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I recently decided that my 13 year old is old enough to babysit the younger kids. But I feel guilty leaving her so I only go to the grocery store. I dutifully leave my cell phone number with them and say they should call if they need anything. They take me at my word.

Me: (Thinking) Why’s my butt vibrating?

Me: (Answering phone) Hello?

Child #1: (Sounds desperate) Mom? I was just wondering? When do you think you’ll be home?

Me: 15 minutes. What’s up?

Child #1: Oh. (hangs up)

I cruise the aisles. Stock up on milk, hummus, juice boxes and salami. Also, I fill the cart at least half full with cereal boxes. I turn the ringer to my phone on.

(Phone rings)

Me: Hello?


Me: Who is this?


Me: We have three cats, and we’ll have to have a family meeting about any more pets. Everyone has to be at home. Where’s your sister? Who is this?

Child #4: Oh. (Hangs up)

Phone Rings

Me: Hello?

Child #3: (sounds desperate) Mom? I need you!

Me: Yes, what is it? Hang up and dial 911.

Child #3: Wait! You know in Lost? Does Kate die?

Me: I don’t think so.

Child #3: Oh. (Hangs up)

Ring, Ring

Me: Hello?

Child #2: Where are all the Girl Scout cookies?

Me: In the basement. But I think only Thin Mints are left.

Child #2: What? There was an almost full box of Tagalongs this morning!

Me: Who is this?

Child #2: Oh (hangs up).

I pull into the checkout lane. 

Me: Oh my god, I forgot Quinoa Flakes! And raw almonds! And graham crackers! And hummus. Wait, there it is.  And — Oh My god — fruit! (To the checker) I’ll be right back.

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring