It’s an exclamation many parents have uttered, shouted, hissed through gritted teeth or even commanded, Moses like – to their children.
So what do you do when your child says it to you?
I admit; I was a little naughty. Drinking from the carton, licking my knife, leaving dirty clothes on the floor, putting my feet on the coffee table. Yep, I probably did deserve a bit of reflection time in the corner.
But should my 3 year-old be allowed to administer justice?
Apparently, she thinks so. At her pre-school, her teacher had a little word with us recently. Now firstly, my little cherub is a true believer in following the rules. That’s a good thing. Sure she is as naughty as any kid her age, but she honestly prefers, at least at school, to do what the teacher asks. I will qualify that – because with me, she much prefers to do the opposite of what I ask.
The problem lay here: In her class there are several boys. If you have boys, you will know this: Boys like to be naughty. They like to run around and see just how many things they can break. That’s not a criticism – as an adult boy, I’m the same. It’s most interesting to know whether that square peg can, in fact, make it into that round hole if you hammer hard enough, and it’s fun to see what happens when two things are banged together, repeatedly.
Missy’s problem is she tries to get the boys to stop being naughty. She somehow got the impression she had been anointed the class sheriff. This occasionally involved manhandling the little lads to get them to behave. Not a good idea on many levels.
Firstly Missy is no wrestler, and little boys, especially 3 year-old ones, are tough. They are use to rough and tumble. They don’t think a perfect afternoon involves pretend tea and pretty dresses. For them, the perfect afternoon involves running at full speed and crashing into something.
Secondly, she is – much to her disappointment – not the sheriff. Classroom discipline is not in her job description.
But like most things, after we sat her down and explained it was not her affair, she reluctantly accepted that the teacher was in charge, and little girls are not dispensers’ of justice.
So it all ended reasonably well. Missy was relieved of her self-imposed title of class gendarme before any damage was done, or any of the boys thumped her (truly, a remarkable level of tolerance from them, I might add).
For me, however, some facts remain: It appears I am inherently naughty, and must still be sent to the corner, on a regular basis.
I hate having to sit on that little chair.