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I am the living worst.

I have so many excuses as to why I have, once again, abandoned this space but how boring is that to go through them again and again and again.

I was planning on writing a post for The Baby's birthday and The Teen's birthday and all of the things that have happened in between but I've been busy living my life aka watching New Girl obsessively and conquering Candy Crush like it's nobody's business.

I am at a special time in my life in that I have a 14 year old and a 14 month old and parenting children at these very different, but crucial moments, of their development is stressful. I worry about boys and school and mean girls and homework and college and independence and freedom and safety and privacy with one while I'm worrying about words and shapes and bottles and food and naps and head injuries and independence and freedom and safety with the other. 

I am also doing Big Things at work and there is an opportunity for me to take a leap in my career - which might mean longer hours but definitely means stepping out of my comfort zone. I'm preparing myself for the change by getting myself organized at work and at home (aka creating the most epic list of Honey Do's for my husband). I'm super excited that our guest bedroom turned my sister's room turned play room is now going to be my office. I want to create a space where I can work from home but also retreat to be creative and write (or play Candy Crush/watch New Girl). I also need a space for Wedding Planning (my sister is getting married next year and I'm the head bitch) - I really need a cork board where I can put up pictures of people who don't respond to my emails so I can throw darts at them.  

I had my yearly physical and surprised the doctor by being able to touch my toes. I'm quite limber for a fat girl. 

We're all caught up now. 

Life is good. 

I can't complain (but I probably will).

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1 year ago.

This time last year I was packed and ready to go to the hospital early in the morning. I enjoyed my last meal (just in case, you know) of my mama's famous lasagna, not knowing it would make an appearance the next morning, once before we left for the hospital and another time on the operating table. I was a little anxious but I got through it by focusing on the first day home, because that would mean that we had survived (yay!) and trying not to think of all the other little things that had to happen (like being cut open and having a baby removed).

The tiny little baby we brought home is now a toddling little toddler who throws temper tantrums, thinks everything in the whole world is hers, and has a smile that lights up the room.  She knows so many things but my favorites are teeth, nose, mouth, doggie, Brobee, shirt, and no. She says mama, dada, ni ni, go, and hi. If you ask her how old she is she will hold up 1 finger. Basically, she's a tiny genius.

I know she just barely got here but it feels like she's been a part of our family forever.

1 year ago and now. I love my little mamas. 

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Let Ye Not Be Me

I won't get into too many details because this is not entirely my story to tell. But I will tell you this: DO NOT YE BE AS LAX AS ME. 

I got lazy. I was tired. I didn't worry as much as I should have and I'm a natural worrier so this means that I must have been very tired. I didn't worry about The Teen because The Baby is so demanding of attention and The Teen was happy to disappear to her room. I thought she was playing Poptropica and watching Netflix. I know that it is lame, that I let her do that instead of forcing her to spend time with the family, but I work full time, have an infant, and I didn't want to fight with her about it or listen to the whining about how bored she was downstairs with me. Also, again, super tired. I know there really is no good excuse but I'm trying my best.

I trusted that she got the message from the millions of the conversations we had when we first started letting her get online. People are evil. Do not trust anyone. Don't google stuff. We installed NetNanny. We checked her browsing history. She never did anything bad, if she went to something questionable, we confronted her and talked to her about it and it wouldn't happen again.

Then she got a Macbook. They didn't have NetNanny for the Mac (at the time, I have no clue if they do now, I could go look but looking is hard) and I set up the parental controls for when she could access her computer...I would check her browsing history occasionally...surely that would be enough? She never did anything bad on her PC so I thought we were all good in the hood.


She went somewhere she shouldn't have went and got sucked down into a terrible rabbit hole on the Internet. Thankfully, it was only days that she was caught up in that nonsense, but terrifying nonetheless. I am so thankful that my kid is a newb and is no match for my super secret junior detective spy skills. I say that, but really? I stumbled into my discovery because she made a mistake and liked something when she was logged into Facebook. Damn Zuckerberg, he'll get you every time.

I can't tell you where she was and what she did and how she felt but I will say this: it was an eye opening experience for both of us.

She lost her computer (indefinitely? I don't know - we found a program to install to track her activity - spent a pretty penny on it, too - but I'm not sure when or if she will get it back without supervision). I changed her passwords to all of her social media and email accounts. I removed Safari from her iPhone and once I can remember the parental restriction password on her iPad it will be removed from there too (for now, when she is allowed to use the iPad again, if the browsing history disappears I will assume she is doing something terrible and that will be the end of it). I contacted the people she was talking to and told them that she was really VERY underage and if they ever contacted her again I would bring The Fury.

We have had a lot of conversations since my discovery, so much so that she asked if we could just not talk about it. Ever since this has happened, all I see when I read the news is another story of a teenager running off with someone they met online and they are never heard from again. I tell her about them every time I read one. I know that might not be the best approach, but I don't really have a plan here (in case you couldn't tell). I think it will take some time before she truly understands how bad this could have turned out.

So, learn from us. Find a software that will watch their every move and alert you and install it today. Do not trust that they will listen to all of your horror stories and that will be enough. Apparently no matter how many episodes of Catfish or Law and Order SVU you let your kid watch,  their little teenage brains will override all reason and logic to satisfy their curiosity. It was different in my day (I say, as I shake my cane) because The Evil was out there, not in your home. There aren't monsters under your bed but there are in your machine and unless you are on top of that shit, they will get you. And your little dog, too.

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