Friday, May 8, 2015

Top 3 Mom Punishments

One summer in the early 90s, I received a valuable economics lesson.

After an afternoon of swimming, I had to get ready for my little league baseball game. Standing by the pool, my uncle (whom most of you know as Coach Croft) made me a sinister offer. I was completely decked out in my cleats, team jersey and baseball pants. If I jumped in the pool, while wearing my uniform, he would pay me a crisp $5 bill. He even pulled it out of his wallet and showed it to me.

With the grandkids, my mom has turned into a real softie. She spoils them relentlessly. They'll never know how she spent years whipping my sister and me into shape.

It was a lot of money at the time, especially for a kid. I was seriously considering it. Then, I glanced over at my mom. One look, and I knew that there was no way $5 was worth the wrath that I would endure for ruining my uniform and being late.

This top 3 is dedicated to my mom. Throughout the years, she taught me some valuable lessons. To teach these lessons, she came up with some creative punishments to keep me in line. With kids of my own, I can now appreciate these punishments for what they were -- her molding me into a nice young man.

3. Laundry duty: Mom always washed and folded our clothes. But, there were a few rules. You had to put them away after they were folded. Before placing them in the hamper, it was your responsibility to remove anything from the pockets -- gum was the biggie.

At some point in my teenage years, I failed to abide by the pocket rule. Mom washed a stick of gum. Then, she washed another stick or two. I think it was after the third time that things got serious. As she meticulously picked gum out of the dryer, she came up with a brilliant idea. I would do my own laundry for a week.

It worked. I developed a new appreciation for something I'd taken for granted. It also set me up for college. I knew how to sort clothes and dispense fabric softener at the proper moment (we didn't have a timed-release function on our washing machine).

2. Sitting at the studio: I was in high school when this happened. It had to be my sophomore year, because I couldn't drive yet.

After school, on certain days, I would walk to Stephanie's School of Dance, where my mom worked as the secretary. She would finish up, and take 20 minutes to drive me home, and then go back to work.

On one particular day, I got impatient. I said some cranky, teenager things, like "Mom, can we go now?" Mom wasn't having it. For a week, I had to walk down to the studio and wait -- not until she got a break, but for the entire night. I sat and did my my homework or read a book. And, I did it quietly. I knew anymore complaining would tack on another week. Lesson learned.

1. Music grounding: This one happened when I was 16. I had a 1987 Toyota Celica. Dad had helped me install a CD player in the dash. It was a sweet setup.

I can't remember what I did to prompt this punishment, but it must have been bad. Mom grounded me from listening to music in the car. She literally took the faceplate off my CD player. I still remember giving friends a ride and them asking "what happened to your faceplate?" I didn't want to admit I was grounded so I lamely said, "Oh, I lost it."

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