Category Archives: Parenting

The Birds and The Bees As Told By Katherine & Michael

It’s safe to say that I grew up with a fairly unconventional mother. Sure, she was young. 21 when she had me. That was still the generation when women were getting married out of high school and popping out babies pretty much as they were saying “I do.”

So, she wasn’t the only young mother on the block. Still, when I think of all my friends’ mothers, mine was pretty much one of a kind. You can take that either way. There is no right or wrong answer by the way.

She was very much unlike her own mother who was a complete kook. You know, making shit up like “you only get three orgasms in your lifetime, so be careful how you use them.”

Doing things like sniffing the crotch of her only daughter’s underwear to see if she could detect the scent of semen (this coming from a woman who only had 3 orgasms in her lifetime? How she could differentiate between semen and hollandaise sauce is beyond me).

Running into an old friend at a wake and yelling out across the room, “HEY AGNES, I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU SINCE OUR TWATS WERE FACING EACH OTHER IN THE DELIVERY ROOM!!”

Ok, so that last one was a little reminiscent of something my mother would do. And she once told me someone died in my childhood bedroom. But other than that, nothing alike. Just had to get that in. Maybe one day I’ll tell you other reasons why I not only believe this, but know this. It’s a good story.

At the age of 10, my mother turned to me. In front of my entire family. In the living room. On a commercial break. During the “The Waltons.” And said, “please make sure you come tell me when you are ready for sex and I’ll get you on birth control.”

Say what and come again? I’m 10, mom. Please. Now if you don’t mind I would like to finish brushing Barbie’s hair. She’s getting ready for the ball. Ken is taking her (umm, to the ball, not uh..well, you know). Ooh, I think I get it now. Sorry, a little slow on the uptake.

Fast forward 4 years. I was in a conversation with a group of girls in the locker room at school. They were talking about blow jobs. “Oh yeah, gag me with a spoon!” I replied. Completely not letting on that I had no idea what they were talking about.

It was something you do when you get your hair done, right? Except it didn’t feel like it was something you do when you get your hair done.

So, I asked my mom when I got home. After all, I wasn’t afraid to. She said I could talk to her about anything. “Hey mom, what’s a blow job?”

“Oh honey. I have something I’ve been saving for you,” was her reply. She left the kitchen only to come back holding a book a few moments later. Oh great, she was going to give me a reading assignment.

This was back in the day when I would scan the pages of “Black Beauty” and brag about how great the book was. When I say “scan” I mean wave it in front of my face like one of those Japanese fans they hand out in church on a hot day.

What was this book she wanted me to so desperately read? “Forever” by Judy Blume. I heard of Judy Blume. She was that children’s writer. What the hell was she giving me a kid’s book for? “Here, read this. Come to me with any questions you have.”

judyblume-forever

So I read it. Cover to cover in less than a week. I did not scan it. I did not use it as a fan. I did not pass Go. I did not collect $200. I read it. The whole damn thing.

Well, hello teen porn. How do you do? This was nothing like the time I walked over the highway to Carrie Hoadley’s house on a Thursday afternoon to watch the XXX movie we found in her dad’s closet. That scared me so bad, I was certain I would die childless.

Judy Blume? This was different. It just was. Probably because I didn’t visually see anything that permanently scarred the insides of my eyeballs.

So, that was pretty much my sex talk. I’m sure mom told me about fallopian tubes and periods and how babies grew. But I don’t remember. All that comes back to me when I think about the mother/daughter all-important coming-of-age discussion is Katherine.

Rock on Katherine. That does not mean I give permission for The Kid to ever act out in this way before she’s, what? 29? Pfft. That’s silly. I am very hip after all. And totally contemporary. 28 would be completely acceptable.

 

The Epidemic of Mother Guilt

It's a conspiracy

It’s a conspiracy

We moms talk about guilt. Every single mother I know suffers or has suffered from it. In one form or another. Whether they had a single episode or have experienced chronic guilt. It happens to us all. It’s pretty much an epidemic. I mean, seriously. Every time a bout of it flares up, we should be quarantined.

