Posts Filed Under Useless Lists of Irrelevant Information.

How to Get 86’d from a Waldorf Mother’s Group (in 10 minutes or less)

by Janelle Hanchett

I don’t know how this information is helpful. Or useful at all, to anybody. But you never know.

At any rate, here is a fool proof plan for getting kicked out of a Waldorf mother’s group in 10 minutes or less. If you try it, please let me know what happens. Please. No really, don’t forget.

  1. Pull up to the play group with your baby in a giant Graco “travel system,” preferably in gender-appropriate colors and themes (e.g. blue with boats or pink with flowers).
  2. If your baby is a girl, make sure she has one of those huge fake flower bands on her head and a polyester zebra-print shirt.
  3. Obviously, use disposable diapers and wear a lot of make-up.
  4. Dress your toddler girl in a Dora the Explorer shirt, Barney pants and Disney Princess shoes (the ones that light up). Let her play with your cell phone.
  5. Dress your boy in G-I Joe gear and give him a metal light-up gun to play with. Instruct him to ask the other boys if they want to play “WWF wrestling” with him.
  6. Within 5 minutes, prop a bottle of formula up in the baby’s mouth, keeping her in the stroller.
  7. Place a piece of bark next to your toddler. When she picks it up, run over and declare “Honey! Yuck! Don’t play with that – dirty dirty!” Take it away from her and chuck it, then hand her a brightly-colored toy out of a McDonald’s happy meal.
  8. Make little gagging sounds and pretend to vomit a little when the other mothers bring out their kids’ gluten-free raw-goat-milk barley walnut muffin.
  9. Immediately after, eat the McDonald’s happy meal. Feed it to your kids.
  10. Bring Twinkies and Cheetos to share.
  11. As a conversation piece, invite the other mothers to join your Book Club, excitedly telling them you’ll be featuring the writings of John McCain, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Pailin. Then ask which local day care is the least expensive and open the longest, explaining that since you work full time for the NRA, you need a reliable and cheap babysitter.
  12. If your baby starts crying, leave her there for a few minutes. Or a long time. If she persists, give her a pacifier.
  13. When your kid misbehaves, tell him that if he doesn’t shape up you’re going to take away his Nintendo DS and limit his Playstation time to 5 hours a day.
  14. And finally, dump a giant bag of florescent noise-making T.V. character plastic crap toys – all Made in China and purchased from Walmart –in the center of the children’s drum circle, exclaiming “Wouldn’t you like to have one of these rather than that silly Amish Maplewood toy?” Watch the kids’ eyes light up.

Then run like hell. Cause they’re gonna slaughter you. Well, they would if they weren’t such pacifists.

To avoid pro-Waldorf backlash, I've included this picture of my baby playing with an over-priced Waldorf wooden teething ring, so you know I'm just PLAYIN. P.S. I hate Disney character items and light-up shoes and Cheetos. No, I don't hate Cheetos.

what I learned this week

by Janelle Hanchett

I was very tired this week and have a sudden and new appreciation for Virginia Woolf. Eighty years later, evidently women still need “500 pounds and a room of one’s own.” (translation: I am having a very hard time finding uninterrupted moments to write with all these loud needy short people running around. I have six un-finished blog posts.  I have twelve drafts rolling around in my head. And this is all I’ve completed in 4 days. Good thing I committed to writing a ‘what I learned’ list each Sunday, otherwise we may have had a zero completion rate (shocking, sad, tragic I know).   

Anyway, here’s the deep-reflections-on-Sundays list.


