinterest (go ahead and judge, but I make sure she skips the inappropriate stuff and I find it fascinating to see what the mind of a 5-year-old finds pinnable (mostly wedding dresses — they’re pretty and ruffly: K’s Pinterest)). But no, avoiding Pinterest isn’t good enough because the other day she says, “Guess what Avery’s elf did?” Yeah, went fishing in the toilet. At least then the crackers can simply be flushed away, but STILL!
I did actually try to mix it up a little by putting Marty in a place he’d never been before and then I had this conversation with my 8-year-old boy:
“Mom, I hope Marty doesn’t hide in the bathroom again.”
“Why’s that, Sweetie?”
“Well, it was kind of hard to go when he was there looking at me.”
So, there you go. Note to the future therapist when he’s trying to figure out why he can’t use public restrooms without the feeling of creepy little eyes on him.