Whoever coined the phrase “the pitter patter of little feet” clearly didn’t actually have children.

I awoke to the rhythmic clopping of a child walking into our room. Based on the weight and frequency, without opening my eyes I recognized it was the girl and she was alone. I didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary, so that was a plus.

“Mommy?”

I’m not sure how I weaseled myself into such an awesome position, but in the morning the kids always go to Meg’s side of the bed. It doesn’t matter if they are hungry, scared, or just don’t want to sleep, the answer is always to be found with mommy. The only thing I get, and this is verbatim, is “Daddy, where’s mommy?”

“I think I see the elf downstairs, can I go see him?”

Wow, dodged a bullet there. I totally forgot about that damn thing last night. Thankfully, Meg was ever vigilant and on top of things.

I opened my eyes to see a look of sheer terror on Meg’s face. Apparently, we both dropped the ball and now we had a situation.

“Um… it’s early, go back to bed.”

Don’t for a second thing it was that simple. What followed was about 45 seconds of pleading, negotiation, and ultimately threats to get the child back in her room.

We did catch one break. The elf was in our bedroom closet, not buried along with the rest of the Christmas decorations somewhere in the depths of our basement. Meg went to retrieve it while I contemplated going back to sleep to make her handle it. Fearful of what she may do to me if I did, I fell out of bed and stumbled to the door.

She popped her head out of the closet to ensure there aren’t any kids present, ran over to me, jammed the elf down my pants, and pushed me out the door. And they say romance is dead after you have children.

The nice part about forgetting to place the elf this early in the season is that you have a ton of options. Fast forward to December 22nd and this situation becomes a lot scarier as I try to remember where we have and have not placed that little son of a bitch. I toss him on the entertainment center and step back to simultaneously admire my handiwork and give the finger to an inanimate object.

“… didn’t he used to have a hat?” I wonder to myself, panic setting in.

I quickly retrace my steps and find the hat at the bottom of the stairs. As I fought an internal struggle on whether to put it on the elf’s head or shove it up his ass, I looked up to see the rest of my family staring at me from the top of the stairs.

Had we had coffee in ourselves, we may have handled this more gracefully. Instead, Meg and I begin to vomit out a series of potential explanations ranging from bad to god-awful.

“I think he was flying around and dropped it.”
“Maybe it’s a trail to where he is so you can find him.”
“He might be playing a trick on us like the leprechauns do.”

I normally hate the leprechaun thing. I don’t know when this started, but Leanne got it in her head that leprechauns come and mess up your shit on St Patty’s Day, so we’ve had to do that for the past few years. I was quite proud of myself for being able to use this in our favor, even if I didn’t really know where I was going with it as an explanation.

This presented another problem. You’re not supposed to touch the elf, otherwise he loses his magic (I must sound like I’ve lost my damn mind to my non-kid-having friends, but I swear, these are the rules and I didn’t make them up). Now we’d have a hat in the foyer for the rest of the day. I could already see the breakdown where Austin, ever the asshole little brother he is, touches it just to piss Leanne off, which would then send her into a panic and me to a bottle of Advil.

We got lucky again on this one. Before anyone could put too much thought into it, I grabbed a pair of salad tongs and made a big spectacle about moving the hat over to the elf. Ever see a movie where someone is diffusing a bomb? Ya, pretty much like that.

This is just day 1 with the elf. Hooray  :/