Thursday, November 02, 2006

Somebody Tell Me I'm Doing The Right Thing.

I've written here before about this woman. To recap, she has:

Accused me (falsely) of standing up at a dinner party and announcing her divorce. (I know, try not to laugh after that one. Especially since everyone knows that I only stand up at dinner parties to loosen my pants.)

Fed that accusation to her daughter, who in turn relayed it to Kira, who was understandably upset at the thought that her mother was a secret-spilling liar.

Tried to get me to provide free babysitting for her while she toned her abs at her daily 3-hour workout.

Told me that I had "gained some weight!" when I ran into her one day, obviously unaware that I was wearing a fat suit for my role in an upcoming Lifetime movie.
So why am I wasting valuable blog space even talking about her? Because her daughter, M. is one of Kira's best friends. I love this girl. She's polite, smart, funny and a good friend to my daughter. And I can tell she's been scarred by her parents' divorce and now is trying not to get lost in her mom's new life with her fiancé. A fiancé who I've seen dropping M. off at school and can barely wait for her to get out of the car before he slams the door and burns rubber out of the parking lot.

So I tolerate the mom, even though I want to pummel her with my measly fists everytime I see her. (And not just because she wears stilettos and a miniskirt to pick her kid up at school.) Whenever I see her on the schoolyard we give each other a friendly nod, but M. always comes up and hugs me tightly around the waist and asks when she can come over. I say, "Anytime!" instead of "You, anytime. But tell your mom to keep her bony ass off my property." I'm nice that way.

The girls each invited a friend over for Halloween last night, and Kira invited M. because she knew that her mom wouldn't be taking her trick-or-treating. I approached M's mom on the playground and asked her to drop her daughter off at our house at 5. I would order pizza, let the kids play, and then Rigel would take all the girls trick-or-treating for a couple of hours. Seemed like a fun night, although the thought that I had just set myself up for seeing this woman at both drop-off and pick-up made me want to slap myself.

When someone knocked at the door at 4:20 I was surprised to see M. standing there. She then informed me that her mom wanted me "to come outside and talk to her, because she couldn't find a parking space." Yes, even though our 3-car driveway only had my minivan in it, and there were probably two cars parked on our entire block, I could see where in a steroid-induced haze she could mistakenly think that there was nowhere to park. Either that or her driving skills suck as bad as her social skills and there was no way she could maneuver her car into a space that was the length of half a city block. Okay, drop your kid off 40 minutes early and don't have the decency to come to the door. Lady, stop trying so hard to impress me!

I walked outside and could see her waving me over from her car, but I refused to walk even inches further than I had to. I stood in my driveway, yelled that I would see her at 8, turned and walked back inside. She waited there for a few minutes, probably thinking that I was just going to get something from the house but would surely follow her orders to come to her car. I'm hoping she saw me at the kitchen window, waving cheerfully at her with my middle finger.

I suspect that M. has food issues brought on by her body-obsessed lunatic of a mom. She's very thin, but when she's at our house she's constantly asking for snacks. Yesterday, she seemed genuinely shocked that she could actually help herself to everything I had put out on the table: bowls of pretzels, carrots and apples along with the pizza. Whenever I offered her anything she asked, "You mean I can put some on my own plate?" and when the rest of the girls were reaching for their second piece of pizza she came into the kitchen to ask me if she was allowed another slice. When I told her yes, she said, "Omigosh, thank you!" I envisioned her mom standing over her at the dinner table, waving a pair of size zero jeans and saying, "Eat that second slice of pizza, missy, and you'll never fit into these."

And when she picked her up last night? She wouldn't come in the house to help M. gather her things, and she barely muttered a 'thank you.'

I don't discourage Kira's friendship with M, and I don't let her know what I think about M's mother. I feel like I want to help this girl, to provide an environment for her where there isn't a parent figure who spends more time worrying about her makeup and carb count than her daughter's well being. But tell me this, have I been watching too much Oprah, getting all "It takes a village..." when I should be distancing myself from this woman, even if it means distancing ourselves from her daughter?

Somebody please tell me I'm doing the right thing. Cause right now? I feel like I'm being stepped on. And used. And I'm torn between trying to help this little girl and grabbing her mom by her hair extensions and tying her to the roof of her SUV. And while both of these options will make me feel good, I have the feeling that only one is the right thing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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66 comments:

barbex said...

