The Narc on the Shelf
Thirteen years into this parenting gig I was pretty sure that I was acing low-key holiday parenting.
Kids get something big-ish from us, modest things from Santa (equality, ya know), a few books, maybe an experience, but, most importantly NO ELF ON THE SHELF.
The older two had asked, and a healthy combination of vagueness and procrastination got us through the holiday danger zone. This year I straight up told the 6YO that the Elf on the Shelf’s whole job is to tattle on you to Santa.
And yet the 6YO asked, and asked, and asked. Mostly, he asked the correct parent – Daddy. Two days later, Amazon delivered us our very own Elf. (Dammit, Bezos!)
And so, on November 30th, it began.
The 13 YO was nonchalant. The 11 YO, a true middle child, was deeply offended – Why does HE get an Elf? I always wanted an Elf!
Then, the Battle of the Name: 6 & 11 couldn’t find a compromise between Tyler (his favorite) and Taylor (her favorite). Their inability to find common ground on this probably explains everything about America today.
They settled on Snowball, because clearly middle-class, mid-western, suburban mediocrity needed to be reinforced by mundanity.
By December 2nd we had our first parental failure to move Snowball, triggering the first epic tantrum of Who Touched the Elf?
On December 6th, some genius (??) decided to hang Snowball from the chandelier, and then throw herself a birthday party. Which led to a cascade of issues beginning with a 6 YO standing in the middle of the dining room yelling at increasingly inebriated adults that they’d better not touch his Elf! This was followed by a fairly impressive hangover, an unmoved Elf, and the second epic tantrum of Why Did You Let Your Grown-Up Friends Touch My Elf?!?
The older two kids had finally had enough. We, their parents, were clearly incapable of properly managing an Elf. Our positioning thus far had been both irregular and boring, and it was time to take over.
As somewhat recent members of the Greatest International Conspiracy Of All Time, they take their new duty quite seriously.
Shortly after bedtime, one of them will sneak downstairs for the repositioning. Sometimes they both come down which generally ends in whisper fights about who’s idea is dumber. Twice there has been cooperation and collaboration.
But the real gift, the part that has made this whole stupid, performative, adorable Elf journey totally worth it, is the way the 6 YO bounces out of bed every day to find Snowball’s new landing spot, and the looks of adoration and pride on the older kids’ faces when he finds the Elf, and the Christmas Magic they made for him.
In The News
China appears keen to bring piracy back as an instrument of foreign policy, but the days of eye patches and wooden legs are long gone. Instead, Beijing’s most effective raiding parties prefer business suits and briefcases, thus allowing them to ransack and plunder under the guise... Read More
According to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) annual member survey 34% of veterans use tobacco products versus 13.7% of their civilian counterparts (2018 data). Smoking cigarettes is detrimental to a person’s health, and quitting is the best path forward. For veterans, who use tobacco... Read More
The #MeToo movement that started in 2017 is still very much alive and thriving in 2020, and with good reason. A recent report from Buzzfeed News shockingly revealed 36 former employees of the Ellen Show encountered harassment and sexual assault from top staff. DeGeneres’ former executive... Read More
News consumption is growing exponentially, but for the past decade, the revenue to news publishers has been on a decline. This is, in large part, because of the unbalanced relationship between news publishers and tech platforms. But that relationship could be changing thanks to the bipartisan introduction... Read More
This global pandemic knows no borders and has no regard for politics. Like Americans who have come together to take steps to bend the curve, our elected officials have also come together swiftly and in a bipartisan manner to provide much-needed federal assistance to the millions... Read More
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic created a global economic downturn, the U.S. faced a mounting affordable housing crisis. In March, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that the U.S. needs at least 7 million more affordable units to sufficiently house extremely low-income Americans. With more than 30... Read More