Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf...Year-Round and with Teeth. Excellent.

So, Kate is sort of slow to catch on to this. Last year, Lydia went on and on about some elf that sat in her house, and that she and the Cap;n would wig out every morning about the elf and who moved the elf and where is the elf and  -- wow -- they really simultaneously hated and were really, really concerned about this elf.

It turns out that people buy this small toy boy and move him around the house and you all already know this because you are good parents who use clever devices to keep your children well behaved in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Kate just leaves a Christmas tree with nothing underneath it and says, "well, maybe if you're good, the presents will show up. [looks at tree] Nope? Try harder."

So, while Lydia is busy searching for her Elf, and Kate is, well, being Kate, we handed over the MommyLand reins to Guru Louise, who -- after all her late nights hooking for us, deserves nothing less than a few more hours of work. For us. For free. Gooooooood hooker...

xoxo Kate and Lydia

PS One more thing...if you're new to MommyLand, HELLO! first of all, and you might want to read about Randy and Dickie, because they are the fairies that rule our lives. Evil fairies.


As you may have heard, Kate, Lydia, and I were a bit busy this month madly matching up hookers like it was our damn job. Problem is, I already have a job—as a stay-at-home mom to two very active children under the age of 4. So you may be wondering, who was doing my job this month while I was doing all the matchy-matchys?

Meet Alfie, our Elf on the Shelf.

You may have heard of this new tradition—this year every store seems to have a massive display of these little elves trapped in boxes just waiting to be adopted. I first heard about the Elf on the Shelf last year when he arrived at our home as a gift from Nana. But my kids were so young and I was so busy flapping around last December that I forgot to even take the little guy out of the box. This December my kids and I gingerly uncovered the neglected elf from the bottom of our Christmas box and I explained the new tradition to my kids: first we name the elf (Alfie was the 1 year-old’s choice) and then he is officially full of Santa’s magic. He watches the kids all day long and then at night flies back to Santa to report on whether the kids have been naughty or nice. He returns each morning and finds a new location in the house from which to observe, gather data, and create a formal report for presentation to Santa that night. After a continuous month-long analysis by Alfie and Santa, the cumulative daily reports either land your kids on the “Lotsa Presents” or the “No Gifts for You!” list.

At first, I didn’t think much of Alfie’s effect on our family. I figured it would be a fun hunt each morning for the kids and I just moved him each night to the mantle, the bookshelf, the counter, wherever. But within a few days I started to notice there was WAY less fighting between the kids. The plates were being cleared after meals and the playroom was picked up. Kate called and my kids played quietly without bothering me once while I was on the phone with her. I only had to ask my daughter to use the potty once (instead of the usual 50 times).

Finally, I cornered her and asked with narrowed eyes, “What is going on around here? Why are you being so helpful?” She replied in a whisper, “Shhhhh, Mommy. Alfie is watching! See? And I gotta be a good girl or else he’s gonna tell Santa not to bring me stuff on Christmas!”

Holy crap, y’all. It was working! I had accidentally implemented a moralistic police state in my own home… but it. was. working!

That got me thinking about the other 11 months of the year. Christmastime is busy and stressful but, Maude knows, I need help the rest of the year, too. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who will silently weep on December 26th when the elf is nowhere to be found. After much consideration I’ve decided to introduce another Big Brother-type helper to our family. I respectfully present:

Barry the Honey Badger Fairy

Barry is a distant cousin to the honey badger made famous by Randall’s amazing narration who has left Sub-Saharan Africa and come to live with you in your home!

Unlike the seasonal Elf on the Shelf, Barry can be used year-round to terrify your young children into doing whatever you want. Need your kids to do some yard work this spring? If they don’t, Barry will eat all their Easter candy while they sleep. Want your kids to do their homework? If they give you flak, Barry will tell their principal to cancel summer vacation. He’ll do it, too. Barry don’t give a schmidt.

Thank you, Elf on the Shelf, for teaching me that scaring the crap out of my children really is the most effective parenting strategy of all!

Now if only we had a similar fairy to scare my husband into actually put his dirty socks IN the hamper...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. First let me say that my husband's beer league ice hockey team is the Honey Badgers and I was charged with picking up their new team socks from the hockey store. "Yes, hi. I'm here to pick up the socks for the Honey Badgers." *feels like and idiot*

    Being Members of the Tribe, we have no elf. I have been threatening to return my boys' Chanukah gifts, but only after showing them what they would be missing out on. It kinda works. I think I could get behind the Honey Badger Fairy if he was going to chew their toys up for their infractions. Something like "if you don't clean this mess up I'm gonna let the Honey Badger Fairy snack on your Leapster." I wonder if my neighbor's large dog could chew up a toy convincingly enough to instill fear...

