Posts Filed Under bitching about the kids I chose to have.

The Stages of Parental Degradation in the Grocery Store

by Janelle Hanchett

Hey lady. I see you. Staring me down in the condiment aisle while my 10-year-old blocks your view of the stone-ground mustards. Look. I get it. I’m there with my 4 kids at 4pm, one of them on my hip, the other climbing the cart, the other in your way.

I told him to move. You got your mustard. But yeah, my voice probably lacked a certain vigor you were hoping for. Or maybe you just glared at me because there are so many of us. I feel that, my friend.

But you gotta understand something here: I didn’t start out this way. I didn’t start out broken and weeping by the organic kale. When I walked into this place I was full of hope and promise, just like you. When I put my baby in the cart and purse in the basket, I wasn’t staring down the barrel of 15 years of questionable life choices culminating in four dirty-blonde children circling me like those bastards ‘round the fire in Lord of the Flies.

I was setting out on some good ol’ fashioned excess in the chain grocery store!

Perhaps you don’t have children, or perhaps you have children but are one of those mothers whose kids never act like Tiny Adorable Crackheads due to your excellent parenting, or maybe you don’t take them to the store because you have a nanny taking care of that sort of nonsense, or maybe you’ve (gently, lovingly of course) coerced them into submission, or maybe…yeah. I don’t know. Maybe you’ve forgotten?

At any rate, you need to understand the stages of parental degradation in the grocery store so next time you see a forlorn jacked-up mother (not like ON DRUGS just TIRED) you can eke out a tiny fake smile or even no face at all in place of the death eyes you threw me last week.

Stay with me here.

Stage 1: Hope and Promise.

Here I am, going to the store with my kids, getting groceries for dinner tonight, looking forward to our friends coming over. It’s 4pm. They’re coming at 5:45. Plenty of time!  Just need to get a few simple things. Ohhhh look at that cute baby and damn I missed them today. Sure! Get the Dubliner! I love cheddar!

“Georgia. Put the bread back. We already have bread.”

“Please stop poking the tortillas.”

“No skipping, please. Not here.”

“Where the hell is Rocket?”


I realized around the time I passed the bread aisle that Georgia was in “one of those moods.” It’s hard to describe. It’s a 4-6 year old thing. Around the hours of 4-6pm, before they’ve eaten, after a full day of school. They’re tired as fuck. They’re hungry. They’re WEIRD. They look at you with these sort of glazed-over eyeballs and you wonder if perhaps you’re talking to somebody who’s had a few too many. You touch their arms to get them to engage but, like drunk people, they start crying and you realize the only thing to do is GET THIS PERSON HOME before they wet their pants.

Or piss on your couch. Wait. Are we talking about college? No! Where am I?

Store. Right. So within just a few moments I realize we’re going to have one of those trips to the store and I move from “Hope and Promise” to Stage 2.

Stage 2: “Parenting”

Janelle, the kids are tired and hungry. They’ve been at school all day. They’re worn out. If you speak to them with kind-hearted reason, they’ll totally respond because they love you and aren’t total fucking sociopaths.

“Georgia, I told you that if you run around the aisles you have to get in the cart. So please come get in the cart.”

“I can’t. It’s full.”

“Rocket, please stop riling up the baby. I really need him to sit in the cart as opposed to squeal and flail uncontrollably.”

“Georgia, okay. Come here then and hold my hand.”

“Ava, can we talk about this later? I’m really trying to focus and I don’t want to forget anything.”


They are not responding to reason. You’ve said the same sentence 9 times. You’ve been interrupted distracted and physically assaulted (by the toddler) at least 10 times. What the hell is happening here I am so tired my back hurts I don’t have this in me WHERE IS THEIR FATHER?


Time for Stage 3: Parenting with subdued rage

You are breathing rapidly to contain the irritation while trying so fucking hard not to forget the shredded Parmesan cheese. Fuck parenting. They’re all terrible. Fuck learning moments. This shit sucks. I just need to get out of the store so I can tell these kids how bad they were and punish them somehow in some really effective method I’ll think of when I get there.

“Georgia I swear if you don’t come here RIGHT NOW (gritted teeth non-yell) I am going to…(what? You have nothing but empty threats and she knows it.)”

“Put your hand on this cart AND DO NOT MOVE EVER.”

“Fine. Just give me the baby. I’ll just hold him.”

