A baby, two jealous bulldogs and an annoying Sesame Street character. It sounds like the beginning of some really lame joke, but it’s actually our very own, brand new Christmas tradition called The Elmo on the Shelf.
Like The Elf on the Shelf, Elmo on the Shelf is also a thing that sits on a shelf of some sort. Except our tradition started after Christmas, is not at all magical and you only move it when the bulldogs find it.
So, we just celebrated our first Christmas as parents with our 10-month old daughter. She was elated to find a small Elmo in with her Christmas presents, her favorite Sesame Street character. Elmo immediately became her favorite Christmas toy out of the bunch. Christmas was all about her hugging him, burying her face in his and doing that nails-on-the-chalkboard shrieking thing she does when she’s happy.
You know who else was excited about that little red Elmo? Mack.
At 14 years old, Mackie has a touch of the Doggie Dementia, which means his behavior is starting to revert back to a puppy-like stage. Which also means that Mack is not above stealing a prize Christmas toy away from an unsuspecting infant, for the sole purpose of ripping Elmo’s little head right off, purely for sport.
While Hubs and I were preparing a Christmas dinner for my mother (who was not at all thrilled at having someone else host Christmas for the first time in 25 years) I was also busy trying to gently wrestle Elmo (don’t want to tear it!) out of Mackie’s mouth. I tried coaxing Mack with treats, blowing in his face, flicking his nose, trying to pry open his jaws, all while hearing the tiny threads of Elmo’s legs pop one by one. Eventually he dropped it once it became a team effort of Hubs and I sticking our fingers in his mouth and screaming obscenities at him (all the while my oblivious mother was clamoring on about what time we should eat dinner next Christmas at her house, a year from now).
After that scenario replayed itself a few more times, Elmo got a Christmas bath in the washing machine, Mack was separated from the baby toys and I cracked open a new bottle of wine.
The next day or so we paid extra attention to make sure that Mack didn’t get a hold of Elmo, coming close several times. Just when it seemed that Mack had given up on Elmo, here comes Peterbilt trotting into the family room with Elmo in his mouth, ready to curl up in front of the fireplace to disembowel that poor, now slightly tattered, red muppet.
And that is how Elmo on the Shelf was born.
Elmo’s been sitting above our fireplace now for the last 48 hours. Fortunately for our daughter, she’s young enough where once something is out of sight, it’s out of mind as well. Not so much for the bulldogs, who have been looking woefully at our fireplace. Until we figure out how to keep those cold, calculating, murderous bulldogs from torturing a baby toy, Elmo is going into witness protection as an Elf on a Shelf.