  1. There’s a weird one-upping phenomenon among mothers that I’ll never understand but will always find frustrating and pointless and unsettling. Depending on the context, it can center around who’s kid does what the soonest, which mother is the most granola/green/crunchy, who’s the most ‘educated,’ who’s the most open-minded, who’s got the most offspring, who’s husband is the most supportive, who has the most shocking birth story.
  2. When I find myself inadvertently involved in one of these one-upping competitions, I generally resort to silence and obscure mumblings, which is new for me, and indicative of a rare but powerful feeling of total defeat. I get confused and overwhelmed, mainly because my mothering approach has no direction and I’m intimidated by women who have it all figured out and “know” and since I’m a bad liar I’d better just say nothing because what the hell am I going to say? “um, yeah, I used to be a drunk and now I’m not so pretty much anything I do now is better than what I did then.” That’s a hell of a measuring stick. Seriously my mothering approach is a series of contradictions and follies and “oh shit that didn’t work, better back up” moments. I’m stoked that my kids aren’t raging lunatics, lighting shit on fire and beating puppies.
  3. Speaking of lunatics, my nine-year old has lost her mind. My aunts told me it’s probably the very early onset of prepubescent hormones.
  4. Prepubescent hormones can kiss my ass. Prepubescent hormones will one day turn into pubescent hormones, which will force my daughter to deal with her biology, which evidently still thinks women only live to the age of 25 and therefore must begin reproducing around twelve. And those hormones will force me into the full and immediate realization that my little girl is really really not a little girl no matter what I tell myself and very soon she’ll face life. All by herself. All grown up. And I’ll miss her forever. That little frizzy head.
  5. I love the smell of Pine Sol in the morning. (Why yes, that was an Apocalypse Now allusion). Actually I love it all the time. I shall never use hippie cleaning products because they don’t smell like Pine Sol. And if I’m going to mop the floor, I should be allowed the pay-off of whiffing Pine Sol for the next few days. It’s only fair.
  6. Do not hold your baby up in the air and swing her around after nursing and feeding her. She will projectile vomit across your right shoulder. Especially refrain from doing this in restaurants, because then she will projectile vomit across your shoulder while everybody is watching you show off your beautiful baby and you will be very embarrassed.
  7. My baby really is beautiful and I have a sneaking suspicion she is actually the cutest and best and most impressive baby on the planet. (Buahahahaha – one-upping!).
  8. Tee-ball games are so entertaining they should demand a cover charge.
  9. My beloved 80-year old grandmother read my blog and determined that she liked “some of it.” I believe what she meant was “you scare me.”
  10. I have already been faced with a personal censorship question. Namely, should I? I gave this a decent amount of thought and have decided, as Ava used to say “the answer says ‘no.’”
  11. It may be a good idea however to add a disclaimer to the top of the webpage: “This blog is irreverent and deliberately uncensored. As such it is generally offensive and wholly incorrect politically – something like Martha Stewart on psychedelics or June Cleaver with a really bad attitude. If such a thing interests you, read on.”

and on a happier note – Ridiculous Baby Products, Volume I.

by Janelle Hanchett

When I write a post like the one yesterday, it’s clear I need to cheer up and get the hell outta the dark side. And as far as I can tell, there’s nothing more cheerful than examining the latest absurd baby products and writing smart-ass comments about them. So here are a few I keep seeing in baby stores that make absolutely no sense to me in terms of usefulness. Please feel free to add to the list. I’m sure this one will be an ongoing post as the ‘latest and greatest’ enter Babies R’ Us…

  • Squeaker Shoes – These are shoes that squeak with every step the kid takes, allegedly teaching him or her to “walk properly.” Right. That’s what I need. More noise. More squeaking in general. And since when do humans need noise-making leather objects bound to their feet to learn to walk?


  • Baby spill mat – So this is a big vinyl mat that one lays on the floor to catch spills from the baby in the highchair. This I don’t understand. What exactly is the difference between cleaning a giant vinyl mat and cleaning the floor? And in my experience, the mess would mostly land about ½ inch beyond the edge of the mat, requiring clean-up of both the mat AND the floor, thereby doubling my work and rendering said mat useless. Not cool.
  • Breast milk catcher – Alright. I think this one might actually be a joke. So these are these pad pocket things you put in your bra, either when nursing (on the non-nursing side) or throughout the day, to catch the milk that leaks. So many problems here. First, there is no way more than an ounce leaks out of both breasts during the day, which means it would take 4 days to create a single bottle for my baby. Second, since breastmilk can only stay at room temperature for an hour max, I would have to clean my little breastmilk catching wonders like ten times a freaking day, pouring twelve drops of milk into the bag at a time, for multiple subsequent days. I mean really, are they serious? I’m a bit crestfallen when I see only 2 ounces in the bottle after 15 minutes of pumping, I’d be suicidal if I had to pay attention to the drops that leak out all day. Freaking weird.


