Posts Filed Under self-esteem corner.

8 things I do pretty much daily that I NEVER would have done with my first kid

by Janelle Hanchett

So that last post I wrote about waking Georgia up for no reason made me think of the many things I now do that I NEVER would have done with my first kid.

It’s funny. Sometimes when people ask for my advice on something parenting related (okay admittedly this doesn’t happen very often), I feel like responding, “Sorry, you should have asked me when I only had one kid and knew everything.”

Don’t get me wrong. I was still confused. I’ve always been confused.

The difference is, I guess, that I used to think there were really right ways to parent and other ways were really WRONG no matter what. Now I realize it’s all basically one giant crap shoot and we do the best we can in the circumstances we’re facing and just as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, you get your brilliant ideas handed to you on a silver platter, all chewed up and spit out and useless.

In other words, I’ve fucking relaxed my Captain Justice parenting approach. Out of necessity. Life made me do it.

Or maybe I’ve just lost my ethics.

Or gotten lazy.

I dunno.

You decide.

Anyway, here’s my list. Oh, 22-year-old self, if only you could see me now as I…

  1. Feed her formula. Wah? Huh? No she DIDN’T. Yes, she did. Apparently, babies do not die from formula. And apparently, I can’t quite swing the fulltime breast-pumping extravaganza and YES I felt a little guilty about it and YES I am now over it. The baby still nurses AND she takes a bottle when I’m not around AND the sky has not come crashing down on my formula-feeding sinner head, thus far. As an added bonus, I do not yet see signs of brain damage or emotional distress. Obviously, there’s still time.
  2. Let her cry in her crib for 5 minutes. I don’t do the cry-it-out thing. Nope no way. Not my deal. However, when the Georgia has been asleep for an hour or two or five and suddenly starts that irritated “wahhhhh-ahhhhhh” half-awake thing, or is just too tired to sleep (you know what I’m talking about…) I leave her for a few minutes, usually 5 or so. If she gets amped up, I go in there. But sometimes, I’ll be damned the kid goes to sleep. This never would have happened with my first, cause at the FIRST faint whimper I would have darted in and grabbed her up. Oh wait. That wouldn’t have happened because my first never left my bed until she was 2. Guess that’s another one for the list.
  3. Let her eat sugar. Ava didn’t have any processed sugar until she was three. Rocket didn’t have any until two. Georgia had some on her first birthday and now eats it, well, sometimes. Not candy or juice or soda…but the occasional nibble of ice cream, cake or cookies? Yes. I admit it. It just makes her SO HAPPY – and you try keeping your two older kids from passing her bites when you’re not looking.
  4. Let a nine-year-old watch her for 30 minutes. Oh come ON, I don’t leave the house – it’s only to catch a few extra ZZZZZs in the morning, when I’m particularly exhausted. Can that get me arrested? Let’s talk about something else.
  5. Not bathe her every day. Or every two. Or week. No we do more than that. Every week at least. For sure. I think.
  6. Feed her the same thing every day for a week because it’s the only thing she’ll eat and I’m too lazy to force feed or explore other items. Pretty self explanatory.
  7. Stay home to let her get a long morning nap. With three kids, that nap is the most important event of the day. All cleaning happens during that nap. All chatty phone calls with friends. All carefree blog writing. All peace. All joy. All meaning. You think I’m exaggerating. But I’m not.
  8. Put on lame shows from Netflix in the distant hope it will amuse her for 5 straight minutes so I can get something done. With my first kid, if somebody turned a television on IN THE SAME HOUSE MY BABY WAS IN, I’D LEAVE. Okay not that bad, but I was definitely what you’d call a no-television extremist. I thought T.V. exposure would like fry her brain cells on the spot. Like you could watch them sizzle right there in front of you – “boom!” – dumber, one cell at a time…now? I put on Sesame Street and dance around trying (in VAIN) to get Georgia to even glance at the damn T.V. Incidentally, she hates it.

What about you? What sort of sins do you commit that you’d SWORE you’d never do?

Come on. Hook it up. Make me feel better.

who gives a F*** about strollers?

by Janelle Hanchett

Okay fine, I admit it. I “liked”’s Facebook page to increase my access to material for “Idiot Surfing” posts.

That’s not because I’m a bad person. Well maybe it is a little. But mostly it’s because I’m efficient: any time you ask thousands of people for their opinions on, well, anything, you’re going to get at least a few hundred batshit crazy responses.  All kinds of idiots, all in one place, all talking about parenting. Yay!

But I’m about to unfriend them. Or unlike them. Or both, if that’s possible.

Because beyond breaking every known rule of Facebook decorum (oh yeah, it exists) by posting something every single hour, the questions they pose for their readers are HANDS DOWN the stupidest questions ON THE PLANET. I don’t understand how people even click on the comments section let alone read them let alone respond to them.

Here’s a little gathering of the nonsense for ya:

“How old is too old for a stroller?” (Um, I don’t know? When they don’t FIT?)

