Monday, 19 December 2016

Festive App Review: A Call From Santa!

Parenting is hard, which is something that most parenting blogs won't tell you (Not this one though, it's realsitic!). And what a lot of parents don't realise when starting out is that bedtime is one of the hardest tasks a parent can face. IT'S SO DIFFICULT! Recently, over the last four years or so, our four year old has had difficulty going to sleep. 'I want another story', 'I want some more dinner', 'I need a drink of water,' 'I don't want to go to bed.' All common refrains coming out of the mouth of a small child.

Sometimes the not evening the threatening tones of Samuel L Jackson
are enough to convince them to shut up and lie down
So as Christmas grew closer, I decided to get a bit crafty and exploit his expectation that Santa would visit and give him presents. At first, simply saying 'Santa wants you to go to bed' would work a treat, but soon I had to resort to lying to my own son, dialling the home phone and pretending to answer a call from Father Christmas to tell the young un' to go to bed. But he was too crafty, not to mention suspicious, and within 48 hours was demanding to talk to the big man himself. So, I downloaded on to my iPhone 5S the A Call From Santa! App.

If Santa's not real, how come I have a whole contact book especially for him?
Why risk becoming the bad guy in your child's eyes, when you can get a strange, heavily bearded man to do your parenting for you by phone?  No sooner had the download finished, I decided to give it a spin. It was well past bed time, and the four year old was stubbornly refusing to stay in bed, so I entered a few programmed choices into the scheduling screen, and not fifteen seconds later, a jaunty Christmas ringtone was blaring out of my phone.

- Ho Ho Ho! Hello, it's Santa! Who am I talking to?
- It's me, the four year old replied.
- Excellent, I was hoping to talk to you. My records say you're four years old, is that right?
- Yes.
- I thought I'd phone you right away, because my elves told me (pause) that you're not going to bed as well as you normally would. (Pause) And I just thought I should tell you that (pause) sometimes I have to put children who don't go to bed very well on to my Naughty List...

Message across, Santa hung up. No sooner had I moved to silence the Game of War ad blaring from the free version of the app, than I had a sleeping child on my hands.

Works for ages 1 to 100. Having exceptionally
small hands will help with navigating the menu 

Of course, just like real parenting, you can't always use the Big Man in Red to gently scold your children, or you're going to do far more damage to his image than Auckland's Creepy Santa could ever do. And if there's one thing New Zealand doesn't need, it's for its unemployment statistics to be bloated by Mall Santas being laid off, because kids are too scared to come near them. So the next night, I scanned through the options, and chose to send a call to my almost two year old daughter to thank her 'for being nice to everybody.' Having been out of the house at work all day, perhaps I should have asked Mum's opinion first, because the four year old was having none of it.

-Ho Ho Ho! I thought I'd phone you right away, because my elves told me (pause) that you've been very nice to everybody. And I just thought I should tell you that I'm putting your name on my Nice List...
-No Santa, put her on the Naughty List! She's being naughty! She's been hitting me all day! Give her a sack of coal Santa! She's been naughty!

Evidently Santa hates narks, as he just ignored the rude interruption and barrelled on.

Looks like a certain President-elect has been sending abusive tweets again 

I've used the calls a few more times since, to stop arguments, damn with faint praise, but mostly to get those bloody kids into bed, damnit. And although the calls are now frequently interrupted with demands for presents, they still in the whole are pretty effective. So if you have a small child, or a particularly gullible adult, who you need to manipulate for your own ends, there's really no excuse for not having A Call From Santa! on your phone.

Three Ho!'s out of three.

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