It’s a Hit!Posted: July 19, 2012
Having been a Supernanny for years now, I’ve developed the ability to hone in on a kiddo’s individual sense of humor, and adjust my stand-up accordingly. With so many different little personalities there will naturally be a grand scale of things that make them “Haha!” and I mix it up to get a chuckle out of each of them. There are, however, two main veins of comedy that are met with a laugh- ranging anywhere from a snicker to a necessary change of shorts- across the board: 1) When I joke about inflicting disciplinary pain on the kiddos, 2) When I am actually, or just pretend to be, injured.
As to 1) I take it as a credit to my light-handed punitive tactics as a nanny that, not only would it never occur to the children that I would hurt them, but that the very notion of me spanking them is outrageously hilarious. I’ve witnessed the potency of this put-on, most often with Mr. Man and Big Cat, who from a very young age, had a preternatural gift for understanding me, and my humor with a maturity beyond their young years. While grocery shopping one day, both boys in the cart, I noticed that in more aisles than not, they were taking things off the shelves and putting them back on, which was no concern to me except that depending on the cart’s position in the aisle, they were hanging out precariously far. “Hey quit that, Mr. Man. Don’t make me beat you in front of all these nice people.” I quipped, deadpan. Mr. Man started giggling, the infectiousness of his laugh contaminating Big Cat as well, who -bent on getting his own promise of flagellation- piped up with, “Miss Cheryl, I’m gonna knock all the boxes off the shelves! And the bottles!” To which I flushed and flared in mock indignation, “You had better not or I’ll beat that bottom black and blue, you!” He threw his head back laughing, that laugh kiddos do when they can barely get a breath in between tummy contractions of hilarity. And so began what would become years of verbal sparring (excuse the expression) aimed at steering the conversation to me spanking them. And after our considerable time together, Mr. Man and Big Cat knew which buttons to push. In an attempt to make me blush in public (because i’m, in their words, “too little to have a baby”) they’d call me “Mommy”, and my patented growl of reply, “Don’t be silly you two. If you were my kiddos, I would have beaten ya by now!” was their cue to guffaw within an inch of sanity, and bladder control. Depending on their intake of fluids and last bathroom trip, I’d extend the jesting, shaking my head and declaring, “You both laugh, but it’s gonna hurt!”
Now 2)’s appeal first came to light, as these moments often do between nannies and their charges, at the park. I was in high school and looking after two regular charges, we’ll call them M&M. I was taking turns pushing both M’s on the swing set when, remembering something my dad used to do when I was on a swing, I went around in front of M1 and when his legs swung toward me I reeled backward as if struck, grunting as if punched in the gut. Immediately M&M broke into loud peals of laughter. Responding to this positive reinforcement, I shuffled over to M2 and did the same move, this time hamming it up even more, cocking my head back and drawing my forearms to my chest as if to shield myself from an imminent blow. The boys were laughing so hard that I thought both would wet themselves, and so in respect of our lack of changes of clothes, I eased off. I have since observed this glee over my being injured in almost every charge I have ever had! On a day with KINS(Kiddos I Nanny Sometimes), siblings Princess(5) and Captain Awesome(2), they spent fifteen minutes playing a game of knocking me over, then dying laughing as I slowly, and arduously, rocked my way back to an upright sitting position. As soon as I righted myself, Captain Awesome would scream, “AGAIN!” and they’d both dive full-force onto me, knocking me out to their delight! When their folks came home I joked that Princess and Captain Awesome had gone 50 Shades of Grey on me. (Having not actually read the book, this comment could be 100 times more inappropriate than I even know! Luckily most of the parents have amazing senses of humor too!)
And so these two time-tested, universal components of comedy, prove the old adage true: “You always hurt the ones ya love!”