The Keebler Elves Live At My Parent’s House

Today marks the third attempt of taking my daughter to the orthodontist. Iris is 7 years old and needs braces. They are not for cosmetic reasons but because she has such a small mouth and there is not enough room for all of her teeth to come in. Iris does NOT want braces. Iris does well at the dentist and is very cooperative. It’s been a different story with the orthodontist. She clamps her mouth shut and makes grunting noises when they ask her questions. It’s embarrassing to the point that I don’t want to claim her as my own. Seeing as how she calls me “Mom” when we are there makes it very difficult to pretend I don’t know her.

I CAN’T empathize with this. In 2nd grade I desperately wanted braces. I would fashion braces out of paper clips and such. I wanted so badly to look like a teenager.

The paper clips never fooled anyone; not even the Kindergartners that rode my bus.

I had an hour bus ride each way to school and home. It seemed like forever. In order to pass the time, I would gather all of the Kindergartners and tell them stories.

Seeing as the bright 5 year olds didn’t buy my braces story, I went to the next extreme and made up a tongue brace. I had a Hello Kitty eraser in a little case. I would take the cap off of the case and put it on my tongue and tell the children I was required to wear a tongue brace after experiencing a serious injury to my tongue. They bought this story hook, line and sinker. In my little mind I imagined they were jealous and were desperately trying to come up with ways to injure their tongue so they too could sport a tongue brace.

I had forgotten about my wild imagination and storytelling marathons until a few years ago when I was at a store checking out and the cashier’s face lit up when she saw me. With a burst of enthusiasm she said, “Are you Melissa?”

I couldn’t hide my confusion as I said, “yes” because I didn’t recognize this person. She immediately introduced herself and explained she used to ride the bus with me in elementary school. I nodded my head, still not making a connection. My husband was with me and she told him, “Melissa used to gather all of us little kids around and tell us the best stories.”

As I stood there trying to remember back to those elementary years she began to relay the story I told her and she instantly jogged my memory and made me chuckle.

I gathered all the Kindergartners around me and in a serious, whispering voice I told them I had something very important to tell them. I told them the Keebler elves lived in one of my parent’s trees. Every once in a while I was lucky enough to see them and I had even spied them making the cookies a couple of times.

The little kids sat quiet with their mouths opened drinking in every detail I told them. I continued to tell them Keebler Elf stories throughout the year and my adventures with them.

This store cashier had remembered this from 25 years before. She said she believed it for many years and often told other people she knew where the Keebler elves lived and that she knew the girl whose land they lived on.

It’s hard to believe I was such a convincing storyteller at 7 years old. Now if only I could call forth that little girl in me and come up with a story to tell my dear Iris and make her want to get braces!

Calling my 7 year old self to come help me make up a great story!

Calling my 7 year old self to come help me make up a great story!

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35 responses

  1. I love it! I knew it, you’ve always been a storyteller.

    You can tell Iris that your friend Sarah needed braces for the same reasons. My mouth was too small. But you know what, it was worth it. It may not have been pleasant-did they tell you how they widen the jaw yet? *shudder* But, I think I have a much better smile because of it. 🙂 Just don’t wait until she’s in 10th grade if you can help it!

    • No, they haven’t told us how they widen the jaw yet (ouch)…we are still trying to get proper x-rays. My husband is taking her today to see if having him with her makes a difference. She actually has a tooth emerging now that is pushing up one of her permanent teeth so I think we do have to act quick in order not to lose any teeth! Crossing my fingers!

      • In “the olden days” I had a contraption that was widened twice a day by turning a key type thing in there. It wasn’t real pleasant, but the results were nice. I’m assuming they have come up with something better by now.

  2. Wow, what a coincidence that me and Iris were inflicted with the same “small mouth” syndrome. 2nd grade is when I got my braces and I had them until 6th grade. I thought it was going to make me very popular having these braces, I was kinda excited about them. I don’t think they increased my popularity at all but the pain of enduring 4 years of braces made my life hell!! My mouth hurt all the time, I had sores on my tongue and then even had to wear the stupid head gear from the time I got home from school until morning. Iris is wise to keep her mouth clamped shut at the orthodontist, I wish I did.

