Fuck the lie that we can have it all

by renegademama

My husband was called to work out of town and I’m fucking pissed. Sometimes I resent the shit out of this motherhood gig, the way it goes down for me.

Yeah, I said it. Sometimes I don’t want to be the one on whom the KIDS ALWAYS FALL. Sometimes I don’t want to be the one “with the flexible career” who picks up the slack when my main-life-partner has to build shit in another town. (Hey internet incapable of nuanced thought: I’m not talking about all mothers. JUST ME.)

Sometimes I don’t find this fulfilling and I want a few (hundred?) things to be about me and I wonder what exactly I was thinking when I was all “Yeah totally let’s have LOTS O’ CHILDREN!”

(But then again I don’t really wonder because yesterday I watched my beautiful first kid push my FullSizeRender-4squishy last kid in the little wooden horse swing and I felt the pull of their love as if it were its own special force field.)

Sometimes I don’t want to be the one nursing the baby, though I don’t want to formula feed, either. And sometimes I loathe being the one who gets up in the night because I can “take a nap” if it really gets tough (AS IF THAT NAP EVER HAPPENS), but I like being here for my baby and when the kids get home, and it means something to me to work in that damn co-op preschool. I’m so here for the little angel terrorists.

But you know what?

FUCK THE LIE THAT WE CAN “HAVE IT ALL.”

My career has been central in our past. And it was his career that allowed me to go to graduate school, and if one single douchebag on the internet attempts to talk shit about my husband or bring up some second-wave feminist bullshit they learned in Gender Studies 101 back in 1989 about “women getting out of the home” and “shared partnership” or whatever the fuck you gleaned from your Gloria Steinham-worshipping instructor, well, I don’t know what. I won’t approve your comment and I’ll visualize shoving The Feminine Mystique up your misguided judgmental ass.

Kidding. I’ll totally approve your comment. But the ass-book visualization is true.

I don’t care what you learned in class or believed back in 1973: THIS SHIT AIN’T FIXED and some of us still find ourselves unable to find the glorious holy grail of the work-life balance, “have it all” goodness allegedly bestowed upon us by our crazed bra-burning predecessors.

That’s because it doesn’t exist and we were sold a lie.

 

I bought it. Hook line and motherfucking sinker. But that’s not my problem. My problem is I have 4 kids.

Is that my problem? Does it really matter? Little late now.

At any rate, I’m sure if I made better life choices I would find myself in more amicable life conditions where I could be Janelle Hanchett, Wildly Successful Writer and Top-Notch Mother, but instead last night I screamed at my toddler for flailing one more time in her chair at dinner because I’m so tired my face burns and I’m sick and bitter about my life being placed on hold because my husband has to work out of town, and I’m pissed off that we can’t survive on one income alone but I don’t make enough to justify working out of the home (um, childcare for 4 anyone, anyone, Bueller?), and I want to write a screenplay with a badass filmmaker who wants to work with me and there’s a draft of a book saved in MS Word so neatly and hopefully but starving for hours of merciless revision, and an agent who asked for a proposal (but was abandoned by me approximately 18 months ago), but the mortgage. It needs to be paid in a week.

Fuck it. I want to give up. I won’t.

But I want to, today.

Arlo also feels wildly put-upon.

Arlo also feels wildly put-upon.

How much self-pity can fit in one belly, I ask you? (I’m doing an experiment and I tell you it’s A LOT.)

I worked out of the home for a long time when I had fewer kids and it was worth it financially. That was one of the biggest crocks of shit ever. All the work of the week was just moved to the weekends and I just found myself stuck OUT THERE when I wanted to be IN HERE and if a kid got sick by god I was screwed and leaving a 4-month-old was like wrenching my guts out of my soul (drama?) and then I just sucked at work AND at home and found myself getting older on a rat wheel in a shit home in a shit area where the schools sucked and had no resources to help my dyslexic son. So we moved to a better area, where life costs more.

Oh the tangled web.