“No we cannot get seaweed, that grind-it-yourself peanut butter, more bread, eggnog, chocolate, flowers for daddy, balloons for daddy, anything for daddy, a succulent for nana, a coconut, some small peppers, or Altoids. NO WE ARE NOT GETTING ANY OF THAT SHIT BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL ASSHOLES AND I HATE YOU.” (Oh god I don’t hate you please never leave me.)

But what comes out: “No, kids.






NO. We’re not getting that,” as you smile at the old man who thinks your baby’s cute as he walks by.

“Actually, Rocket. Get the eggnog. Good call.”


Stage 4: Resignation to a failed life

This is where you come in, mustard lady. I’ve been here for 20 minutes with 3 hungry bored tired Americans and a baby who hasn’t nursed in 8 hours, currently on my hip making the milk sign, wailing intermittently, and pulling my shirt down. My 5-year-old is holding the cart as directed but attempting to fling her legs over the side while the 14-year-old holds the cart down telling her to stop and my 10-year-old is staring blankly at some condiment RIGHT IN YOUR WAY and I know it, and I tell him, but I’m resigned. I’ve surrendered.

He moved. Sorry for getting in your way. You’ll be fine.

Did you really need to throw me the death glare?

You think this is the moment I imagined? You think I’m enjoying this? I’m for sure not. This is a moment I endure to get to the next one. I’ve moved through the parental stages of degradation and now I’m in full-flight from reality FUCK IT ALL I don’t-even-care-anymore-get-me-outta-this-store mode.

When I finally make it to the checkout line, I realize I’ve forgotten the Parmesan cheese. When I send my kid to go, he runs down the motherfucking aisle, like a wayward 5-year-old, even though he’s 10, which proves to Georgia the great injustice of existence and she’s crying. While the baby tries to nurse and I try to pay and Ava gets pissed at Rocket for just being so annoying on purpose all the time.

When we get into the car, I whisper “Jesus Fucking Christ” under my breath but definitely loud enough for the kids to hear. Then I inquire “WHY WERE YOU SO BAD IN THE STORE TODAY?” and demand that nobody make a single utterance – accidental or otherwise – until we get home.

Then I move into Stage 5: Pretty much okay again.

Let’s make dinner. We have eggnog!


So what I’m trying to say here, lady, is that sometimes you catch people when they are not 1000% winning at life and most likely, they’re struggling with their reality as hard as you are struggling to understand how somebody could possibly suck this badly at life.

Most likely, the loser in the grocery store with the unruly kids will be back to Stage 2 (“Parenting”) or even Stage 1 or 5 within mere moments, and we can all just move along in our respective lives without Laser Eye Death Beams.



Well forget you then.

I’m at Stage 4 in this relationship.



Tidy houses are not a thing so stop it

by Janelle Hanchett

I have decided that anyone with kids who says their house is tidy and clean is lying. Their house is not clean. It’s a fucking disaster like mine.

Don’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m not wrong. THEY ARE LYING.

I don’t give a shit if they have photographic evidence on Instagram. You know they pushed all the crap out of the camera frame and stuck their kid against the wall in its slouchy cap and harem pants and posted it like it ain’t nothin.


My light may be dim but it ain’t that dim.

Or, I’m wrong. That happens. Been wrong at least 4 times so far this year.

But I have given this a lot of thought man, and I just don’t understand.

Last Friday morning I looked around and said to myself “What the actual fuck

If we don't do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

If we don’t do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

has happened to my kitchen, living room, bathroom, hallways OhFuckItEveryRoomInTheHouse?”

It’s like all 6 inhabitants of this house walk around spewing toys, paper and dust from their fingertips.

And clothes. Oh my god the clothes. I hate clothes.

So anyway, Friday morning: I make a list for the 3 older kids. They each have their jobs, and I have mine. 1.5 hours of cleaning. Rocket, Ava, Georgie and me. Mac is at work.

Whine. Tears. Rage. Whatever offspring.

This ain’t my first rodeo. Do the damn work.

Rocket takes 50 minutes to unload the dishwasher. This baffles me. I tell him “We’re going to the beach once this is done so maybeYouShouldHurryUp. Miraculously, he does his other 5 chores in 12 minutes.

Uncool, Rocket. Uncool.

Arlo's job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Arlo’s job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Georgia is 4 so her jobs require putting things in other things. For example, “Put the shoes in the shoe baskets.” Fortunately this is also a fun pastime for Arlo, though he more enjoys taking things OUT of things.