You know, that's a tough one. I think the poor girl deserves someone like you around to save her from a future life of selfdoubt and depression but there will be very little reward in this for YOU!

The thing is, people don't change. Ever. So neither you nor anybody else will ever change this mother. But the most important thing is, that the girls get along. And they get older, more independent and you will have to deal with that woman less and less over time.

We have a kid living in our building that has a very weird mother and consequently he has NO social skills. He is such a pest! But for some reason my son likes him and maybe that kid will actually learn something new by playing with my son (like not breaking all your toys on purpose...).

Sorry for rambling here on your blog but I had the same kind of thoughts with this kid and sometimes I feel used but I still think it is the right thing to not make the kid suffer for his/her stupid mother.

Kvetch said...

I have found myself in this situation several times, in different ways. I think that if the little girl is not a drain on your daughter, and adds value to her life, as a friend and playmate, then you encourage the friendship. If Kira stops wanting to play with her, then you have a different blog post to write. I think that it's wonderful to provide a healthy atmosphere for this little girl - she seems to almost crave it. But I would keep Kira and this little girl playing at your house as much as possible, with little time at the other house, if it's offered at all. I don't know if this makes sense - I am all for "it takes a village" (and have oodles of posts brewing on the topic) but not in being taken advantage of by a stiletto skinny self-involved mom. Whatever you do, do it on your terms only, with your family as top priority.

Waya said...

It's so sad to see "kids gone bad" purely from idiotic, and selfish parents like this woman.

You are doing a great thing by welcoming M to your house, at least she knows there are good and decent people out there who are there to help her in any situations. Poor girl!

Isn't it sucky when your kids have such good friends but their parents are just weirdos?! Hm, I hope my kids' friends don't say that about me.

Oh, The Joys said...

My heart is with M. It sounds like you truly like and care about M so offering her what you can, on your own terms sounds the right thing to me. Like Kvetch said, she seems to crave the normalcy of your house. Her mom sounds like a witch... think what it must be like for M. Poor M. Her mom just plain sucks and she knows it.

dennis said...

Personally I think it is wonderful that you are providing a warm, friendly environment for M. I also applaud you for not opening a major can of 'whup-ass' on the mom!!

Jen said...

It sounds to me like you are doing a wonderful thing by giving this poor girl a place she can go, and showing her what a normal house is like. I feel so sad for her, I know people who grew up with parents like hers, and they have so many problems and suck low self esteem becaue they are always trying to win mommy's approval... and they never can.

crazymumma said...

This is a great post you know. It speaks to me because we all hope and pray that the friends our children make are going to come from families who we like. Who we can embrace as part of our village.

I think it is important that you keep an eye on the food issues, because close friends are going to influence each other you know?

The mother sounds monumentally messed up. And it cannot be easy to be a young beautiful girl growing up in a house with a narcisstic mommy.

Your house might be a small sanctuary of normalcy for her. I say keep your door open, try not to tell the mommy what you WANT to tell her, because she might make her daughter cut off ties. And just let that girl be herself in your home. Sounds like she needs a break.

Jenn said...

The whole thing sucks sucks sucks........but you are doing the right thing. My parents house was always the place for the kids with the fucked up home life to come and get some normal family time and a home cooked meal. I'm pretty sure that it really helped them growing up.

Diana said...

"waving cheerfully at her with my middle finger."
God I love you.
I think you are wonderful for feeding...er-accepting this little girl in your home. I can't help but imagine her mother's fridge has a bottle of mustard and some nail polish in it...
You are showing her what normal life is like...
Everyone above me put it into nice words. I will just be redundant...so I'll offer you a hug and a pat on the back for a job well done. Hell, I'll send you a gold star.
Now, to start wving cheerfully at the people in my office...

Momish said...

In my opinion, what you are doing is absolutely right. You daughter obviously cares for M. and values her friendship. You are treating her on the basis of your daughter's needs and desires. The mother is irrelevant to how you feel about M., and M. is lucky that you are accepting her based on her and not her mother. Also, each time she is with your daughter and over your house, she gains a little more perspective. She will come to realize that each household is different, which will allow her to know she has alternatives in the future. Sort of breaking the cycle, showing her she has choices. Sounds to me like you are providing her with an excellent role model to counteract her mother's less than desirable traits, and thus choose correctly when the time comes to create her own household!

Pieces said...