 

Which reminds me, can we please stop making these issues about MORALITY/right-and-wrong when it’s really about ECONOMICS? Can we please stop bashing women in and out of the home as if we all wake up one day and say “You know what? I’m just going to DECIDE to work or stay at home!”

Most of us are here or there because we are responding to the ever-evolving circumstances of our lives, and sometimes those circumstances are clear and good and neat (you know, for a week or month or two) and sometimes they RELEGATE US TO ONE ARENA OR THE OTHER WHETHER OR NOT WE WANT TO BE THERE.

Fuck the lie that we can have it all.

I get a little here and a little there and some success here and there and a baby, one two three kids. It’s my fault.

I made this bed. I’m restlessly not sleeping in it.

I nurse my baby at 3pm and play with him and want to burn his fuzzy chicken feather head into my mind forever, I love him so. I watch my husband roll out in the morning and he’s gone to work. I feel slightly resentful that he goes up and away, alone. Maybe I would give anything for a workday alone.

I'm home to get this, and give this, and that's a big fucking deal.

I’m home to get this, and give this, and that’s a big fucking deal.

Then I remember that sucked too.

I’d rather be here.

I’d rather be there.

I’d rather be both. I am both. I “work from home!”

I hate both.

I try, I fail. I’m going to make it to kindergarten info night this year. I found a babysitter for a couple days a week so I can write. When she’s sick I am wordless. I stay up until midnight staring at a blank page. No matter, because there’s the baby again. Nobody’s explained to him that sleep is possible without a nipple in the mouth.

They tell me to sleep train. It feels wrong. They tell me I can do anything. They tell me I’m enough. They tell me I can have it all but it seems they’re just saying DO IT ALL.

Some tell me I had too many kids. I tell them “NO FUCKING KIDDING ASSHOLE.”

But I would have 3 more if I could.

I can’t find my way sometimes, wedged here in this half-in half-out workplace, neither fully stay-at-home nor fully “working mother.”

I can’t find my way in and I can’t find my way out so I just keep moving here, and there, to preschool, to the doctor’s office, to the classroom where I teach, to my baby’s petal lips and dimpled fists, to the most beautiful lie I’ve ever bought.

 

They say I’ll look back and love these times. I could punch them in the throat, if I could only find them. If I weren’t too tired to search. If I weren’t too busy looking for my other fucking shoe.

In a few hours my kids will be home and I’ll make them dinner, teach them manners at the dinner table and ask about their day. We’re out of Cheerios and lunchmeat. I want to write fiction. That’s my next frontier.

I have 2,000 stories to tell but I’m living one I can’t contain, can’t write, can’t hold and can’t understand.

I have it all, except that. I have it all, except an answer. Tomorrow I’ll figure out there isn’t one, and become okay right there.

Or, I guess, I’ll become okay right here.

To the losers who haven’t sleep trained their babies

by renegademama

We all know an infant “sleeping through the night” is the holy grail of parenthood about 12 of us have actually accomplished but all of us are somehow expected to make happen, but hey. Who the fuck is counting?

And we all know that if your baby is not “sleeping through the night” one of two things is happening:

  • Your baby is an asshole. No wait. That’s not right. She’s a “bad baby.” Bad babies don’t sleep through the night. GOOD babies do. (Knowing this, sometimes when my baby wakes up at 3am, I hold him close and look him dead in the eyes and say “Arlo, STOP BEING A BAD BABY. Don’t you want to be good? Good babies don’t demand the boob at 1am 2am 3am and 5am. They are GOOD in that they comprehend the sleep needs of their parents, at 8 months.” Strangely, he just looks at me like “Why is there no nipple in my mouth, loser?”
  • YOU are an asshole. That’s right. Stop complaining. You’re having sleep problems because you haven’t SLEEP TRAINED your baby. Get a grip, douche.

So basically if your baby is not the problem you are the problem. Simple.

