May 15, 2010 at 9:40 am | Posted in 1, Mind, People, Threats, Touch | 10 Comments
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Humiliation by technology.

Should you be press-ganged into babysitting a friend’s children, the results may be mixed.

On the plus side, you’ll thrill the kids with your highly original approach to games.

You’ll play their games their way.

Then you’ll play them in exciting new ways they never conceived.

Buoyed by their laughter, you’ll invent entirely new games, using straws, or string, or nothing but your combined imaginations.

Squeals of delight will fill the house.

Until they realise that your sole goal is their happiness, and that you’re not an authority figure.

Then they may start to manipulate you.

If you fail to respond, they may start to mock you.

If, due to your poor disciplining skills (due to no practice and fear of offending their parents) you fail to arrest this development, things may turn ugly.

If you’re very unlucky, a 12-year-old girl, done up like a Brats doll, will stand before you with a label maker.

She will turn the dial to ‘L’.

Click it.

Cut it.

Peel off the backing.

And press it onto your forehead with her right index finger.

When you ask what she has just done, she’ll say:

“That’s an ‘L’.

“For ‘Loser’.”

You’ll look at her.

And she at you.

And even though you’re 40, you’ll both know there’s not a damn thing you can or will do about it.

You will recall this humiliation for the rest of your life.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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  1. Powerful story AS. To a different degree, I share your pain. I’ve ne’er been much good with kids ’cause I’ve no interest in parenting them. Equals, sure. Disciplinarian, no thanks. As soon as they realise, all hope (control) is lost!

    Anyway, you write beautifully. Recall that too.

    • Thank you, adamnrave. Every word is true. As I explained to a friend the other day, I write these posts when I just can’t keep them in any more.

      I woke with this one in my head on a Saturday morning, after a shattered sleep. Though I had much to do, my partner let me take the time to get it into words.

      Interesting that you feel similarly. And yes, I do take pleasure (or at least relinquish pain) in the telling.

      Your support means a very great deal to me. Best regards, AS.

  2. You are such a wonderful writer! Good thing 12-year-old girls don’t have the last word on what’s important in life.

    • Your kind words are so encouraging, Lynn; thank you!

      I’ve put chicken wire on my windows to keep them out and I feel much better these days.

      In fact, this blog has done me so much good that I’m pouring my creativity into other more positive ventures.

      I still check this one daily, though, and it was wonderful to start my day with your lovely comment. So, thanks again! AS. 🙂

  3. Hopefully, eventually the 12-year-old will gain enough insight one day to realise that SHE was the loser in this episode.

    • Thank you, Terry. I did plenty of dumb things when I was 12, so I share your hope. I hear she’s almost 18 now, so fingers crossed! Best regards, P. 🙂

  4. Sadly, most people seem to have trouble enforcing positive discipline with children. This may be little consolation, but you’re not alone in that regard! I’m glad you feel better for having gotten this experience off your chest.

    • That sure seems to be the case, Stephen. I’m glad I’m not alone in my perception. Knowing this is more than a little consoling, so thank you very much. 🙂

  5. Haha! Brilliant post, you do make me laugh!

    Even though I’ve now squeezed out my own pup, I still can’t get the hang of other peoples kids.

    There is that abject terror that you may make them cry.

    I once looked after 2 little girls 7 and 9, (I was 16) and I we were jumping about and being silly when one fell of the couch. She screamed blue murder and when her mum got home, the little moo said.

    “Mummy Kate tried to kill me.”

    Thankfully her mother replied cheerfully “Well we all feel like doing that most days Annabell.”

    I was much relieved.

    • What a fab comment, Kate; you made me laugh right back! 🙂 I’m delighted you took time out from procreating to favour us with your prized thoughts. Thanks so much for the love. Kind regards, P. 🙂

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