I occasionally had a passing thought, as I surveyed a neighbor’s yard right after a disastrous encounter with toilet paper, teens and big tall trees, as to why our yard had never been toilet papered. This fact was a mystery to me. I had instructed my older boys to never go toilet papering because we have a yard loaded with tall trees. I could not fathom how to get the stuff out of the branches, especially if it rained. My nightmare would be for a gang of hoodlums armed with Scotts Two-Ply to retaliate; with a light misty rainfall right afterwards. The fact my boys have not been involved in any toilet-papering incidents may have been part of the reason, but the entire rationale as to WHY we have never been toilet papered has not been clear up until now.
Each one of the little Bensons has thrown numerous fits now and again. Consequently, the little darling has been sent to his/her room to cool off. They have been known to stomp, frown and mutter, “you’re the meanest Mama in the whole world”!
I think I fall short of the whole world, but maybe not the whole county. One day this week we lost power. In lieu of TV, computer and wii games, 17-year-old Piano Man and I talked. He had a fascinating revelation for me in that his high school friends, who mostly tower over me, are afraid of me. Mean ole’ Mrs. Benson has quite a reputation among a few boys at our local high school. Thank you very much!
I found this hugely flattering. I called all my friends to tell them about it. This was almost as good as being told I was “hot”, which of course will never be used to describe me by teenage boys thirty years younger than myself. Mean AND scary was the next best thing. Heady stuff.
My crimes are as follows; whenever Piano Man wants to go anywhere I say, “Yeah, you can go after you do XYZ chore”. This behavior has labeled me some kind of child labor monster as his friends are convinced I am treating Piano Man like a slave.
Another is, I rarely let him spend the night at a friend’s house. Apparently this is unheard of. After serving in a Relief Society Presidency in my early thirties; I was privy to all sorts of horror stories about kids 10 years or so older than my little angels. I discovered a lot of shenanigans occurred while on sleepovers. During that time, I rested easier knowing my little darlings weren’t running amuck committing acts of hooliganism that would be reported to the next Bishopric Council meeting. As they grew older, I remembered what happened to other mother’s reputations after it got out what their child had done; the shame of what our family would have to endure began to keep me up at night. So we declared an edict about no sleepovers. I sleep better knowing they are asleep at home tucked in their beds.
Finally, the most heinous of my crimes, is I check his Facebook regularly. If his page is on the Internet for the whole world to see, the whole world includes me. SO whenever someone says something inappropriate on Piano Man’s page, I tell Piano Man to tell his little hooligan friend to straighten up, or I will ban him AND tell his mother that her child is going to hell by way of the State Penn. Apparently this threat has worked. As one day I was on the Facebook page of a friend of Piano Mans and came across a discussion where someone admonished, “Be careful Piano Man’s mom might read this and tell your mom”. I tell you, that was a proud moment.
Being the Meanest and Scariest Mother has worked in my favor. The last primary program a couple of kids acted up. My kids were aghast and Jie Jie said, “If we acted like that, Mama would drag us off the stand so fast it would make our heads spin”. Flash just shuttered at the embarrassing thought.
“You betcha.” I replied, “Ya’ll better never act up, cause folks will hear about it in the next county”.
Just in case, dear reader, you are having delusions that I am the perfect mother; don’t bother. The Bensons are perfect little rascals at home. Apparently they are just too frightened to act up in public. So what is your reputation? Please do tell, and don’t be shy.