There is something of a commotion going on in the Silly household. Silly Daddy has been naughty. No one but The Toddler knows what Silly Daddy has actually done, but it appears to be quite serious. An immediate naughty step offence, in fact.
The Toddler orders: ‘Daddy, naughty step.’ Silly Daddy protests against being sent to the naughty step, but The Toddler is unmoved: ‘Daddy, go to naughty step now!’ Silly Daddy is not giving in without a fight; he does not want to sit on the naughty step. The Toddler, however, has brushed up on her Super Nanny* technique, and she is not negotiating: ‘Go and sit on naughty step.’
Silly Daddy realises resistance is futile and resigns himself to his punishment: ‘How long do I have to sit on the naughty step?’
The Toddler considers: ‘Five minutes. Go and sit on naughty step five minutes!’ Silly Mummy feels obligated to remind The Toddler that naughty step time should be one minute for every year of age, and that Silly Daddy therefore needs to remain on the step for 34 minutes. This may seem mean of Silly Mummy, but Silly Mummy is acting in Silly Daddy’s best interests. How will he learn if the rules are not applied properly and consistently? The Toddler ponders Silly Mummy’s correction, nods and confirms: ‘Two minutes. That’s right.’ Silly Daddy looks smug.
In accordance with the strictly enforced timeframe for Silly Daddy’s naughty step sitting, exactly four seconds later The Toddler announces: ‘Say sorry? You say sorry, get up now.’
Silly Mummy can’t help but notice that there has been a further breach of naughty step protocol. Silly Daddy has not been reminded of why he was asked to sit on the naughty step. Indeed, Silly Daddy has not been told what he had done wrong at any time. No one has. Silly Mummy wants to know. Silly Mummy says to The Toddler, ‘Don’t forget to tell Daddy why he was naughty. What had he done?’
The Toddler announces Silly Daddy’s naughty step-worthy misbehaviour: ‘Didn’t sit on naughty step.’ Ah, of course. Toddler logic. Having not done anything wrong, Silly Daddy was unsurprisingly not sitting on the naughty step. This was very naughty, and required immediate banishment to sit on the naughty step. Presumably to think about what he hadn’t done.
The Toddler continues, ‘But Daddy’s better now. Good boy, Daddy!’ Well, yes, Silly Mummy can see how sitting on the naughty step would have made the naughty behaviour of not sitting on the naughty step better.
The Toddler is now trying out the behavioural technique of positive reinforcement. Daddy has been a good boy, he will be rewarded: ‘Can sit on sofa now. Clap, Mummy! Clap!’ Silly Mummy obediently claps Silly Daddy’s progression from naughty step to sofa. Silly Mummy doesn’t want to end up on the naughty step.
(*She must have been taking a break from her usual favourite nanny Mary Poppins. If The Toddler had been channelling Mary Poppins, Silly Daddy would have been singing songs and clicking his fingers. Mary Poppins would not use the naughty step: practically perfect people NEVER use the naughty step.)