Our pathetic rules force the Wolverine to sneakily log on
SOMETHING wakes you at 2am. You lie quietly in the darkness, blinking, before realising that what you're hearing is the sound of someone retching in the en-suite.
You leap out of bed and find your husband pale-faced from a mild case of food poisoning.
Better out than in, he says, smiling weakly.
You offer to make him a cup of tea and, as you step out into the hallway you notice that the Wolverine's bedroom door is open and her light on.
You pop your head around the door, find her bed empty and scurry downstairs, calling her name.
You try the kitchen and utility room, eventually discovering your daughter sheepishly lurking behind the study door as the computer briskly turns itself off.
She'd been on Facebook chatting to her friends. She couldn't sleep, she mews.
No wonder -- as you recall, she stubbornly refused to get up until lunchtime yesterday, pointing out that it was still the summer holidays.
Get to bed, you say, gritting your teeth.
Along with his cup of tea, you bring your husband news that you'd caught the Wolverine secretly hacking into the computer while she thought her parents were asleep. He groans.
Next morning, the two of you check the computer history.
Your daughter, it reveals, has been logging on to Facebook late at night for about 10 days -- since around the time you confiscated the laptop following a particularly vicious row with her brother about who got to use it and when.
You removed the thing, kept it for a day and then allowed them to have it back on the grounds that they'd attempt to share in a mature fashion.
About 15 minutes later when screaming, kicking warfare broke out once again, you confiscated the thing indefinitely -- sternly warning them not to touch the computer in your office if they valued their lives.
So, your husband now wearily puts a password block on the office computer. You retrieve the kids' laptop and he wearily puts a password on that.
The next day you wake the Wolverine at 7.45am. Following a short, heated exchange, she is presented with a list of time-consuming chores and warned to stay out of your office.
Later you negotiate some rules around the possible return of the laptop.
Rules, the Wolverine grumbles.
Why do you think she's been forced to creep around in the middle of the night trying to communicate with her friends?
Jeez, you're a pathetic excuse for a mother.
Just another five years or so, you think; then she will go away and all of this will stop.
Five years is nothing, you tell yourself.
Nothing at all.