We feed off of each other. “Oh my god, little Johnny wet his bed last night. It’s totally my fault. I yelled at him two Wednesday’s ago because he tried to feed his goldfish the meatball sandwich I was saving for my husband’s late night snack. I scarred him for life. I’m the worst mother EVER!”

“Oh, don’t feel bad, let me tell you what I did…” As if it’s a competition. My guilt is worse than your guilt. And the winner is…umm, I hate to break it to you, but we’re all winners.

I have the habit of labeling my forehead with a big “L” as in LOSER with my forefinger and thumb. Like I’m twelve or stuck in 1985 or something. “I’m such a loser mom. I’m totally getting Mother of the Year.” I mean, how many of these damn awards are there? How can we ALL be recipients of the most prestigious award known to mothers? Apparently, it’s possible.

Mother guilt causes sleepless nights, crying jags, severe regret. We take away their phones, tell them they can’t go to a party they’ve been dying to go to, ground them for a month, take the car away, send them to their rooms without supper, put their favorite doll up on a shelf. All because they broke a rule.

But they broke the rule. Not us. So, why do we have to suffer? Why do we feel bad?

Remember when our parents would punish us and they would say, “this hurts me more than it hurts you?” And we would give them the stink eye because we couldn’t believe they totally just said that. I mean, if that’s the truth, then just don’t punish us, right?

And then we would get punished for giving them the stink eye. But I digress.

Well, now the torch has been passed. And we finally, finally, finally get it. They were telling the truth. It does hurt us more than it hurts them. Because they freaking get over it. For us, it lingers. Like when you eat enough garlic to raise the dead. Seeping out of your every pore. Except sometimes way longer.

We feel bad because we love them unconditionally. We love our little crotch fruit with every fiber of our being. Let’s face it, the feeling isn’t likewise. Sure they love us. That goes without saying. But when we die, they will get over it. Eventually. That’s the way it should be. Dang, I’m digressing again. Sorry.

So, should we stop the Mother Guilt? Yes, we should. Will we? No, we won’t. Because we can’t dammit. We just can’t. Like I said, it’s an epidemic. It can’t be stopped. And our children will always do something to piss us off. It’s a vicious circle. With no way off. So, enjoy the ride. And I’ll be sure to pass along my crown to you.

Calgon, Take Me Away

teenagers

I often brag to people about my teenager. You know, when they ask me if I have any kids and I say, “why yes I do, I have a 16 year old daughter.” What inevitably follows is, “ooh, I’m so sorry about that. How’s it going?” And I honestly can tell them that really, she’s pretty cool. She’s pretty good with holding back what she’s really thinking, rolling her eyes at me or bringing on too much sass.

But, like anything else, there is the exception. And that exception was today. No, today was not the only exception. Because as much as I would like to think I birthed the perfect child, I did not.

I had just gotten home from My Job and I wanted to jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes before I had to take her to her orthodontist appointment. Since I wore my work-out clothes to My Job (one of many awesome perks), I only had to grab a bottle of water and inform The Kid of my plan.

The night before she had a friend sleep over (really her cousin so if she acted like a piss ant and I acted like a piss ant back it was family and it’s not as embarrassing, it’s just not. My niece already knows I have a screw loose, no surprise there). I peeked in her room before heading off to my elliptical.

Me: OMG you lazy girls are still in bed (it was 1:22pm)???

The Kid: Yeah.

Me: Okay, I want to leave here at 2:10 for your appointment.

So, I’m huffing and puffing, sweating to some Al Green 29 minutes and 30 seconds into my workout and I hear this:

The Kid: MOM, WE DIDN’T EAT LUNCH!

But it wasn’t said in the, “oh my goodness silly us, we forgot to get up and have some lunch so now we’re hungry but since we were just being silly lazy people and didn’t feel like getting up even though we had like 5 hours to do so, we’ll just have to wait until after my appointment since we are, after all, leaving in approximately 16 minutes” kind of way.

It was said in the “OH MY GOD DON’T YOU KNOW WE DIDN’T EAT LUNCH AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE THERE IS JUST NO FOOD IN THIS HOUSE??” kind of way. Just so you all know, I grocery shopped the day before so whatever.

