Elf on a Shelf Disaster

Somebody looks as if they are feeling guilty about last night’s Elf on a Shelf disaster but let me tell you, it sure ain’t Chintz.

elf on a shelf mischiefChintz thought it would be funny to put up toilet paper over the Princess Cupcake’s door. Knowing that the Cupcake HATES to have her door shut at night (yes, we may still have some separation issues), I suggested to him that he leave obvious room at the bottom for her to crawl out.

And just as importantly, the space should be just high enough that the pugs didn’t bust through it. Because they have no issues with plowing through A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Sigh, the pugs.

Have you ever been around a pug? Or pug times two? They do nothing quietly. NOTHING! Their very existence is loud. They even breathe loud.

I was so afraid that we would get caught with all the snorting and click-clicking nails on hardwood, and collar jangling and running in and out of the room and up and down the stairs from sheer pug excitement/confusion. I didn’t know how we’d explain why Mommy was taping her doorway with toilet paper. Really, can you think of a good excuse to use?

Add to the fact that the fat pug thinks toilet paper is a culinary masterpiece, I was certainly doomed.

And don’t forget that Chintz still smells of powdered sugar from last night’s Elf on a Shelf Snowball Fight. Pugs love powdered sugar. And small toys. And wreaking havoc. It was a recipe for disaster.

elf on a shelf mischiefI had my hands full trying to prevent pug-elf thievery, toilet paper breakage and toilet paper noshing – all the while keeping the audible breathing (no, the pugs’, not mine) to a minimum and reducing the tear sound of the masking tape.

Somehow I eventually managed to install the toilet paper barrier, complete with warning sign. It looked good. I was proud of my not so small accomplishment.


At 3:30 a.m. I am jolted away by wake-the-dead-type screams, “MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!”

So much for the convincing space at the bottom for little one to crawl through. She woke up, saw the barrier and freaked. No, she Freaked. Capital F.

I ran in, scooped her up – from just under the barrier I might add — and tucked her in bed with us, then spent the rest of the wee hours of the morning sleepless and beating myself up over what a bad mom I am to scar her with Elf on the Shelf nightmares for the rest of her life. By 7 a.m. she was finally awake too and came looking for me.

“Mom, we have to find Chintz.” No good-morning, no hello. She’s all about the Elf.

elf on a shelf toilet paperThe good news is that she had forgotten about the previous night’s events but the bad news was that I had no choice but to show her where he was. At 3:30 in the morning, during the blood-curdling wake-up call,  I had pointed out that he was sitting in her doorway.  Clearly that had escaped her with all the stress of it.

I hadn’t moved him – in retrospect, I should have hedged my bets that she would not have been fully awake and thrown together another Elf on a Shelf antic but my mind doesn’t think that well at 3:30 a.m. (On second thoughts, how then would I have explained the toilet paper door trap?) I thought that as she had forgotten I could still maybe undo some of the damage.

However, she continued to be less than amused.

“I don’t like that. Why did he do that?”

“I think he was trying to be funny.”

“Let’s take that down.”

There you go. Moral of the story. Do not attempt an elf barricade for children still suffering from touches of separation anxiety. Or living with pugs.

When you have set yourself the task of coming up with a new Elf on a Shelf Idea every night, not all of them are going to be a success. Some will go in the favorite file for you to rework next year but some will surely end up as an Elf on the Shelf Fail.