Oh just knock it off. I’m not trying to make an argument about sleep training or not sleep training. Well, yes, I absolutely think you are a dick for letting your 3-month-old scream uncontrollably until he vomits on himself and then on the 3rd day he gives up and you’re all “SUCCESS!” and tell all your friends about it on Facebook. Sorry, but that’s some fucked-up shit. On the other hand, if it keeps you from driving yourself off a cliff, do what you do. Whatever. Perspective.

But most people don’t do that. And there are many variations of “sleep training” and most of them are pretty civil, from what I hear, having never actually successfully “sleep trained” anything in my entire life.

The only one to not sleep with us and nurse pretty much all night was Georgia, who actually screamed “Thank GOD I’m FINALLY FREE!” when we put her in a crib at 3-4 months. But she’s George. She needs no human.

beautiful baby

George in her crib like a motherfucking boss

 

My friend said she got her 9-month-old to sleep half the night in the crib (I only want a few hours, folks, JUST A FEW) by going away for 2 days and having her husband give the baby a bottle and then back in the crib, with some limited crying. Next month I’m going to a beginners’ yoga retreat (THEY PROMISE ME FAT PEOPLE CAN DO YOGA) at an ashram in the Sierra Nevada (I can’t make this shit up), so our plan is for Mac to attempt the same.

My expectations of this working are hovering around 5. Percent. As in, 5% likelihood of success.

Why? I don’t know why. Because we suck. Because we’re subpar humans. Because we’ve just never done it. Because the crying makes my soul hurt. Because maybe I have defective children. Because I DON’T KNOW WHY.

Because a good portion of my life feels like a constant state of “winging-it” while the rest of the world appears all in control, planned out and solid, while I’m over here flailing in “WTF is happening” land and wondering how I could get my hands on some of the Kool-Aid they’ve evidently consumed.

Actually, maybe not.

But I know I’m not the only one, and so, this post if for you, losers who have never successfully sleep trained their children. Or really, anybody who has kids who aren’t “sleeping through the night.”

LOSERS.

I get you.

 

Does your head hurt every single day when your eyes open? Me too. Sometimes my cheekbones ache. I didn’t even know that was a thing until this most recent one came along.

Usually my eyes open and I think to myself “Oh god no,” which is not exactly a “fresh start” to my morning but we do what we can. The prospect of copious amounts of coffee and having no choice whatsoever in the matter are the only two things dragging me out of bed. I rely on the bright screen of my phone and the utter cuteness of my baby babbling next to me to remind me that dying is not the way to go here.

LEAVE ME ALONE I’M A LITTLE DRAMATIC SOMETIMES.

georgia and rocket

well, she came in our bed sometimes…

And I understand the weight. On the shoulders and forehead and back. It hurts almost all the time. I want to get to the gym but I can’t. Well, I can, but it’s so much. If I ate better I’d feel better. Why the simple carbs when I’m tired? Why the sugar? Next month I’m going to an ashram where I will be whipped into shape faster than you can say “loose-fitting hemp pants.”

I imagine I’ll come back a yogi.

 

Sometimes I put the milk in the cupboard, and sometimes I get really, really angry at my kids over really, really stupid shit and as it’s happening I realize I am actually nearing the delusional insane/profound irritability state of sleep deprivation and I think to myself “JANELLE YOU MUST SLEEP TRAIN. DO SOMETHING!”

But when 10pm rolls around I just collapse again into bed, with my baby at my side, because sleep, now. I guess. I don’t know if I could do this if I had to work outside the home. What did I do before? I can’t recall.

BTW: Why do we get on each other’s cases for sleep training/not sleep training when the real thing we should be fucking enraged insane livid pissed about is that WE HAVE NO FUCKING PAID MATERNITY LEAVE in this country?

And then there’s the weekends. If my husband’s home, he takes the baby in the morning and I feel 40-60% human again.

And I get that sometimes the whole house is asleep and you’re awake and then you’re sure you really have lost it because what are you doing awake? But the quiet.

