One November night, my brother and I were stuck at the dinner table for what seemed like hours, refusing to finish eating. And with good reason - who in her right mind feeds squash to children? So Steven and I were stuck at the dinner table, not allowed to leave until we ate every last bit of the disgusting orange mush on our plates.
(And honestly, I think that the reason I hate squash to this day is because of this solitary incident.)
But we put our little feet down. No fucking squash. And then my mother... my mother who I love very much, but must have given in to the dark side temporarily, made a phone call. The exchange went like this:
Lady: Finish your dinners.
Heather & Steven: No! This orange crap is bullshit!
Lady: Finish your dinners or I'll call Santa and tell him not to come to our house this year.
H&S: What? Yeah, right. Like you know Santa. Whatever!
Lady: "Fine." (Reaches for phone and dials.) "Hello, Santa? Yes, I just wanted you to know that Heather and Steven won't eat their squash. Yeah, I know they're being little assholes. Oh, you won't? (Aside to us): Santa says that he won't be coming this year unless you finish everything on your plates.
H&S: What? But... what?
And then we ate our squash. And it was horrible. But then Santa came to our house that year, and all was forgotten. My mother never had to "call Santa" when it came to our eating habits (mostly because my brother ate almost everything placed in front of him) but she definitely did when we wouldn't clean our rooms or finish our chores.
She never did make us eat squash again, though.
Years later, we found out that every single time she called up to the North Pole, she was really calling my aunt. And my aunt did the same thing. And it always worked.