702599_10151283017657173_124342937_nThe Elf didn’t start out as a thorn in my side.

At first, he actually helped keep my then-preschooler – and the youngest of my four children – in line.

If my son put up a fuss about going to bed at the appointed hour or carried on in Target about not getting a toy he totally wanted (“PLLLLLLLEASE, MOM.”), I’d have to pull the old Elf card out of my back pocket.

“I’d hate for Alex the Elf to have to tell Santa about this,” I’d say with a smile, looking at him lying on the floor of the toy aisle, and then usually, the tantrum would cease as quickly as it began.

Problem solved.

I am well past negotiating with children. Just do what I say, please. And don’t make me count to 3 (don’t ask but for some reason, when I start counting, my kids start listening).

I liked that I could bring Alex the Elf in as the bad cop around here when we had a situation.  Life is so much better when you don’t always have to be the heavy.

Don’t want to eat your vegetables? I’m really sorry to hear that, but I think the Elf hiding over there on top of the kitchen light is going to have to report that infraction.

Trying to pull one over on your mom by just wetting  your hair a bit in the sink instead of taking a shower with actual soap and shampoo? Dude, I know, cleanliness can be so annoying and eats into valuable YouTube time. But Santa only brings presents to clean little boys and Alex is sitting in the pantry, keeping track.

But as the years passed, the onus of keeping up the charade of the Elf became like a part-time job for someone who has a hard enough time remembering when it’s time to start cooking dinner or move the laundry along.

I am easily distracted and have terrible short-term memory skills.

By last year, my son would come bounding out of bed during the month of December and immediately start rooting around the house, looking for the Elf. More likely than not, the dude was still in the same spot it had been in the day before. Eventually, my 15-year-old had to intervene and started hiding the Elf each night after her little brother went to bed.

She got kind of into it, as many people seem to do and document with some regularity on Facebook. Alex the Elf would be perched atop the cow milk pitcher in our cabinet surrounded by stacks of plates and bowls or sitting on top of our oven hood.


Apparently, Alex sometimes needed some disciplining of his own, as evidenced by this scene:

702445_10151301542047173_610540196_nAnd then came the inevitable: one day this summer my son opened a drawer of the pine hutch that sits in our family room, a piece of furniture generally of no interest to someone his age. The bottom holds all my china, silver and serving platters we pull out for Thanksgiving. The drawers are filled with placemats and assorted candlesticks. None of these are of interest to a 10-year-old boy.

But for some reason, he pulled a drawer open one day in June and found, to his dismay, the folded up body of Alex within.

“I knew it!” my son shouted, glaring at me with contempt.

As if I had come up with the evil Elf charade and wasn’t just a cog in an elaborate wheel of make-believe.

Truth be told, Alex was still hanging around the house Christmas morning last year and I grabbed him and stuffed him in the drawer before my little guy noticed the Elf was still in New Jersey and not back home in the North Pole chilling until his return to our house the following December.

I asked my son recently why he was so upset by the discovery of Alex in the drawer.

“It just ruined everything,” he told me.

“Did you want to believe?” I asked him gently, seeing his eyes fill with tears.

“I really did,” he said. “But now all I can do is pretend.

“It’s the best I can do, Mom,” he added.

Welcome to the club.





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4 thoughts on “Why My Son Says, ‘Everything is Ruined’

  1. I am so glad I missed the elf craze with my kiddos. The tooth fairy at my house was always leaving the money on the floor by the bed (that I ‘found’ when it wasn’t under the pillow). Amy, I love reading your blog! You are so hilarious and I must confess that when I was bed ridden with the flu last month I read it all. xoxoxo

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