The Parents Who Invented ‘Dinovember’ Win At Everything

I was at Barnes & Noble last week and Elf on the Shelf was everywhere. I’m a sucker – so I feel compelled to buy this little guy. It’s a cute idea – one that I know my son will love. But then I saw the brilliance behind “Dinovember” and realized I don’t really need to buy a little elf to be creative with my kids.

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Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life.

It began modestly enough. The kids woke up to discover that the dinosaurs had gotten into a box of cereal and made a mess on the kitchen table.

The next morning, the dinos had climbed onto the kitchen counter to raid the fruit bowl.

The morning after that, they had managed to breach the refrigerator and help themselves to a carton of eggs. “Uh-oh,” we heard our girls whisper. “Mom and Dad are not going to like this.”

So these parents basically “let” their kids’ toy dinosaurs ransack the house every night – and every morning the kids really believe the toys have done it. How amazing is that? Much better than some spy elf, if you ask me.

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The whole idea just makes me realize that you only have a small window for children to believe in this kind of magic. I get so bummed when people refuse to tell the story of Santa because they feel they are “lying” to their children. There is plenty of time for life to be predictable, boring and understood – it’s called adulthood. I love what these parents have done.

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So maybe I’ll buy the little elf, or maybe I’ll get more creative and have his favorite doll, Woody from Toy Story, cause some mischief in the house. Whatever idea it ends up being – I’m thankful to these parents for inspiring it. I may not be able to live up to the grand scenes they are setting up for their children – but I can give my child some magic to look back on as an adult.

(photo: Facebook)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • alice

      what a cool idea. i love this.

      and: ” I get so bummed when people refuse to tell the story of Santa because they feel they are “lying” to their children.” so true. so so true.

    • Therese

      I bought the elf after seeing this. I need clear instructions or it will not get done, and thanks to pinterest the elf is where it is at for that.

    • LiteBrite

      This actually gave me some fun ideas to play for my own Elf. He could team up with Scooby Doo and Snoopy and really go to town.

    • Toastlette

      The freezer picture is the best thing I have seen all week!

    • C.J.

      My older daughter asked me to not buy an elf on the shelf because she thinks they look creepy. She is 11 and doesn’t believe in Santa any more, she just doesn’t like the look of the elf. This gives me an idea to do something like that with my 8 year olds toys. Maybe I can even get the 11 year old to help.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Their Facebook page is totally fun. Other parents are getting in on it too and posting their own pictures. Adorable!

    • Kay_Sue

      If we did this, their very first task would be to eat that damn Elf on a Shelf. Nom nom nom nom.

      **edited for a glaring grammatical error that made me want to explode my own brain**

      • FaintlyXMacabre

        Do you have one? Am I utterly alone in feeling like Elf on a Shelf is some of the creepiest shit EVAR?

      • chickadee

        You are not alone. I am so glad that little d-bag came along way after mine were of an age to think it was a good idea.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

        No, you aren’t alone. I think it’s pretty creepy, too. But apparently little kids LOVE it.

      • LiteBrite

        I have one. (We got it as a gift.) I put him up every year, but I still think he’s creepy as hell.

      • Kay_Sue

        No, it is absolutely bloody creepy. And we do have one because my mother–et tu, Brute?–yes, my mother, who NEVER EVER EVAH would have done this when we were growing up, decided to purchase one last year because her grandchildren needed it…didn’t want it. Didn’t ask for it. Just out of the blue needed it.

        I’m a recent stay at home mom. I worked retail up until our location closed in May. SO REALLY, MOM? ONE MORE BLOODY THING TO TRY TO REMEMBER AT TWO IN THE MORNING AFTER A CLOSING SHIFT?

        I’m sorry, I have a lot of angst about Barney, our elf. We are not friends.

      • FaintlyXMacabre

        LOL. Most of my apprehension about getting one comes from being an absolute shit liar. Its not that I don’t want to lie to my kid about an elf that watches her every move with his dead, wooden eyes, its that I’m terrible at it. She’s already on to me vis-a-vis Santa Claus, so…

      • Kay_Sue

        My son came in one morning and said, “Mommy, I had a terrible dream. I dreamed Barney died.” The VERY NEXT MORNING, he comes in screaming, “MOMMY! IT CAME TRUE! BARNEY DIED! HE DID NOT MOVE!”

        Yeah. I forgot to move the elf. We had to come up with an elaborate cover-up about bad weather between here and the North Pole and Barney really enjoying the page of his comic book he was reading.

        It took all of mine and my husband’s powers of deception to pull it off, and even then it was a stretch, with sniffles and muffled sobs throughout the day.

        Trust me, you have enough Mom Guilt just being a mother. You do not want to add an Elf on a Shelf to it if you can help it…

      • FaintlyXMacabre

        I feel like your my Elf on the Shelf shaman. I feel so much better about depriving my child about this now. RIP Barney.

      • AP

        Did you ever see the Bunny Suicides books? I’m picturing doing that with the Elf. Elf headfirst in the blender, Elf holding a U-magnet pointed at the knife block, etc.

        I can only hope dark senses of humor are genetically transmitted traits.

      • Kay_Sue

        I just lost it reading this. I have a whole new range of ideas for breaking out the Elf. Mwahahahahahaha.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

        Hahaha!

    • Leslie Dybas

      We did something like this for my daughter, only with fairies. She had received a glass bell with a fairy clapper for her 6th birthday, and she was a little unsure of what to do with it. So I told her it was a magic bell, and that when she rang it it would call the fairies. So that night before bed she rang it, and later after she was asleep I snuck into her room and sprinkled glitter “fairy dust” around it. When she woke up the next morning and found it she was so excited, and she spent the next couple of weeks making elaborate fairy houses and setting them up around the house. Each night she’d ring the bell and later I’d move objects around in the houses, eat the snacks she’d leave for them and sprinkle glitter. It was a great way to reinforce her belief that there is magic and mystery in the world, if you’re open to it.

    • Momma425

      Any parent who tries to say that they never lie to their kid is spewing a big flaming pile, because you know what? We all lie to our kids.
      “Babies come from….the stork.”
      “No, I didn’t eat your halloween candy.”
      “Drugs are NOT fun.”
      At least Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are fun and teach children to be creative.
      That’s it, the barbies are SO having a hoppin party in my house tonight.
      I barely even care if she believes they got up in the middle of the night to trash the kitchen. I get to play barbies again!

    • footnotegirl

      Yes, do Dinovember or do anything else you come up with. But for heaven’s sake, not the elf on the shelf. Kid don’t ned to be taught to obey the ever present eye of the police state in their own homes, sheesh.