There are times when you just wanna pack your kid — or kids, as the case may be — off to go live with strangers.
I know there are days when I just wanna throw some stuff in a duffel bag and call the nearest group of polygamists to pull up the dairy cart and take him away for awhile.
The kids of polygamists are hardworkin’ and don’t have a lot of toys. Electronic toys, that is. They wear their shirts buttoned up to the lower jawbone and neatly down to the wrist. There is no choice of jean. It’s Wrangler. That’s it. No Lees, no Levis, no Guess, no Lucky ... just Wrangler. Pure and simple.
They don’t sport tatts, or earrings, or funky hair.
Short. Parted on the side. Usually slicked down.
The boys start working with their fathers at a very early age, and by the time they’re 15, they can usually build a house by themselves — from the ground up — blindfolded.
They can run a tractor by the time they’re 8 and are milking cows by the time they’re 4.
Hardworking, industrious, seem to be fairly well disciplined.
I don’t know if they still do homework by candlelight, I’m sure that’s more in line with the Amish — eschewing "modern things" for the good ol’ days. When you had to melt whale blubber so you’d have fuel.
I let The Kid get away with a lot, I admit it.
I don’t let him get away with being rude and I don’t let him get away with being snarky. He expects me to be in a good mood 24/7, and there are times when I just cannot accommodate.
Sure, I’d like to be beaming like Paula Deen on Mayo but you know, sometimes it’s just not natural.
I know he’s been watching too much TV when he said to me the other night, "I hope you get in a better mood by tomorrow, ’cause I can tell you’re having your ‘ladies time.’"
I growled loudly, turned into the Hulk, and threw him onto his bed.
Then I jumped on him.
"Ladies time? What do you know about ‘ladies time’?"
He’d heard it on "Everybody Loves Raymond."
He was pale, not trembling, but pale from being stunned by my sudden surge of power.
"Well, when you act mean to me, that’s when you’re on your ‘ladies time’."
"Am I being mean to you right now?"
"No. But you’re scaring me."
"Good! That’s what I want to do! Just because I ask you to do a chore does not mean I’m having my ‘ladies time.’ It means I want you to get off your butt immediately and do what I’ve asked you to do without complaining!"
"But Mom," he whined, "I am usually right in the middle of something when you ask!"
"And nothing you are doing requires an act of Congress. Video games are the last thing on my list, and soon they will be on yours! Now, get up off this bed and get your tail out to the shed. There is a lawn mower out there with your name on it!"
He got up and immediately went into the pre-teen sulk, walking outside with his head hung low while mumbling under his breath all kinds of exotic incantations, more or less wishing me to fly off on my b-room.
I decided to become totally annoying and quickly got right behind him, mocking his movements.
Man, nothing ticks a kid off more!
I stopped long enough to snap a switch off a bush that was close at hand, and started pulling the leaves off it.
He turned slightly and saw what I was doing.
"Hey, what are you doing that for?"
I kept plucking the leaves.
"Mom! Why are you doing that?"
I got the last leaf off and swung it in the air like a saber.
"Because, my son, if you think I’m having my ‘ladies time,’ then I need to be ready to take a switch to your bottom. We just get crazy that way."
He suddenly turned on the charm and gushed about how much he loved me and how funny I am.
I cut my eyes at him and said, "Keep it up, Romeo. I may be an old dawg but I know all the tricks!"
He got busy extricating the mower from the shed and said, "Are you gonna watch me?"
"’Cause I need to make sure you mow the whole lawn and not just the edges. I may have to send you to the Polygamist Camp for Unruly Boys this summer!"
"You mean those weird kids who dress funny and never smile?"
He started up the mower, and smoothed down his hair. He put on a big smile and started to whistle while he worked.
I walked across the yard, watching him go back and forth as I slapped the switch against my thigh.
He kept a close eye on it, especially when I got within arm’s length.
"I love you, Momma!" he hollered over the roar of the mower.
I nodded slowly, laughing to myself about the slight level of fear he was feeling.
Kinda the way I used to feel when my dad walked around with a belt draped around his neck.
It was merely for effect.
And it always worked.
Fortunately, The Kid is clueless about "ladies time" and how often or not it occurs. He has no idea about consulting a calendar.
I won’t let him get away with being rude.
Slightly dumb is a different story.