Insert a very deep breath here. Or some wine. Better yet, an IV of tequilla and keep it going until midnight. Because everyone who knows me knows I have very little patience to begin with. Throw in a PMS’ing or whatever happens to be the problem of the moment teenager into the mix? Not a very good combination to say the least.

Through gritted teeth, my reply was, “you are 16 years old, make yourself some lunch.” But of course, I cannot just stop there. I have to vomit all the venomous shit out of my mouth as I possibly can so that I may feel better.  Things like, “don’t you know where the kitchen is?” and “open your eyes and look for food” and “give me a break you aren’t five” and “wanna knuckle sandwich?” Actually, I didn’t say that last one but I came close to it. And I also really wasn’t as kind as all that sounds.

The afternoon just kind of got worse from there on out. Let’s just say that now she’s not allowed to watch television or anything until she’s married. Or finishes her reading assignment for the summer. It will be interesting to see what comes first.

One Side of Empty Nest Coming Up

empty nestIn two years, DH and I will become empty nesters. The Kid will be going off to college. Because she is an only child, there is no other kid left behind to help retain our status of Full Nesters. Is that what they call that? If not, I just made it up. Catchy, isn’t it? Feel free to use it.

First of all I have this to say: WHERE THE HELL DID THE TIME GO? That cute little girl who looked up at me with those adorable blue eyes and blonde ponytails now looks down at me (yes, she is nearly 2 inches taller than I am) with now beautiful blue eyes. Gone are the ponytails, replaced by long blonde locks.

Needless to say, I pretty much blinked three times and here we stand. I was warned about children making time go by, but I never fully appreciated it until it happened to us.

Last week, as you know, The Kid went off for a week on a mission trip far away. I cried as I was hugging her good-bye because all I could think of was, “what am I going to do without you? How am I going to manage not seeing you around for a whole, entire week? Not able to communicate because cell phones are off-limits during the day? Who will empty the dishwasher?” That last one is particularly true, because quite honestly, I really hate emptying the dishwasher. I just do.

She will be back in a couple of hours. Yes, it was odd not having her around. I missed her. I did. But there was one thing I realized as the week went by…I am going to be just fine. I spent a couple of days with a dear friend of mine who I don’t have the chance to see very often because she lives a couple of hours away. That was a bonus.

But what was even better was spending one-on-one time with DH. Although I always pretty much have known this, we have something in common besides love. It’s called like. We like each other and had a great time tooling around in the jeep, or on the boat, having dinner together whether it was at home or out. We could canoodle without closing and locking the door as if it were Fort Knox. Walk around in the nude if we so chose to.

I will be so happy to see her when she gets home. I can’t wait to spend time catching up with her on her week and ours. I’m not sure I’m completely 100% ready for her to leave for good, but I do know this: I will be just fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get dressed. 😉

Growing Up Too Fast

“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone.  Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am?  Because The Kid was flying the coop.  Spreading her wings.  Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week.  Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps.  All for the good of humanity.

It will be a great experience.  But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me.  Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.

Sure, there are chaperones going.  One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still.  I won’t be there to remind her about stuff.  You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.

I won’t be there.  Period.  I am relinquishing control.  I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready.  What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?

I guess DH and I did good.  She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been.  She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.

So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry.  I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her.  My baby is growing up.  In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.

This one will do just fine.

This one will do just fine.

Glad I Didn’t Name Her Fern

You know, I wonder from time to time how it is I was able to raise a person.  Then I saw this on Facebook a while back and knew I couldn’t be alone:

raising a kid

Seriously.  How true is this?  Besides the fact that I don’t have one single plant inside or outside of this house because I do totally kill them, a whole, live, real person exits our bodies through our vaginas or through a hole that is cut in our stomachs and then we have to keep this real person alive.  Same thing goes for people who adopt, have a surrogate and/or are a guardian.  However you achieve one of these little people, we have to keep them alive.  We also have to keep them from turning into total assholes.

