Remember that show? It basically trained adults on how to parent and helped them get their kids under control.
While most of the kids in the episodes of Super Nanny were under five, I got to spend about an hour in a special kind of hell that only a belligerent ten-year-old can create.
It was a Saturday night. We’d settled in on the couch, me in the middle, Olivia on my left and Alyssa on my right. It’s how we always sit. It works for us.
Okay, so it usually works for us. On this particular Saturday night, when 9pm rolled around, rather than settle down for a nice back scratch and a snooze, Olivia got some kind of insane burst of energy and started bouncing on the couch like a beached salmon.
Basically, she was acting like a lunatic.
I told her several times to stop it and settle down. She laughed.
I moved from the couch to the recliner and ignored her.
She moved closer to Alyssa because, duh, she needed to annoy someone. What’s the fun of being a lunatic if no one is even bothered by your lunacy?
After trying to ignore her for another fifteen minutes, I warned her that if she didn’t stop the bouncing (think full-freaking-body bouncing on her half of the couch) I was going to take her to bed, where she’d be expected to stay while I came back downstairs to finish watching the movie I’d started.
She laughed at me again and so I calmly went over to her, took her by the hand and led her up the stairs.
To her credit, she didn’t fight me. She probably thought I was going to stay up there with her while she fell asleep. I tucked her into bed, kissed her goodnight, told her I loved her and that I’d see her in the morning. Then I left the room.
I went downstairs and sat in the recliner, which is the only seat in the living room from which you can see the stairs.
About ten minutes later, I saw the flash of the book light that Liv often falls asleep holding.
I calmly went to the stairs and found her about halfway down. I turned her around and walked her back up to her bed. I kissed her goodnight again but this time, I didn’t say a word. I just turned around and walked away.
We did this little dance two more times. The third time I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and counted. Seven seconds after I’d reached the bottom of the stairs, Miss O appeared at the top. I took her back to bed.
This time, I didn’t even bother going down the stairs. I stopped right outside the bedroom and four seconds later, she was there, slamming into me because she was so intent on making her way down the stairs.
This time when I started to tuck her back into bed, she burst into tears.
And that’s when I felt like I was actually reaching her. She finally got it. She knew I was serious.
I asked her if she was ready to come downstairs and let me rub her back.
She sniffled and said, “Yes.”
She was asleep about five minutes after we sat together on the couch.
And it appears the lesson has been learned. She started to get crazy again last night and all I had to say was, “Do you want to go to bed alone?”
Nope, she didn’t want to do that. She stopped flopping on the couch and settled down.
I suppose that’s one benefit to “Super-Nannying” a ten year old. They can usually be reasoned with. But sometimes, not so much and in those moments, The Super Nanny techniques actually work.
For the record, I’m counting this one as a Mom win. I need to take the wins where I can get them.