03 December 2007

Herme, The Great Equalizer

Sometimes for less whiny conditions to prevail in a house with kids, we result to random threats and outrageous statements:

Nic: "I’m going to call the street sweeper!"

Billy Dee: “I’m going to put you in a box.”

WMD: “Every time you cry, a puppy dies.”

Around Christmas, however, we have an advantage. We can threaten that Santa is watching their every move and taking copious notes on their errant behavior. Still, they see Santa everywhere and take this notion of constant surveillance with a grain of salt. This year, we’ve taken it up a few notches with more specificity. Caroline: Every time you kick your brother, I'm calling Santa and asking him to subtract a present from your list. Kick. I guess you can kiss that Princess art easel goodbye. Kicking ceases. Paulie: Whiny voices attract the Abominable Snow Monster. Remember the oinking outside the cave? He can hear you when you talk in that voice. (For whatever reason, Paulie thinks the Snow Monster’s cave is at the Airport T station, so his arrival on the South Shore via intermodal transportation wouldn’t be entirely unheard of in his world). No more whiny voice.

Thus far, these tactics have been successful, but we're continually upping the ante.

For awhile, Paulie would only wear plaid shorts and his Tom Brady shirt. You could dress him in weather-appropriate clothing but inevitably, he’d sneak off upstairs and change back into this ensemble. We finally packed all of his shorts up and put them in the attic. He squawked like an irate bird for an hour. But then he adapted, digging out some Lightning McQueen summer pajamas and insisting on wearing only those. We put all of the summer PJs up in the attic. Another bird tantrum. But then he adusted again, deciding to just run around buck nucked. You'd get him dressed and then he’d strip down naked almost immediately. Any shot at discipline unraveled as we laughed and became increasingly inconsistent. Laughing, then yelling, then laughing again. In short, the worst kind of parents.

So we decided to take a more subtle approach and tap into his psyche.

James called Pete and asked him to call the house, pretending to be Herme, the wannabe elf dentist from Rudolph.

Paulie was worried yet exhilarated to be receiving a personal call from an elf. He listened intently as "Herme" informed him that he needs to keep his clothes on because Santa's getting angry. Paulie promised and then asked Herme if the Snow Monster was "still nice." Herme told him he was only nice to people who wear long pants and that he snacks on bare knees.

Needless to say, Paulie's kept his clothes on and has become obsessed with his fleece-lined jeans.
Since then, Herme has become the great equalizer, a true purveyor of peace in Jacksonland. Every time it’s getting loud in here, I dial the house phone from my cell. "I bet that's Herme." Oh no. They completely chill out, looking up and around like they live in a giant glass house. That's right. Herme can see everything. He's watching when Santa can't.


stevieb said...

pete is the perfect Herme and I think one of his 20 jobs was being a dentist if I'm not mistaken

KJ said...

Stevie B! Was he a dentist or just obsessed with his teeth? I seem to remember Peter having some OCD thing happening with his front teeth. going way back.

See u Friday!

Mike said...

Herme, a regular Edward Woodward! We're expecting our first in Feb. I'll file this ingenius strategery away for future use.

Keep those pants on, Paulie.

Bean Down Under said...

Brilliant! Every set of parents needs a friend like Pete to be a Herme!

Cameo said...

If Pete is Herme does that mean Pete can see everything? Now. I'm scared!!!

Anonymous said...

Katie and SB,
Pete is nuts about his teeth. Remember at Whistler half way around the world on a blue bird powder day Pete informs everyone that he was late for a noon dentist appointment in the villiage. So he flies down the Mountain and spends the next two hours in a dentist chair with his ski boots on.
Kate you should do a blog on Pete Stories....

KJ said...

Oh, man. I wouldn't know where to start. I'd need an outline to work off of.

SB said...

I have a Pete story. A couple of weeks back I was in a cab, and somehow got into a convo with the cabbie about how I used to live in Quincy. He asked where - I said The Falls. He said he used to live across the street from there, and that he remembered a fire that happened there once. "It damaged 3 units around it!" I confessed that I knew the guy who lived there when that fire occured (Pete), and that it was my old condo. It's a small world out there... and even smaller if you know Pete.