By Jeanne Martin

Q: My daughter is in the fifth grade and all of her friends have their own cell phones. I think she’s too young, but if all her peers have one, am I wrong?

If all of her peers had Polio, would you want her to have that too? No. Of course not, because you have more sense than God gave a Pringle. (Sorry, I lapsed into my momma-tone. Let me shake that off.)  If the idea here is that you want to get her a phone because all of her friends have one or just to get her off of your back, then I don’t think that’s a sound argument (but probably something I would totally do and then try to justify to my husband.) If the phone would be helpful, in that she could really USE it in cases like when she went to slumber parties or if she could take a photo of a hateful neighbor buying something scathing like Depends or Wal-Mart jambalaya, then it might be worth it.

But if you are looking for justification, the best reason to get her one is to have something fabulous to take away. Nothing will get to my seventh-grade daughter quite like, “That’s it ... bring me your phone!” I might as well have said, “Dead kittens for dinner. Who’s hungry?” Whatever the infraction, it gets amplified to 50th power when the iPhone resides on my dresser for a day or four. My goodness, the dishes are done each morning, the animals are all fed. She even offered to give me a manicure when she was in, “Please give me back my phone” suck-up mode. I now find myself looking forward to minor infractions that I can crack the whip on (especially when the car is super dirty).

I really do like holding her accountable for something that she herself must take care of... like when they made us walk around with an egg in high school to simulate caring for a baby (which did not prepare me in the least for a baby by-the-way. Egg salad? Yes. Child? No.). I treat her like that, but with the phone that she has to take care of and keep charged and answer when I call it, which is quite a lot when she is not with me. I like to call it and see what she’s up to, and then call it again about a minute later, then text, then call again, like I really want to TALK. Which is ironic because when she IS with me she drives me insane with her nonstop junior high chatter and I have to stuff socks in her mouth before she causes my head to explode.

If I am honest with myself, which I never am deliberately, I really just call her to torment her, because I can. And I just get drunk with the power of it all.


Q: My best friend, who lives 2,000 miles away and only sees pictures of my two-year-old son, is always saying things like, “has he gotten any cuter yet?” I think she means it to be funny, but I’m not laughing. Is it me?

YES. It is you. It is your fault that you are still friends with a witch-board like that. It most certainly is. This is a frienemy. It sounds to me like she’s a wee bit jealous/pompous/tactless. I would bet one of my cats that she does not have a son herself (or else she has six and is jealous of your ONE). Who has time for chicks like this in your life? Are you not busy enough? Because I have some homework/yard work/laundry that you are welcome to take care of if you have got all of this free time lying around like unused cell phone minutes to sit around and listen to your best friend bash your tot’s appearance.

You have GOT to find you some new friends. Ones who live closer and don’t make you want to throw yourself in front of a bus. Life is too short for this type of woman. We can feel crappy about ourselves without any outside help. All I need is a box of Swiss-Cake Rolls and two-liters of Diet Coke to take me to the land of self-loathing. I certainly do not need a person (whom I am not related to) sending me into Xanax-ville by bashing my baby boy, even if he does look like a troll.

But, if this is a life-long co-dependent kind of thing that ain’t going anywhere, maybe you can help her realize that she is a jack-wagon by wholeheartedly agreeing with whatever snide comment-du jour she sends your way. “Has he gotten any cuter yet?” she asks. “Oh my Jesus, no. He is hideous! We tried to leave him in the woods hoping dingos would take him and raise him as one of their own, but no, he was just too dang unattractive. We might try to sell him on eBay, though.”

And if she doesn’t get the hint that way, then just hang up on her... Enough already. You and your ugly little baby don’t need her anyway, right?

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