Posts Filed Under nothing to do with parenting.

this is my serious face

by renegademama

Some of you may recall this post, in which I suggested that we “not worry about” brushing toddler teeth because “they’re going to fall out anyway.” Newsflash: I WAS JOKING. If I weren’t joking, that would mean I thought it was okay not to brush a child’s teeth until they were 7-8 years old…because they were going to “fall out anyway.” Yeah, so…I may be a bad mother, but I’m not crackhead bad. My kids get fed and bathed and clothed, pretty much daily, and they even, on occasion, get dental care!

I thought my overall tone in that post, dripping as it was with sarcasm, was pretty obviously “full of it”, but I recently discovered, much to my dismay, that some people read that whole toothbrush thing seriously. I was shocked and confused, until a well-seasoned blogger (who you may read at this awesome blog) filled me in on a critical piece of information: some people don’t pick up on sarcasm. Huh. I wonder if that’s why my emails at work keep almost getting me fired. Food for thought.

Wait. Hold up. Can’t read sarcasm? What a sad, miserable life. Almost all good literature is simply fraught with the stuff. Even Jane Austen uses it. (Therefore, it’s valid.) And David Sedaris? Helloooo. The writing of the Gods.

Anyway, I realized that such a person (the person who couldn’t read sarcasm) would be lost and alone and scared in my blog – like a kitten in the Sahara without its mother. So, being an altruistic lover of humankind, on behalf of those people, I’ve crafted a handy little guidebook to serve as a map of sorts, to help them navigate renegade mothering, where seriousness comes to die.

  1. I initially wanted to name my blog “Whiskey Playdates” and I don’t even drink. That’s how full of shit I am.
  2. In this post I compared myself to Ghandi. In this one I said I wanted to beat certain women with blunt objects. And here I stated that I want to bang on my children for “stalling.” And please let’s not forget this post, in which I declared that my kids need to stop attending school because they’re creating too much laundry. If you see statements like these, or any others that could potentially send me to jail or a mental institution, please rest assured that I’m just kidding. Playing. Making fun. Making a little jokey joke. Hahaha. Ha. Ha.
  3. In fact, I’m usually kidding. If I’m not kidding, you’ll know, because the post will look like this one (except for the whole play date in the trailer thing) or this one (Sylvia Plath and ovens and shit) or this one (does Walmart sell Bieber?).
  4. I exaggerate. I’m overly dramatic, emotional and intense. This is a personal blog about mothering. I get to be overly dramatic, emotional and intense.
  5. I don’t give advice on parenting. I don’t give tips. I don’t have handy bits of parenting information. In fact I hate handy bits of parenting information. I shoot it down in mid-air just on principle. If I see distributors of unsolicited parenting advice, I run away. Super fast.
  6. This blog is not intended to show anyone how to be a better parent. If I knew how to be a better parent I’d be off doing that rather than whining about my deficiencies online.
  7. My tongue is almost always planted firmly in my cheek. It’s actually a little exhausting, having it stuck there all the time. (Oh wait. You might not get that. So I’ll translate: I’m sarcastic. Just a little.) Good God I can’t stop! It’s a disease!
  8. I’m a smart-ass with loose verbal ethics and a pretty bad attitude. I play with language. I love language. I love messing with it. I do little mini acrobatics with my words, because I like to. (I also end sentences in prepositions, but that’s because I’m a REBEL). These little word games sometimes result in stretches of the truth, but, as Ms. Dickinson suggests “tell the truth, but tell it slant.”
  9. I like one-liners. The whole toothbrush thing was a one-liner. And it was funny.
  10. Speaking of funny one-liners, I use them for the sake of using them, because they’re funny, even if they are untrue, exaggerating, offensive, rude, politically incorrect, morally corrupt, shocking, ridiculous and/or make me look like a parent unconcerned with my kid’s rotting teeth.
  11. When in doubt, assume I’m joking.
  12. If offended, or if you feel compelled to call Child Protective Services, assume I’m joking and Google “scrap booking mama blog.” Then follow the first link you find. You’ll be happier there.

But if you already know these things, and you’re sticking around any way, welcome, friend. It’s damn good to have you.

And that was not sarcastic.

yay for sarcasm!

you’ve come a long way, baby

by renegademama

So we were driving home from San Francisco today (why were we in San Francisco, you ask? Because we were getting my daughter a passport. And why would a 9-year-old need a passport? Because she’s going to Europe with her grandmother for 2 weeks. And why pray tell is she doing that? Because she has a cooler life than I do. Already. At age 9. Thanks for asking).

And…now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s return to the story.

So we pass this one spot on hwy 80 and I’m feeling nostalgic, so I say “Hey Mac. Look. There’s the spot where I inadvertently lit that futon on fire with my cigarette.” He laughed familiarly, having already known about that futon, since we slept on it for a few months when we first met, affectionately naming it “the flaming futon.”

And how exactly does one light a futon on fire with a cigarette you ask?