And I get that sometimes you hand your baby to your partner and say “I need 20 minutes without a human touching me, looking at me, actually, near me at all.”

And, if your partner works and you stay home (and therefore the nighttime parenting usually falls on you), I get wanting to bludgeon the motherfucker (lovingly, of course, and just a LITTLE) with something that will hurt but not kill because just look at him over there snoring (the partner, not the baby).

FullSizeRender-2

It doesn’t all suck

And I get that none of that is all there is, and there’s the cuddles and laughing and baby snores and fists and the smell of them after the bath as they tuck up against you, and the kiss you give his head anyway, 3 or 9 or 12 times a night as you do that grab-and-roll thing to nurse on the other side, and the softness of the breath, the cheeks and neck. I know there’s a gratefulness that you can be there, even as you’re hating it, and the oldest one will be 18 in 5 years.

There is always that, too, or maybe that’s only because I’ve been doing this for 13 years, and it feels like 9 days, and one of them is going to go soon. I’m not saying I know more than you. I think it’s pretty clear I don’t. And I remember when all I felt was resentment. Love, but resentment. Because it couldn’t possibly be this hard, and yet it was. And I couldn’t see through or out because I had never gotten through or out but now I have a kid who doesn’t need me at all at night, and sleeps in a space all her own, and with her, I’m through, and out, and can’t even recall.

 

So now, now I’m not angry. I’m just tired. Well, sometimes I’m angry.

And I still haven’t figured it out.

And maybe you haven’t either.

So I wanted you to know. You’re not the only loser. And when I come back a yogi, I’ll tell you everything about how to fix all your shit, because I know, I know it’s right around the corner.

The same. The tired.

The end.

It’s all right there. Or here, actually.

Right here on my fucking chest.

FullSizeRender-3

Arlo is relieved that I’ve finally been successfully sleep trained.

 

A handy guide to pleasing a 4-year-old

by renegademama

When Georgia found out Arlo got to write directions for how to please him, she decided she wanted in on the action.

*****

Dear Mom,

When I wake up in the morning, I need you to be ready to party. Right now. As I enjoy it. I like partying. I like furniture jumping, yelling and being naked. Basically I’m you when you were 20.

I need you to make me pancakes. I like pancakes. I only like eating things I like.

Stop talking about protein. I don’t give a shit about protein. What I give a shit about is pancakes on my plate.

If you put something on my plate that I’m not sure I like, I will tell you I don’t like it and do pretty much everything other than try it. If you play a super stupid game with me I may try it. Yeah, I’ll try it, but I might spit it out. But you can’t get mad at me because you said I just needed to “try one bite.” At some point you’ll give up because I’m so fucking annoying at the table nobody can stand me.

Don’t hate yourself. I’m just better at this. I’m actually having fun.

That’s your downfall. You don’t think this is fun.

I think this is fun. That’s why I always win.

Speaking of food, I like fruit, so please mostly or always just feed me fruit. Sometimes I like chicken but I don’t like any other meat that isn’t chicken so just call all meat-like substances chicken and you’ll have a better chance of me eating it.

Chance. I said “Chance.” Calm down.

I like to do everything myself always unless I need your help. If you try to help me when I don’t want it I’ll throw a temper tantrum because I hate feeling belittled, but if you don’t help me immediately when I need help I’ll cry really, really hard because obviously you’re never there when I need you and I’m pretty sure nobody has ever loved me ever and I am a forsaken, lost child alone in a cold dark world.

I’m a complex, mercurial human you can only hope to understand.

I like doing chores that I like doing, which you’ll recognize because they’re MY idea, and I like getting dressed when I want to get dressed but if you want me to clean up a mess I made or get dressed when I don’t feel like it I just won’t do it. Ever. I’ll sit down. I’ll turn around. I’ll walk backwards. I’ll do a thousand things but I won’t do that. Why do you bother convincing me? We can do this all day.

I like swinging.

I like swinging.

Basically I like doing things that I like. I like the park. I like swinging, and I like running. Because they’re fun.

