Elf on the Shelf: My Take

Mamacita says; If there had been such a thing as Elf on the Shelf back when my kids were little, you can bet something precious that I would have utilized it.

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Elf on the Shelf? Oh heck yes.

Oh, we had the Elf back then, but he wasn’t a tattle-tale at that time; he was just a decoration. Without a spy elf, I had to resort to other tactics; for example, the direct call to the North Pole. My kids, like every other kid, were excited and hyper as we got closer to Christmas, but they were never off-the-wall or disobedient, at least not very, so a tale-telling Elf wouldn’t have had much to report, anyway.

But honestly? ANYTHING that helps to monitor a child’s holiday behavior is fine by me. “The Elf had to give Santa an honest report, kids. Try harder tomorrow, okay?” Fine by me.

As for parents who don’t have the time or inclination to turn December into a magical fantasy for their children. . . . I taught middle school all day and waited tables all night. I worked every high school basketball game. I was the marching band secretary, and helped feed the teams before each game. I did all this while battling dermatomyositis, a debilitating and exhausting muscle condition. My doctor told me that my stress levels were so high, I’d probably still be able to walk even if I had no bones. But these stresses were only temporary, and they were for my children, so I did them cheerfully. And when I got home, I made magic.

Typical Angel Tree

Now that my own kids are grown, I pull names off Angel Trees and make magic for those kids. In December, I HAVE to make magic for children. It’s in my very soul. If I could do it, you can, too. And if you don’t do it, it’s because you just plain don’t want to, not because you can’t. I’m so sorry for children for whom December isn’t a magical month, made so by someone, even if their parents don’t do it. But I digress. Elf on the Shelf? Yep.

Smart People Wear Masks

Mamacita says: Almost every store in this town has a “masks required” sign on the front door, but nobody is enforcing it and “those” people are stalking through the door and up and down the aisles touching everything.

A worker told me they didn’t dare enforce the rule because they feared the violence from the great unmasked. How sad, when our brave people who dare to wait on us and cash us out and otherwise take care of us are forced to endure the unmasked, unvaccinated hordes for fear “those” people will hurt them. . . . Shame on us as a culture. Well, not all of us. Just “them.”

Ancestral Pride

Mamacita says: Our ancestors took enormous pride in their children’s education. Many of these ancestors had little if any education; in the various old countries, it wasn’t possible for many reasons. It was too late for most of the adults; they had to earn a living, but they focused on their children. Their children were going to be educated, by gosh and by golly, no matter what the parents’ sacrifices might have to be.

When their kids came home from school with new ideas, and books their parents couldn’t understand, quoting people other than family members and religious leaders, questioning the old ways and contradicting their elders, these parents beamed with pride because it meant their children were becoming educated, and educated people question things.

“This child was born of parents who can read and write. To me, this is a great miracle.” — Mary Rommely, from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

How far we have fallen from the true purpose of education. We have parents who are desperately afraid of their children knowing anything they don’t already know and approve of. This. . .. . is worse than tragedy. We are going backwards. We have people who are afraid of knowledge. We have people who fear learning lest their set ways be challenged. These people will destroy us all. Our ancestors, who sacrificed their own education and lives that their children and grandchildren might learn, are turning in their graves from shame.

Learn Some Context

Mamacita says: Context, people. Learn some context. No no NO. No updates, edits, modernization, political correcting, adding, eliminating, changing, gender swapping, romance insertions or removals, relationship changing, etc. If you want a story that suits you better, write a new story or stick to fan fiction. Stories that are already written are carved in stone.

I don’t necessarily “approve” of everything I voraciously read, and sometimes I love a book, sometimes I don’t, sometimes it’s meh, sometimes it’s awful for any variety of reasons, but whatever my reaction, it wasn’t my story to tell, or yours, and what the actual author wrote should stand inviolable. I’ve rewritten many novels – in my head – in my lifetime and will no doubt rewrite many more to suit myself, but the very idea of changing someone else’s story to better suit someone else and stop all future publication of the original, actual story? Blatant thievery. Learn about context, for all our sakes.

One of My All-Time Favorite Mothers

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Mamacita says: I saw one of my all-time favorite mothers at Aldi’s today.

When she found out that her son was being disruptive on a daily basis, she came to school in a ratty nightgown and robe, hair in rollers, and filthy bunny slippers. She sat by her son in every class, walked him through the halls holding his hand, sat by him in the lunch room, played volleyball with him in PE, and never stopped the very audible toddler-level sweet talking.

She promised to do this every time she got a call from the school.

The kid never gave us a bit of deliberate trouble again. Turned out to be one if my favorite students. To paraphrase Anne Shirley, I like best the ones who COULD be bad, but choose not to be. Most complete turn-around ever.

The Lunch Thief Who Was Also “Religious”

Mamacita says: I was reading a friend’s post about her lunch being constantly stolen at work, and it reminded me of the co-worker who was obsessed with food. He “sampled” other people’s lunches almost daily, sometimes just taking a few bites and sometimes taking the whole sandwich He would help himself to a few chips from one lunch, a few Fritos from another lunch, a tomato slice, a few pickles. . . you get the picture.

If there was cake or pie or anything sweet, he took the whole thing; he had a massive sweet tooth. (This is not the principal who roamed the cafeteria stealing bits and pieces of students’ lunches; this was a teacher who stole other teachers’ lunches.)

Sometimes we would take our lunches from the lounge refrigerator and a sandwich would be warm – he had microwaved it before taking half of it. If there was a pitch-in, he NEVER contributed anything but would always casually walk through and fill a plate, commenting that it looked like we had plenty of food.

The year before I started there, the teachers gave him the ‘ex-lax brownie treatment,’ which knocked him out of work for several days but didn’t teach him anything. Whenever food was mentioned, his eyes would glisten and his breathing changed. He was obsessed with food. He was a fat guy who passed most of his workload onto his aide, and whenever his name came up in conversation, all kinds of food-stealing-related stories came up in quick succession. My own lunches were usually pretty boring unless I brought leftovers, so leftovers days were the only times he messed with mine, but what I really remember is the day I brought a cheesecake to a pitch-in and when I opened the fridge to take it out and put the topping on it, a huge slice had been stolen.

Whenever I see this guy on Facebook, all I can think of is how those eyes would glisten at the mere mention of food, and how he was supposedly so religious yet would feel justified in stealing other people’s lunches almost daily. A fine deacon and occasional preacher. Right. No respect.