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How I Used Elf on the Shelf to Teach My Son an Even Bigger Lesson Than Just Being Good

Image Source: Christine Coppa
Image Source: Christine Coppa

Jack is 9 and a pretty good kid — and his goodness kicked in extra hard knowing Elf on the Shelf Giacomo was back to watch his every move and listening to everything he said, in preparation for Santa’s arrival. The first day was great. That evening when Jack went to bed, he wondered what the Elf would tell Santa and where he’d hide the next day. I swear my kid had glitter in his eyes and smelled like candy canes and fresh pine — that’s how excited he was!

The next morning, Jack found Giacomo in his raincoat, in the freezer, eating an ice pop.

Image Source: Christine Coppa
Image Source: Christine Coppa

Jack laughed and asked me to move G back to the shelf. Jack refuses to touch G because he knows he’ll lose his magic. Other highlights included G pooping some gum drops and free flying through the apartment attached to some balloons. All was right in the Elf World.

Until it wasn’t.

Kids get moody, right? Well mine is no exception. Jack was having an off day on Saturday and everything was going awry. He lost a crucial LEGO brick and decided he couldn’t finish the $100+ LEGO set his uncle got him.

He made his bed by balling up his blankets in one big tangled mess.

He got in a fight with our sweet dog, Lucy, and called her the S-word — as in stupid — because she was chasing her tail like a puppy does.

He even got mad at a Winter Wonderland event I took him to, because after the admission fee and hot dog, fries, and hot chocolate I bought him — I didn’t spend another five bucks on ice cream. I mean he JUST had hot chocolate.

When we got home, I took his iPad away and suggested he nap or read or PRAY. He slammed the door. And that’s when G took off well before Jack was fast asleep. When Jack emerged from his room for pizza and milk (a quickie dinner), he was shocked to see G was already gone. I played it cool and pretended I didn’t notice. When he wondered why G left early, I suggested maybe he wanted to beat the rain or, well, report back to Santa on Jack’s behavior. My kid’s face flushed with red and he was truly worried (he really, really believes in this Elf).

Image Source: Christine Coppa
Image Source: Christine Coppa

After dinner, Jack wrote a sorry note to G and as I was reading it, I asked, “Why aren’t you apologizing to ME?” Then it clicked!

“Do you think G told Santa I was mean to you — and the dog?”

I shrugged.

Jack showered and went to bed early that night. Before he fell asleep I asked him what was bothering him so much that day. He didn’t know what to say.

“The missing LEGO brick! The long line at the Winter Wonderland! I dunnoooooo.”

I told him he was lucky to have LEGO bricks and handed over the missing piece I found. I told him some kids can’t afford to go on fun day trips. I told him I took him, not because I wanted to go — I would have been fine decorating the apartment and reading — but because I thought he’d enjoy it. He gave me a big warm hug and apologized over and over again. I told him to wake up on the right side of the bed the next day.

But I had more in store. Jack didn’t learn his lesson yet!

When Jack was sound asleep, I plucked G from the dryer and grabbed my makeup bag. I smeared his face with black and silver eye shadow from my Chanel smokey eye kit. I hid G’s little hat. Next, I wrote a note:

“Jack, had to take off early to visit Santa and tell him you were misbehaving. Sorry dude, you know the rules. Ya gotta be nicer to your mom. She’s the only parent ya got, kid, and she really loves you! Bad news: Santa gave you a strike, but you’re not on The Naughty List … yet. However, he did send me to the workshop to help with coal production. I really hope you shape up and Santa doesn’t have to deliver coal here on Christmas Eve. Because there are tons of coal to go around. Trust me. I’m pooped and need to catch some Zzzzzz’s. BEHAVE, JACK!”  — Elf on the Shelf Giacomo

I tucked G under the blanket on the couch and propped his little head up on the pillow. After all, the poor Elf worked all day in the sweltering coal mine!

Image Source: Christine Coppa
Image Source: Christine Coppa

Jack was shocked to find G all dirty, resting — and then … the note. He promised to be a good — not great — boy from here on out and begged me to clean G off.

He wondered where his hat was and I said it, er, might have burned up in the coal mine.

“What? Oh no!” Jack said.

So Jack made him a new one out of red construction paper.

But the next day, G was back with his hat eating some toast with butter smeared all over his face.

And Jack learned a bigger lesson than being good. He learned that if something is irking him he needs to tell me, because I can help him problem solve, remember to breathe, or just shake it off.

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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