You know what’s not fun? Naps. I fucking hate naps.

Naps are for assholes.

But if I don’t get a nap I’ll act possessed by insane demon spawn by 3pm. Not napping actually makes me more wild and unpredictable, and really quite miserable in general, but since I hate naps you need to figure something else out, maybe drive somewhere 30-40 minutes away around 1 or 2 or 3pm. Maybe I’ll sleep then. Give it a shot. But if you have somewhere to be and you’re relying on me napping in the car so I’m not demon spawn, I definitely won’t nap.

That’s for damn sure.

Why are you crying? I love you.

I’d love you more though if you’d stop letting me down. If you tell me we can do something and then we can’t, I’ll remember it around bed time and hold it against you. You know, like if you tell me I get a bath but then I don’t get a bath for some reason I’ll throw my head back and wail so you’ll wonder if perhaps I have been seriously injured, physically, but actually it’s just my heart suffering under the weight of your bullshit.

Also that one time you told me I could have a playdate with my boy T but then you cancelled because I had the flu? We need to talk about that. Now.

If you’d stop letting me down I wouldn’t have to act this way right before bed, when I’m tired and worn out because I didn’t take a nap, because naps are for assholes.

You also bother me when you fail to adhere to the random incoherent patternless rules I invent, including, but not limited to: 1.) Which days are doughnut days; 2.) Who pushes the elevator button; and 3.) Who gets the blue cup.

I fucking hate the blue cup.

We’ve been over this. I feel I’ve been pretty clear on my cup-color needs.

Let’s go have fun. Can we go the park? You promised yesterday.

It was sure cute when you tried to establish the “talk it over chair” thing in our house because you saw it in the preschool and thought it might work here. You’re so cute.

Nothing you see or read will actually work in real life.

I’m glad I’m here to help you.

Want to take a picture of me? I feel like smiling unnaturally.

smiling unnaturally

smiling unnaturally

Are you in a hurry? That’s weird. I suddenly can’t move my body.

We’re going somewhere? I need to hide under my bed.

Is it raining and muddy? Awesome! This is the first time I’ve ever wanted to wear that expensive white tank dress you got me last Easter.

Just remembered, WE FORGOT TO SNUGGLE. Mama WE FORGOT TO SNUGGLE.

Let’s go snuggle.

And then, after that, I can tell you the next way you can please me.

Later, I’ll give you a big ass grin and say something hilarious, or I’ll do something that makes me seem big and growing too fast and you’ll say “Hey kid, get over here and hug me!”

And I’ll say “Sorry, mama, I gave all my hugs and kisses to daddy and his hurt hand.”

And you’ll die.

Don’t die. I need you.

At least I think I do. Sometimes. Sometimes I need you.

The rest of the time I’m wondering what in the hell you’re still doing here.

It’s cool though. We’re friends. I’m 4. I’ll be 5 in August. Then I’ll go to kindergarten. Why are you crying, mom? Why do you look at me like I’m your favorite tiny insane roommate and couldn’t take a breath without me?

It’s alright, mama, I love you too.

Wait. Is that the fucking blue cup again?

Peace out,

The 4-year-old

IMG_7982

******

(Hey! There are 5 spots left in my writing workshop that begins next month. Get with it. Get on it.

Fuck your damn blue cup. Wait. Sorry.)

bastards1

There’s a deer hide in my garage, and I’m done caring

by renegademama

The other day, when I arrived home after doing something amazing (because I was alone, so whatever it was, it was amazing), Georgia yells “Hey mama! Look what we have in the backyard!”

I look out the window and see two puppies out there, just chillin’, as if they were home.

“Um, why do we have puppies in our backyard, dearest honey pot?”

I receive only a slightly nervous smile from the “dearest honey pot” (dripping in sarcasm) in question.

“Can we keep ‘em? Can we keep ‘em? CAN WE CAN WE CAN WE?” The kids are like straight out of a movie.

