The Monster Returns

“Nanny 911” is appointment television for me. More often than not, the families (whom you have to admire for being willing to subject themselves to public embarrassment) bear a strong resemblance to the one who lives under our roof. At least sometimes.

So when the family in the hot-seat had a four-year-old whose normal tone of voice was a cross between a fire siren and a fog horn, I sat up and took note.

Imagine my shock when Nanny Stella gave Mom what-for (Craig and I thought the dad was going to get it, but she surprised us). “The child wouldn’t yell so much,” Nanny lectured, “if she felt someone was listening to her.

Ouch.

So I dutifully printed up our “house rules,” as Nanny suggested, and let the kids decorate the posters with glitter pens. So far, so good. The rules read, in part:

1. Show respect. Hitting and name-calling are not respectful.
2. Speak, don’t shriek.
3. Don’t whine, or Mom can’t hear you.
4. No TV until all homework is done and your rooms are clean.
5. Clean up after yourself. Yes, that means you.
6. Infractions will result in time-out on the stairs.

It was the last rule, though, that Nanny promised we would appreciate the most:

7. Thirty minutes of family time every single day. Since Dad frequently does not come home for dinner, this means we’ve been making breakfast our “together time” And to my great surprise (I am not and have never been a morning person), it really does help the day get off to a good start. No more whining. No more screaming. Just sweet and heavenly peace.

Now, we’ve only been at this about a week. We may just ber in a “honeymood” phase. But if it keeps the monsters at bay, why not?

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