Posts Filed Under I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING HERE.

The quandary of the poop-filled onesie.

by Janelle Hanchett

Alright. You’ve all been there. Let’s review anyway, just to make sure we’re all on the same page (I HATE that expression).

Your baby is in the car seat and decides to poop one of those soft huge ones. Or you have a newborn who poops in the car seat, or, with some babies (like my first) pretty much at all. The poop has nowhere to travel but (against the force of gravity I might add)…UP. And up it goes, right into the onesie. No further details required, right?

So there you stand, wondering.

What the fuck do I do? There is no clear path. There is no clear way to go. There is no easy way out of this.

Impasse. Predicament. Quandary.

Let’s consider our options.

  1. Roll the onesie up around the poop, attempting to cover it, then pull the onesie over the head of the baby – for obvious reasons, this solution sucks. For one, the chances of covering all that mess are slim, and the idea of getting poop on the baby’s face is alarming on so many levels. Ain’t worth the risk. Explore other options.
  2. Pull the onesie down over the shoulders and feet – seems like the best option for sure. BUT, it only works with the “shoulder flap” onesies (you know, the ones with the big openings at the neck). Some onesies aren’t like that, and they have pretty small openings and snaps, but if your baby is fat like mine, there ain’t no way that opening’s fitting over the belly. Option 3?
  3. Cut the onesie off – great plan. Except for the scissors slicing in extreme proximity to baby fingers, toes, and chins. Nobody’s doing that one. S.C.A.R.Y. Alright . Let’s explore option 4.
  4. Damnit. There is no option 4. Fuck.

But we pull through somehow, one way or another. Story of my parenting life: looking around at a seemingly impossible situation, sure I just can’t do it, sure every attempt will end in disaster, unconvinced of my capacity to deal, to handle, to fix. Then acting anyway.

And getting through it.

Somehow.

Cause to my knowledge, no baby has ever died at the hand of a poop-filled onesie. Or mother, for that matter.

sorry. can’t make it in today.

by Janelle Hanchett

So I know it’s strange, but I really don’t have much to say right now. Well I do have things to say, but none of them are interesting.

I want to complain about being sick for the last week. Really, really sick. Well, not deathbed sick. But sick enough that I couldn’t get out of bed.

I want to complain about the condition of my house. It’s beyond repair, as far as I can tell.

I want to complain about the health care insurance situation in this beloved fucking country, where two middle-class, working individuals cannot afford adequate insurance for their family (Mac was laid off for 2 months, due to the shitty economy, causing him to fall under the minimum hours required for union insurance, so we lost coverage, and because we cannot afford $1,000/month for COBRA (ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH), we are uninsured until July 1. Thanks, U.S.A.).

I want to complain about the rain, pouring down on us IN JUNE. IN JUNE PEOPLE. IN CALIFORNIA. And we’re going to the Further Festival tonight and it’s supposed to thunder and pour. This weather can bite me.

I want to complain about a situation at work that I can’t complain about at all because this is a public forum and work is, well, not.

I want to complain about one uninspired monotonous day after the next.

You see?

All uninteresting.

And I know this feeling will pass. And that most of it is a result of being sick.

I get kind of depressed when I’m sick. And really, really self-pitying and emotional.

It should be illegal for mothers to get sick. I mean seriously, who the hell is going to do her work? Who’s the back-up person? Who does she call to “call in sick?”

Oh right. Nobody.

When I’m sick, I have one wish: to lie there all day and not have to nurse anything. Pick anything up. Feed anything. Chase anything. Change anything’s diaper. Call anyone to arrange pick up for anyone else.

Because even though I have help, nobody can walk into my life for 2 or 3 days and take over.

Although, I would really dig that.

But I haven’t gotten to the point that I can ask for help cleaning my house.

And my husband would help but he works 7 days a week to make enough money so I can work 20 hours a week and our kids can still play tee-ball and softball and every now and then we can go camping. And we can eat. But we can’t pay for insurance.

So it’s on me. And I’m tired. I’m really really tired. And still sick enough to feel like crap but not sick enough to not clean – to continue opting-out of my life.

I guess I’m just having one of these damn overwhelmed days.

Feel sorry for me. No, don’t. I hate that.

Plus, as you may have noticed, I seem to have that particular department covered.

But check it out.

If at all possible, Just have one kid. Just.have.ONE.

And have it when you’re all grown up and established and have lots & lots o’ money.

And then remember. No matter what. JUST.HAVE.ONE.

Word.

6 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | June 4, 2011

My kids have seven parents.

by Janelle Hanchett

I realize my husband and I are supposed to be the only two people really taking care of these kids. I realize the American sit-com white-picket-fence story goes something like this: man meets woman in college. Great love ensues. They date. They marry. They buy a house. They get a Golden Retriever. They name it Sam. Three years later, they have their first child. They name it Sam, too. Then they have 2 or 3 more (kids, not dogs). And they raise them, all by themselves, visiting grandparents over the holidays. And they do this happily.

Alrighty then.

My story? Not so much. Mine goes some other way (for more details, read this). But there’s one part that really, really differs – right now, today – and that’s the whole “doing it on your own thing.”

My kids have 7 parents.

Two that house them. Two that make parenting decisions. Seven that drive them around. Seven that take care of them.

That’s right, people. I’ve got a village and I’m not afraid to use it.

I say this without exaggeration: I have no idea how people raise more than one child without grandparents around.

And YET, I see people doing it all the time.

HOW, PEOPLE, HOW?

There are so many days when I can’t get the kid to tee-ball practice or Girl Scouts or the birthday party or whatever, and I call one of those grandparents – and between the FIVE of them (my mom + my mother-in-law + my father-in-law + my dad + stepmom = FIVE. (Hells yeah!)) – there’s always one who’s available to save my sorry ass.

If I told you the whole story of my whole mothering career, you’d really see how those grandparents saved my sorry ass. But alas, that’s another blog post, which I’ll write when I get to know ya better.

And don’t get me wrong. I KNOW that some parents out there would simply love having grandparents around to help with their kids, and I also know that there are some parents whose selection of quality, reliable grandparents is questionable at best.

And I know that I damn lucky to have good, solid grandparents around. That they’re interested in my kids – in fact, are really quite fond of them, is an invaluable bonus to the whole close-proximity thing.

BUT, there is something in me that feels like a failure because I rely on them so much.

Shocker, right?

Janelle feeling like a failure? Odd. Very new. Cutting edge.

Or way, way old, worn out and LAME.

So let’s abandon it. Let’s just be secure in our need for help with this whole parenting thing, for being simply incapable of doing it on your own. For needing time to yourself sometimes. For needing your mom when you’re sick (to take care of you or to clean the house or to watch the kids while you sleep).

Alright, let’s do that.

Let’s be alright with it.

Okay, here I go. Being alright with it.

Trying to be alright with it…telling myself the “it’s okay – everybody needs this kind of assistance – you’re just lucky to have access to it” speech…

And believing it, for now.

And often I do believe it, intellectually.

But in my gut there’s another feeling. It’s weird. It’s like this deep voice telling me “you should not rely on others so much. You should do this on your own. What is your problem? Other people move across the fucking country from their parents, and still raise multiple children (with apparent ease).”

And YOU? You can’t even make it a week without calling in the reserves.

Pssshhht.

Bad mom.

OR, perhaps the whole “YOU MUST RAISE YOUR KIDS BY YOURSELF BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GOOD, GROWN-UP AMERICANS DO” is a huge steaming pile of bullshit.

Maybe, we all need each other.

Maybe it’s natural to have people help you.

Cause it wasn’t always this way, right?

I’m pretty sure that back in the day extended families lived near each other pretty much invariably. Grandparents were around and uncles and aunts and siblings and nieces and nephews and we raised these little people together.

Because NOBODY should have to face this crap alone.

There is NO WAY this is a two-person job.

Seven-person-job? Yes. That’s more like it.