Well it’s actually quite simple. I was driving home to Davis in my 1986 BMW (in the year 2000) after picking up a futon in Berkeley at my mom’s house, which was now rigged up in the trunk, sticking out the back, wrapped up in blankets to serve as cushions between it and the trunk hood. I believe there were bungee cords involved. Anyway, after smoking a refreshing cigarette, I chucked it out the window as I always did, without any particular thought as I recall. A few minutes passed and I noticed these idiots driving by waving and freaking out and pointing to the rear of my vehicle. At first I thought they were just smitten by my general coolness (being 21 and all), but when it continued I thought I’d glance in my rear view mirror just in case, at which time I noticed something rising above my trunk, looking oddly similar to smoke and flames. So I pulled over and jumped up and down, looking blond and young and cute until somebody stopped and dealt with it for me. I’m pretty sure they just removed the blanket from the contraption and let it burn out, but I’m not totally sure. The futon had some burn marks but was still usable, so I got back in my car and drove home, smoking another cigarette of course, due to the stress.

As I recalled this story I realized that this whole futon-on-fire scenario is really something that only happens to a person when they’re 21. I mean at this age, while I may not be able to envision the exact threat, I would at least suspect vaguely that chucking a lit cigarette out the window while driving with blankets hanging out your trunk is a bad plan. I actually know now that chucking anything out of the car whilst driving (whether lit or not) is a bad plan, but I’ve come a long way so it’s not really fair to compare.

And as I kept thinking about it and we talked about the ‘old days’ it struck me that while I absolutely totally and wholly miss the pert little bottom and flat belly I had at 21, I really do not miss being a complete dipshit. Yeah, I know. Not all 21-year-olds are dipshits. But I WAS a dipshit in every sense of the word and I don’t fully miss it. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I continue to reach new pinnacles of idiocy and erroneous decision-making, but there’s a certain type of ignorance, of naivete, of pure unbridled jackass-ness mixed with childish conceit that thrived when I was 21 or so, walking around all hot (as kids that age do) but accidentally lighting bed frames on fire with cigarettes (ha! nice pun)…then thinking it was all very cute, making up cute names for the cute burned futon with my cute new boyfriend. I don’t miss that.

You know what isn’t cute? Turning 32, which I’Il be doing next week. And since I’m slightly devastated about the whole thing (not turning 32. I’m still weeping about turning 30), I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the reasons I am delighted I am no longer 21, in attempt to make myself feel better. So here you go.

Things I don’t miss about being 21.

1. First dates. Awkward silences that accompany them.

2.Second dates and the uncomfortable realization that this guy bites the big one but will probably try to get some any way and I’ll have to weasel out and avoid, which will require at least 6 more drinks (to grow the pair necessary to tell him to kick rocks) and the subsequent hangover.

3.Third dates. Oh wait, no. I never got that far.

4. Hangovers. I’m not sure, but I think I spent approximately 349 days of my 21st year with an outrageous unforgiving hangover. It was like the year of vomit and headaches and dehydration. As soon as I’d recover I was on my way to the next one. It was a giant conspiracy I tell you.

3. The walk of shame. If you don’t know what that is I’m not telling you.

4. The walk of shame again. Because it sucked that bad.

5. The inability to pass as a grown up even when I really wanted to and I was sure I was being mature and profound and real but those damn aunts and parents and professors and other such old people (30 years and over) would just laugh at me, seeing something in me that I didn’t see but really see now, which is, of course, unspecified dipshit syndrome.

6. Frequent interactions with 21-year-old males. Always a let down.

7. House parties. Kegs, slutty outfits, avoiding frat boys with their tribal arm band tattoos, looking cool smoking cigarettes, trying to ignore the little voice in my head, whispering the truth, confirming my suspicion that we really are just a bunch of silly drunk kids trying to pass as adults, not really cool at all, playing out numbers 1-6 over and over and over again until, well, we move on and look back at it all nostalgically but so freaking glad it’s over (mainly because of the walk of shame. Okay, FINE. If you don’t know what this is I’ll tell you. It’s waking up somewhere still in your going out clothes (and usually hungover), having to walk the humiliating morning journey past strangers or peers (who obviously know what you’ve been up to) back to your home/car/friend’s house. And if you haven’t done this you’re a bigger person than I but I tell you it will drive you straight to sobriety. Unless you’re me. Oops. Different blog post.).

8. Caring about being cool. Never being cool enough. Wondering whether I’d ever be cool. Or ever feel okay at all, in my skin, about me being me and just me with all my uncoolness, which I disguise and run from with my slutty outfits and conceit and overall cuteness.

9. No money, bad checks and making that call to Dad: “just cover this one bill, please? just this month and I SWEAR I’ll pay you back.” Oh shit. I may still do that.

10. Waiting for life to start. Waiting for my soul mate to arrive. Waiting waiting waiting for that thing to happen. That thing that’s going to make me whole and complete and grown up and that woman I was meant to be – the one those old people see and are patiently waiting for. Wondering when she’ll come.

So now I’m 32 and that thing hasn’t happened yet and maybe it will never happen but I love that woman who has come and is coming still – though she’s uncool and silly and lost and not exactly what I envisioned at 21 – because she’s whole and just right, right now, and lucky as hell to come through it all with nothing worse than a burned futon and a battered memory of former dipshit status. Damn it. I’m even kinda proud of her.

So bring it, universe. I’m ready.

here we are, mac, ava, rocket & georgia, and my maternal grandparents

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.