Serious Eats for One Month- Fettuccine George

Did you ever have one of those days where you wanted to rip someone’s head off and hurl it through the window?  When the injustices were stacked so high against you that you felt you couldn’t take a breath because you might scream?  When the stupidity level was so far off the charts you needed to go into the next room to see them?

Every time I meet with my team, I feel this way.

We just finished up an auditing project, one to raise the accuracy of our database and our floor plans.  My grade was better than I thought- my plans needed a little cleaning up since I’ve been so busy this past year- but it was a good exercise in standardization and mastery.  Yes, I do my needlepoint and Christmas cards and plan bridal showers and weddings at my job, but I never shirk my responsibility and my work never suffers for it.  I’m good at what I do, I know how to budget my time and I know how much I can get away with.

Some of my teammates don’t understand that.  If one gets a grade of “F” (fail) on practically every aspect of the audit, do not have the audacity to tell us (US!) that you’re too busy to do your walkthroughs.  We see you on the internet watching soccer, reading the paper and ordering parts for your hot dog truck business.  Do not tell us (US!) that you can’t get your reports done on time (they’re due on the 15th of every month, it’s been that way for years) because you’re “in love”.  Don’t try to baffle us (US!) with your bullshit.  It may work on your business managers, your move managers and your project managers, but We. Know. Better.

What we don’t know if what you have over your boss.  The same boss that will joke about you being on the internet (or phone…or late…or just not there).  The same boss who, when learns about your failing grade will take certain aspects of your responsibilities away and make someone else responsible for them.  The same boss that gives your day to day work to someone else to “save her job”.  You know something about this person, you must.  Why else are you still employed?

So when you have a day like this, seven hours of banging your head on the table and drawing “stupid” buttons to press whenever the stoopid gets too thick, you need to go home and either a) drink heavily, b) break every dish in a fit of rage c) eat all the Halloween candy or d) make comfort food.

I chose “d”.

It was quick, it was easy and it was delicious.  It was the Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo recipe that didn’t taste light.

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo


  • 5 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine, or 12 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Minced fresh parsley or chives


Combine cheese, heavy cream, egg, cornstarch, olive oil, and lemon zest (if using) in a large bowl. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until cooked but still very firm (not quite al dente), about 45 seconds for fresh pasta or 1 minute less than package directions for dried pasta. Drain pasta into a colander set over a large bowl. Transfer 2 cups of cooking water to a liquid measuring cup and discard the rest. Transfer pasta to the now-empty bowl. Add the garlic and butter and toss to coat.

Whisking constantly, slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water to the bowl with the cheese mixture. Transfer the cheese mixture to the now-empty pasta cooking pot, scraping the bottom to make sure you get everything. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 45 seconds. Season sauce to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Transfer pasta to sauce mixture and turn to coat. Just before serving, stir in more pasta water to thin the sauce out as necessary. Serve immediately, sprinkled with minced herbs, black pepper, and cheese, and drizzled with additional olive oil.

I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious.  Redemption from the enchilada escapade.

Now to have a beer, smash a dish and eat a Kit Kat. Because I have to do this all again tomorrow.

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite. Whatever They Are.

I’m sitting in my little cube farm at work trying not to openly scratch.  I lean my head down to below the partition to surreptitiously run my nails through my hair.  I squirm to and fro on my chair, scratching the backs of my thighs.  I slide my old-fashioned wooden ruler down my back under my shirt to provide delicious relief.

I know it’s all in my head.  IN my head, not ON my head.  All because I read the headlines in today’s Newsday:


Oh, ew.  Now I’ve been itchy for hours.

I ‘ve had this terrifying fear of bedbugs since I first heard about the epidemic in NY.  Now I not only have to worry about touching anything on the subway, I have to watch who I stand next to.  How far can bedbugs jump? 

The minute I get home from work, I strip and throw all my clothes in the laundry basket.  My work clothes are taking a beating being worn and washed constantly.  I just can’t stand the feeling that I’m bringing home bugs (or germs) from the great unwashed masses on mass transit.  If I could make my home a shoe-free zone, I would.  Unfortunately, stepping in dog drool in your stocking feet is grosser than the thought of trekking in all those city germs.

