A few years back, when the Elf On The Shelf was starting to pick up popularity, my very enthusiastic daughter pleaded with me to get her The Elf On The Shelf. She begged me to please get one because all her friends had it and it would be so cool to have one in our house too.
Not really knowing anything about what the Elf craze was all about, we drove over to our local bookstore to get one. I thought it looked kind of cute and it had a book! I figured it would be something that we would add to our Christmas traditions and family.
The second we got home, she couldn't contain herself and wanted to rip it open! I barely got my purse off my shoulder and she was pulling on my arm to sit down and start reading the book.
After the first several pages she was engrossed in the story line. I was thinking to myself, "What the hell did I just sign myself up for? Are you kidding me? Is that was parenting has come to? Relying on a toy to get kids to behave?" I was less than thrilled. The last thing I needed was to add another responsibility to my already heaping pile of things to get done each night. Now I was responsible for finding a new hiding spot for this little troll elf.
My daughter and son wrestled over naming the little troll elf. We finalized everything and placed the Elf on the mantle...to watch over us...all day...until we slept...every night...until Christmas...it was only November 28th. And I was responsible for making sure he was settled in a new hiding spot every day. Did I mention that it was only November 28th?
So, later on that evening as I was tucking in my little girl, she hesitantly asked, "Mommy? Was I a good girl today?"
I replied "yes sweetie, now say goodnight."
Mommy, will Elfie come into my room at night?
Are you sure Mommy?
About 15 minutes later, "Mommy, how do you know he won't come into my room while I am sleeping?
Because your door will be closed and he won't be able to get it.
But Mommy if he can get to the North Pole with magic, then magic can make him come into my room?
Well, I will tell him not to.
Another 15 minutes later, I hear faint crying. I go back into her room.
Mommy, I'm scaaarrrreeddd. Through sobs she gasps "The Elf thing is freaking me out. I don't want him in my room looking at me while I am sleeping!",
"Okay honey, if this Elf is freaking you out, we will return him to the store tomorrow."
Sobs get louder "Noooo, you can't do that. Then Santa will think that I don't love his elves. But the Elf is so creepy and I am so afrraaiiiddd......"
There was no consoling her and getting her to calm down and go to sleep. Again I think to myself, what the hell was I thinking buying this thing?
It had been nearly 45 minutes of what if's. I was left thinking. What if this child never falls asleep again?
I decided to go with the truth. "Baby, the Elf isn't a real elf from the North Pole. He is just a doll. Just like one of your Barbie's or American Girl dolls. He doesn't magically travel to the North Pole. Okay?"
Now started a new flood of tears. "You mean elves aren't real????"
This mess was getting worse by the minute. And I could swear I heard Elfie & hubby snickering in the living room.
Finally, I caved and told her the absolute truth. Once she understood that it was going to be either me or Daddy giving Elfie new hiding spots, she was able to calm down and get some sleep.
The little creepazoid sits perched in his little box, grinning very creepy little smile. My daughter eyes him wearily out of the corner of her eye whenever she passes him.
So the behavior modification tool turned my little girl into a little paranoid insomniac. So much for being cool, cute and fun.
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