  • Baby/toddler tooth brushes – Dude. Don’t worry about it. They’re gonna fall out anyway.
  • ‘On the Go Pacifier Wipes’ – None of my kids have ever used a pacifier (even though I tried), but I’m pretty sure I’d clean it the same way I clean every other kid item that falls to the ground: dust it off, perhaps lick it, wipe it on my pants, return it to baby.
  • Plastic inside ‘play yards’ – Maybe my kids are just weird, but I can promise you that the second I tried placing them in a gated area removed from the rest of the family would be the precise moment they decided they needed to attach themselves like barnacles to my lower extremities. I’m serious. If any of my kids find out that I’m trying to distract them to get something done, they immediately and suddenly need me, even if they’d been ignoring me the previous hour. The trick is to sneak off while they’re already bus y and this becomes impossible if you stick them in a large cage with toys and walk away. Big indicator to the kid, who’s thinking “huh, mom’s trying to contain me, probably to accomplish a task. Therefore, I shall throw myself on the ground and wail uncontrollably until she comes back, retrieves me from this thing, and pays me the attention I’m rightfully owed.”


  • ‘Baby care Timer’ – Please somebody SHOOT ME. This is even more lame than logging your baby’s poops into an Excel spreadsheet. Entering every diaper change, poo, pee, nap, and feeding into a hand held machine? Come on people let’s work together here. Who gives a flying fuck? Okay fine. If a baby was not thriving, perhaps a contraption like this might be necessary, but otherwise, if you’re using this thing just for the heck of it, because you think it’s a solid idea, I don’t mean to be harsh, but there is something wrong with you.



  • No. Explanation. Needed.

19 things you must know about me

by renegademama

So I’ve been noticing that other mama bloggers often have an “about me” list – you know, little fun-facts about philosophies, approaches, overarching beliefs, etc. Some of them are really serious. The list might include things like: “I’m a natural birth advocate;” “I had a successful HBAC (homebirth after cesarean);” “I am a vegetarian;” “I kill animals for fun;” “I tandem nursed for 8 months;” “I defend my right to formula feed;” “I am a radical unschooler.” After reading these lists I decided that I need a list– a nice, clear, honest one about me and my family, so you can really get to know us, and quickly see where I stand on important issues. Because I do “stand” places. I do.

So here are the 19 things you must know about me.

1. I only practice positive discipline and gentle parenting techniques. Then, if those don’t work, I yell, bribe and make empty but intimidating threats until I get my way.

2. I am a staunch unswerving advocate of natural, unmedicated birth. For me. I don’t care how your baby exits your body.

3. My dream is to get a PhD in English Literature so I can sit in classrooms discussing deconstructionist theory with a bunch of hung-over 20-year-olds acting wildly interested, dropping Derrida quotes they really don’t understand, solely to earn participation points.

4. We eat natural, healthy, homemade foods exclusively. Unless we’re at Costco. Then we eat polish sausages and drink sodas (for one dollar and 50 freaking cents each I might add).

5. I have breastfed all three of my kids. This may be the only unquestionably positive thing I’ve done for them. Well that and introducing them to the Grateful Dead.

6. I used to think the purpose of a play date was to distract the children long enough that the parents could get a good buzz going through uninterrupted beer drinking.

7. I don’t drink anymore, possibly due to #6.

8. For reasons still unclear, I keep putting the cheese in the freezer after I make lunches in the morning.

9. If I had my way, I’d be a rampant cigarette smoker. But I don’t have my way. (I never have my way. Damn it.) Apparently they cause cancer. I know they’re disgusting, but I love them. I feel James Dean cool when I smoke them. These are not facts I will share with my children. And if they ever ask me, I will lie.

10. When my computer stalls, I bang on it.

11. When my kids stall, I don’t bang on them, but I want to.

12. My husband’s idea of “getting dressed up” is shaving his forearm so his tattoo shows up more clearly.

13. Speaking of tattoos, I have four. I want twenty. (See above re: not getting my way.) This is not because I’m cool, but rather because I got a small one a few years ago and now I can’t stop. I believe it’s a disease.

14. When I’m in a good mood I do interpretive dance moves around the house while singing 80s songs. When I’m in a bad mood I sit on the couch and yell at people.

15. I believe women should stop distancing themselves from one another due to differing “philosophies” and join together in one united front against men, who are obviously the problem.

16. No I don’t really think that.

17. When I hear things like “radical unschooling” the first thought that crosses my mind is “How is that radical? White trash meth addicts in the high Sierra have been doing that for years.” I can’t help those thoughts. They just come.