This fear reached epic proportions a few weekends ago as I spent an hour on my knees scrutinizing my mattress, then the girl’s mattresses and the couches for anything round, brown and moving.  Thankfully, only dustbunnies live where I sleep.  The thought of these little homewreckers gives me more creeps than the scariest Halloween thriller.  If I see you scratching, I’m running the other way.

And lice?  Crap, not again.  Our school was hit a few years ago with an outbreak that infected all of Z-girl’s friends.  Thankfully, she was spared the nit-picking.  The day my mother died, one of my soccer mom’s called and asked me to help pick through her daughter’s really long lice-infested hair. 

(I think she wanted to take my mind off of what was going on.  A nice thought, but I could think of 50 other things that could have distracted me AND not grossed me out.)

There we were, Soccer Mom, the kids grandma and I going through this mess of hair with three separate nit combs.  I got so fed up (yeah, I was upset to begin with) I asked for permission to cut the kid’s hair.  If she wasn’t so tired of us pulling and poking her scalp, I don’t think she would have let me take my electric razor to her.  I cut around eight inches off, giving her a really cute cut, and that made it so much easier for us to see and pick. ( I felt so guilty afterwards I took her to Walgreen’s and spent a fortune in headbands and clips.)  The mom and I took turns checking each other out.  Friendships can’t never be broken when you’ve picked through each other’s hair looking for bugs…

God, now even my eyebrows are itchy.

The school nurse told me the outbreaks of lice occur mostly after the holidays when kids go to their native countries for visits.  They bring back souvenirs, pictures and dirty buggies.  Do the airlines fumigate after every flight?  How can one not notice if your kid is constantly scratching his or her head? 

In the Newsday article, they quoted Kathy Zappulla, the owner of DeLiceful in Hauppauge.  She’s a professional nit-picker.  She probably makes a fortune examining and treating lice-infested kids.  Honestly, it’s a brilliant idea.  Wish I would’ve thought of it. 

(scratch, scratch)

On second thought, I don’t think that profession is right for me.  I would never sleep again if I had to deal with buggies day in and day out.  I’ll leave that to DeLiceFul.

I’m on a full-out assault to prevent the invasion of bedbugs.  No one is trying on clothes in stores, no one is borrowing anything made of fabric from anyone else and sorry to say, Z-girl won’t be having any sleepovers for awhile.  I want to disinfect Beena when she comes home since she works in a retail clothing store.  AND student teaches.  I feel we’ve been asking for it since our good-night mantra to Zombiegirl since she’s been tiny has been “Sweet dreambles.  Don’t let the Bedbugs bite” and she would reply, “Whatever they are…”

I need one of those bug-sniffing dogs.

Rose Colored Glasses

One of my Web Pals, Here in Franklin, posted this to her blog.  If she lived in NY, I would’ve hunted her down and kissed her.  I’ve been wanting to post my feelings about this since October 1st and she gave me the courage and the focus.  Plus said it so much more succintly than I ever could…

I am truly sick to death of the color pink. 

I have two separate ranting trains of thought regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  First, there’s that damn color pink.  Several of my friends made their Facebook profiles pink, and they’ve been posting cutsey status updates using paranthesis and periods.  I’ve seen pink ribbon sweatshirts on too many flabby tourists these past few weeks.  Every website I visit has a pink ribbon banner or button on it . Last Sunday’s comics looked like they got washed with one of Zombiegirl’s red soccer socks.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, schedule your mammogram.  Do a self-squeeze.  Save the tatas.  Buy a ribbon, and wear it if you must. 

Just spare me the triteness, okay? 

MR and I went to that new wine store on Hempstead Avenue to get a bottle of wine to take with us to dinner at Frankly Thai.  (If you haven’t eaten in this Franklin Square restaurant yet, get over there now.  Say hi to Frank the owner for us.)  We didn’t know what to get (MR likes red, red gives me migraines) so we roamed the aisles looking for something to catch our eye.  We find a display of Fat Bastard Chardonnay.  C’mon.  Who can resist a Fat Bastard? lol!  I’ve bought this wine for my brother-in-law, who is neither fat nor a bastard, and I’ve been wanting to try it myself.  The selling point for this wine was not only the $10 price (I am a cheap date) but also the hang tag around the bottle neck with a pink pin on it.  Great.  They’re going to make a donation to breast cancer research.  We buy it, and when I get in the car I put the pin on and read the hang tag.

