My parents wanted twelve children, but they settled for eight. We could be a handful and mama had a few set ways to release her tension.
Sometimes it was a secret release and one of us would find her perched on the folding metal step-stool in a closet eating Fritos. Sometimes it was a public release and she would go out in the yard and prune trees. Mama was handy with a hacksaw, hatchet, and loppers and the trees and shrubs in our yard were hacked back to everything within her reach.
The Fritos and the hacksaw were effective, but her real release was writing letters. Mama had terrible arthritis and writing with a pen or pencil was painful, so she typed letters.
One of us would have gotten her goat so she would excuse herself and go to her study and type to her mother, “The children are doing well…” She would go through what each child had done that was amusing.
Mama was a fast two-finger typer and could whip out a letter in minutes.
Good thing, too, because she insisted that by the time she had written the third letter, she usually began to believe that she had eight magnificent and droll children instead of eight demons.