You are absolutely doing the right thing. I agree with other commenters that as long as Kira values the friendship, you have an important role to play in M's life. Even if it is only for a year or two. My mom had a very rough childhood but has been the best mom. She modeled her parenting after a foster mom she had for only one year when she was 9 years old! They learn and they remember.

You will continue to feel used by this mom. That's the worst part. Write all the nasty stuff out here so we can hate her right along with you and encourage you to keep loving her daughter while she is still in your sphere of influence.

gorillabuns said...

though i haven't stepped into the realm of friends coming over and my having to entertain them yet, i do feel you are doing the right thing for the little girl. it's obvious she needs more than what she is getting from home and you can be that positive role model (don't you like the pressure of that statement?)

i for one would not meet the chick at her car and i would not give her the satisfaction of a civil conversation on her terms but i would entertain her child and her insecurities, but what do i know....

High Desert Diva said...

You're absolutely doing the right thing.

M needs to see a happy, healthy, functioning family.

Jodi said...

You are very much doing the right thing!!!!!!!! Like those above have said, just keep it on YOUR terms and don't let your daughter go to M's house if you can at all help it.

When I was a kid, probably about M's age, my house was a MESS. Not a physical mess, but a mess in every other sense of the word. My Dad was on drugs, blah. blah. blah. And there was a family that took me in. I was over there EVERY weekend, they even paid me allowance. :) And I swear to you that it saved my sanity. I knew every weekend I could go to Sheila's where life would be somewhat normal and it was such a blessing. Turns out that Sheila's Mom was a raving looney, but when I was a kid things at her house were a lot less screwed up than at mine. ya know?

Anyway,the reason I told you that long ass story is just to tell you not to ever discount your role in M's life. Your house is probably a safe haven for her and she will remember it fondly for years and years to come, trust me. :)

Contrary said...

I have been there and done that. Shoot, I'm still doing it. My oldest has a friend whose mother is more interested in dating and drinking than in her children. When this kid and his girlfriend got pregnant, it was me he called to tell first and it was me (and Pookie) he wanted at the hospital.

All that to say that in the long run, you will never regret any kindness you how this girl. And you're also setting a helluva example for your girls.

Elizabeth said...

It makes me so sad to think of that poor little girl not believing that she can actually eat until she's satisfied. I know you're supposed to walk a mile in other people's shoes, etc. etc., but I can't imagine being so selfish. It sounds like it's all about Mom in that household and the girl is more of an accessory for her. I think if your house can be the one place where that girl can relax, you will be providing her with a true gift.

As for the Mom? You'll never change her. Be polite, but don't engage.

Lianne said...

What a gift you are to this girl! You are showing her compassion and freedom of choice outside her own home.

As for the mom... we call women like her "Poo Poo Princesses" where I come from.

Woman with kids said...

You are absolutely doing the right thing, for you, for your daughter, and most of all for her daughter. I had a neighbor like you, one that took me in and made me part of the family. It meant so much to me then and now.

Heather said...

Ok so there's an echo in here but I don't mind repeating what everyone's already said. I have no doubt you're one of the most important female role models that kid has. Kids her age shouldn't know about calories, and carbs and fat and the like. I'm sure you're having a huge impact on M's life already. (but I agree you should definitely talk to Kira about it and the things she's picked up from M's mom)

Also, I'm sure you should be elevated to sainthood shortly for putting up with her not spraying her mom accidentally with a garden hose. What a piece of work.

Anonymous said...

I know what you're going through. When my oldest was in middle school, she had a friend in a simiilar situation - bad parents, bad siblings - and she spent ALOT of time at our house. I hated the parents, and they had no respect for me whatsoever. There were times I told my daughter to break off the frienship because the parents were so unbelievably rude to my husband and I. But I gave in, and took this girl under our wing.

She's in college now, and an amazing girl. And she thanked us in her high-school graduation speech - and not her parents.

-annie

JenfromBoston said...

What you're doing for M. means more to her that you'll ever know. I speak from experience.

Maybe think of it this way: you're not a doormat, you're a woman driving on the the high road, which so happens not to have any SUVs driven my selfish moms on it.

That said, your restraint for the sake of your girl & hers is commendable. I'm 3000 miles away and I wish I could figure a plan to change this woman, and yeah, I know that you can't. Not really.

Melissa said...

