I’m going to admit something here. There have been times that I thought parenthood was pretty darn dull. Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love my kids. However, there were long, unbroken stretches of time when they were little and I was at home where the single most exciting thing that happened in any twenty-four hour period was a new slide at the playground or a change in programing over at TPT kids. The days just sort of blurred together into one long diaper-changing, Barney-singing, cheerio-eating episode.

“Good lord,” I’d pray silently, “please send me someone to talk to…or something to do that doesn’t involve spit up or vanilla wafers or Pull-Ups. Aaaaaamen.” And suddenly, just like magic, NOTHING at all would happen…. and back we’d go to watch Barney for the eleven and a millionth time.

My, how times change.

Friday I was super happy– “Hurray!” I thought, “I get my computer back today!” You see, Miss Teen Wonder had a little, um, academic mishap, and found herself a smidge behind on her online course work. And by “a smidge” I mean “hopelessly, traumatically, not a prayer in the world of catching up” behind. She was so grounded. But after a week or so, she just started to look so pathetic, hunched into the computer cabinet in the corner of the living room day and night, while we went cheerfully about our lives. We shunned her, as if we were Amish and she had started to wear lipstick and drive a vespa. After a while, it got too pitiful for me to watch and so I let her use my laptop, if only to free her from the confines of that corner.

Friday was the last day for online work to be turned in. “Wake up!” I demanded cheerfully, “Where is my computer? Gimmee, gimmee, GIMMEE!”

“Mom. I am so. sorry.” she said.

Oh, man. I didn’t like the sound of that.

“Whaaaaat?” I whined. “What did you do?”

She pulled the laptop out from under her bed and silently handed it to me. Porn. Porn and porn and porn and more porn. She had managed to download a virus and now knew more about happy, grownup fun time than I ever really wanted her to.

“Jimminy Christmas!” I yelped. “What were you thinking?!!!”

“I don’t know! I just clicked on a link and the computer FREAKED OUT! I didn’t know what to do, so I just shut it and shoved it under my bed. I’m SO SORRY.”

Off to school I send her and spent the rest of my morning expunging evil programs from my hard drive. Later that day, I walked into the door of my shop and the phone rang. It was the high school nurse.

“I have your daughter, here. She’s running a fever and doesn’t feel well. I think you should know that her pupils are extremely large. If I were you, I’d check her for Amphetamines.”

I put my cheek on the nice, cool stainless steel table. “Could you repeat that?” I asked, weakly. “Amwhoiswhatis, now?”

Amphetamines,” she said sternly, “It’s one of the things that can cause dilated pupils.”

“Couldn’t the fact that she’s sick and is running a fever ALSO cause it?” I said.

“Well,” she said, in a voice heavy with skepticism, ” I suppose you know your daughter better than I do.

Clearly, she thinks I am delusional

Long story short, my daughter was NOT doing drugs. (No. Really.) She caught her dad’s cold after staying up too late, too many nights in a row trying to finish her online homework and NOT watching computer porn. At least that is what I’m telling myself.

You know, compared to raising a teen-ager, a vanilla wafer and a half an hour with Barney the Dinosaur is looking pretty darn good right now…And to think, only four more children to go.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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