They’re going to donate 25 cents for each bottle sold.

I am underwhelmed.  It doesn’t seem like a lot.  Their website states “by the end of this year’s campaign, Fat bastard wines will have raised over $500,000 for Breast Cancer awareness and research.” 

I can understand the research part, but giving money to awareness?  I want to know which PR firm has breast cancer as a client, because if you aren’t aware that you NEED to check your boobies for early detection, then you must be living under a rock.  What we NEED is more research and a cure.  Not more silly, useless, ineffective pink gestures.

Yes, breast cancer sucks.  ALL cancer sucks.

Which leads me to my second ranting train of thought- why all the hype about breast cancer?  I must admit, my anger as Pink October comes around stems in part from jealousy.  Why is breast cancer getting all the hype?  Why not skin cancer?  Mom passed away from squamous cell cancer, which metastasized from basal cell skin cancer.  My brother Robbie did not survive  synovial sarcoma- it took him at the tender age of 25.  Where is all the “early awareness” hoopla for these types of cancer and the boycotting of tanning salons?  When does skin cancer get it’s own month?  When we got our tattoo, there wasn’t even a good color for a squamous cell cancer ribbon- we opted for purple, since that was Mom’s  birthstone color. 

I guess I’m just vying for equal awareness rights.  Maybe we should start a “Cancer Sucks” movement?  Use the color orange (it’s my favorite).  Advocate eating right, exercising, getting regular checkups and stop doing all that bad shit to your body.  Lump (no pun intended) ALL the cancers into one huge awareness campaign and give all proceeds to medical research.

Cancer sucks.  So does the woman in the pink ribbon t-shirt I saw on 49th Street yesterday smoking a cigarette. 

Stepping off my soapbox now.

In 1492, Chrisoffa Corombo Sailed the Ocean Blue

Really, why do we celebrate this so-called holiday?

 Seventy-three years ago, President F. D. Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a federal holiday after the Knights of Columbus organization put a little squeeze on him.  (I can’t help humming the theme to the Godfather as I write this!)  And I can’t help laughing when I think about who they’ve picked to honor.

Chrisoffa Corombo (his real name before it was Anglicized) isn’t really a person we should look up to.  The fact that he discovered America? That little notion taught to us in school is a little skewed.  Backed by the Spanish monarchs, he did discover the “New World”- the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba- but he never set foot in North America.  That distinction belongs to the Amerigo Vespucci and the Vikings- the people I’m partially descended from.  Why don’t we see any Viking parades going down Fifth Avenue?

We’re taught in school that those who opposed Corombo thought the Earth was flat, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Even in ancient times, sailors knew the Earth was round and scientists not only suspected it was a sphere, but were even able to estimate its size.  And speaking of sailors, it wasn’t even Corombo’s idea to sail west from Spain- it was his brother Bartholomew’s idea.  Arriving in the Carribean, Corombo and his crew forced natives into slavery, tortured and killed thousands while serving as their governor, and brought syphilis and gonorrhea and smallpox from Europe.  He was an opium addict and a womanizer.  He frequently hanged members of his crew for disobeying him. Hmmm.  Not a nice man at all.   Far  into his old age, Corombo was still convinced he had sailed the coast of Asia.  Confused much?

As a kid, I remember making little paper ships (I can still smell the paste) and naming the three ships of Columbus. The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria- the schools didn’t even get that right.  The Nina was really the Santa Clara- it was nicknamed the Nina for it’s owner, Juan Nino of Moguer.  I guess it flowed better in the school poems we were taught calling it the Nina.  Corombo was not well-known or well-liked in his lifetime.  In fact, he was not revered until hundreds of years after his death by British colonists in the States who didn’t want to honor pioneer John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), since that’s who the British government commisioned to explore the world.  Good work, guys.  Honor the drug addled killer…

So once again, I’m working on a day when most of the rest of America is home or apple-picking or on a Church retreat or in Vermont having a good time.  I’m in the city watching a parade of thousands of mis-informed Italian-Americans supposedly celebrating the life of a mediocre explorer, shaking my head at the lunacy of it.  Meh.  Another excuse to eat and drink too much and carry on in the subways.  At least my commute was quick and easy today.

