My mum was a big believer in corporal punishment, so not surprisingly my sister and I were often across her knee, with our underpants down, during our childhoods.
All these punishments were administered with a small wooden paddle, which was known by a number of names in our household. It was sometimes referred to as the Family Bottom Smacker (although only the family’s children were the recipients, at least as far as I know!), the Bum Burner (this was what was actually written on the paddle, which also depicted a crying little boy with a bare bottom and rays of heat emanating from his rump) but mostly it was called the ‘Nanny Smacker’, as this novelty had been a present to my mother from my grandma, who bought it during an outing to the seaside at Blackpool.
The Nanny Smacker wasn’t very big or heavy – about the size of the back of a hairbrush, I suppose – but it was quite big enough to cover most of a little one’s bottom, yes and to make them cry as well. After you’d been smacked, it felt like your bottom was a rocket ship burning up on re-entry!
My sister and I were always punished in front of each other (and frequently we were both smacked, as you might imagine), so we were very used to seeing each others bare bums. That little paddle kept us in line all the way through to adolescence, when it just suddenly disappeared one day.
It was only after my mum died, and I was clearing out her house, that I rediscovered the Nanny Smacker at the bottom of a box of oddments.
Despite my own upbringing, I disapprove of corporal punishment for children so never used it on my own family – but I must admit, I have talked my wife into using it on my own bottom again a few times, and the sting is no less memorable. I love going out to work with a tingly bottom simmering away gently in my pants!