We have to do all that for at least 18 years.  Because after that, it’s totally up to the person/people that we raised to keep it going.  Hoping for the best.  Hoping they learned something from us.  Us.  People who were totally thrown into the fire.  I mean, I babysat when I was 12, but does that really count?  How can it?  Watching some rug rats that weren’t even mine for a few hours a month hardly gives me the credentials to raise actual humans.

And when I ran into an old friend or acquaintance and they asked me what I had been up to, I wish I had the wherewithal to answer, “keeping a person alive.”  That is totally compelling and sounds a little more intriguing than, “oh, I walked around the mall with the stroller brigade and bought crap off the clearance rack at Gap because I hate to pay full price,” don’t you think?

I also believe that this raising a person business should be a major bullet point on our resumes.  Damn.  I should be able to run an entire corporation based on that skill-set alone.  And I couldn’t find a job when I was looking for one because I didn’t have a degree?  Pfft.

Here is how my resume will look:

Past Experience: 

1998-Present – Kept a person living from infancy through the present time.  She knows how to walk, talk, use her manners and is fully toilet trained because of my persistence, hard work and dedication.  She has grown into someone others seem to like, which I feel is a strong accomplishment considering all the total buttheads out there.

I expect the phone to start ringing any time now.

 

Generation Bad News

love-poster-quote_1800-2What is it about this generation?  When I was a kid, all we worried about was if Maria wanted to fight you because you kissed her boyfriend.  “Meet me behind the school after the last bell.”  So, we might go home with a black eye or get punched in the stomach and forced to vomit the meatball sandwich we ate for lunch, but so what?  We had our life intact.  No one thought to bring a gun or a knife to school.  I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying it didn’t happen often.

Last Friday a bright young woman’s life was snuffed out.  For no reason.  She said “no” to a boy who asked her to prom and he didn’t like that answer.  So instead of being a man and walk away with his head held high, he decided to be a coward instead.  He took out a knife.  And without thinking about the repercussions, he took her life.  Just like that.

Last month, a teenage boy choked his girlfriend to death, then threw her in a stream.  All because they got into a fight.  This happened in my parent’s town in North Carolina.  In another part of the state, a teenage girl poisoned her grandmother because this grandmother took her cell phone away from her.

A year and a half ago, a young man went into an elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 others.  Then there’s Columbine.  Virginia Tech.  And this isn’t all.  Google “violent crimes committed by a minor.”  You will be shocked.  Children as young as 12 are on this list.  It’s disgusting.

So, here are my questions:  What are we doing wrong?  Why are our children killing others?  Why is there such total disrespect for human life?  Where is the fear of God?  Or morals?  Are we being too permissive?  Are we not imposing enough boundaries?  Are there too many outside influences beyond our control?  Too many violent video games?  Too much social media? 

I am in an outrage, as I’m sure many of you are.  I’m not happy that I can no longer feel that my child is safe at school.  That every morning there is a police officer standing at the entrance of the school in the event that some kid may lose his crap and start shooting at people.  I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for this police officer.  I am.  I understand that this is the new normal.  It still doesn’t make it right.

How did it get out of control?  I’m not judging.  We allow our teenage daughter to have her head in her phone way too long.  We give her not only what she needs, but what she wants more times than we probably should.  Maybe she doesn’t have enough chores around here.  But she has boundaries.  She knows right from wrong.  We took the time to show her the importance of compassion, how to love others.  We taught her to be strong and confident.  How to handle rejection.  How to be a good sport.  Respect human life.

We, as parents, need to step up and raise our children.  Don’t you have conversations with your friends that sound something like this:  “Geez, when I was a kid if I talked to my mother the way some of these kids speak to their mothers, I’d get an ass-whooping.”?

I don’t condone hitting your child.  I don’t agree with that.  But something is lacking.  Somewhere along the way, we messed up.  I could be wrong, but doesn’t it start in the home?  So, people, let’s fix this thing.  I can’t take another news story of a child taking someone else’s life.  There is something so wrong about that.  We need to stop the violence.  And we need to stop it today.  Who’s with me?

 

I Beg Your Postpartum?

“Holy crap.  I just pushed a human being out of my vagina, my nether area, my unmentionables.  A freaking living, breathing human being.”  That was my thought after I gave birth to my 8 pound sweet baby girl.