You are completly doing the right thing and I wouldn't stop as long as you don't mind the kid hanging out. I had friends with parents like that and as teens they practically lived at my house. One of my best friends calls my mom, mom. They are still extremly close. Some kids gravitate toward other parents when theirs are so horrible. It's a good thing you and Kira are around her. Maybe she'll end up normal. Go with what Oprah said, the village thing. I don't think it's far off the mark. My friends and I kind of live that way. We are raising our kids together.

Now the mom, just kick her when you get the chance. ;)

Ruth Dynamite said...

You are a lifeline to this little girl - proof of another, less-neurotic kind of mom. You're also, ahem, a role model to this wayward mother. I'm sure she's noticing your inherent coolness/have-it-all-togetherness just as her daughter is, even if it seems like she's too busy flexing her butt cheeks to notice.

Keep on keepin' on. You're doing the right thing.

urban-urchin said...

Don't distance yourself if it means distances yourself from the girl. She desperately needs a 'normal' environment, and unconditional love to avoid growing up like her mother (lovingly referred to around here as a lipstick lizard.)

You're also setting a very important example for your daughters.

As for saying something about this woman to your daughter- kids are really smart- she's going to figure it out on her own.

Anonymous said...

You are doing the right thing, but I hope M's mom doesn't read your blog or you may be in for yet another tongue lashing! Good luck with that! Give it back to her...for M's sake.

wordgirl said...

You're doing the right thing, but I'm waiting for a piano to fall on the mother.

Mommy off the Record said...

You're totally doing the right thing by letting M. continue to come over despite her crazy mother. But I can see how you wouldn't want this lady to walk all over you either. By giving her the not-so-subtle hints that you won't be taken advantage of - like how you didn't walk out to her car - hopefully, she'll get the hint and learn some manners. Jeez.

K. said...

This is a definite drawback to having children - their friends' parents. Not always. But often enough to count.

I think you're handling the entire situation beautifully.

ender said...

as someone who was a kid like M, you are doing a wonderful thing.

yes, you're being stepped on and used. but it's only happening once or twice a day (or however often you see the mom). it's happening to M every minute she's at home.

threecollie said...

Sound like you are doing a great job. That poor girl will remember you forever, for being a sane influence in what must be a horribly crazy life for her. I speak from experience. My family was kind of messed up when I was young; home wasn't always the greatest. Partly because of that, I am still (in late middle age) very close to the mother of some kids down the street from where we grew up. She welcomed us, my brothers and me, into her warm, normal home and it was like an oasis for us. A place we could go where things were peaceful, calm, fun, happy, where people laughed and played instead of fighting. It was so restful in our stressful world. That kindness on her part blossomed into a lifelong friendship that I will always value.

pamela said...

every child needs a safe place to go.
This one is extremely lucky to have found you.

MetroDad said...

Ugh...What a terrible situation for you. Unfortunately, you're doing the right thing...for you, your daughter, and her friend. But man, that woman is a piece of work. The idiocy of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Leigh said...

You are absolutely doing the right thing. That girl needs a positive female role model in her life and it seems you're it because the mom is crazy!

edj said...

I think you are totally doing the right thing and applaud you for it. Keep it up! And part of me doesn't mind when you run into the mum, as we all get to read about it! ;) Oh sure, IRL she's horrible, but she makes great blog material, doesn't she!

Mama G said...

You're not only setting a beautiful example for your children, but you're setting a beautiful example for M. One that I assure you she will never forget.

One day, when M becomes a mother she'll think back fondly on the love, the support, the guidance you so selfishly gave to her and will use your example to parent her own children.

As for the boney-ass bitch of a mom she has - may she choke on a piece of broccoli. Okay, that was mean. But it sure was fun to visualize!

Courtney said...

Hi! I'm visiting from Lisa V's site. (http://vindauga.typepad.com/)

Anyway... ditto what everyone above said. Big kudos to you!! You are setting a wonderful example for you girls, you are helping out a another human being, and you are doing the right thing. Remember, what goes around comes around. Skinny bitch will get what coming to her... likely, in a few years, she'll have little to no *real* relationship with her own daughter. How sad. So you just keep on doing what you feel is right and karma will take care of the rest.

Moobs said...

It's the right thing.

By the way, when I rule the world everyone will have to pick up their kids wearing short skirts and Stilettos - even Rush Limbaugh. In fact expecially Rush Limbaugh.

