Alanis Morissette once defined irony as “10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife.” I think a better definition is “when your children are their very naughtiest on the same day the Elf on the Shelf arrives to monitor their behaviour.”
I should have known something was up. Our son and daughter were playing upstairs with our son’s “girlfriend” (yes, he’s seven) and it was eerily quiet. They dashed past me at one point to get the dinky cars and I remember thinking it was weird because they never play with those anymore.
It wasn’t until hours later, after pizza and a movie, that I headed up to my bedroom to put away the laundry I’d (finally) folded. There was a row of dinky cars across the doorway, which was strange. The closet light was on, too, and the kids KNOW they’re not allowed in there leading up to Christmas. Hmm.
It was dripping down our headboard.
It was pooled over the water cups on my nightstand.
It was smeared on the lampshades and on every knob on my dresser.
I picked up the antique earring holding that was once my grandmother’s, and the china was coated in the thick blue goo. Shopkins and other little toys were drowning in the puddles of blue goo splashed across the furniture.
I yelled for the kids to turn off the movie and come upstairs THIS INSTANT. I was half shocked and half outraged.
The three of them sheepishly came into the bedroom, knowing they’d been caught. I pried the story out of them and supposedly the idea was to “prank” me. The dinkies in the doorway were for me to slip on (they’ve been watching too much Home Alone) and the goo was to just infuriate me, I guess.
I fumed silently while they helped me clean up the mess. Most of it came off OK, but the lampshades were ruined by the wet blue strains.
After a while, I said I’d finish up, and they wisely decided to write apology letters to Santa Claus — to be delivered via the Elf on the Shelf, who had arrived that very morning and was surely going to report this EPIC level of naughtiness.
Once their friend had been picked up, I asked them what on earth had possessed them to goopify my room. They insisted it had been their friend’s idea, and our son tearfully reminded me “You always say to do what the guest wants!” Um, no. Nice try, though.
“It’s your house and you know the rules,” I said sternly. “You know you’re not allowed to mess around in Mom and Dad’s room, and you certainly knew I’d be mad about slime all over the place. Right?”
We had a long talk about making decisions and being able to say “no” when a friend suggests something that’s sure to lead to trouble. We practiced different scenarios until bedtime (“What if a friend said you should jump out the window? Or jump on Mom and Dad’s bed spraying chocolate milk on the walls?”) and they seemed to understand.
Then I laid out their publishment, which would begin first thing in the morning. “Since you messed up my room, you’re going to do the opposite to the rest of the rooms,” I explained cheerfully.
And so, from 6 a.m. until just after 1 p.m., they cleaned. It took much longer than necessary because they would get distracted and start playing together — or squabbling about who was doing more work.
“Yesssss!” they grumbled.
It took seven long hours, but eventually they had cleaned their rooms, the basement, and the main level. It was a grueling punishment they won’t soon forget.
Oh, and of course I’ve confiscated all of the slime in the house! I highly encourage you to do the same — just ask my poor lampshades.