“Ever wonder if those tantrums could mean something else?” (Right. Thank you. Because I need one more thing increasing my suspicions that my child suffers from some previously unknown deeply rooted disciplinary dysfunction due to (of course) poor parenting.)

“Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a parent?” (No, not at all. I totally got this. Are there people overwhelmed with the prospect of building somebody’s foundation for life? WEIRD.)

“Mohawks on toddlers? Are they appropriate?” (Who cares if they’re appropriate, they’re CUTE.)

“How much sleep does your kid get a night (better yet — how much sleep do YOU get)?!” (Do we REALLY have to bring up the sleep thing AGAIN? Can’t we all just agree that kids don’t fucking sleep and therefore neither do you and it fucking sucks. The end.)

“Do you think prettier moms get more playdates? (Find out why this mom says yes.)” (I don’t care why this mom ‘says yes,’ because it’s a stupid question in the first place.)

Can’t people just lighten up a TAD? Why does everything have to be this big QUESTION we put on Babble and write about and get all judgmental and opinionated and pissed off about? Allegedly these people have kids. How do they have time to debate hair-coloring during pregnancy? Most of the time when I [attempt to] read mainstream parenting books and magazines, I find myself asking one question. Just one. And that is, oh yeah, you guessed it: WHO THE FUCK CARES?

Appropriate stroller age? Seriously?

Prettier moms? Yes, since I’m in junior high that question interests me greatly.

And the thing that really blows the mind is the responses people give. “I think it’s bad parenting to let your kid sit in a stroller beyond 3 years old.” “Every kid I know with a Mohawk is mean and badly behaved. Coincidence?” (I’m not exaggerating the Mohawk one, and yes, it’s going on my next Idiot Surfing post.)

Maybe I’m just so lazy I’m apathetic. But I don’t think so. That stuff really is boring, right? And ultimately irrelevant? I mean after awhile don’t all those “parenting questions” just blur into one giant sense of unknowing?

Am I the only one who ceased looking for answers a long time ago and just surrendered to my ignorance? Resigned. To doing my best with what I’ve got, even when it seems tiny and pale in the face of parenthood?

You know, like when your 9-year-old daughter comes home and excitedly announces she got invited to her first slumber party and you want to be excited but realize you don’t know the parents. And immediately all kinds of images flash like swords into your heart and you want to scream there’s no way in hell you’re going kid, ever – but her face. It’s joyful. New school. New friends. All the girls are going.

You think about meeting the parents first. Obviously. But you can’t tell freak in 30 minutes.

You tell yourself “it’s okay.” She’ll be fine.

But what if she isn’t.

You stand still. In unknowing.

These are the questions I need answered.

Who gives a fuck about strollers.

Deep bonding moments…or something

by Janelle Hanchett


I wish I could do deep meaningful shit with my kids all the time. I do. I wish that.

But I can’t.

I wish when we spent special time together it was to knit and garden, sew pants out of upcycled wool, build things out of repurposed tires, visit abstract art museums. Paint, dance, frolic.

But I can’t.

I mean I CAN. Physically, I can.

But I can’t. Mentally. Ya feel me here?

Sometimes, I just need to pay money and do something easy with the kid – a guaranteed win. An outing that’s an “in the bag” kid pleaser with very little work on my part.

You know, like going to the movie theater to watch Transformers with your 5-year-old son, after purchasing on his behalf a large, buttered popcorn, one Sprite, one package of regular M&Ms and one package of Sour Patch Kids.

So it’s a PG-13 movie.

So it cost $40.00 we really didn’t have.

So he ate enough preservatives, sugar, additives and chemicals of unknown origin to destroy a few million brain cells.

So we didn’t really talk. Or learn anything of any use AT ALL (except, perhaps, that hot women can run full speed through a burning Chicago, dodging falling buildings and Decepticons, while wearing 3-inch spiked heels! Okay, seriously people, I gotta write a blog post about the way women are depicted in those damn action films. I’m vomiting a little just thinking about it.).

So it wasn’t deep or profound or particularly meaningful.

And I felt a little guilty that our special date together – our just he & I time – was a few hours sitting in a theater, watching large metal machines beat the shit out of each other and long-haired women with big lips dodge bullets and squeal.

But there was no preparation. No thought. No arguments. No cajoling. No disappointment when the child in question gets distracted after 10 minutes – more interested in gluing his finger to the table than furthering the objective of the well-thought-out, Waldorf-life craft project.

So it was perfect.

And halfway through the movie he crawled on my lap. And he sat on my lap the whole time. And I smelled his head and kissed his cheek and rubbed his bony little arms. And I watched him laugh when they laughed and get nervous during the fight scenes because you never know – this could be the first time the good guy loses…

And in the car we talked about who’s better: Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, and he reenacted the fight scenes and I realized I finally know the Transformers’ names like his daddy does, and he finally got an hour of uninterrupted mom-lap time.

And I gotta say, the whole thing blew wool-felting right outta the fucking water.

Well, yes. It was a really crap movie. Like bad.