  3. poor thing. it’s a pain to get braces! (But the mom in me totally sympathizes with you because my kids seem to be embarrassing me on a daily basis lately with their less than cooperative ways and I fully admit that I try to pretend they’re not mine too) 🙂

  4. I love your story about the keebler elves, how funny that you meet someone who remembered!
    I had a narrow mouth, too, but I didn’t get braces until I was 20. I had to get a pallet expander (the cobtraprion everyon has been talking about with the key you turn once or twice a day to slowly widen the pallet) to be honest, I never thought it was very painful at all, but maybe I didn’t have to widen as much…? Or maybe technology has changed a bit – that was 2002.
    good luck getting her to cooperate!

    • Okay, the story is actually weirder with the Keebler elves but I didn’t write it in my post because it would have been too long. The same day I was at the store, my parents went to the same store later in the day unbeknownst to me. I received a call from my mom asking why I told children that we had Keebler elves living in our yard. Apparently, my parents got the same cashier and even though she never knew my mom she recognized the last name on her check and asked if they knew me. She then told them the whole story too! What a coincedence huh?!

  5. I spent several days in excruciating pain when I got my braces at 12, and then felt like I’d was being tortured on the rack every time over the course of a year that I had them tightened. Doing it early like they do these days will allow her to sidestep some of that pain, but kids never see it that way!

    • Strike 3, she wouldn’t participate in any orthodontic antics today again and now the orthodontist says the teeth are starting to grow in and she’ll have a double layer of teeth…we’ll try again in a couple of months…the sooner she gets it done the easier the process will be. If only I could talk some sense into her!

  6. I wish I had a friend like you when I was in kindergarten. You would’ve made life seem magical! Though I probably would’ve been a bit envious that Keebler Elves lived in your parents’ trees.
    I have NO doubt the seven year old Melissa will come up with something brilliant for Iris. Maybe you could incorporate the Keebler Elves into your story again? Like they’re the little people who help the orthodontist work on your teeth. 🙂

  7. A tongue brace? That is HILARIOUS! I would never have been able to do anything like that when I was a kid–I could never have sacrificed my ability to talk. Fast. And a lot.

    The Keebler Elves are seriously creepy. If they lived in my parents’ tree, I’d likely only put up with them for the cookies. They’re almost as creepy as clowns and dolls.

  8. Yeah, that tongue brace really impeded my speech…even made me a bit drooly but I think it really added to the effect!! Also, thanks for the “cute” compliment but when I look a that picture it looks like I cut my own bangs! You and your phobia…how do you feel about the Smurfs?

  9. Oh my word – too funny! Isn’t it funny she remembered the elves and not the tongue brace? Perhaps it’s because the elves had better marketing. I rode the bus for an hour each way when I was in elementary school too. I usually just read a book though. Wish I’d have been that entertaining….

    Poor Iris. Poor mom. None of that is any fun. 😦

    • I think I just had a much better recollection of the tongue brace story because it was pretty hard to pull off! The Keebler elves didn’t affect me one way or the other…just another story but to her obviously a big deal!!!! LOL!!

    • Yeah, I don’t know! I’m glad I got over wanting braces though. When I was 11, they actually said I did indeed need braces because I had a big gap in between my two front teeth. I opted not to have it done because I wanted to look just like Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie and there was a model at the time with a gap too! Thank god I didn’t get them because as I got older the gap naturally closed!

  10. What a story teller you are 🙂 Both my girls had braces and they are so glad that they did. Their teeth won’t over crooked or protruding and admittedly they had them a little older than Irish.Tell her she is beautiful…and the braces will make her more so.. tell her though she is young and probably doesn’t understand the end result will be awesome!!!
    Tell her she is actually more special to have them..tell her..tell her… I can’t think of anything else 🙂

  11. 7-years-old is so young for braces, and too young to appreciate how cool they are! I was crushed, at 13-14, when the dentist confirmed no, I really didn’t need braces. Good luck with a story — shoudn’t the Tooth Fairy be involved with braces?

    • I didn’t even know 7 year olds could get braces! And to top it off, she will probably need them when she is a teenager for cosmetic reasons too! Okay, this Tooth Fairy thing has possibilities…she’s always writing letters to the Tooth Fairy…this might work! Thanks for the idea!

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