I don't remember a whole lot about my pre-teen/early teen years, but I'm sure it was hard at times. Hero struggles too - it's such a challenging time to navigate. Growing up, but still needing to rely on others to do so many things for you. I think Santa was positively brilliant with his guinea pig idea. Having a pet, for some kids, is almost like therapy. Cinnamon really brings out the nurturing side of Hero, and he's also good company when she's been sent to her room for an infraction. It's hard to sulk with a cuddly, silly critter running around. I don't know that there is a place in the house he HASN'T been yet. Hero was talking one day about how she graduates in 5 years. 5 years?!?! How is that even possible? It really opened my eyes to the fact that we have precious little time to be her most important influences and do our best to ensure that she grows into a responsible, kind-hearted, ethical, Godly woman. What a Herculean task in this day and age - only with the help of God can we hope to achieve it!