Monday, December 17, 2012

How Elf on a Shelf Put Me on Santa's Naughty List

Our Elf on a Shelf, Gus, has been having a little fun around here lately. This morning we caught him fishing in the potty. 

But generally, Gus is a pretty staid guy, moving from shelf to light fixture to mantel.

That's because Gus doesn't come with an app that reminds mom and dad to move him every night, and it's hard to be creative when you're running down the hall ahead of the children at 5:30 a.m. 

For children, the elf is supposed to inspire good behavior in that time-tested, creepy tradition of "Santa's watching you." Only now the invisible Santa, the one peeking through the window that you're never fast enough to see as a child, has been traded out for a scrawny elf with a slightly maniacal grin who peers down at the children from his perch of the day.

I don't know that our elf is helping my children make Santa's nice list, but he is certainly putting the hubs and me on the naughty list.

First there's the cursing over forgetting to move the elf, followed by the hissing at each other to decide who has to get out of bed to move the little fellow. Then there's the lying to the children about why Gus didn't move: "I guess he was too tired last night, honey." "He didn't want to tell Santa about your naughty day yesterday, so he didn't check in last night." Then there's the temptation to spend time setting the elf up in scenarios that are not appropriate for the children, like those involving Barbie and a bottle of bourbon.

And don't even get me started on the elf-inspired guilt trip. The elf book says the children can't touch him or he'll lose his magic. It also should say that the children can't compare notes with other children at school about what their elves are doing. That would save me a lot of grief.

Yes, honey, your elf is not nearly as cool or fun as your friend's elf. Wrap up that pile of mommy guilt and put it under the tree. Merry Christmas, Mom!  

With just a week to go until Christmas I'm running out of time and energy to deal with our elf, and I'm seriously considering putting a cast on one of his legs as an excuse not to move him for a couple of nights. "Elves heal fast, but he can't fly for a couple of days, kids." I'm sure they'd buy that.

Just when I'm starting to wonder if this behavior modification tool (which doesn't seem to be having much impact around here) is worth it, the kids squeal in delight at finding Gus in the freezer. Not eating ice cream or making snowballs or any of those creative Pinterest ideas -- just sitting there.

And there's just enough magic in that to make me grumble my way out of bed at midnight to jam him in the blender for the kids to find the next morning.

© Trippin' Mama 2012

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