Whenever we happen to be home on a Wednesday night, my husband and I find it cathartic to turn on Fox's new program "Nanny 911." The little dickenses and their clueless parents give new meaning to the term "boob tube," and we usually go to bed feeling like superior parents.... unless, that is, the antics of those particular little dickenses are just a wee bit familiar.
Take tonight, for instance. The darling little girl split her time between hitting her mother (herself a former nanny, to the great consternation of "Nanny Stella," the Brat Exterminator) and pummelling her little brother. "You've got to take charge, get control," the Nanny kept telling Mummy Dearest. "There have to be consequences..."
Ah, yes. Consequences. Reminds me of the time a social worker, who was preparing us to be foster parents, gave us a lecture on "setting natural consequences" for the kids who would soon be in our charge. First she modeled it for us (by writing our names on the chalkboard after we returned five minutes after the prescribed time, having let us out fifteen minutes later than she said she would), then proceeded to lecture us on why leaving a kid's bike in the driveway to be stolen or run over was a "more natural" (e.g. better) consequence than having the "Bike Fairy" make it disappear for a week.
What would have been a lot more useful, now, would have been if Super Social Worker had given us tips on what to do when...
* The four-year-old not only wets his bed but all four walls by standing up and holding himself like a firehose until one of us makes it into his room and ushers him in to the bathroom.
* The two-year-old will not leave her clothes on for more than 3.5 seconds at a time, exactly the amount of time she needs to spill an infintessimal drop of water or other liquid, so that her only recourse is to strip naked and run, shrieking with glee, around the kitchen island.
* The last "sibling visit" went so well that my son brought home not one but TWO new euphamisms for his... um, bathing suit area.
* Sarah protests naptime by opening up her dresser drawers and strewing ALL the clothes on the floor in a vain attempt to find her "Hap Class" tights. When I finally find her, she is wearing nothing but her tutu skirt pulled up to her armpits... and a contented smile.
* The last thing he whispers to me before closing his eyes for the night is, "I don't want to live here anymore.... I want to live at Daddy's WORK!" (Apparently the fish tank there is much cleaner than the swamp on top of his dresser.)
So how about it, Stella? Care to take a shot?