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"The one thing I’ve never admitted to any baby-sitter, because I’ve barely admitted it to myself, is that I don’t want her to be everything to my children that I am. I want her to be more than I am and everything I am not. I want her to be consistently cheerful and endlessly patient, sitting on the floor all afternoon playing the age-appropriate equivalent of patty-cake. I want her to enforce the "no TV until after homework dinner, and shower" rule even though I have been known to give in because it’s easier. I want her to insist on nutritious snacks after school, when I might be tempted to permit sugar and salt. I want her to ride the scariest roller coasters at Great Ameria, so that I don’t have to, and to play soccer on the front lawn without ever saying, "Maybe later, sweetie, I have to work." It would take a therapist all of ...

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