Is Klutziness a Disability? If So, I Should Totally Get to Ride For Free.

I’m either the clumsiest person in the world, or the MTA is out to kill me.

And have I mentioned recently that I hate the N6 bus? No? Let me reiterate.  I hate the N6 bus.

I left work yesterday evening a little later than usual since MR and Zombiegirl weren’t going to be home (she was trying out for the Red Bulls elite training academy. Go Red Bulls!) and I wasn’t in any rush to spend time with the dogs. It seemed that the rest of Manhattan had the same idea and all wanted to go to Hempstead with me. The F train was a sardine can- I stood up until 169th street, which isn’t great since I get off at the next stop- 179th St.  At the bus stop in Jamaica, I let two packed buses go by hoping to get a seat (uh, right) on the next bus. After waiting for about 20 more minutes, I resigned myself to stand and got on the next (also crowded) bus.

It’s okay though! I have Enjoy Suduko to keep me happy and occupied while being stepped on and prodded in the ass by the backpack on the kid behind me. I start my travel home hanging on to the pole above swinging helplessly into the personal space of the stern lady sitting primly in front of me. She keeps giving me dirty looks.  No worries! I avoid her eyes and continue to play Suduko with one hand s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g my thumb into the upper left hand corner…

After a half hour of this hell, the bus driver decides to make it even worse by slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting the asshole that cut us off. Of course, I’m not paying attention (looking for that BUG- the only square with three numerals in it while all the others have two) and someone slams into me on the left, dislodging my non-Suduko hand from the pole. Somehow (and I swear this has happened before in the seconds before my hapless traumas) I make a complete turn and end up on the floor on my ass. I land on shopping bags and feet and I think another body, so I didn’t hurt my lower region. (I’m unusually padded down there anyways.) What seemed like a million hands helped me up, grabbing me under my arms and pulling at my hands and forearms until I’m back in an upright position and shaking like a leaf. Okay, so big deal, I fell over. I do that all the time so I’m not surprised. Shaken, but not surprised.

What I am surprised at is the amount of people asking me if I was alright and NOT GETTING THE HELL UP AND GIVING ME A SEAT. Here I am, a fallen woman (hah!) shaking and biting her lip not to cry and the fat pig I was standing next to had used my injury as a decoy to jump into the seat of the prissy, prim lady and she had the nerve to ask me if I’m okay? Bitch- get the hell up and let me sit for a few moments and collect myself! Really? At least three other people SITTING asked me if I was alright. I flew four feet down the aisle, pushing people out of the way and ending up on my ass and you can’t even get up and let me sit and cry a little in peace?

There is no hope for humanity.

I managed to keep my phone in my hand, and my pocketbook on my arm (I hope I slapped the fat pig in the head as I was going down…)  but I also managed to wrench my shoulder and sprain my thumb, probably from being so abruptly and forcibly detached from the pole I was holding.  My back and neck of course are now out of whack so a visit to Dr. Evelyn, my chiropractor, is urgent.  I finally get a seat, finish the Suduko game I’m working on (using the hints since I’m too upset to think) and stew the rest of the ride home.

Walking home from the bus stop I realize my nightmare is not over.

I… don’t have my house key. I’m locked out of the house.  MR and Z-girl are not due home for another hour and a half.

Of course.  This is the way my life runs.

Instead of hanging out in the dark on my stoop or in the dark in my backyard, I trekked it over to the library since the mosquitoes in the backyard were finding my thumbs especially delicious.  I found a few books on my Goodreads list and SURPRISE! I actually was carrying my library card.  I found a nice overstuffed chair and curled up and waited for MR, my knight in shining armor, to pick me up.

Today?  It hurts to type.  I’m stiff and sore.  And I came up with a great idea for a padded, bubble-wrap suit.  I can patent it and make millions and ride around in a limo.

And cut off all those damn N6 buses.

Update:  I just discovered a bruise on my thigh that looks remarkably like a shoeprint.  FML.