18. When I attempt to summarize myself in lists, the whole task almost immediately degenerates into random tidbits of useless information and I find myself reminded of why I don’t try to summarize myself ever, whether in list form or not, because how the hell can a person be bullet-listed, characterized in nice, neat one-liners? I mean how do I know what to include and what to leave out – what if I leave out the single, key piece of info that would complete your picture of me? More importantly, should I be honest? Who’s reading this list? Do I attempt to maintain my act or do I let you in on the chaos, the confusion, the contradictions of self and soul and philosophy? And even if I want to tell the truth, how do I do that? What is the truth? There is no truth. There are only variations of the story as “true” in my mind at that precise moment and situation and in a few more moments it won’t be true anymore and then we’ll be back to lies again.

19. I’m confused. I hate “about me” lists. I’m going back to cleaning the garage.

oh, I forgot the 20th thing: My kids are infinitely cooler than I am. Always.

top 10 most irritating parenting expressions

by renegademama

This has been a long time coming…my list (and analysis) of the top ten most annoying things people say in regards to child-rearing, not in order. While it bothers me to hear other people saying these things, it’s vastly more disturbing when they exit my own mouth.

1. “Natural parenting” – I’m not sure what “unnatural parenting” is, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing it.

2. “Sleep training” – You can train a dog to sit. You can train a person to drive tanks and shoot people. You can even train a voice. But you can’t train sleep. Sleep comes or it doesn’t. You can encourage it or deter it, perhaps, or even lure it…but you can’t just “train” it.

3. “Eco-attachment parenting” – This expression is so pretentious only a complete asshole would utter it. I have a picture of her in my mind. She’s the parent who’s so detached from reality she doesn’t realize her own privilege, as she drives her Prius to her apartment in the Marina District after shopping at Whole Foods (while breastfeeding in the Ergo) and picking up her older kid (who incidentally wears only organic bamboo clothing) from the local Waldorf, where she meets her husband, who makes at least $900,000/year, allowing her to stay home, where she makes gluten-free whole wheat muffins with goat milk and judges the hell out of the imbeciles who feed Costco food to misbehaving, Old-Navy clad hoodlums attending public schools, playing with toys made in China and gallivanting around town in a hand-me-down, gas-guzzling non-hybrid mini-van.

4. “Baby schedule” – I believe this term was created with the sole purpose of making mothers feel inadequate. I have yet to meet a baby who adheres to any schedule, whether it’s logged in an Excel spreadsheet or not. Put this shit OUT of your head, mothers, I tell you! Screw baby schedules and the bastard who thinks they’re possible!

5. “High-needs child” – Is there a low-needs one? If so, I’m putting mine back and demanding that model.

6. “Orgasmic birth” – Perhaps you are unfamiliar with this little number. The hippie natural birth people came up with a video called “Orgasmic Birth,” featuring a woman who appears to be having an extremely enjoyable birth experience in a tub in her backyard. As a woman who’s had three unmedicated births, one of which was at home, with a midwife, in a tub, I hereby declare that the orgasmic birth lady is a fucking liar.

7. “Informed parenting” – This means you read a lot of books, listen to a lot of ‘experts,’ research all theories and philosophies until you’ve read so much and heard so much that it all begins to contradict itself, but you persevere because one must be informed! so you decide on and deploy a tactic, finally convinced you’ve chosen the right approach, at which time a new study comes out blowing it right out of the water (explaining that it actually causes autism, attention deficit disorder, AND diabetes). You continue like this for one year, or until you realize that ‘informed parenting’ is a fleeting, silly myth created by people who’ve never had children. Then you give up, and, like the rest of us, resort to trusting your gut and hoping for the best.

8. “Developmental toys” – Quick. Let me run out and buy the latest educational age-appropriate $45.00 Lamaze toy so my baby will “develop” properly, even though everybody knows the best baby toys haven’t changed for generations and they are as follows: the tag on a blanket, a spatula, a cardboard box, dirty car keys, and whatever choke-inducing item she just discovered on the carpet.

9. “Tummy time” – Another conspiracy. Total lose-lose. Either the baby flatly refuses his “30 minutes of daily tummy time,” resulting in a guilt-ridden mama sure her son will never evolve, or alternatively, the baby tolerates tummy time happily, causing the even more horrific event of early crawling.

10. “Play date” – I don’t know why this one annoys me. I say it all the time. Some things are just too damn cute I guess.