It's Time For Elf on the Shelf (Or Not!)

 Photo Credit: Michel Curl

Photo Credit: Michel Curl

Any day now my Facebook news feed will be inundated with pictures of the cute and clever things my friends have done with their Elf on the Shelfs (Elves on the Shelves?), links to lists of cute and clever things to do with an Elf on the Shelf and posts from friends lamenting their lame, last minute efforts to do something with their Elf on the Shelf before their kiddos notice that he hasn't moved in a few days (quick, fling him down the stairs!).

We don't own an Elf on the Shelf for a number of highly significant reasons that are similar to the reasons we don't "do" Santa or the Easter Bunny at our house. That's not what the season is about, I don't like to try to convince my kids to believe things that aren't true because I want them to trust me, blah, blah, blah. If you choose to do the Elf on the Shelf, Santa, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, fairies and unicorns etc. with your kids rest assured that I AM NOT JUDGING YOU. I've just chosen  to do things differently with my kids, for all the significant reasons I allude to above but also, and most importantly, because I am HORRIBLE at those kind of things.

I am not a mom who does Pinterest-worthy things - not birthday party themes, not holiday decor, not cute and fun little holiday/end of school year/back to school/third Tuesday of the month traditions. I'm busy, I've got other interests, it's not my skill set and even if my intentions are good, I don't get organized in time, or even remember to follow through at all sometimes. Case in point - the tooth fairy.

Yes, we do "do" the tooth fairy at our house. Do the kids know the tooth fairy isn't real? Yes. Do they care? No. The tooth fairy brings them money and that's all they care about. Well, that and getting their hard-earned loot in a timely fashion (yes, all that wiggling is hard work and having the dentist pull out your teeth is no easy feat either). And there's the sticking point - I am TERRIBLE at remembering to swap the teeth out for the money. (Also I don't know what to do with the teeth once I have them, but that's a whole other story.)

These are a few of the series of notes my children have written to the tooth fairy in recent years, trying to remind her to take their teeth and leave their money:

Sometimes this tactic works well, but more often it takes a few tries before the tooth fairy follows through. Sometimes the tooth fairy has to set an alarm on her phone so that she remembers to go upstairs after the kiddos are asleep and make the swap. When the tooth fairy's assistant worked second shift, the tooth fairy would often shift responsibility for the task onto him (via text), thus absolving herself of all blame if the money wasn't left the same day that the tooth was lost.

The tooth fairy (and her assistant) failed epically when Jordan lost his last two baby teeth. One came out on its own and the other the dentist had to pull. I have to admit, it's been so long since this happened that I can't remember which was which or if he was in 6th grade or 7th at the time (he's in 8th now). In any case, Jordan had the first tooth under his pillow for at least a week, got sick of waiting for the tooth fairy to show up and pinned an envelope with the tooth in it to a bulletin board in his bedroom. When the second tooth came out he added it to the envelope. Periodically he would remind me to remind the tooth fairy that he was still waiting for his money. Eventually I think he forgot the teeth were been there (I know I did). When I sat down to write this post the other day I suddenly remembered the teeth on the bulletin board. I dug through my wallet, found five crumpled up one dollar bills and ran upstairs. Sure enough the teeth were still there. I wrote a quick note and pinned the whole mess to the bulletin board. Remembered a couple of hours later that I'd left the tooth envelope on his desk and ran upstairs to dispose of it before he got home from school. 

 Tooth Fairy fail

Tooth Fairy fail

I feel mildly guilty about the whole thing but really, there are more important things in life to worry about, plus being a somewhat negligent tooth fairy is sort of a tradition in my family. The last tooth I lost lived in a plastic bag attached to our fridge with a magnet for probably at least 3 years. Anyway, I'm  pretty sure any attempts on my part to carry out an Elf on the Shelf tradition would fail in a similarly spectacular fashion, so I think it's best not to even try. Sasha's the only one who's asked why we don't have one and I just told her we have different holiday traditions (conveniently leaving out the part about the busy, forgetful, non-Pinterest worthy mother).