Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Praying For A Metaphysical Naughty Chair

Everything I know about parenthood I have gleaned from Supernanny - like a daring outsider, foraging through the trash for nuts.

For example, I know that kids are:

1. Practically wild animals.

2. In need of many juice boxes.

3. Capable of shitting on the floor, then putting the shit on the walls.

4. Incapable of sleep.

5. Always angry.

And sometimes, they seem to be all of these things at once. So what happens is, Supernanny comes in and tells the dying, zombie-like incompetent parents that they haven't ruined their lives by squeezing out these imps from the very depths of Satan's bowels.

They just need an extra chair on which to seat the child, and all will be well.

Seriously. That's what happens! A "naughty chair" is employed by this heroic boss of a woman - Supernanny - and suddenly the child does not shit on the walls. The child ceases to be perpetually angry. And sometimes it even goes to sleep, as though it is not some crazed super soldier from the future with its sleep-organs cut.

I tell you, that chair is a miracle sent from God. Makes me wish I could employ the technique in every day life, for regular sized people. I mean, it seems vastly unfair to me that just because I don't have children, I can't make use of a miracle item like the naughty chair.

Just think about how much time and effort and misery it would save! Your friend makes her three thousandth passive aggressive comment about your outfit? Get her on that naughty chair. Watch her cry and stamp her feet for 29 minutes (because of course, the beauty of the naughty chair is that you have to sit on it for your age in minutes: 5 years old? 5 Minutes. And if you just so happen to be 67...) while you enjoy one blissful moment of not feeling like you've been jellyfished to death.

And how about that boss of yours? The one who expects you to do twice the work for none of the reward and then shafts you when you complain? Definitely a couple of stints on the naughty chair, for that one. In fact, it kind of makes me wish God had a naughty chair, to save me the effort of forcing them on to it myself.

He could just reach down and pluck them off the ground, then sit them on a metaphysical chair of total punishment until they've thoroughly thought about what they've just done. And then the beauty part! Oh the part I always long for more than any other thing.

Because the only way to get off the naughty chair is to apologise, and mean it. Little kids have to actually apologise, and mean it! Which just makes me wonder when we all lost this ability, in between all of our "well, I'm so sorry you feel that way" and "sorry if it hurt your feelings".

There's all of these ifs and wells and clauses to apologies, now, whereas the world of Supernanny exists in a perfect, incredible bubble of SAY SORRY OR SIT THERE FOREVER.

I love it. Makes me want to be a parent. Or at least, it makes me want to be a parent as badass as Supernanny.


  1. I've noticed that no one apologizes anymore. Not for real. While my parents were weird about a lot of stuff, one of the useful lessons Pop taught me was that it's an excuse if it contains the word "but," and an excuse isn't an apology. A real apology is only two words: "I'm sorry." (If you find that chair, let me borrow it.)

  2. Oh Charlotte, your description of children made me laugh out loud in public. Awesome!

    I haven't yet had to deal with a naughty chair. Maybe I need to watch Supernanny before it's too late and this Satan spawn ruins my life... hee hee...

  3. I love watching Supernanny! I have trouble imagining my actual daughter staying on the naughty chair for the necessary amount of time (esp. when I was the only adult on the premises), but the concept is very appealing. :)

  4. My parents used to stand us in the corner. Or write sentences a hundred times, over and over. I still remember the one they used most:

    Before I do it, I will ask myself: will it hurt me? will it hurt someone else? would mommy and daddy want me to do it?

    (I'm not sure that they included the colon, though. I was only about eight!)

    Great post, Charlotte!

  5. We got the idea of making them kneel on rice facing the wall from "Malcolm in the Middle", and it worked. It didn't really hurt them, but made them so uncomfortable they thought about the punishment and didn't do whatever it was again. If they were fighting, I'd make them sit across from each other at the table and hold each others' hands until they made up. The boys REALLY hated that one! When you don't want to hit your kids, you need to be creative. No one would have ever sat still in a chair, so that never worked for me.

  6. Kathleen- It's so true. Have really started to notice it getting worse in my lifetime, and from all generations, too. Tho I suppose it's more noticeable to me cos I get the urge to apologise for everything. I apologise even when I'm only assuming I did something wrong. I even get frustrated when someone won't tell me whether I did something wrong or not, because I can't say sorry and make amends if they won't say.

    I think I may be wrong inside.

    Kristina- Hee hee! 'Twas totally my intention. And you know why you haven't had to use a naughty chair? Because you're an orsum Mom who doesn't let her child run through the house/neighborhood like a feral wolf. As most of the Moms and Dads seem to do on Supernanny!

    Jean- Supernanny should be required viewing for all alive people. It's so orsum, and I know for a fact the techniques work. It's like a how to manual! Am so gonna use all that shit when I have kids.

    Lisabet- that's an interesting one! My Mum used to count to three. On three, we'd get a tap on the bottom. But we were so terrified of the tap that it never, ever got to three. That tap was fookin' legendary! God knows how my Mum instilled it with so much horror. She never actually got to dole it out!

    Fiona- Lois is SUCH a boss. I don't care if people think she's a bitch- I love her to death. And I love the handholding technique you use! LOL LOL v. creative.