Uh, nope.

They were abandoned at Mac’s parents’ ranch. He brought them to our house knowing they would probably have to go elsewhere, but I’ve been with the man almost 15 years. I know that look in his eye. If he had his way, we would currently have 3 dogs of questionable intelligence instead of one.

And I would be training them.

Later, I check the mail and open a package of tiny compasses and other tiny gadgets I don’t understand. That’s because Mac and Rocket and are making tiny survival kits that fit in Altoid containers. Obviously.

There are approximately one-thousand-three-hundred and forty-seven empty Altoid containers in my house.

I hate empty Altoid containers.

In my garage, there was a bin with a deer hide in it, soaking in an unknown liquid, because Mac and the kids are “making moccasins.”

As in, from scratch.

There are 4 knives on my mantle because they made knives a few months ago out of saw blades. They still need to carve the handles. They will probably never carve the handles. Saw-blade-knives will probably stay on my mantle forever, because where the fuck does somebody put such a thing?

Yeah I don’t know either.

For 2-9 months there were long pieces of taped wood leaning against walls in various locations in the house and garage (including the bathroom) because Georgia found a rocking chair in a magazine that we couldn’t afford, so Mac is making it for her.

There’s a rabbit hutch and chicken coop in the backyard. I’m 90% sure nobody has cleaned beneath them since they arrived, a year ago.

 

These are not my projects. These are their projects, and I’m not going to lie, sometimes I hate them. It sounds so cool in theory, and it sounds so cool when I tell you about it, but honestly sometimes it just feels like one more thing, one more mess. One more Thing to Put Away, to deal with, to figure out, and I don’t have any reserves, you know? Like I feel already worn to the bone, and I can’t quite handle a wayward, random deer hide in our this-house-was-clearly-built-in-1948 garage.

They start a new “project” before the last one is done. I feel a vague sense of dread and rage.

They huddle together on the couch sitting on the arms and chest of their dad, watching YouTube videos on how to do the next project. They watch video after video.

I’m probably cooking dinner or doing some other thing I think needs to be done. I’m probably cleaning up or emailing or paying a bill or doing some other Thing that I think just must get done now. I’m doing something IMPORTANT. I’m obsessed with IMPORTANT SHIT.

Sometimes I get mad at Mac for the abandoned projects, the messes made and left for how long? HOW LONG? Who knows. They’re still there.

Then I get mad at myself for getting mad about things that don’t really matter (because it all eventually gets done or cleaned up), and sometimes I wonder how or when or at what point I became The One who feels compelled to be the mess cleaner as opposed to the mess maker. The project asshole as opposed to the project beginner.

This stuff he does, it’s so damn cool: The time with their dad, learning that they can DO THINGS if they just DO IT. Realizing they can have an idea, learn how to execute it, do some work and make it happen. It teaches them patience, endurance, how to get dirty and irritated and inconvenienced. They use their hands. They use their heads. They get creative and active and frustrated and satisfied.

I know all this. I know all of it with all that I am, but it doesn’t matter in the moment sometimes, when I’m 4 days down on sleep and I’m making dinner and thinking of all the things he and the kids “could” be doing and the mess that will be left and even though we clean on Saturdays and maybe Sundays and my husband helps ALL THE DAMN TIME, there’s always more.

There is always, always more.

 

You know, my life really started 6 years ago, when I got sober. Before that, I didn’t grow or develop or move through things, becoming a new and better person over the years (that’s how life is supposed to work, right?). I pretty much just drank and hoped for the best. Eventually, I didn’t hope for anything at all. I never “moved through” anything in my life. You can’t move through things if you don’t feel them, if you fall unconscious on your pillow each evening, if your reactions are purely self-centered narcissism rooted in attempts to control others in hopes it will fix you. And fear.

But since the day I woke up on March 5, 2009 and realized I was 100% wrong about every aspect of my life, my life has really just become a series of discovering new things I’ve been wrong about. I was always so determined to be right. Oh, shit I’d fight to the death to be right. But I learned through nearly dying of alcoholism that life is really about figuring out how I’m wrong. All the things I’ve been wrong about. One more thing I thought was true that is just not true.