Kristen said...

No, you are definitely doing the right thing. I saw on Oprah that if a mom has body issues (anorexia, etc.) their girls are much more likely to have the same issues. Hopefully, by you providing a safe and "normal" environment for this girl, she will come out of her home life fairly unscathed - and she'll have you to thank! You are truly a great mom and a wonderful person for doing what you are doing. Go ahead and hate the mom. You should- she sounds like such a witch.

Veronica Mitchell said...

I'm glad this girl has a happy home and concerned parent to come to. If you enjoy the little girl, then having her over is not being taken advantage of, even if that's how her mother intends it. You just have the sense to see value where the mom can't. Handling it all with dignity and makes you a great example for all the girls.

shelly said...

As everyone has stated here, you're absolutely doing the right thing. As painful as it is to take that crap from her mom, that girl needs some normal adult figures in her life, and a good friend like Kira.

Although it would be SO satisfying to see that woman tied to her car by her hair extensions.

KC said...

At least you're getting great blogging material by being exposed to such a caricature of ridiculousness! I mean, I never!

Plus she sounds like a sweetie and a good friend to your daughter.

mk said...

I definetly think that you are doing the right thing! You are setting a wonderful example for this girl and your daughter. This poor child needs to experience your house and kindness. hugs to you for being such a good mom!

A Payne said...

I think it is great that you give little miss M a relaxed place to go to be with her friends. I would never come between a mother and her daughter. Your girls will grow and move on and you will forget the irritation you felt for her mother, but mom and daughter will always have each other, good bad or ugly, and I wouldn't interfere with that.

Tricia said...

I'm thinking your doing the right thing...wait til mom starts getting jealous that her daughter wants to be with you more than her! Yeeesh!

L.A. Daddy said...

Tough one. Very tough. You want to be involved and help, but... it's not your family. The best thing you can do is continue to reach out to the daughter for as long as you can stand the mother being around. Continue to be a great influence on the child because it sounds like she's not getting a great influence at home.

Do what you can but don't let it drag you and your family down with it.

Mom101 said...

I like LA daddy's advice. You need to be her best friend's mom, nothing more, and I think there's a really fine line to straddle there. But boy, I love how you spin a yarn, M! If she gets nothing but that from you, you'll have done good by her.

Denise said...

You just continue to be yourself with her. Be there if she needs you and step in if you have to.
You may end up being the person she credits later on as a person who helped her when she needed it.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Please don't quit that poor girl because of her mother. She obviously needs some normalcy in her life. And if grabbing for a second or third (or sixth) piece of pizza isn't normal than I don't know what is.

ewe are here said...

As long as M and your daughter are friends and being 'positives' in each others' lives, please keep doing what you're doing. She knows you care about her, and you bring a bit of normalcy into her life. That poor girl.

Jamie said...

You are definitely doing the right thing by opening your home and not discouraging your daughter's friendship with M. The poor girl needs the normalcy you provide. Perhaps her mom senses this and is jealous, hence her aloofness. Or maybe she's just a bitch.

Amanda Marlaena said...

You are going to be the angel in this child's life whom she remembers as an adult. A friend's mom was this for me, as I come from a crazy family. And I do remember the love I received from my friend's mom.

I do believe that it takes a village, as the village idiot's daughter should not suffer because of circumstances over which she had no control: being born to an anorexic, mentally ill, control-freaky woman.

Protect yourself, though. I can just imagine that it will not be long before accusations are made against you - those more damaging and child-relevant, that is, than that you squeaked about the psycho's divorce.

Bless you for being so wonderful to this girl!

honestyrain said...

you are doing the right things, sweatpants mom, and should keep doing it until it feels like you;re doing the wrong thing. giving the girl a different view is wonderful and may change her life in the long run.

Lisa said...

You are a wonderful woman. Sounds like you are doing the mature, classy, right thing.

My son has a friend who lives right next door. She's always over. Her parents rarely utter a thank-you after she's been over for four hours, eaten two snacks and had dinner with us. SHe'd come over several times a week there for awhile. And I never said anything in front of my son. But...

At this point, I've started to discourage the friendship because the little girl is starting to hit and yell at my son. And that is NOT ok with me.

Catherine said...

I, too, think you're doing the right thing, Marsha. Even with as much Oprah as I watch/read/worship, I don't do moronic parents very well. You are a Sweatpantsmom Saint as far as I'm concerned.