Pay The Damn Piper

The day after our disasterous camping trip found me on the couch trying to catch up with the local news.  Times in our neighborhood haven’t been too good what with the fire at the school and at least five muggings that I’ve heard of.  Even one of our neighbors had enough and started putting together a neighborhood watch.  It just seems like our little slice of heaven fell on the floor buttered side down.

During the break in the news, Cablevision’s editorial guy (don’t know his name, but he always looks tired…) starts speaking of Leandra’s law- making it a felony to drive drunk with a child younger than 15 years old in your car- and how breathalyzers are now mandatory in cars owned by anyone with a DWI conviction.  This sounds like a good plan, albeit one with a few holes.

Such as… what prevents someone else in the car from blowing into the breathalyzer?  What prevents that convicted drunk from driving another car?  How long will they have to have this device on their car?

I know, but it’s a start.  If it can deter one person from getting behind the wheel while impaired, it’s worth it.  I was all for this arguement until Mr. Editorial started explaining that the DUIer’s were complaining.

What on earth do these people have to complain about? 

The cost of these little units is about $180, then there is an $80 monthly fee.  They’re complaining that it’s too much money to lay out.  They feel they’re being mistreated.  They want the county (then, ultimately, the state) to pay for it for them.

The editorial man even used the term “indigent drivers” when referring to these whiny babies.  Excuse me, Mr. Editorial Man- if one is indigent, should one even be driving a car?  I’m by no means indigent  and I can barely afford to keep our cars with the upkeep, repairs and the damn insurance.  So, which would suit you better, Drunk Driver?  Paying a paltry sum to keep the rest of the world safe from your actions, or giving up your car permanently.   Because you’re DEAD?  How about paying a TON ASS of money to your lawyer?  Or paying restitution to the family you mangled because you had to have those last two beers?  Suck it up (then blow it out) and pay the fee.  It’s not fair that we will ultimately have to pay for your punishment.  Give something else up, like, maybe not going to the bar?!?

In all fairness, Mr. Editorial man was (I think) against the State paying for these breathalyzers.  I say “I think” because he certainly didn’t say it as succinct and as passionate as I did.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t afford the time, asshats.

Stapling That Jello…

We interrupt the reviews of Puerto Rico to bring you this public service message inspired by last night’s events.

Zombiegirl’s elementary school was torched last night. A group of kids were seen hanging out in the schoolyard and the next thing you know, the first grade annex is on fire.  While surveying the firefight, which included five fire departments, the Superintendent of the schools falls to the ground suffering a heart attack.  He’s rushed to the hospital where he remains in ICU.

The police are asking for information about this act of arson.  Who were these kids?  (We can be almost certain that adults are not responsible for this crime- what would be the point?)  Will anyone come forward with info? Will we be surprised when we find out who did it?

Summer mischief, you might say.  Summer fun getting out of hand.  Kids being kids.  We’ve heard all the excuses…but really…what if this was an experiment for something bigger?  Witnesses say they heard explosions- what if this was a practice run for the High School?   Zombiegirl is going into Middle School next year-what if that school is the target?

So who did this?  And why?  Could it have been your kid?  Mine?  Would they ever do something like this?  Could yours? 

Ugh.  This is driving me crazy.  I can think of half a dozen little cretins that would set fire to their school.  And I know with a little guidance from thier parents, their behavior could be curbed.  So… I’ve compiled a few common sense steps in raising kids.  Follow them and it may help keep your child (and you) on the path to sanity.  At the very least, keep them out of trouble…

Step #1:  Have sit down family dinners at least five times a week.  Use this time to talk to your child about what they are doing in school, who their friends are, their hopes, dreams and desires.  Use this time to talk about your day and ask about theirs.  Listen to what your child has to say and don’t use dinnertime as a time to criticize.  And moreover, use this time to TEACH THEM HOW TO USE A DAMN FORK CORRECTLY!  Manners start at home.

Step #2:  Know who your child’s friends are.  Don’t let them out of the house until you know who their “peeps” are.  Don’t be afraid to embarrass your child and show up where they say they’re hanging out.   Their safety is YOUR concern.  Try to meet the parents of the kids your child is friends with.  Above all, make friends with like-minded parents.  Do things together as families.  Your children may not become BFF’s, but they will be close and it may help deter bad behavior when they’re with other groups of kids.

