I’m Already Manipulating My 3-Year-Old With Elf On The Shelf
Elf on the Shelf is a pretty creepy concept – I think we can all agree on that, right? Santa’s little spy comes to live in your house for the holiday season to make sure your child is behaving well enough to get gifts? I think I would have hated this little elf when I was a kid. Who needs a rat in the house?
My son just turned three though, and this is the first year that he is really going to start to understand the Christmas rituals; the tree, the lights… Santa. I’m definitely going to be telling him the Santa lie, so why leave out his underlings? I decided last week I would order an Elf.
When I thought about the concept of trying to convince my child that he was being watched by one of Santa’s minions all month so he would behave better – it made me feel a little icky. I really don’t fancy myself as being one of those mom’s that bribes her kid to elicit a behavior response. I decided the Elf would just be a fun thing we had around the house for the season – but that I wouldn’t really get into the whole “this little guy is Santa’s eyes and ears” thing. Until my child threw the most epic tantrum, ever, at the park last weekend.
We were having a great time when all of a sudden my kid became obsessed with crawling up the big, curvy slide – backwards. It would be impossible for me to explain how he was doing this – just trust me when I say it was dangerous. When he almost fell head first off the top of the slide, I said, “If you do that one more time we’re leaving. Do you understand what I am saying. We will leave.” He’s three, so of course he did it again. I grabbed him and told him we had to go because he wouldn’t listen and he could get hurt. He started wailing like a banshee.
It was almost impossible to get him in his car seat; he was screaming and crying, I was sweating and pissed. Once I got him into the seat he spent the entire ride home trying to extricate himself from his seatbelt – something he has never done before. Little Houdini actually managed to get one of his arms out by the time we got home. Parenting fail.
I’m taking the little screaming, thrashing demon out of his car seat – when I see a package at the front door. I think to myself, It’s the Elf. It’s the mother-effing Elf. I take him over to it and open it.
Look! It’s Santa’s Elf! I can’t believe he still came to our house. He doesn’t usually stay with kids who scream and cry. If you keep screaming, he’s probably going to leave.
My son looked up at me – horrified. He wiped the tears off his cheek, grabbed the Elf and ran into the house. I know, I know – he’s not supposed to touch the damn thing, but I’ve already failed miserably – so who cares?