On Friday I watched Georgia load shoes into a basket while Arlo removed them from the other side of the same basket.

We are an efficient fucking machine.

But we managed to get it done.

The house is clean. Swept, mopped. Shit picked up. Vacuumed.

Full floor visibility. I feel like a domestic goddess. Where’s my motherfucking apron? Somebody bring your father a casserole.

I look around and feel good. I’m so capable. I can move mountains. Let’s move mountains!

Look at me walk on these wood floors without shit sticking to my feet! Oh glorious motherhood!

We go to the beach. We’re gone til 9pm. We wake up. We eat breakfast on Saturday. We leave for the entire day, get home at 8:30pm.


it's pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

it’s pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

It’s been 48 hours and it’s all gone. How is that even possible? We’ve only spent like 4 waking hours in the damn thing.


Then I curl up in the fetal position and weep and cry out unto the lord “No but seriously dude how the hell am I to survive in these conditions?”

In response I hear only the sound of the cat food overturning across the living room floor which Arlo will surely begin eating within 44 seconds. (What is it with babies and pet food?)

Sometimes I feel defeated. Not gonna lie. Like when I open the hall closet and see my husband has decided a good place for cockroach catchers we’ll never use (given to us by the exterminator) is in the basket with the sunscreen and goggles in the linen closet.

Or when I FINALLY remove the 396 garments that no longer fit the baby and organize his dresser drawers FINALLY and one of the older kids “puts away clothes” by shoving random piles diagonally across my beautiful rows until the drawers won’t close. AGAIN.

Sometimes my life feels like one missing shoe and drawers that won’t close.

Ya feel me?


I know. I know it’s not that big of a deal. And I know it’s “nice” that my kids attempt to put clothes away and that we can afford an exterminator who gives complimentary cockroach catchers and that I even have a house and kids and husband at all and yes someday I’m sure I’ll miss the pitter patter of tiny feet dragging my household organization attempts into the fort they just built with clean sheets over a sticky kitchen table.

And newsflash yes I know I’m not “defined” by the condition of my house or car and blah blah fucking blah I’M NOT ASKING FOR MUCH HERE PEOPLE.

After one hour of "playing." REALLY KIDS REALLY?

After one hour of “playing.” REALLY KIDS REALLY?

A visual on the floor of my car, perhaps.

A reduction in strange substances dried onto the floor.

300% fewer toys showing up on my floor even though I take shit to the Goodwill every week it seems.

Maybe a Level 1 instead of Level 4 hurricane in the bedroom after the kids “play.”



People tell me it’s that easy: “Just have the kids pick up after themselves. Before they get out a new activity have them clean up the old one.”

Would somebody kindly explain how the fuck I’m supposed to do that WITHOUT becoming Stalin? 

So maybe that’s it. Maybe I just refuse to become the type of person I would have to become to keep a tidy house all the time.

Or maybe I’m inept.

Let’s go with the former. It makes the circus seem intentional and therefore slightly more palatable.

Or something.

On the plus side, we cleaned the refrigerator, so we can definitely look forward to 4 hours of clean refrigerator.

AT LEAST. Go team.

I am unwavering however in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.

I am however unwavering in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.



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Fuck the lie that we can have it all

by Janelle Hanchett

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?


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 Janelle Hanchett

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.

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.

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.”


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.


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 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).


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.


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



We’re all facing the “most sacred job in the world” armed with nothin but ourselves. 

I insist there’s beauty right there. And a shitload of humor. A SHITLOAD OF FUCKING HUMOR. Because it’s funny, goddamnit, the whole thing.

And I wrote that too.
That part was really, really fun. Alongside even the most intense parts of that book, I was laughing my ass off (IN MOMENTS, okay, I’m not a monster). I may be a monster.

Somebody messaged me today saying her favorite passage in my book was the dinosaur porn one. Here it is:

“Let’s not talk about how we all became better versions of ourselves the day we became parents, and, please, would you stop pretending you did? Because your holier-than-thou shit makes me worry you watch dinosaur porn after the kids go to bed. Your steadfast focus on seasonal cupcakes and organic kombucha concerns me. Look, I’ve got some too. I know all about gut flora. But please. Is that all there is?”


Arlo explains how to please a baby at bedtime

by Janelle Hanchett

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.


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.


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!



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.


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