That is where the freedom lies. That is where the growth comes. That is where we find better ways to live and be of service to others, ourselves, our families, our lives.

And I realized recently, due to a trauma to my family, that I’ve been wrong about the shit that I thought mattered. I was very, very wrong.

 

I’m done being the asshole who’s bitching about the messes. It matters. Yes, it matters, to clean up after one’s self, to treat your belongings with respect, to contribute to the house in a way that teaches you to be a decent human and member of the home, and community, and earth. WORK, matters.

But I’m done using every fucking spare moment to straighten, clean, pay, arrange, organize, text, email, accomplish necessary tasks. I’m done using every spare moment “engaged in a productive activity.” I’m done looking around this house and seeing only and all that’s wrong. When did I make that “my role?”

I’m fucking done.

Tan the deer hide, kids. Sure, start the damn fire with flint and steel. Good thing there’s 75 pinecones by the woodstove (George collected kindling). And yes, I’ll pick out the fabric for that rocking chair. Just stick it on the end of the kitchen table. We’ll push it aside at dinner. Again. And sew it in a month or two.

I still won’t say “yes” to a couple more dogs, and I’ll still care about chores and work, but I’ll get on the floor for a few minutes with my kids, even though there’s 9 days of laundry in the living room, and I’ll forget about the fucking laundry in the living room, because I can, because I CAN.

I’ll still get irritated, and I’ll still make people clean, and I’ll still bitch and moan. SOMEBODY HAS TO BE A FUCKING GROWN-UP HERE PEOPLE. See? Oops.

Yeah, I’ll leave the perfection to those deeply spiritual Zen mamas (that allegedly exist). But I’m done focusing on the work, the mess, the “problem” so acutely that I fail to see the meaning of what’s happening, the life right here in front of me.

I threw the ball with George for 10 minutes in the front yard. I tell you people she damn near fell over from the shock.

Baby steps.

Because you know, these kids are HERE, NOW, and they’re safe, and they’re mine, and it isn’t about “embrace every moment” (impossible), or some “some day you’ll look back and remember the deer hide fondly” theory. Maybe I will or maybe I won’t. It’s about the fact that I realized recently that the joy, life, innocence and cohesion of this very family right here is sacred, and it’s always already at risk, and there’s a whole world out there of pain, threat, tragedy and beauty, all of which will come my way, and theirs, so each fucking chance we have to make Altoid-container-survival-kits is a chance to live, together, in all this mess.

And really, in the end, I don’t have much else.

 

"What? We're making moccasins." (cutting the fat off the hide)

“What? We’re making moccasins.” (cutting the fat off the hide)

Arlo explains how to please a baby at bedtime

by renegademama

Hey, mom. Arlo here.

I feel I’ve been pretty clear on this topic, but there appears to be some confusion still, which I can only assume is a result of a profound slow-mindedness on your part, which is cool, I guess. Little disappointing that my genes were plucked from your pool, but hey. Water under the bridge.

I’m a patient, reasonable fellow, so I’m going to lay it out for you, right here. Here is how you please me during the evening and night hours:

In the evenings, from approximately 4pm until 8pm, I want to be carried around. I don’t want you to put me down because that annoys me. It doesn’t annoy me during the rest of the day, but it annoys me then. Don’t try that “put me in the high chair with Cheerios” tactic, or the “here are 75,000 toys at your lap” thing. That shit pisses me off. I’m not an idiot. I see through your games.

I was born 7 months ago, not yesterday.

You say you need to make dinner? Carry me while you make dinner. I like grabbing hot and sharp things. I find that immensely entertaining. That works for me. You see, I’m working with you here, mom.