Ken said...

You've got a great blog here and this is a great post. This girl needs to see the other (umm, normal) side so that when she does talk to her mother about it she has some experience under her belt.

dorothee said...

Sounds like you've just gotten yourself another daughter...
I'd say, don't discourage the girls in seeing each other. M seems to really need a normal family (from what you wrote about her mother, no wonder she had a divorce!). I suspect that even when Kira and M are no longer friends, M will always continue to be your friend, for showing her a normal life and doing things suitable for children with her - her mom didn't even take her trick or treating. Can you imagine that "mother" carving a pumpkin with M, or baking Christmas cookies with her? Just imagine what Christmas must be like for M, or her birthday ("Mommy, can I have a birthday cake?" "No, too many calories. If you finish your salad now, I'll put a birthday candle in an apple for you")

Jess Riley said...

What everybody else said. :-)

It sounds like Kira's friend will remember you fondly years from now. Kudos to you, Marsha; there should be more people like you in the world.

carrie said...

You're doing the right thing. Enough said ;)

Carrie

jen said...

my heart is breaking for that little girl. thank god you are showing her an alternate reality that she just might have to hold on to as she grows.

Kevin Charnas said...

Oh Sweats, I hope that you don't mind that I call you 'Sweats'...I know that it sounds rather damp. But 'Sweatpantsmom' just seems so...formal. Anyway, you make me laugh out loud and I love reading your work. I just wanted to tell you that.

So, with that being said (everyone who's anyone is saying that these days, you know? the whole: "with that being said" line.) I firmly believe that you are doing the right thing...and with a whole lot of grace. Had you walked up to that asshole's car, you would've possibly been able to be categorized as being "walked on". But you didn't.
You're handling this with class and a conscientious attitude that will benefit that little girl, your daughter and your integrity. Because really, when it boils down to it, what boney-ass does is about who she is (which sounds rather pathetic) and what you do is about who you are. And frankly, you just sound too good to be doing anything other than what you are.

Gloria Glo said...

Ack! Ack! Ack!

I'm going to suppress the dietitian in me only because I'm new to this blog and should make a better impression.

ACK!

Gloria Glo said...

P.S. That was for the poor girl's mom. You seem to be doing just fine.

ACK!

AdventureDad said...

If it's possible I think your daughter would appreciate if you didn't strangle the mother in front of her. although I must confess that I, obviously a perverted asshole male, is weak for any woman in stilettos and a miniskirt:--))

I have much the same issue about a good friend of my wife who has a daughter my son likes. Except when she's being a spoiled primadonna, which is quite often. The mother is Latin, like my wife, and constantly believes the sky is falling. Before her daughter even leaves the house she has told her 100 things she can't/shouldn't do. the daughter is almost four and certainly capable of walking down the stairs without her mom telling her 18 times about how dangerous it is. It goes against everything I believe in and what I try to teach my son. It drives me fucking crazy to hear her constantly act like an idiot. But I refrain from dismembering and dumping her in the nearest lake since my wife hangs out with her and her daughter can be a good friend to my son. But even my wife admits she's crazy.

AD

Gurukarm said...

Two thoughts as I read this (and without having read the other comments first): First, wasn't it only last April (count 'em with me, friends - 6 1/2 months ago, give or take??) that you wrote about being accused of outing this woman's divorce, which was apparently something of a secret at that time? And now she has a skanky fiancé???

Second, ADOPT THIS KID, quick!!!! You are SO doing the right thing, opening your family's life and your heart to her. She really really needs you. So, continue with the friendly finger wave behind the kitchen curtain to the mom, whilst filling this child up with whatever friendship, love, and food your family can give to her!

OK, done ranting now :-)

Dana said...

Yes. You are doing the right thing. Even if you feel like you're being stepped on, the little girl deserves you. She got jipped when she got that woman for a mom.

Dew said...

You may be the only sane adult in M.'s life (apart from Rigel, of course, but dads are kind of peripheral to little girls), so you are 100% doing the right thing in welcoming her to your house, and treating her with the affection and respect she's so clearly not getting at home -- the odd thing is, Skeletor must have been doing something right sometime, for M to have turned out so good, so far.... That might be the thing to puzzle out, while you're taking the deep calming breaths that keep you from tying Skeletor to her ski rack by her weave.

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