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Parenting Shutdown 2013 [While I was furloughed for two weeks, I posted the following Facebook updates almost daily. Here they all are in one place, as requested by some friends and family who don’t do Facebook and somehow live to tell the tale.]

Day 1. All that yelling in the house, all those ridiculous demands, what did my kids think? There wouldn’t be a parenting shutdown? Starting this morning, I said, go stand on a chair, reach up, and turn the TV on yourself. This sh*t is real.

Day 2. I have been very clear from the start. You are an ineffective and potentially destructive four-year-old. The country does not deserve to hear all that talk about your butt, nor should it have to wait for you to finish your asparagus. I demand that you get back in my womb. Get back in my womb and then everyone can get back to work. It’s that simple.

Day 3. Let’s be clear: my two-year-old is causing this, not me. I’ve tried to allow partial parenting, like wiping his nose before his snot lands on my shirt, but he won’t budge. I’ve tried to talk to him. “Use your words,” I say. He refuses. All he says is no. “No, no, no!” Then he stands and pees in the bath. My God, the American people deserve better than this.

Day 7. Took a much needed break this weekend to refill my massive supply of unrelenting hubris. The opposition is smart. He knows where his belly button is. He knows not to throw mama’s wallet in the trash. He’s just being a bully. I don’t really remember what my demands are anymore, but whatever it is he wants, by God I won’t stand for it.

Day 8. Let’s put this whole thing to a vote. What’s a vote? Well son, if I was parenting — or words and knowledge were deemed essential — I might tell you. For now, let’s say it’s a silly word that rhymes with boat and means you bow to parental pressure and say what I say and then you get a brownie. Fun! Let’s try it.

Day 9. “Debt” is fun to say! What other words begin with D? Deadline. Default. Denial. DooDooHeads. See? This isn’t so bad. We’re learning all sorts of new ways to behave without our parents getting in the way!

Day 10. My son put me in a time-out today for “forever and a day” because I wasn’t listening. He’s playing hardball while my fellow parents are caving all around me. Well let me tell you something: I will stand strong. Or sit. Actually sit in my room without talking or playing with my toys and reflect upon what I should have done, though I won’t ever ever ever say I’m sorry. Ever ever.

Day 11. My approval rating has dropped to .00002%, which means I am likely the only American left who finds me favorable. I expected this. My opposition feigns innocence and charm like you wouldn’t believe, and a quick comparison of our chubby thighs proves his are cuter. But I have more life experience as an obstinate, egomaniacal asskisser. Plus I have all my permanent teeth. I can do this.

Day 12. Recent negotiations are showing some progress toward reconciliation. I cannot divulge specific details of our discussions, but I will say for the first time in two weeks there may have been a big hug and nose kiss involved. Possibly a tush tickle.

Day Whatever. Okay fine. I never did see how I was going to win this. But isn’t it about how you play the game? I didn’t hit. I DIDN’T! I didn’t bite or push or hide your keys in my pile of dirty underpants. I’ve been playing nicely, so you should not be mad and I should get a new car.

Day Blah Blah Blah. For Christ’s sake, is this still going on? I should have seceded from you a long time ago. Right after you spit up on my cashmere. I rally on the National Mall against the outrageous closing of your mind and still … nothing. Maybe it’s time we impeach your ass. For years of gross misconduct, I propose we oust you from office. Also my bathroom, closet, purse, makeup case, glove compartment and at my bedside before 10 am. “Operation See You Later, Alligator,” we’ll call it.

Day 4,350. There’s something I may have neglected to mention. Right before all this started, I passed a new rule stating that the only member of our house allowed to call for a vote to end the shutdown is Mr. Pickle. Everyone loves Mr. Pickle! Unfortunately, he’s made of felt and you ripped his mouth off a few months ago and kicked it under the couch. Oh well. Maybe Mr. Pickle will use that fake falsetto voice he uses when I hold him and ask for a cash bribe. That should get the ball rolling.

Day, Um, The End?! Could it be? Who the hell knows, son. Has anything made sense to you for two weeks now? Is there even such a thing as Mr. Pickle? You know I make sh*t up, right? I don’t know if I’ll be your parent again tomorrow morning or Friday morning or even if I’ll stay your parent the next time you throw a tantrum when you don’t get what you want. All I know is that it’s time for bed. I love you. Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the Congressmen bite.

October 16, 2013. Gooood morning, DC! Give me a kiss. Did you brush your teeth? Take off your PJs. Watch where you’re peeing! Downstairs, please. Two more bites of your eggs. Not at the table! Put your shoes on. Watch where you’re going. Chop, chop, we’re going to be late! Are you listening?? Oh yes, my lovelies — mama’s back and she’s ready to roll.

Thanks for checking out my Web site! I’m afraid I’ve been awful about updating it. I blame my sons. They’re 4 and halfway to 2 — very blameworthy ages, if you ask me. But this is the year of my comeback! Fingers crossed, anyway. I’m working on a new project, which I’ll be revealing soon. Stay tuned. In the meantime, connect with me on Twitter, won’t you? That’s often where I hang out when I can find a moment.

A woman at my reading last night told me her grandparents were married 75 years.  At their 70th anniversary party, they found her grandmother hiding in a closet, smoking a cigarette.  And you thought I made this kind of stuff up.

What do roller skates, spray paint, Twinkies, and a couple scenes from my novel have in common?  All conceived in Chicago, where I’ll be reading next Tuesday at 7 pm at the Book Stall (actually in Winnetka, a northern suburb).  Thinking I might incorporate all of the above in a Blue Man Group-ish performance.  Bring protective gear.

Are you one of the 30,000 people going to Book Expo America?  Come say hi!  HarperCollins booth, Wednesday, noon, free books, free autographs, me … in either my princess, storm trooper, or dominatrix outfit.  Or maybe all three.

I was so touched by Howard Norman’s introduction and the turn-out at my DC reading.  Thanks to everyone who came!  FYI: rumors that I was seen sipping from a flask (at 7 months pregnant) have not been confirmed.

Reason #267 why pregnancy is fun: a woman I never met from AZ writes about how much she liked my book and I can’t stop crying because I love her so much.

If bestselling Chinese author Zhang Yiyi undergoes 10 surgeries to look like Shakespeare, maybe I’ll get surgery to look like Zhang Yiyi.  I’m so getting the hang of this book publicity stuff!   —

DC friends, a heads up — I’ll be reading from my new novel, The Ninth Wife, at Politics & Prose on May 15th at 1 pm. Free Volkswagen Beetles will be given to all audience members.

I just got the bound galleys of my novel. (Due out May 10th.) Did I mention it’s an action-packed thriller about a Swedish girl with a tattoo who falls in love with a vampire while eating, praying, and loving? I hope it’s a hit.