I like sitting with the family at dinner and eating, sometimes. Sometimes I want to sit on your lap while you try to eat but I want the boob out so I can flip on and off approximately 486 times, snacking while also not missing anything, because everybody knows all the good shit happens at dinner (especially with that Georgia character around. Remember yesterday when she suddenly threw herself onto Rocket, trying to wrap her legs around his neck? That was rad.).

I also enjoy a bit of dinner-plate grabbing in the evenings, particularly if whatever I see on your plate can choke me. Don’t stifle me. I’m trying to learn.

You can give me a bath. I like that, but I don’t like getting dressed after the bath. Can you please figure out a way to bathe me clothed?

I don’t like it when I have to poop but haven’t yet and I don’t like after I’ve pooped, so what I need for you to do is somehow get the poop from insides to outside without the actual diaper-changing fiasco.

No biggee. Figure it out.

Maybe those hippies are on to something with that elimination communication thing. You know, the whole “read your baby’s cues and hold them over a container” philosophy. I’m totally into that. From the look on your face, you’re not. I kind of wish you were a more devoted mother.

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There are sheets to play with, people. Why is everybody sleeping?

Anyway, after my bath I like to act tired and fussy and ready for bed. I am, in fact, ready for bed. Good job putting me in your bed and nursing me. I like to fall fast asleep quickly.

But here’s where you seem to get a little confused. You seem to think I want to STAY asleep at that point. Oh, no, honey. You’re not very bright.

I rarely like that. What I usually like is to wake up about 20 or 30 minutes after that so we can PLAY. It’s unclear to me how you ever got in your head that the hours of 8pm-10pm are for sleeping. I like to take a little cat nap then get up all cheerful and adorable so we can HANG OUT TOGETHER. Don’t you like hanging out? I like hanging out. PLUS I’M FUCKING ADORABLE.

Sorry for swearing, but seriously, with you two for parents, can you really expect more?

I signal my desire for play by squealing and cooing and laughing to myself in the bed. It’s weird that you’re usually not equally enthused when you hear me. Luckily though you always seem to come around after I give you a bit of that side-eye charm I throw down.

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the side-eye charm in question

Anyway when I’m done playing and tired again, obviously I want you to lie down and nurse me, but I don’t want to go straight to sleep. I want to kick a few hundred times (I like to push off your belly because it pops me up and off the boob, which also serves to keep me awake, so basically, it’s not just fun, it’s USEFUL fun.)

After I kick I like to throw my head backwards and squawk a few times if I feel myself drifting. Sometimes I like to close my mouth a little so my bottom two teeth scrape against your nipple. I think that’s fun. You don’t seem to think it’s fun. Luckily you don’t matter.

Sometimes I cry. I cry because I’m annoyed that I’m tired and the nursing puts me to sleep because even though I’m tired I don’t want to sleep. But if you stop me from nursing I’m annoyed that I’m not nursing. So basically I want to nurse but once I start nursing I’m annoyed that I’m nursing so your job is simply to let me nurse or not nurse or maybe get up and walk me around or play with me or do something other than whatever it is that you’re doing because honestly, I don’t really like anything you do.

This is always a delicate time for me. Work hard to not piss me off. It changes every day. You can do it.

Once I finally fall asleep I prefer that you just stay there next to me all night long with the nipple in my mouth. I just feel better that way. You talk about your back hurting or wanting some space, and because I’m a nice guy, I allow you to move me a few inches from you for an hour or two a night. But other than that I’m gonna need you to just go ahead and keep one nipple in my mouth pretty much at all times. At LEAST I’m gonna need to use your boob as a pillow. I’ve tried other positions and boob-as-pillow is really the only way to go.

It’s not that much to ask, is it? Really? In the big picture?

I didn’t think so.

Thanks. Love you!

Arlo

 

P.S. Remember that one time when I slept in my crib for 5-7 hours stretches for an entire week? That was funny, right? God damn I’m funny. The way you thought I would keep doing that! Ha!

I’ll never do that again.

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43 Comments | Posted in bitching about the kids I chose to have. | January 18, 2015