I am sitting here looking at that stupid elf, curled up in one of my youngest child’s toys that I have somehow suspended from the ceiling with Christmas ribbon. Because, you know, these days you can’t actually just put him on a shelf. He has to be doing something spectacular because all hell will break loose if you have the lamest elf in the neighborhood.
Kringle has his arms delicately wrapped around his shins and he’s wearing that annoying little grin that’s spread between two pleasantly plump little rosy cheeks. He’s looking at me with those bright blue eyes as if he’s the freakin’ savior of Christmas.
But the truth is, Kringle, you suck.
You have been here since Sunday, and I just haven’t seen the intended effect on behavior that I was hoping for this year.
Dec. 1, Day 1:
You arrive, wrapped lovingly around our Advent Calendar, bearing gifts of Christmas-colored loom bands for the older kids and a little plastic Mickey Mouse recorder for the youngest. Sweet. The kids are so excited, you might have thought that they just won a trip to Disney. You leave them a note telling them you are excited to be back for the Christmas season and reminding them to be good. And if they are, they might wake up to little surprises every day. Nice move. Holding gifts over their heads. How can that not work? Kringle, you and I are besties right about now.
Dec. 2, Day 2:
The older kids have misbehaved a bit since yesterday morning. You leave them a little note saying that Santa was a little sad at the report but…wait for it…he’s decided to give them another chance. If they are good all day, there might be a treat waiting for them when they get home from school. Smooth move, ex-lax. You know I can’t really see them at school, right? I am reliant on them to tell the truth. And not that my kids are big liars or anything, but unless there’s a note in their take-home folders letting me know that they’ve tried to burn down the school or started a fist-fight, I am sort of beholden to their version of the truth. Sure enough, when they get home from school, there’s mini stockings filled with chocolates and other treats hanging by the fireplace. I just want you to know that Papa Elf was disapproving of your methods. Me? I thought it might just work.
Dec. 3, Day 3:
The children wake up to find you on top of the refrigerator hanging out of our hot chocolate pot holding a half-eaten chocolate lollipop. Get a grip, Kringle! It’s only Dec. 3. With every passing day you have to top your previous hiding place, otherwise, you’ll be labeled a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. I would have thought the hot chocolate pot would occur closer to Christmas. But hey, you set your standards high. I like that. You’ll just have to stay up all hours of the night – every night – until Christmas, finding the perfect hiding spots. No biggie.
Anyway, you come bearing gifts of toothbrushes. The kids are glad they got something, but Colin, my middle child, looks at me quizzically and asks, “A toothbrush?” In your defense, the boys got Star Wars light-up lightsaber toothbrushes (though one of them didn’t work – don’t you know to check before you buy?) and my little baby girl squealed with delight at her new Sesame Street toothbrush.
But the day went downhill from there. There was lots of bickering. Lots of not listening. And well, I just have to say, you don’t hold nearly the amount of sway I thought you did, Kringle, and I am a little disappointed with your overall performance.
Papa Elf strongly encourages you not to bring anything for the kids the next day.
Dec. 4, Day 4:
You arrive, as I’ve previously stated, curled inside a toddler’s toy and suspended from the ceiling by Christmas ribbon. In the kitchen, you have left this note:
You’ll find me hanging around somewhere,
Hanging around without a care.
But a treat you will not find.
Until you try and start to mind,
Your mom and dad and manners too.
Right now Santa’s feeling blue.
He wants to surprise you with treats and toys,
But those are only things for good boys.
So please try harder to behave,
Or those treats and toys I’ll have to save,
For some other children who are being good.
But I want them for you so be good, if you would.
Brilliant! You must have spent ALL night writing this note. Kringle, you rock. This is sure to whip them back into shape! Outwardly, they seemed relatively unfazed by the lack of a toy or treat. But hey, I’m thinking maybe it’s just a few moments of quiet contemplation on the consequences of their actions.
The morning went pretty well. The boys were able to perform basic duties like brushing their teeth and putting on their shoes. The day passed with little incident, because they were at school. For all you know, Kringle, they could have been raising hell, but you already set yourself up for that farce. There was no note in either of their folders, so I take this as an affirmation of their good behavior.
The evening, however, was a different story. I won’t get into details here, Kringle. You were there. Or so you say. I just have to point out that you really lost control of the situation tonight. There was yelling, things being thrown and a naked time out. Yes, a naked time out. It was ugly.
I’m beginning to distrust those sparkling blue eyes of yours, Kringle. For all the pomp and circumstance of your do-gooder attitude, our arrangement really isn’t working that well so far. You may just have to stay up at the North Pole tonight. It’s not you. It’s me. Actually, it is you. I think we need a break. Please don’t show up tomorrow morning suspended from the ceiling or recovering from date night with Cinderella. I’m sure I’ll give you another chance, but lay low tonight, little dude. Peace out.