This is my beautiful mother, my best friend, the only person on the planet as infinitely interested in EVERY SINGLE detail of each of my children...I'm not positive, but I THINK she saves my life, in one way or another, pretty much daily. Thanks, mom.

How to have a great night’s sleep…or something.

by Janelle Hanchett

How to have a great night’s sleep, one step at a time…

Work all day. Pick up your kids and baby. RACE to your house because you do not have enough time. Enter house. Begin shouting orders at children. Place your way-too-easygoing baby in the center of the floor of the living room, so you can see her while you bolt around the house caring for a sick puppy, repeating orders for the 9th time, preparing for the Extracurricular Activities of Doom. Scoop up baby. Let her nurse for 4 minutes while you arrange things with the husband. Put her in the car seat. Go to activity.

Go back to the work at 7pm to take care of unexpected development in a very urgent project.

Return home at 10pm.

See your husband and all three kids sleeping soundly and beautifully in your bed.

Contemplate sleeping on the couch.

Remember the condition of the living room, which houses the couch, and determine you’d rather sleep suspended by your toes in the garage.

Move biggest child to her bed.

Attempt to carry middle child to his bed. Cuddle his sweaty little neck when you transport him.

See the baby you haven’t really seen all day.

See the baby you haven’t played with.

Hear her little snores. Wonder how she’s managing to get along so well without you, when you’re obviously doing so poorly. Feel a wave of gratefulness for the amazing people caring for her.

Feel a wave of sorrow because you aren’t those people.

Wonder what the fucking point is. Of work.

Remember you have to work the very next day. Consider moving the baby to her crib, because you’ll sleep better without her in the bed.

Realize there’s no way in hell you can be away from her for one more moment. 

Pick her up from your husband’s arm. Wrap her in yours. Offer her sleepy self the breast. Watch her ignore it, too settled in deep sleep.

Pull her close, on your arm. Put your face to hers as close as you possibly can. Smell her breath. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Consider you might wake her up. Consider that you couldn’t care less about waking her up.

Close your eyes and inhale her heaven scent.

Wonder what the fucking point is.

Stare.

Because you can’t stop.

Stare.

Because you couldn’t stare all day.

Stare.

Because she’s so luscious and wonderful and perfect you still can’t believe it.

Close your eyes. Try to sleep. Realize you cannot. Baby’s a bit too close.

Realize you don’t care.

Stare again. Kiss again.

Watch her wriggle. Nurse her. Be grateful.

Look at the clock. 11:30pm. Be ungrateful.

Settle deeper into determined attempts to sleep.

See a little shadow in the hallway. See that it’s your son. Tell him to come on in, but he’s gotta get on daddy’s side.

Watch him crawl in with his kitty stuffed animal. Watch your husband enfold him without waking up.

Hear the larger male snore.

Get annoyed.

Bang on husband to roll over and quit snoring. Watch him do it.

See that it’s 12am.

Begin getting really worried. Decide to move the baby to her crib so you can stretch out and really sleep.

Kiss her again.

Stick your nose against her mouth to smell her breath again and feel its whisper across your face.

Pick her up. Feel your heart break a little when you lay her on her crib. Because tomorrow will be another day of no-baby. Tell yourself it’s alright.

Even though it isn’t.

Go back to bed. Close your eyes.

Miss the baby so much you can’t fucking sleep. Wish things were different. Begin regretting almost every decision you’ve made in the last 10 years.

Say a prayer to calm the mind.

Repeat the mantra to redirect the mind.

1am. Crash.

4:30am. Hear the baby yelling “HI!” from her crib. Go get her. Change her. Watch her smile. Smile back because you can’t resist.

Bring her back into bed. Nurse her. Fall asleep.

Wake up at 6am. Refreshed.

Or something.

See your baby smiling, waving and saying “hi” from the other side of the bed, forgiving you already for leaving again.

Sometimes it's just me and her, no matter who's around.

She doesn't mind her crib. I do, though, sometimes.

Wait. I’m supposed to play with these kids?

by Janelle Hanchett

I created a new category called “things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone publish on the internet.” This post, my friends, falls squarely into that category, and may actually redefine the term “over-sharing.”

