It's our pleasure to introduce Robin Burcell as our first out-of-state guest blogger! Here's her bio:
Robin Burcell has worked as a police officer, a detective, and a criminal investigator. After more than 20 years in law enforcement, including work as an FBI-trained forensic artist and a hostage negotiator, Burcell is now writing full time. She is the author of the SFPD Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie novels: EVERY MOVE SHE MAKES (nominated for an Anthony), FATAL TRUTH (winner of the 2002 Anthony Award for best paperback original), DEADLY LEGACY (winner of the 2003 Anthony), and COLD CASE (nominated for an Anthony.) Robin is working on a new series featuring an FBI forensic artist, the first of which should be out next year.
A virgin no more. Yes, it’s true. This is my very first post as a guest blogger on Working Stiffs. I had thought about writing something on my old career, that of being a cop for a couple of decades, a career that certainly helps when it comes to writing crime fiction. Then again, maybe I should admit that my kids aren’t exactly thrilled about my past career. I tend to be a bit on the overprotective side, because I know what goes on out there, and it’s not just something I’ve read about somewhere else. I’ve seen it, experienced it, investigated it.
And my kids suffer for it.
Typical conversation with my oldest daughter, currently 16, after discussing something that usually concerns boys or crime as seen on TV news:
Me: I’m locking you in your closet until you graduate from college.
Daughter: You can only lock me in until I’m 18, and then I’m getting my bellybutton pierced.
Me: Not while you’re living under my roof.
Daughter: (raises eyebrows in that “we’ll see” look she’s perfected over the years).
Ah, my firstborn. Someone near and dear to my heart--maybe
a more apt description would be someone who makes my heart
stop each time she steps out the door,
no doubt because I was a cop for twenty years, and
I know what goes on out there in that big wide world.
You see, about a week ago, she passed her driver’s test
and is now an official licensed driver. This is the rite of passage
that nearly every teen aspires to.
And it’s the moment in life every parent fears.
It already costs me about a hundred bucks every six weeks to get my hair colored, and that was before my daughter was licensed. Now what am I supposed to do? I’m fairly certain that the speed in which my hair grays is commensurate to my children’s movement toward young adulthood and their knowledge that I can’t really lock them in the closet. And having experienced parenthood this far into the game, I’m absolutely certain that if any parent knew what to expect, knew what it felt like when their kid walks out the door that first time and each successive time thereafter with car keys in his or her hand, the population growth of earth would be about zero.
Really there should be some type of manual that is required reading before you ever contemplate having a kid, a manual that prepares you for these milestones and the untold money you will spend supporting the hair coloring companies. After all, there’s a book on WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING. And the popular sequels WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST YEAR and WHAT TO EXPECT THE TODDLER YEARS. I loved those books. They were well-worn in my house, especially the section that listed illnesses and diseases. If the pediatrician thought I was neurotic, it had everything to do with what was in the books. When my kids got sick, I’d look up the symptoms of such maladies as chicken pox and Fifth’s disease. Who would’ve guessed that the horrible rash my oldest daughter continually got as a toddler was from feeding her corn. That discovery was one little line, tucked in some chapter, and saved us a fortune in diaper rash prevention. And that whole fingernails-turning-blue thing that indicates pneumonia? Yep, found that in the back of the book, too, thereby getting my youngest to the hospital just in the nick of time.
Personally, I believe they stopped this wonderful series too soon. I think the last book ends at the age of five, or maybe that’s the last one I bought, because by then, I knew every symptom for every disease my children could possibly get. I was prepared.
Or so I thought.
Too late I thought of the book I really need: WHAT TO EXPECT THE TEEN YEARS. Someone needs to write this. And like the earlier books, it should have lots of photos. Especially of the parents and what they’ll look like each time their kid walks out the door with the car keys in hand.
And that’s where it should remind you that you might want to invest in a CPR manual and maybe a defibrillator so that when your kid starts up the car and pulls out of the garage, you and your significant other are prepared to resuscitate each other. Especially after the insurance company quote arrives to tell you how much it actually costs to insure your little darlings.
Anyone else hold stock in hair coloring companies?
Robin Burcell attempts most of her parenting skills in Northern California. Feel free to visit her website HERE or HERE. All teen parenting tips welcome.