Nightmare on Elf Street
‘Tis the season for the lack of sleep that comes with waking up in the middle of the night after realizing you forgot to move your Elf on the Shelf. While I’m grateful for the list of outs and excuses from this post when I do forget, there is something else that’s keeping us from peaceful slumber these days.
Our four-year-old daughter is afraid of our elf this year.
The worst part is that I think this one is actually my fault.
My kids were thrilled about the arrival of Elfie Joe. They talked for days about when he would come since we’d be out of town for our annual Christmas Walk, knowing the elf usually arrives the night Santa lands on the roof for town’s Christmas parade. Sure enough, Elfie Joe was here in our house when we got back, much to their delight.
As my kids raced over to stand in front of the elf, I mentioned something in passing that was meant to be an innocent reminder of the rules, but blew up in my face.
“Just remember, don’t get too close. If you touch him, he’ll lose all his power,” I said as I walked through the kitchen in the midst of unpacking.
A few minutes later, I realized the sounds I was hearing from my daughter weren’t gleeful giggles, but hysterical sobs. As I raced into the room, I asked her what had happened.
“I…(unintelligible wail) want him (more that I can’t understand) powers (hiccup breath) me!!”
“I…don’t want him…lose…powers….me!!” (or so I thought)
Thinking she’s not understanding how this whole thing works, I tried to console her.
“No, no, no, sweet girl. It’s okay. He didn’t lose it. He still has all his powers. You didn’t do anything.”
That’s when her brothers stepped in to clear up my confusion.
“No, Mommy. She said she’s afraid he’ll USE his powers ON her.”
Oh crap. What did I just say to cause this?
I picked up my terrified daughter and walked into a room without a spy doll whose specific purpose is to watch everything they do and report back to the man with all the Christmas power. I held her in my arms and tried to explain that Elfie Joe’s ONLY power is the ability to fly back and forth to the North Pole every night to tell Santa what great kids they are.
She seemed calmer, but still wouldn’t go into the kitchen where Elfie Joe was hiding unless someone was holding her hand. When she did, she never looked at him straight on, but gave him her own side-glancing, skeptical glares.
I decided it was time to dig up the book and re-read the story of the Elf on the Shelf to put her mind at ease. When she saw the pictures and realized that this was like a real-life I Spy game she could play every day, I think that helped her over the hurdle a bit.
She took a deep breath, smiled, and said, “Okay, Mommy. He can stay. But will he go in my room?”
I assured her that our elf never went upstairs, but told her we could write him a note just to make sure.
Her letter reads:
“Elfie Joe, I’m scared. Please stay downstairs. No going in my room or the bathroom. Love, Allie”
All seems right with the world again. My daughter races her brothers downstairs every morning to see who can find Elfie Joe first. She even stands in front of him with her toys and talks to him, performing her own little Show and Tell program. She seems okay now with the idea that this little guy can fly around, see everything he needs to see to report to Santa, and is here just for good.
But just before bed last night, she stopped, half-turned and locked eyes with our elf. Then, with conviction, she ordered, “Stay out of my room.”
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