I actually considered not writing this, even though I felt compelled to do so.

Because this borders a little too closely on something I may want to pretend doesn’t exist. Something I may deny. Something my ego hates to admit.

But in the first post I wrote for this blog, I asked “where do the bad mothers go?” (Wait. Did I just quote myself? Wow, that’s a new low.)…and that got me thinking…I already admitted I’m a bad mother, and I don’t mean “bad” in the “ha ha ha aren’t I funny because really I’m a great mother and we all know it” kind of way…I mean “bad” like for real bad – like people may wonder if I have a heart bad. Like screw you, Janelle, bad. Like I’m not proud of this but it’s true, bad.

And since I already admitted it, why back out now from telling this shit the way it is?

There’s no reason.

So here you go…

Most of the time, I pretty much can’t stand playing with my kids.

You see? What the fuck. Bad.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I’m in a great, playful, carefree mood, and I can play with them and sing and be goofy (like recently when I walked around Walmart with underwear on my head – (I was buying them, they weren’t dirty)…and the kids were in hysterics and we played sword fighting with the foam pool noodles, right there in the aisle…and it was fun and we laughed and I felt like an alright mom for a minute.)

But say…oh…I don’t know…say the kids ask me to play with them, and I’m not in that kind of mood. Say yesterday happens, when I had been cleaning the house for 6 hours and was finished, but was suffering from allergies and feeling not quite right…just a little uneasy…just a little depressed…just a little, wait…what was it? Oh right. Self-pitying and self-centered and DOWN. That’s right. Uninspired. Over it. Fuck this family crap. Down.

But they are kids and they deserve a mom that plays with them.

And they’ve been asking me all day.

And the game’s all set up.

And I should do this for them.

But what I really want to do is leave. Be by myself. Not clean. Not listen to kids. Not be in this house for one more damn second.

But I have that pull. I hear that voice “Janelle…you should do this. Mothers do this. Just fucking do it.”

So I sit down to play Monopoly and they are bouncing. Bouncing. Because mama’s playing a game with them. Mama’s involved. As a courtesy they pretend to buy my plastered smile.

They even put cushions down in my spot, so I would be more comfortable on the floor.

Those kids are damn angels.

But check it out. Everything they do irritates the hell out of me. The way they slam the board when they’re moving their tokens across it…the way they lean over and knock the money piles everywhere…the way Ava directs everybody’s every single move…the way Rocket won’t focus and rolls around constantly…the energy…the time it takes… all of it. My skin is crawling. I act terribly. I’m a straight asshole to those kids, telling them what to do, demanding they do things my way.

Demanding that they not act like kids.

As I’m doing it I hate myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’m there. But I’m not there.

I try, but I can’t snap out of it.

If you’re reading this and your kids are in college now and you’re thinking about how much you miss them, please don’t tell me how I’m short-sighted and should cherish these times because wow they’re SO QUICK and before I know it they’ll be out of the house and soon I’ll give ANYTHING to have these moments back .

Don’t tell me that.

Because I already know it.

I felt a yearning for that Monopoly game 5 hours after it happened.

I realized the beauty of what I missed while lying in bed that same night.

Right now I feel the sacredness of playing a game with my non-stop director daughter and goofy distracted son. I feel it. I know it.

And YET it doesn’t change it. It has no effect on The Now – when I need it. And all the self-talk “Oh come on, Janelle, be patient. Be kind. Chill the fuck out. These are your KIDS…”… all of it withers in the face of…well…I don’t know. Whatever the hell it is that makes me act like that.

It’s only the next day and I wish I could go back. But as one of my favorite songs says… that’s a “no-go for this hobo.”

I wonder how many times I’ll feel this before I learn.

 

Sorry, guys. You got dealt a mama who ain’t that good all the time. In fact she’s pretty shitty most of the time.

She’s a bad player.

But she loves you. And she’ll keep trying.

Hang with me little ones.

"I know Alcatraz stopped taking prisoners a while ago, but do you think they'll make an exception for that bitch mother of ours?"