• Tue, Dec 3 - 1:00 pm ET

I’m Already Manipulating My 3-Year-Old With Elf On The Shelf

dc84ea135d85eb1698b4192e4e9e6874__1386089076_142.196.156.251Elf 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?

(photo: Pinterest)


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

    I know these little dolls are supposed to represent joy and goodness but looking into their little plastic eyes all I see is the nightmare hellscape that birthed it.

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

      hahahaha! I love this comment so much.

    • Kay_Sue

      Those eyes are soulless and hollow. I wish I could upvote this 10 x’s.

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      Given my past experiences with sticking my foot in my mouth, I just *know* that the year I go on a Facebook rant about these creepy little bastards will the same year that my MIL sends me one for our kid. If that ever happens, that little fucker’s going in the closet with all the toys that I hate, never to emerge.

      I’d donate it to Goodwill or whatever, but I feel as though the people Goodwill helps have enough problems on their hands, they don’t need this gross marketing ploy.

  • Alicia Kiner

    I had to have someone explain the whole concept to me because I was clueless. It’s a curse idea, but at 9 and almost 8, I’m pretty sure our Santa days are numbered. But my hubby and I saw them at Target and he was all “Don’t touch them or they’ll steal your soul.” He’s definitely with you on the creep factor.

  • Suburban Mommy

    You MUST to check out these inappropriate Elf on the Shelf ideas: http://littlewhitelion.com/inappropriate-elf-on-a-shelf-18-pics-48217/

  • keanesian

    Wait, why aren’t you supposed to tough the Elf on the Shelf? Why do these things confuse me so much!

    • keanesian

      *touch.* duh.

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

      There’s too many rules! I was bound to fail.

  • T

    I have such a hatred of that creepy lil rat bastard

  • Alyson

    The kids in my class have begun receiving their elves, and they LOVE to chat about them… but a day does not go by when some kid doesn’t end up CRYING because either the rules in their house don’t match up with someone else’s elf rules and they’re angry, or because someone’s mother threatened that the elf would shave their head in their sleep (???). Some of the littles are SO anxious! I reassure them… and then turn around and laugh hysterically.

  • Music Mamma

    That little bastard is an Orwellian nightmare.

  • Rachel Sea

    The rules seem so complicated. Is maintaining the story really easier than just dealing with their good and bad behavior the same way you do the other 11 months of the year?

    I didn’t grow up believing in Santa or the Tooth Fairy or god or whatever, so maybe I just don’t get it.

    • G.E. Phillips

      I do Santa for Face but not the “He knows when you are naughty or nice” thing. He should behave all the time, not just because he thinks someone is watching him. And I’m trying to downplay the Santa thing a bit, too,because we’ve been talking about how people have to work to get money to buy things, so I don’t want to suddenly throw that lesson out the window, and well, give all the credit for Christmas to some magical being, lol. So he’s getting 2 or 3 things from Santa, and the rest are from Mommy and other people who he knows and who he can actually thank.

  • Amanda

    I don’t know about the elf part (I don’t think the elf thing makes you a bad parent), but this looked like it was full of parenting win. You set a boundary and you followed through with it despite the melt down. Do you know how many people would not have done that?

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