The Madness has lately been living up to her nickname in rare form. I actually cancelled Christmas once already. Three garbage bags full of toys have been donated to “kids who actually APPRECIATE this kind of thing.”
This is when someone tells you to get the “Elf on the Shelf.” Santa Claus’s gestapo. And I should. Not because it would work, but because of the stories I would have about what happened to the poor little bastard.
Well now I actually want one. Crap.
What I DID do, is go to Portable North Pole and make a personalized video for the Madness. Santa talked to her about her daily activities (programmed in by me), tested her level of Niceness (also programmed by me) and reminded her she needs to work on keeping her room tidy (again, programmed by me). I put her right on the edge of Naughty, but the elves all thought she could get into the Nice zone by go time. Really, they were very enthusiastic about it.
Madness watched the video with rapt attention. The video ended. She looked at me and said, “I didn’t like that show,” before switching the iPad to NETFLIX.
I figured I’d just let that one sink in for a while. I took back the iPad and made a lunch she didn’t care for and wouldn’t eat.
Later, that night, I’m putting the Madness to bed. “You better clean up these Barbies,” I say, “remember what Santa said about keeping your room tidy.”
“He didn’t say that,” she tells me.
“Yes, he did. I heard him. Twice.”
She shakes her head at me like I’m daft. “No. He said something about being nicer.”
I’m flummoxed. “NO. He said you need to work on keeping your room clean.” I know this, because I PROGRAMMED him to say it – I think, very loud, but do not say.
“I don’t think so,” she says, in this, ‘let’s agree to disagree’ tone that makes me want to pitch all of her Barbies out the window.
“Madness, I am older than you, I am smarter than you (for now), and I am a better listener. Can we just agree that I am always RIGHT about EVERYTHING, so far, so I am probably right about THIS?”
She doesn’t seem to think this is terribly likely, but she does climb down and tidy up her dolls. Halfway up the ladder into her bunk she turns to me and says calmly, “I don’t want any presents, anyways.”
Then she hands down the coveted CD player and books-on-tape collection from her birthday. “I don’t want these anymore, either.”
In generous moments, I tell myself she’s just really in touch with her buddhist nature. Not the laughing Buddha, though. Is there an angry Buddha?
So no, I don’t see the Elf on the Shelf making a big impression on this kid. Especially since I just cancelled Christmas. Again.