12:38 am, December 12th:
As part of their Christmas present, we took Antonia and Emma to see The Black Keys at Philips Arena. It was a pretty big deal since it was Antonia’s first concert and Emma’s second. I imagine Antonia will forget all about the elf after such an eventful evening.
When we get home after midnight on a school night, I tuck Antonia into bed and kiss her goodnight. Sleepily, she wraps her arms around my neck and says, “Good night, Mama. Where do you think Jingles will go tonight?”
Seriously? You just got home from THE BLACK KEYS CONCERT AT PHILIPS ARENA, and the last thing you ask is the whereabouts of the elf?
Jingles the Elf wasn’t feeling very energetic after singing and dancing for the three hours and then driving home on I-85, but she did manage to find her way to the light fixture in the girls’ bathroom.
8:02 am, December 12th:
In the morning, it was all about wearing her new concert t-shirt to school, so the elf was kind of an afterthought for my sweet eight-year-old. She finally looked up when she was brushing her teeth and remarked, “Wow. That doesn’t look very comfortable.”
5:45 pm, December 12th:
The next three nights, Antonia spends at her Dad’s house. As she is leaving, I grab Jingles by the neck and shove her toward Antonia.
“Don’t you want to take Jingles to Daddy’s house?” I urge.
“No,” Antonia says, flatly.
“Why?” I wonder. “Does Daddy have an elf already?”
“No,” says, Antonia.
“He’s lucky,” I say out loud.
“Mama! That’s not nice,” Antonia tells me. “Jingles lives here. I can’t take here there.”
What? Why not? Where does it say the elf can’t go to somebody else’s house, and maybe get left there because she forgets to come back?
Surprisingly, Jingles doesn’t move while Antonia is away.
12:08 am, December 16th:
Since Jingles can climb, she finds her way to the shelf over the bar where we keep our wine bottles. She looks a little rough. I’m thinking she might have sampled some cabernet sauvignon. Antonia agrees with me when she finds her.
“Mom! Did you see that nutty elf? She is on the wine bottles! What the…?”
“I told you she was crazy,” I tell Antonia. “You gotta watch out for these elves. I’ve heard some crazy stories about what they do when we’re not looking.”
11:38 pm, December 16th:
“Albie,” I say excitedly, “I have an idea for the elf tonight.”
“You do?” Albie asks, raising his eyebrows.
“Yes. I saw it online. We have her eat dog biscuits and leave a note that they taste bad.”
“Yeah. Come look. You have to write the note so she won’t recognize my handwriting,” I tell him.
I have arranged Jingles on the kitchen island with two dog biscuits. It doesn’t look realistic though, because the biscuits are completely in tact. I try to break a biscuit in half with my hands. It’s like trying to crack a piece of granite.
“I can’t break it,” I tell Albie.
“You need a hammer, or something,” he suggests.
I grab the biggest metal spoon I can find in the kitchen and whack the biscuits. Pieces fly all over the counter. “Oh, good. Now we have crumbs, too,” I say excitedly.
I arrange the biscuits and the crumbs next to Jingles and stick Albie’s note next to her. It says, “Eeew! These cookies are gross. Don’t give them to Santa.”
I am proud of our efforts. The dogs circle the island because they can smell their treats. I carefully move Jingles and her half-eaten biscuits to the middle of the island, so everything will still be there in the morning.
7:46 am, December 17th:
Antonia comes to breakfast and finds the elf. She reads the note, then asks, “Why is the note in your handwriting.”
“That’s not my handwriting,” I tell her, truthfully. “She obviously wrote that herself,” I lie.
“Oh, you’re right,” my daughter agrees, thoughtfully. “This isn’t the way you write.” [LONG PAUSE as Antonia examines the note more closely.] “What was this elf thinking, trying to eat dog biscuits? She thought they were cookies?!” Antonia forces a laugh, it seems. I tell Albie about it later.
“She totally knows its us,” he says. “She’s a smart kid. Come on.”
“No, she doesn’t!” I defend. “We have to get more creative tonight. I found another idea online.”
Oh my gosh, I hear myself talking but I don’t know who I am anymore. I am actually planning creative things for Jingles the Elf to do, now? Good Lord, what kind of parent have I turned into?
I hate these elves.