* * * Someone who considers herself a fan of the spud (and why did I not realize that the spud has her own fans?) sent in a bunch of questions about the spud yesterday. Since I had a few about her in the queue, I decided today I’d get the spud questions answered. I’m not going to answer all of them, out of respect for her privacy, but I’ll answer most of them. Reader Patty asks: How does your daughter feel about having her life written about? She actually seems to think it’s pretty cool. I don’t know that she completely understands it all, but when we mention that we’ve written about her in an entry, she’s pleased. Fred and I were talking about an entry once at the dinner table, and she said “Am I in the entry?” Fred said, “Yes, it’s about you!” (It was an entry about something funny she’d said or done) She responded with “Good.” That pretty much sums up her attitude about it – as long as we mention her every once in a while, she’s happy. Reader Shannon asks: How about answering the question of why you refer to your daughter as only the Spud. I actually addressed this on her cast page, saying Because it creeps me out, the thought of complete strangers knowing her name. Nothing personal, you understand. Of course, that was written 3 1/2 years ago, when I had images of stalkers tracking her down. At this point, plenty of you out there know her first name. But she doesn’t have the same last name as Fred and I, so it would be that much more difficult for you crazy stalkers to find her. It’s pretty much become a habit, and I think it’s probably safer to keep it up at least for the next few years. Reader Rebecca asks: Does The Spud know about the website, and if she doesn’t, are you concerned that maybe one day she will find out about it and read it? She does know that Fred and I have websites, but she’s never asked to read them, maybe because the idea of reading her parents’ journals sounds pretty boring. If she wanted to read my journal, I can’t imagine that I’d have much of a problem with it – she knows I swear like a sailor, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone into my sex life in detail, so I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t want her to read. Reader Judy asks: Does the “spud” have a nice ole’ southern accent–and is that sort of weird to you? What were other kids reactions to her at first? She doesn’t really – at least not that I can tell – have a southern accent. A couple of years ago she was telling me a story about being outside roller skating, and she said “I was fixing to go up the hill…”, which is a definite southern-ism, so I guess she’s picked up some southern sayings, but not an accent. At least I don’t think so! I think that part of that is because the area where we live is filled with people from other parts of the country – a large number of people from St. Louis, for one, plus there’s a large Army base nearby – so she doesn’t pick up southern accents from the other kids. The kids at her school and in our neighborhood didn’t really have a reaction to her, because they’re used to non-southerners. It would probably be different if we lived out in the country, I’m sure. Reader Angie asks: What do you and Fred call your daughter at home? Since both of you always refer to her as “the Spud” in your journals, I wondered if you call her by her real name the rest of the time. Do you sometimes slip and call her Spud when you’re not writing a journal entry? I usually call her by her name; Fred either calls her by her name, or occasionally, when he wants to get her attention, he’ll call her “young child.” I don’t know that we’ve ever called her “Spud” to her face, but she knows that that’s the name we call her in our journals, and she’ll sometimes refer to herself as “The Spud”, because it amuses her. Reader Suzie asks: Where is “Spud’s” biological father? Are you two divorced, never married, is he deceased? If he’s not the last option, does the “Spud” ever see, talk to, or hear from her father? The spud’s father lives in Rhode Island with his fiancee. He calls the spud at least every other week on Sunday evenings, and she spent two weeks in California with he and his fiancee last summer – he’s from California, and his parents, sister, and various other relatives live out there. She’ll be seeing him again this summer for a week. Additionally, they email back and forth every so often, and if the spud has a question or something she wants to discuss with him, she’s free to call him. I was married to the spud’s father for 8 years, and our divorce was finalized shortly after I moved to Alabama. Reader Heather asks: I read and enjoy both your and Fred’s journals. I have noticed that he discusses interactions with the Spud much more than you do, or seem to in my perception anyway. I was wondering if this is just because they tend to do more stuff together or if you do and it is just so everyday that you don’t think if mentioning it, or if you try to give her a little more privacy about her actions. You know, that’s a good question. I think the reason Fred ends up writing more about the spud is because when she does or says something funny, he’ll ask if he can write about it, and since he’s writing about it, I don’t, because we have many shared readers, and it would be rather redundant to both write about the same thing. There are things that go on in her life that I don’t write about because I feel like it would be an invasion of her privacy, but I try to be nice to my readers and not allude to them in the “There’s something going on that I can’t talk about” way. Nothing big, really, just things I don’t think she’d want a bazillion strangers reading about. And big spud fan reader CA asks: What does she want to be when she grows up? At the moment, she wants to be a math teacher – a 5th grade math teacher, to be exact. Actually, I say “at the moment”, but I think she’s wanted to be a teacher since she was 10 or so. Does she think about college and stuff? She does think about college, although it’s more of a vague way rather than where she wants to go to college or anything concrete. One of the things I really like is that she takes it for granted that she’s going to go to college – it’s a “when”, not an “if”. Are you freaked out by the thought of the Spud going to college? Not yet – I’m more freaked out at the idea of her driving in less than two years. Eeek! If given my choice, I’d like to have her live at home for her first year of college – or at least go locally – but it’s not my choice, and I’m not going to push her in any particular direction. What are the Spud’s hobbies, if any? She likes playing games on her computer, watching TV, and writing short stories and poetry. Oh, and listening to music. Favorite food? She loves chinese food – she’d probably eat it every single day if she could. Music? Like me, it really depends on the song. She likes country and pop, the Beatles and some cheesy ’80s stuff. I recently made a CD for her at her request, and the song list was: Ironic – Alanis Morrissette, Losing Grip – Avril Lavigne, Hard Days Night – the Beatles, Old Red – Blake Shelton, The Baby – Blake Shelton, Living on a Prayer – Bonjovi, Fishin’ Song – Brad Paisley, No Such Thing – John Mayer, Proud to be an American – Lee Greenwood, God Blessed Texas – Little Texas, Just a Friend – Mario, Concrete Angel – Martina McBride, I Have Been Blessed – Martina McBride, Youth of the Nation – POD, She’s My Kind of Rain – Tim McGraw and the Dance Hall Doctors, Let’s Talk about Me – Toby Keith. So, yeah – lots of country, but a little bit of everything tossed in. Does it bother the Spud that she lives so far from her Dad? Her cousin? It doesn’t seem to – she’s used to it, I think. She does get plenty of time with Brian and Debbie and my parents in the summer, though. She’s never said that it bothers her and she doesn’t act like it does, so I’m going to assume that she’s okay with it. Do you think the Spud talks to you about everything? Actually, I think she does. She’s pretty open about her life and her friends and how she feels, and she certainly talks to me more openly than I ever talked to my mother, so I’ll say that yes – she talks to me about most everything. (Back to the FAQ page) Have a question you’d like answered? Ask away!]]>