An Elf Conundrum and Teacher Gifts

I’ve got a dilemma. An Elf dilemma. I’ve said before that I totally agree with Jenn about the uber-Elf-mommies. And you all know how I feel about our underachieving Elf on the Shelf. I love him. He does the best he can with what he’s been given. After all, we can’t all be the sharpest knife in the drawer. To his credit, though, he’s given us some real gems this month.
Case 1: The Elf appeared on the shelf in the hallway just outside R and V’s rooms. Boys were taking care of showers, brushing teeth, etc. Normal bedtime stuff. All of a sudden we hear a scream, then a smack, and then all hell breaks loose in the hallway. The spouse and I went running and got the boys separated (one in pajamas, the other buck naked, having a tug of war with a wet bath towel). V – the one crying – wails, “R tried to pull off my towel so the Elf would see me naked!” Guess R wasn’t thinking that the Elf would also report his behavior back to Santa.
Case 2: Spouse had gotten fed up with R and V trying to get out of brushing their teeth, so the Elf appeared in the boys’ bathroom the other morning. The result: both kids refused to go in there ALL DAY. I finally caved and got their toothbrushes out so they could brush their teeth – in the kitchen. And the toilet? Forgattabout it. The four of us shared the one in our bathroom ALL DAY LONG. Spouse has backed off using the Elf to try and prove a point. Lesson learned.
So here’s my conundrum. R and V have been seriously challenged in the behavior department this week. I’m tired. I want a quick fix to the random dirty socks and juice boxes I’ve been finding in weird places every time I turn around. Last night the boys left a note for Austin (they named the Elf). I’m really tempted to take a leaf from my friend’s book and have our elf write a letter like this one back:

Should I do it? Part of me really wants to just to send a message. We’ll see. We’ll just see how much Elf energy I have left tonight after running my errands, long commute home to the ‘burbs and R/V energy.
What errands do I have to run tonight, you may ask? Well, I’ve been pretty smug about having finished all of my shopping last week. Then last night it hit me. Two days left of school. Crap. Teacher Gifts. And for me, a former teacher, to NOT send teacher gifts is right up there with the seven deadly sins.
I have to take a minute and talk about teacher gifts here. Really. With all honesty, the most precious gifts I ever received from children were the handmade cards, notes, pictures and random crafts. I have an entire scrapbook of these treasures that I’ve saved over the years. I’d be willing to bet that any teacher worth their salt feels the same.
So why do some mommies feel the need to go all Pinstrosity on this? It’s like a competition. Seriously – one year I got a hand-painted ceramic popcorn bowl with each kid’s name on it. When I looked closer, I realized that the mom had gotten each kid’s thumbprint and painted them to look like kernels of popcorn next to their names. I’m not kidding on this. I’ve known teachers who have gotten Coach purses for gifts. Me? This year I’m resorting to gift cards, and that’s OK. But I have to stop here and give a list of the most interestinggifts I’ve ever gotten from kids and their parents:

Top Ten Teacher Gifts
A Sacred Heart candle (We’re not Catholic, so I had no idea what this was or what to do with it. I think I offended the kid when I said it would look nice on my fireplace mantel.)
A copy of the Book of Mormon
Pajamas – not the flannel kind, these were more of a sexy babydoll set.
A bottle of wine – yes, a real one. The AP freaked out and made me take it immediately to my car so that I wouldn’t get busted for having alcohol on school property.
Some sweet-tasting Jolly Rancher flavored lip gloss
Lip plumper – sensing a theme here.
Jewelry – the kid said it was his mom’s, and I thought that was sweet. Until the mom showed up at school. Turned out the kid had ‘borrowed’ the necklace without asking.
A Spec’s gift card – Spec’s is a local liquor store.
-and of course-

A really lovely Christmas sweater, embroidered with silver thread, seed pearls and sequins.

One thing about teaching – it’s never a dull moment!
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Filed under Elf on the Shelf, Moms, Pinstrosity, suburbs, Teacher Gifts, working moms

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