At almost three years old, I decided that Sal might just be old enough for the Elf on the Shelf that my grandmother got him. We read the book, named the elf "Mahbra" (I think he was going for Barbara, but even as I grilled him on the name before writing it, he stuck with "Mahbra")..
Mahbra it is.
Anyways, we discussed why Mahbra was here, and that Mahbra reports to Santa every night. Santa will remember who has been behaving, and who hasn't based on what Mahbra and his friends tell Santa. Those who behave usually get really cool Christmas presents, while those who don't behave sometimes don't get anything.
Well, it took a grand total of twenty minutes before I used "Mahbra is watching. Mahbra will tell Santa that you just kicked Carla. You don't want Santa to hear you've been misbehaving, do you?" And what followed was a very vocal and dramatic meltdown......I let him have his moment and then tried some redirection.
"Hey Bud, let's go back downstairs and have a snack."
But Sal wasn't budging. He started sobbing again. When asked why, he said he didn't want Mahbra to see him. He would not go in the same room I had Mahbra hanging out in. He didn't like Mahbra and he didn't like Santa and he didn't want any presents. He just wanted Mahbra to go away.
Scarred my child for life.
Had to redeem myself the next morning, so Mahbra showed up with a pair of Santa socks for Sal.
Thank goodness Sal was receptive and told me Mahbra could stay and he did, in fact, like Santa.
Dodged that bullet.