I ripped stuff that doesn’t seem natural to rip (when I was in my way early twenties, a woman told me about this happening and I walked around with my rectum clenched for a year.  It traumatized me so much that I prayed to the birthing gods for 9 months for this to NOT happen to me, but alas).

What happened next?  Nothing.  As soon as that last bit of after-birth fell onto the hospital floor, my feelings were as cold as one of those sub-zero freezers.  I assume (I never was professionally diagnosed) I had what the experts would call Postpartum Depression.

I pretty much self-diagnosed myself.  But not until months later, after I felt better.  How do I know I was suffering from this condition?  It was really just a guess but here you go:

  1. After they handed her to me, I nearly dropped her on the ground.  As if she were a piece of luggage that I carried across the country and just couldn’t go another step with.  I actually hallucinated “Samsonite” written across her forehead.

    samsonite

    See her forehead? I knew it.

  2. When the nurses wheeled her in my room at 2am, I ripped their heads off.  It’s true because they were nice and round and rolled like a couple of bowling balls.  Strike!
  3. I would cry on my sitz-bath while speaking to my pediatrician every day for 2 weeks.  Yes, my pediatrician.  Hey, it saved me a hell of a lot of money on therapy bills — I highly recommend it.
  4. During middle-of-the-night feedings I feared that her head was going to spin on her shoulders like Regan in The Exorcist.  That’s normal, right?
  5. Besides breastfeeding, I didn’t have a desire to hold her.  I had a full out temper tantrum when DH went back to work.  Seriously.  I behaved more like a baby than my baby did.
  6. I had The Kid in June.  It was a hot summer so I rarely left the house.  For nearly 3 months.  It was hot.  Besides it meant I would have had to have gotten dressed.  And clearly that wasn’t happening.
  7. I wore the same clothes for 6 weeks.  Except my underwear.  I changed them at least weekly.  Well, someone did anyway.

    This is what I wore for weeks.  No lie.  Notice the attractive milk stain?

    This is what I wore for weeks. No lie. And my boobs were always leaking.

No one seemed to notice, especially me.  DH thought I was a little off, but no one told us about this possibility so it didn’t enter our minds.  Maybe we thought it was normal?  Well, I remember thinking it was normal.  I felt sad.  But don’t all new mothers feel sad?  I mean, our bodies were practically ripped in half and we had to take care of these people.

Luckily, after about 3 months, I got the spring back in my step.  They really should tell you about this stuff in Lamaze class.  Or somewhere along the line.  I mean, geez.  I was pregnant for 9 months.  There was plenty of time for a warning.  Although, I do have an extremely short attention span so maybe they did and I missed it?

I doubt it.  Anyway, my sweet baby girl is pushing the ripe old age of 16 and all is well.  I fell head-over-heels in love with her in spite of it all.  But I stopped there, at one child.

Would I have done it again?  Sure.  If you take out the blood, ass ripping, blood curdling pain and Cruella de Vil emotions.  Maybe.  But no one could promise me anything so it didn’t happen.  And I’m a better person because of it.  I’m sure.

This Helicopter Needs to Go Down

Have you ever seen that movie “Terms of Endearment?”  It’s on my top 5 list.  I laugh (you can’t actually see me, but I am laughing) because you know that scene where young mama Aurora checks on baby Emma with a mirror to see if she is breathing?  That was me.  Okay, that is me.  Still.  Well, only sometimes.

I know.  I’m nuts.  I have gotten better over the last couple of years, but I do periodically check on The Kid to make sure her blankets are going up and down with her breathing.  When she was a baby, sometimes I would poke at her while she lay sleeping in her crib.  You know, stir her.  If she woke up, it was okay.  Because I knew she was alive.  And I would breathe a huge sigh of relief and go to sleep.  You know, for at least 20 minutes.

I was a young child in the 70’s.  A time when our parents didn’t worry about child snatchers or concussions from falling on a bike without a helmet.  Damn, if I cut my face open, my mother’s response would be, “get up, brush it off and go outside to play.”