Step #3:  Set a good example.  If you don’t want your child to curse, don’t you curse.  If you don’t want your child to start drinking, don’t drink around them.  If you don’t want your child to smoke, don’t smoke.  It’s not good for you anyway.  Be a hard-working, conscientious, kind, thoughtful person and your child will learn from you. 

Step #4:  Don’t be in denial.  Your kids will lie through their teeth to convince you they are perfect, that they do no wrong.  Don’t believe them.  If someone comes to you with a complaint about your kid’s behavior, don’t deny it.  Your kid is not an angel- they will mess up sometimes.  Accept the complaint with an “I’ll look into it, thanks” then confront your child.  Don’t ever dismiss a complaint.  Investigate thoroughly.  If your child says someone (a teacher, a neighbor) doesn’t like them, there has to be a reason why.  Find out.

Step #5:  Set boundaries.  Clear, concise rules should be set for a child’s behavior at home and at school.  Life has rules, why shouldn’t families?  If you let your child get away with everything, how will they learn to cope when they are forced to adhere to rules in the job market when they get older? 

Step #6:  Let them express themselves without being critical, yet adhere to those boundaries in step #5.  Zombiegirl wanted to streak her hair blue in fourth grade.  I checked with the school principal and her teacher to see if this was okay.  We then told her she couldn’t do anything “freaky” until she was 16- no piercings, emo makeup, tattoos if she dyed her hair.  She was okay with that compromise and she’s been doing her hair ever since.  Does it hurt anyone?  Nope.  Does it give her a little self-confidence?  Yup.   Let your child try different things.  They’re trying to find out who they are.  Don’t be over-protective, either.  Not letting your kids grow will stunt their independence later.

Step #7:  Don’t be afraid to punish.  If your child has overstepped their boundaries, or broken a rule, they must be held accountable.  Threatening to punish bad behavior is not a punishment.  Take action.  Don’t wuss out. 

Step #8:  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Your child’s teachers are not idiots.  They will deal with hundreds of children in the course of their careers.  If they tell you your child has a learning problem or a behavior problem or a speech impediment, get professional advice!  Better to nip that problem in the bud when they’re young.  Remember Step #4- don’t be in denial.  There is no shame in medication, dieting or therapy.  This should all be done for the good of your child.

Step #9: Get involved.  Get involved with whatever your child is interested in.  Sports?  Be a coach.  At the very least, go to the games.  Don’t just sit in your car, either.  Cheer them on.  Show them you care.  Extracurricular activities?  Don’t be a drop-off parent.  Walk them in.  In the few moments it takes to get out of the car and go inside, you could ask about their day, or get a little feedback on how they’re doing.  If you work, and rely on someone else to take your kid, then volunteer at any event those activities have (dance recitals, cub scouts jamborees, karate tournaments)  Show your kid that you’re interested and not just a taxi service.  Volunteer at school- PTA, teacher’s assistant, cupcake baker, etc.  Be active in the one thing that takes up most of your child’s time.  You’ll be able to then check surreptiously on your kid.  DON’T BE OVERLY INVOLVED, however, and neglect your kid.  Volunteer time is not an excuse for excessive socializing.  Remember you’re doing this for your child, not to go out drinking with the girls…

Step #10:  Ask and listen.  Ask your child questions about their lives.  Tell them you expect honest answers.  Listen when they speak.  Sometimes it’s hard to listen to a child- they haven’t perfected their storytelling abilities yet.  Be interested- don’t get that glazed look in your eye- they can tell.  Most importantly, ask others about your child.  Get impressions from their Girl Scout leader, their Sunday School teacher, your neighbor.  Tell them you expect honest answers.  Remember Step #4.  They see your child differently from you and may have a different insight than you into what makes your child tick.  Don’t get mad when you hear something you don’t expect.

Do these steps make sense?  I’m not a child rearing expert, or a child psychiatrist.  My children are far from perfect, but they’ve never been in any sort of trouble, either.  Mostly, it’s just common sense.  Unfortunately, most of us are common sense deficient.

I hope they catch the little bastards that did this.