  2. Omgosh! This is hysterical! Love the way you guys view the world! Love Randall's narrative of the honey badger and love the idea of Barry visiting all year! Market this one girls! You could make millions!

  3. LOVE this! My husband has become obsessed with the honey badger ever since I introduced him to Randall's narration.

    And I agree about the socks...I don't find my 10 month old's socks everywhere, just my husbands. My son thinks they're toys.


  4. Oh my goodness, this made me laugh...a lot! We have an elf too, Jingles. I was cracking up at the honey badger idea because my kids (6,4,2) know they are mean thanks to the show Wild Kratts. This could be effective ;) Merry Christmas!

  5. I love it!!! Im so gonna try the "elf on a shelf" next year if I can find one!!

  6. To quote a couple of my favorite bloggers, "Oh, even yesser." I deliberately avoided Elf on a Shelf because it was such a short-term fix to what is truly a year-long battle. But BARRY - now that's what I need.

    And I'm right with you on the husband and the socks. Really, why is that so hard? For that dilemma, I need some clever creature who can cancel football. Or video game updates. Or pizza deliveries. In the meantime, I've started kicking them under the bed - hopefully he'll notice when none of his socks appear in the clean laundry anymore...

    1. Brilliant! Mine leaves most of his clothes on the floor next to his side of the bed... and the hamper is less than 2 ft from the edge of the bed on that side, whuck!

  7. I have been trying to think how we could use the elf all year..really our elf, snowflake tractor, hasn't changed my 3 littles (4,4,2) behavior much. My twins believe that she is real (snowflake tractor is a girl...complete with a skirt) but think that since she is looking to the right they can hit each other and their little sister on the left. Santa has sent threatening notes back with snowflake tractor but my boys remain stinkers. I think telling them a honey badger was going to chew up their stuff would really scare them and keep them from sleeping...I need them to sleep...

  8. That elf gives me the creeps. My Mom always told us the birds reported back to Santa. Birds also have the advantage of being available year round.

  9. Hmmmm...maybe a no nookie fairy??

  10. Ok so can someone explain to me exactly what the deal is with the elf on a shelf? i've seen it at target and i waonder should i go get one LOL

  11. Sounds like it is as effective as the Toy Ogre that visited when my daughter was younger. It liked to come and take any toys that weren't put away at night. However, I'm in the elf creeps me out category.

  12. did you know that honey badgers take down their prey by grabbing/biting their testicles? true story. i learned this in africa.

  13. I'm on board with Kate's method of no presents under the tree as holiday time motivation out of the gate since that leaves some leeway as to who is judging. The elf thing while initially effective will become part and parcel to the ruse of Santa once the kids realize it's not real. And then you go back to the Kate method anyway.
    Honey Badger will work for all ages--even lazy husbands. Because as we have learned Honey Badger are crazy, nasty snake-eaters who "don't care and don't give a s**t."

  14. The presence of our elf - Mr Sprinkles - has no known effect on my son...but he is THREE and that explains a lot...


    I KNOW you ladies HAVE to have read this one already! ;-)

  16. O MY GOSH...I started dying when I seen the honey badger picture! I have a very hyper 3.5 year old and we call him the honey badger because well if you google honey badger and watch the narrated video with the gay guy... it's just funny!

  17. I am sure this all will result in extensive therapy sessions for future adults in later years

  18. Check out this blog for a funny take on Elf on the Shelf...laughed my head off!

  19. won't have a problem finding an elf. I think they've invaded the flippin' planet..they're everywhere!

  20. This is all very Foucaultian. The home as a panopticon, or something.

  21. " Kate just leaves a Christmas tree with nothing underneath it and says, "well, maybe if you're good, the presents will show up. [looks at tree] Nope? Try harder."

    I subscribe to the same policy Kate does, presents ever appear under our tree--EVER, even if they come in the mail, they get put up--until Christmas morning because my children will not leave them alone and the relentless rearranging is sure to 'accidentally' tear the paper on one or two, and once that ball gets rolling.... ;) So elf on the shelf needed here. A quick "well if Santa thought you were being good, he would have at least given me permission to put presents under the tree by now...." haha!

  22. I have been looking for an elf No elf for our house. Damn.

  23. Every time one of mine gets into trouble, I ask him/her to go pick out one present from under the tree to take back to the store. This seems to be pretty motivational. I'm working on a blog post about other forms of Christmas motivation, but until then, there's this (a post about the relationship between Christmas and poop--what could be more Christmassy?):

  24. !!! OMG! Honey badger don't care... LOL.




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