Santa vs the Police

I’ve been flying solo with the kids this week, while my wife lies in bed and recovers from her foot surgery. It’s been both wonderful and frustrating. The kids and I have had a great time, but they’ve also been perfecting the art of driving their dad insane.

Don’t believe me?

One of our rules is that they’re not allowed to touch each other when they’re in the car. This unreasonable little gem exists because “touching” always results in screaming and shouting. Yesterday, as I was bellowing at my oldest to stop hitting his little brother, he let out a shout of his own. “But Daddy,” he said. “He grabbed my hand and was hitting himself with it!”

Stop laughing. It’s not funny.

You’d think the threat of Santa would stop some of this, wouldn’t you? No luck there.

When we were checking out from a store, the clerk commented on what well-behaved kids they were. “No,” I said. “They’re really not.”

Her eyebrows just about shot off her head, and she started to say something to me, then stopped when she saw them smiling.

“You being naughty?” she asked them.

They laughed and nodded.

“You better watch out. Santa’s not going to like that.”

They laughed again. The oldest poked the youngest. The youngest jammed an elbow into his brother’s side. Both shouted “ow” and then collapsed into laughing.

The clerk shook her head and smiled. “Just like my little one,” she said. Then she handed me back my credit card. “Good luck.”

See what I mean? Even the threat of Santa couldn’t contain them.

Yesterday, however, as we were getting some subs at Quizno’s, I had a reprieve. I sat them down at a table and went to the counter to order. I could see them from the counter, could see them poking and jabbing and sticking their tongues out, but I could also ignore them.

A crowd of people came in as our sandwiches were cooking, including several uniformed policeman. The line ran right past the kids, which made me a little nervous. When I peered around to check on them, however, I saw two angelic kids sitting with their hands clasped on the table in front of them. They smiled nervously at the people around them, said “hi” every chance they could get, and otherwise appeared to be the picture of perfect behavior.

They did not, however, make eye contact with the rather large policeman standing right next to their table. In fact, they looked everywhere but at that policeman.

The boys and I had a wonderful lunch together, sitting one table over from the uniformed authorities. The kids ate all of their lunch, talked about how much fun they were having, even used napkins to wipe their faces.

Now, of course, I have a conundrum on my hands. They behave for the policeman, but not Santa. Does this mean I need to start threatening to call the cops on them? I just don’t know.

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