Just after midnight, December 6th:
I wake up on the couch where Albie and I have fallen asleep watching a movie. “SHIT. I have to move the elf,” I say to Albie.
“OK,” he says, groggily. “You move the elf. I’ll take the dogs out.”
The elf, who has returned to her spot on the shelf in Antonia’s dark room, ends up face down in a plant. “Look,” I tell Albie when he comes inside with the dogs.
“Oh my gosh, Karla! What the heck? That’s where you are leaving her?”
“Yup. She has issues. She is trying to get up to the bookcase, but she only made it this far. She can’t fly as well as the other elves.”
“She is supposed to be doing something,” Albie says. “Elves are clever and mischievous.”
“Not this one. This one is slow.”
7:27 am, December 6th:
“MOM!” Antonia yells from her room to me in the kitchen. “Jingles is gone, but I can’t find her!”
“Keep looking,” I answer. “I’m sure she’ll turn up somewhere.”
After much searching, Antonia discovers the elf in the plant and rescues her.
“Wow!” she says, “This elf is crazy! She was face down in the plant! What’s up with that?”
“Maybe she doesn’t know how to fly,” I offer.
“Fly?” Antonia asks, incredulously. “MOM, really. Elves don’t fly. They climb.”
“Oh…well, maybe Sprinkles doesn’t know how to climb very well,” I reply.
“Jingles,” Antonia says, glaring at me. “Her name is Jingles.”
The next four nights, Jingles forgets to move. Antonia doesn’t mention her and I think with relief that maybe she has forgotten.
8:03 am, December 9th:
“Mom,” Antonia says on the way to school, “Jingles hasn’t moved in four nights. What do you think is wrong with her?”
Shit, I think to myself, partly because I have totally forgotten about her, but mostly because Antonia has remembered she exists.
“Oh, sweetie, maybe she hurt herself when she landed in the plant last time and has been recovering from a serious head injury.”
“Oh, maybe,” Antonia says, thoughtfully. She is clearly concerned over the severity of the situation. “Well, I’ll talk to her again tonight and ask her if she is OK and if she will move again.”
“Good idea,” I tell my daughter. Yay.
11:53 pm, December 9th:
The elf decides to climb the Christmas tree. I can’t reach, so Albie puts her as close to the top as he can. She is facing the tree as if she is climbing it because elves can’t fly. Duh.
I know you’re in suspense about what happens next: The Elf on the Shelf Chronicles: Diary of a Victimized Parent, Part 3