Monday, 16 December 2013

The Elf

We did it. We succumbed. We bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf thing. I was excited.

I fully and freely admit that I am a parent who happily lies to her children. I tell them Santa is real. I tell them to believe in fairy dust and reindeer's that fly and that an Elf can live on our shelf in December and report back to Santa about the comings and goings in our house.

I tell them to believe in magic.

So excitedly, one evening a couple of weeks ago, the night before we went away on a holiday, I put on the Elf on the Shelf DVD while the girls ate dinner. They watched, their brows furrowed. Clearly this was not Dora, Umizoomi's, Banana's, Mickey Mouse, Bubble Guppies, Barbie, Princesses. This was unfamiliar.

"Um Mum? What is this?" (The Eldest)
"Don like it" (The Youngest)

After dinner, I encouraged them into the lounge room where the Elf on the Shelf box was prominently and prettily displayed next to the TV. They didn't even notice. My children who can spot a 5cm high picture of Dora at a hundred paces, paid not attention whatsoever to the box.

"Oh look!" I exclaim. "Our own Elf on the Shelf!".

Silence. Bewildered looks. Brows furrowed.

"Why?" they ask.

This was not quite going to plan. Nevertheless, I pushed on, pulling out the Elf, reading the book. We eventually got to the point of naming her Sparkles (we managed to bypass the poo-head suggestion from The Youngest) and placed her on the shelf.

Cue massive tantrum from The Youngest who wanted to hold (poo-head) Sparkles and another tantrum from The Eldest who was adamant it needed to be on the shelf.

Cue pouring the first glass of wine.

Then proceeded half an hour of rigorous interrogation from The Eldest.

  • how does she fly?
  • how does have magic?
  • why can't I touch her?
  • why won't she talk to me?
  • Chip was alive in the movie but she looks like a toy to me. Why?
  • Why does she go back to Santa?
  • How does she know where Santa lives?
  • Why is at my house?
  • Do other children have elves?
  • What are their elves names?
  • Can I watch her fly?
  • Can she take me to Santa's house?
  • and on and on and on. 
This did not the slightest bit magical and I wanted the magic. This felt torturous. I was not sure the Elf would be allowed to stay. 

The following evening we left Ottawa on a week's holiday. The Elf came along, sitting in the front of the car, in a little nook. 4 hours of driving involved this conversation on high repeat. 

"Daddy. I can't see the Elf." Hubby shines phone light on Elf. The Eldest is pacified for 2 mins. 
Hubby was ready to throw the Elf out the window. However, the Elf made in to Syracuse, the Philadelphia and the New York City. Every night she would appear in a different part of the hotel room. The girls had warmed up to the concept of the Elf, excitedly waking up to see where the Elf was every morning. The magic had finally arrived. Sparkles even followed us to Macy's when we went to see Santa, hiding in the Christmas display. 

The magic lasted until approximately midday on the 5th December, as we drove out of New York City and up towards Lake Placid, and I shouted out without thinking '#$%!! We left the Elf in the hotel room!". 

Calmly from the back of the car came the voice of pure innocence. 
'Don't worry Mumma. The elf can fly. She'll be at our next hotel'. 

Um. Yep. Well. I hope so. I say as I frantically call the hotel and as surreptitiously as I can, organise for the Elf to be posted safely back to Ottawa. 

So it was a tremendous and terrible surprise when on arriving at Lake Placid, we received a phone call from Santa, saying Sparkles got hit by a gust of wind and blew into a tree hurting her arm. She would need to spend 5 days in Elf hospital but would be back soon (fingers crossed). (Thankfully in the Elf on the Shelf DVD Chippie ends up in Elf hospital, so this (lie) situation was well received by the small folk in the room). 

The elf did return within 5 days, bringing a letter from Santa and Christmas books with her for the little girls who missed her so much. Complete with bandage on the injured arm. 

And as my hubby said, maybe it was a blessing in disguise that Sparkles got 'hurt'. The wonder and excitement in my girls eyes when they saw Sparkles had returned, was the magic I had wanted from the start. 

Sometimes you just have to wait a little while for it to appear. 

J xxx

[Disclaimer: I lie about lots of other things too. The park is closed today. Children aren't allowed at the supermarket today. There is no chocolate in the house. Just to name a few. There are people who say they never lie to their children. I think they are lying to themselves.]

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