A long, long time ago I found myself in the not so fortunate position of looking after my young niece and nephew (aged 5 and 6 respectively) along with my 7-year old son.
If you have kids of that age, you'll know that happy-hour lasts for about 10 minutes before the toy nicking and screaming begins. On this particular day I had been blessed with a headache of note that bordered on the edge of the migraine chasm and nothing I took helped. Faced with 8 long hours of my beloved brats bickering, I had to come up with a solution - and fast!
As I picked up yet another pair of my shoes that my niece had tipsy toed through the house in, I had an idea. I grabbed three leather-soled sandals in different styles and set off for the TV lounge.
I sat the kids down, put the sandals on the floor and told each one of them to choose one. Once they had chosen I instructed them thus:
"Courtney, if you misbehave, Matt - you're getting your backside tanned with your sandal. Matt, I you misbehave - Reece, you're going to get it. Reece, if you misbehave, well Corky - I think you know what's going to happen."
The rest of the day was blissful happiness for me. The quiet was only momentarily interrupted once with an urgent whisper of, "Matt, don't - my mom is going to smack me if you do and then when I hit you Corky will be smacked and then she will do something so you get smacked."
My mothering skills may be a bit warped, but damn I'm good. Even if I say so myself!