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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

One: A Child is Born
Myth Conceptions 3
A State of Bliss 7
Fantasy, Reality Clash with Birth of New Baby 11
What to Expect When You Least Expect It 15
What's In a Nickname? 19
Why Dads Shouldn't Nurse Babies 22

Two: Bringing Up Baby
Baby Devices Monitor More Than the Baby 27
Baby Brain Phenomenon Afflicts Moms 31
Top Four Reasons I Want to Be a Kid Again 35
The Problem with Balloons 39
Heaven Help the Younger Siblings 43
Shop Until You Drop 47
Games Grown-Ups Play 51
Dealing with Children's Questions 55
A Proliferation of Plastic 58
A Day in the Life of a Five-Year-Old 62

Three: School Days
The Great Divide 67
Express Yourself, But Not in Those Clothes 71
Hacking Up Sugar Cane 75
The Secrets That We Keep 78
Laughter is Not Always the Best Medicine 81
Surviving the Homework Blues 85
The Leader of the Band 88
Happiness in a Little Yellow Bag 91
Pet Denial Lands Mom in Mean Category 94
Our Priceless Treasures Aren’t 98
Spicing Up Our Household 104
Sanity Scarce in the Early Evening 105
A Multilingual Family 109
Gender Wars 113
The Live-In Muse 116
Peas in a Pod 119
A Manner of Speaking 122
Sit Right Down and You'll Hear a Tale 125
Culinary Crises 128

Four: Vacations and Celebrations
Want an Endless Summer? 133
Road Rules 137
On the Fantasy Road Again 140
Dancing Mice, Gorilla Make For Cheesy Evening 143
Sensuous Squids, Dancing Krystal Burgers 147
Star Surfing 151
Halloween Costumes for Every Stage of Life 154
The Night Watch 158
'Tis the Season to Celebrate 162
Sending Another Kodachrome Card for Christmas 166
Memories of Christmas Past 170
A Mom's Letter to Santa 173
Season’s Shenanigans 176
New Year's Resolutions 179
Here Come Those Tears Again 183
Theme Park Terror 186

Five: The Teen Years
Battening Down the Hatches for the Teen Years 191
A Walk Up the Street Takes Us Back in Time 195
Fried and Convicted 198
First Dances and Discarded Dresses 201
Going the Distance 205
Out of the Equation 208
The Life of Riley 211
On the Road, We Hope 214
Mollusk Parts and the Origins of OPEC 217
The Exam-ined Life 220
Adventures in Babysitting 223

Six: Family Awards
No Mom of the Year 229
Awarding Myself 232
And the Winner Is … 236

Acknowledgements 243