This is how the Ferchaw family blends our holiday traditions in our Catholic/Jewish household.
I make latkes and he deals with That Damn Elf.
Maya and Lincoln call him Pablo.
I bought our Elf on the Shelf three years ago when they were impossible to find and considered the Holy Grail of stay-at-home-moms-who-are-obsessed-with-creating-as-many-traditions-as-possible-so-that-their-children-don't-grow-up-thinking-that-they-were-Jehovah's-Witnesses-and-didn't-actually-celebrate-holidays.
Maya named him Pablo. Not because she was embracing her Latina roots but because she was obsessed with the Backyardigans and that was the first name that popped into her two year old brain.
I like the name but usually he's just That Damn Elf.
I decided Larry should be in charge of the nightly ritual of moving Pablo from one spot to the next. My reasoning was twofold. One, he should do something once in awhile besides stare at his iPhone and, two, I can't really reach the high spots that are safe from Lincoln's destructive digits.
If you aren't familiar with the Elf on the Shelf well, in a nutshell, they are Santa's minions who act as Big Brother to our children. If your children are good, he will fly back to the North Pole at night and report to Santa. If the children are bad, the elves stay put.
Unfortunately, Larry has the memory of a gnat so Pablo has forgotten many, many times to change positions. And Larry has a million excuses for why That Damn Elf chose not to move. None of them have to do with Maya's behavior. Mostly it's because he's a lazy son of a bitch -- Pablo, that is. Not Larry. Never.
Well, in Maya's old age, she's starting to buy the bullshit less and less. And Larry's a horrible liar so this tradition is going up in flames fast. Pablo only returned from the North Pole on Thursday night and Larry's already forgotten to move him twice. The first time Pablo wanted to sleep in. Last night, Pablo left but decided to return to the exact same spot because of the quality of the vantage point.
This morning, when That Damn Elf didn't move, Lawrence made a fatal error. He walked over to Pablo and pretended to have a discussion with him.
Maya looked at Larry dubiously while I mouthed at him from behind her back, "You are fucking ruining it, dumbass!"
Of course, he rushed off to work and I was left to pick up the pieces.
When she got home from school, she picked up her stool and put it near Pablo so she could get as close to him as possible. She then started whispering to him. I don't think he answered her because she turned to me and said...
So why did Daddy say Pablo spoke to him, Mama?
Um...maybe Pablo only speaks to grown-ups?
I don't think I believe him, Mama.
Believe in who? Como?
I don't think I believe, Daddy. Pablo did not speak to him.
Daddy said he did. I believe Daddy.
No. The book (yes, there is a book) said that the elf does not move. If he were to speak that would mean he would have to move. They. Do. Not. Move. I don't believe Daddy. Something is not right.
Larry had warned me this was coming. She's been asking all sorts of questions. Why does he look so hard? Where are his hands? Where are his feet? She is still traumatized by "the incident" last year where she accidently knocked him off the windowsill. I think we performed some sort of religious ritual akin to what might happen if the Eucharist ever fell on the floor at Mass.
But that chick remembers everything.
I'm sure Pablo spoke to Daddy. You just gotta believe. I know believing in things you don't understand feels weird. There are plenty of things I don't believe in, Darling Girl, such as shaving my legs in the winter or household budgets or Michelle Bachmann...But we play along because that's what we gotta do. Fake it 'till you make it and that sort of thing, my precious jewel.
The look on her face tells me I should move on to Plan B.
There's an Elf on the Shelf movie! Would you like to watch that?
If all else fails, administer the baby crack. That's what I always say.
Excitedly the kids sit down to watch the movie and I am relieved to see that the show explains why Those Damn Elves have proliferated to every Target, Nordstrom and Barnes and Noble in the known universe. Now I don't have to voilently push her away when I see one. They are simply awaiting their adoption.
Then I realize I've been watching a kids show for five minutes and I have better fucking things to do with my time.
So I go do some online shopping. Those Cyber Monday deals aren't going to catch themselves!
When the show finishes, Maya seems content and satisfied.
And all is right in the world, thanks to television, Amazon.com and, of course, the baby Jesus.