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April 8, 2014

BEAM: The mom mobile

— School day mornings my car becomes a confessional. Tinted windows hide the identities of my three tiny charges as they spill their guts about their troubles.

When they do not have their own admissions, which is often the case, the trio decides to share with the world each other’s sins. Whispers are replaced by roars and, at times, punches. Normally the accused answers back with a hair pull or well-placed pinch.

Unable to secure a curtain or other type of divider between me and the confessors, I sit and listen and hope that our journey is short and fast. I wonder if the Pope ever feels the same. At least he has a chance to take a sip of wine at communion.

Although nerve-wracking, these sessions do produce results. As parents, we want to know about our kids’ lives, even when they are unwilling to share. This evidence can’t always be found from snooping through their Instagram accounts or straining to hear their phone conversations. Intelligence must be collected by operatives on the ground as well.

Yeah, yeah. I know that our offspring need some space. And sure, I trust them, to a point. Although one did break a picture frame the other day and blame it on the dog.

Accidents happen, as does dishonesty apparently. But what if the little ones were planning to take over the world or jump off a bridge or cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats? Somehow, someway, these “what-ifs” must be addressed, and if needed, stopped.

That’s where little brothers and sisters come in.

Siblings, it turns out, have less regard for privacy than even parents. Worse than the NSA, CIA and PTA combined, they’ll do anything to score the scoop. To them, information is power.

The reveal could upend the family pecking order, elevating the child with the constant penchant for trouble-making over the kid that nary gets caught doing anything. Balance, especially for the middle child, can be restored.

Given this, you’d think that kids with such goods would use them for blackmail. Holding something over a brother’s head could give you more screen time or a share of the guy’s candy. But somehow they don’t. To the sibling, usually the telling of the secret is retribution enough.

Just last week, my 9-year-old son outed his sister and her first grade crush. For Christmas, she received an electronic password-protected diary. Thinking her writings would be safe under this $15 advance in technology, she recorded her deepest secrets. For a 7-year-old, that means the boy you like.

Somehow, her brother hacked the system and discovered the kid in question’s identity, which he proceeded to share. Caught, my daughter couldn’t lie. Well, she couldn’t lie convincingly, let’s say.

She admitted to the fondness, adding how the boy was kind and smart and had really nice hair, a trait apparently important for a first-grader. In return, however, she reversed the tables and revealed who her brother liked as well.

Two secrets without any type of parental coercion or a Hail Mary? That’s not a bad day in the booth.

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at adbeam47@aol.com

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