Once when The Kid was about 4, she fell because she was running on cement in flip flops.  I knew she was going down.  I got that weird prickly feeling in my shins.  You know what I’m talking about?  Well, I swooped her up and ran her to the first aid station in complete hysterics.  I had one finger on my phone to dial 911.  What’s the matter?  She scraped her knee.  And there was blood.  What did you expect?

I was neurotic (you know, in case you haven’t figured that out yet).  “Don’t run too fast, don’t walk backwards, don’t skip, don’t climb on that, don’t jump on the bed, don’t look at the sun too long…”  I could smack myself just listening to that me.  I was secretly happy when she didn’t quite get the concept of riding a bike the first time DH tried to teach her.

I’m not totally afraid of too much.  Most of the time anyway.  Like you won’t catch me dead on a pair of skis because I like my appendages where they are.  But I have no problem driving to places I’ve never been, or doing something I’ve never done (except skiing, sky diving and heroin), tasting food that is off the wall and going on roller coasters with the double loop-de-loop.

So, why am I such a nut job?  Overprotective and overbearing at times?  Is it because I only have one child? People always told me to have another.  That my neurotic behavior would lesson.  But that’s hard for me to believe.

Now, she’s getting ready to learn how to drive.  I thought I was worried before.  What the hell?  I guess I am the quintessential Helicopter Parent.  But I don’t want to be one of those.  I make fun of those people.  There’s no way I am.  So I looked it up:

A parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.

Oops.  Well, I’m the first part anyway.  Because taking an excessive interest in the life of your child?  Well, that’s just plain, old, dang nuts.  Pffft.  And that car thing?  Does anyone know how to pull out some wires so it doesn’t start?  Inbox me with instructions.  Thankyouverymuch.

Linking up with Shell

Good Bye Dr. Suess

Except this.  This was her favorite.  Or was it mine?

Except this. This was her favorite. Or was it mine?

I was one of those weird pregnant ladies who would read poetry to my womb.  Every morning.  Before work, I would toast myself 2 frozen waffles loaded with butter and syrup and sit down to read a few chapters from a book of Mother Goose collections.  Don’t judge me.  I had to eat waffles because they were the only thing that didn’t make me feel like I had to hurl.  Besides, she was getting some nursery rhymes in return.  Swapping brain food for umm, brain food?  What’s so bad about that?

Why did I do it?  Not the waffle thing, but the poetry thing.  Because I had read somewhere that if you start reading rhymes to your fetus, they will turn out brilliant.  Brains courtesy of Little Boy Blue.  Who would have thunk?  This habit of reading to her continued on from the day she was born until she just didn’t want me to read to her any more.  When was that?  I can’t pinpoint a date.  I  will wager a guess at somewhere right around tween-dom.

Needless to say, we had accumulated about a million books throughout the years.  A million.  And now here I am almost 16 years later with them all over the house.  In her room, on shelves, in closets, in the playroom that is no longer the playroom.  Everywhere.  It was time.

So, with all the energy I could muster, I got myself a couple of cardboard boxes and started neatly piling children’s books into them.  One by one.  Each one a memory.  Angelina Ballerina, Dr. Suess, Goodnight Moon, Tomie dePaola, just to name a few.  I gave them to a friend of mine who has a bunch (yes, a bunch…no lie) of young children.  I knew they were going to a good home.  Why should I be selfish and keep them to myself, allowing them to collect dust?  Not being touched by anyone?  It was time to share the love.

I was surprised by my emotions.  I know I sound sappy.  But it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a long time.  So many memories.  I used to love bedtime.  Not only so that I could have quality time with my glass of wine, but because The Kid and I would snuggle up in her bed and I would read to her (no, I didn’t drink wine while reading to her).  Three books.  That was the limit.  Three books of her choosing.  Every night no matter what.  Well, I would swap with DH but he read to her too.  Every single night.

Aaah, those were the days.  Now I have to worry about her driving in a couple of months and going out with boys and hoping she doesn’t try marijuana.  Oh Lord.  I’m having a panic attack.  I think I want my books back.  Or at the very least, visitation rights.  Think my friend will mind?