The naughty step is only as powerful as the child allows it to be. I once sent my son there and 20 seconds later he came racing through the living room on his fucking bike.
I briefly tried to return him to his pleasantly carpeted penitentiary but I was far too busy giggling.
On another occasion, my lad wouldn’t go to bed and instead plonked himself down on the bottom of the stairs in defiance. I started to threaten him with a trip to the dreaded step of naughtiness.
‘IF YOU DON’T GET TO BED RIGHT NOW, I’ll, erm….’
I tailed off as I realised he was already sitting on the effing naughty step and my threat now made less sense than Welsh hip-hop.
I could see on his little face, he’d worked this out too.
He threw me a smirk that said, ‘You’ll do what, knobhead?’
I felt it crucial not to back down.
So I continued:
‘I’LL PUT YOU ON THE NAUGHTY STEP, YOUNG MAN!’
‘But I’m already on it!’ he snorted.
My brain turned to scrambled egg.
I had nothing.
But like an arctic explorer who’s facing certain death unless they make a U-turn, I forged ahead regardless.
‘I WILL PICK YOU UP! AND IMMEDIATELY PUT YOU BACK DOWN ON THAT STEP! NOW GET TO BED!’
Somehow, it worked.
I just think my son just couldn’t be arsed dealing with the next-level bollocks I was waffling.
As a kid, getting sent to the naughty step is punishment.
But getting banished there as an adult is like a spa weekend.
I remember my first sentence.
There was tension building in the house. The kids were getting on our tits. I was getting on my wife’s. Our gaff felt like a semi-detached tinder box.
My son stood on the couch.
I told him to get off.
He smiled at me like Heath Ledger’s Joker.
I repeated my request, nay DEMAND for him to get off the sofa.
He laughed in my face.
I pulled the pin out of my parental hand grenade by muttering, ‘right, that’s it’ and walking towards him.
He knew he’d just booked himself a one-way ticket to the naughty step.
He tried to evade me.
I moved left, he moved right.
I moved right, he moved left.
I moved forward and he got stuck in the gap between the couch and the wall.
I started laughing.
It was piss funny. He wasn’t in danger, hadn’t hurt himself and he was trapped between soft cushions.
Now he was the angry one.
‘Right, that’s it!’ he screamed. (No idea where he got that from.)
‘Daddy - get on the naughty step, right now!’
My laughing subsided.
He was pointing to the stairs.
My wife shrugged at me.
I knew what I had to do.
I walked into the hallway, hot brew in hand while Take That’s ‘Greatest Day’ played in my head.
I parked my fat, sleep-deprived arse on that bottom step for four blissful minutes.
So invigorating was my short stay I’ve been tempted to reoffend and break parole ever since.
My 2020 stand up tour ‘Toddlergeddon’ is onsale now.