Naughty step the only way to go

With ANNE CAMPBELL

Published 10/10/2012 | 11:07

People swear by the Naughty Step, and it does work.

COMETH THE hour, cometh the Anne. After a couple of tough weeks, Saturday was the much-promised, oft- heralded ' Day of Reckoning' for the Wee Lad. I have to put my hand up and admit that I had taken the eye off the ball for a few days and, by God, did I pay for that mistake.

It has been a hard couple of weeks in the household of bad boys. First came the chicken pox. Not that I realised straight away the dreaded pox had invaded the house. Nearly two weeks ago, I came home to find the Wee Lad's face covered in muck and Rice Krispies and other detritus from a day of having a runny nose that everything stuck to. It was only when I cleaned it before he went to bed that I noticed red spots around his mouth and face that had been handily hidden under the dirt.

I called the husband into the bathroom, and sheepish wasn't the word for him. He was more sheepish than a farmer and I asked him straight out about the spots. I said I thought he might have chicken pox. 'No', said the husband, who is an expert in everything. ' The Wee Lad was, em, possibly, might have been, spraying himself with window cleaner earlier'.

'Are you serious? Window cleaner? And where were you?', I was asking the husband, who was practically sprouting wool at this stage he was so sheepish. The standard answer in these cases was forthcoming: 'I only turned my back for a minute'. Mmmmm. Well, long story short, it turned out that it was, after all, chicken pox, which I had known really all along, instinctively, before I was side-tracked by a sheep.

It became apparent I was right when the husband texted me last Thursday week to say that the Big Lad had been struck down with spots. More than a dalmatian - we counted them. Over 100, would you believe? And the Wee Lad had them on his head and his bum, but hardly anywhere else, so unless he was peeing window cleaner, it was the pox too.

So I had one good patient who took his medicine, stayed on the sofa and didn't complain and another who busted around the place, despite a high temperature and spots. You don't need me to tell you which was which. They have come through the worst of it and thankfully everyone is alright, except me who has caught some virus or other which I can't shake off.

Anyway, it was in this context that the Wee Lad's regime was allowed to slip and give them an inch . . . he was back to his old naughty self, despite his poxy illness. So after another bold performance at his poor Gam Gam's house on Friday evening, I spoke to the 'expert' husband and asked what we were supposed to do. We talked about everything we had tried, which evidently hadn't worked and I found myself back to where I started all those months ago - the Naughty Step. For the want of anything more inspired, we decided to give it a go.

We didn't have to wait long for a transgression to occur to test it out. The Wee Lad was put on the step on Saturday morning and if you could have seen the shock on his face when he realised I was serious - priceless. It worked a treat and the threat of it has been enough over the past few days to keep him in line. My good friend Ann Conroy, who is a real child behaviour expert, long before Supernanny, swore by the Naughty Step for years. It's simple, it works. Cometh the hour, cometh the Ann.

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