So today after school and Eden's physical therapy, I drove the kids to the mall to take pictures with Santa. They have an amazing Santa at our local mall, and this was Eden's first time to take pictures with any Santa, since the only one we saw in Thailand last year was terrifying. No, seriously-- he was a twenty-something year old Thai man with white pancake makeup on all over his face and the backs of his hands, with a fake beard that was pulled halfway down his chin and an outfit that was obviously stuffed with toilet paper. He looked like Insane Clown Serial Killer Santa. Good times.
Anyway, the Santa at the mall isn't like that at all, and he apparently is such a nice, relaxing Santa that he puts Connor to sleep. The little guy started drifting off about halfway through the photos. When he wasn't nodding off, Connor was staring fixedly at the giant blue-lit snowflakes on one side of the set. He paid zero attention to the photographer this year. But the pictures still turned out pretty cute, and I'm glad we went. In the evenings it's not crowded at all, and the photographer probably took thirty photos of the kids.
So other than Eden using her "super cheese" photo smile and Connor trying to nod off, the kids were pretty well behaved. That ended the second we hit the parking lot.
Connor immediately started making that yelling, set-your-teeth-on-edge noise where he manages to hit two dissonant notes at once. Eden, on a sugar-high from the complimentary candy canes and overexcited from her first successful Santa encounter, began yelling "jingle bell" over and over in an offkey, sing-song voice. Don't ask me. She stopped this only long enough to ask me what would happen if she cracked her head open in the parking lot and to tell me that when I peered at the pictures through the translucent bag I "look really old, like old lady."
I tried turning on the radio in the car to calm them both down, but unfortunately it was turned to Christmas music and the song that came on was "Jingle Bell Rock," which instantly encouraged them both. So my car sounded something like this:
Radio: Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Radio: Jingle bells swing and Jingle bells ring
Me: ....(beating my head against the steering wheel)
This is when I discovered a secret weapon.
See, it turns out that apparently in Thai Orphanages they don't play The Quiet Game. So my daughter has yet to learn that this is not, in fact, a legitimate game and is instead a sneaky way to get peace and quiet for five minutes. In addition, Eden has a serious competitive streak. So when I suggested we play an exciting new game in which the first person to talk loses, she not only stopped jingle belling for the remainder of the car ride, but all the way through dinner preparation and halfway through the meal-- a good solid forty minutes of blissful silence. And much to my surprise, Connor actually played along too-- he stopped yelling the second I said "Go" and didn't start up again until we arrived home and he got mad about how cold it was outside.
So I have apparently discovered the best parenting tool ever. I just have to remember to use it sparingly so that the novelty doesn't wear off!
2 months ago