Posts Filed Under Maybe my kids are the problem.

If I could, I’d tell her she’s alright.

by Janelle Hanchett

Yesterday as I was getting into my car, there was an early teen-aged girl (probably 12 or 13) walking toward me from across the parking lot.

For some reason I watched her for a moment, long enough to see her jump up on a curb, then playfully hop down again – landing with a sort of silly childish stomp. With her first step back in stride she looked around a little nervously, patted her hair and bangs, making sure it was still in place.  There was perhaps a splash of embarrassment in her face as we locked eyes.

In our glance I realized I had witnessed something profound.  [I know it’s weird, but I’ve always been some sort of freak who sees gorgeous sacred moments in parking lots with strangers (and other inconsequential events). But I can’t help it; it’s how I roll. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a Hemingway novel. Or Melville. Definitely something sad and deep and American, and hysterical.]

What I saw was a perfect encapsulation of our girls’ precarious dilemma – all that troubles our beloved tween girls.

All that troubles my little girl.

Because as she trotted alongside her dad she let herself be a kid for a minute – risked her hair getting messed up. Risked her friends seeing. Risked play. Risked abandon.

And I wanted to hug her.

I knew the power of what I was witnessing. I knew how real it is to her. That moment of fear, of regret, of uncertainty “Did I do something wrong? I shouldn’t have done that.” It was all there, in that moment. The juxtaposition – the transformation – right before my eyes, in 3 seconds, from girl to young woman. Almost.

My little girl is there. Nearing there. Standing on the brink of adulthood. Teetering between freedom and restraint. Jumping up on curbs then looking around nervously. Wearing bows in her hair to look more “grown up.” Rolling on the ground like an insane puppy.

Pulling away sometimes.

Playing in the sand with buckets sometimes.

Holding me sometimes.

Patting her hair nervously sometimes.

Trotting along beside me.

Next month she turns 10...


So this is what a toddler acts like.

by Janelle Hanchett

I have a real toddler.

My first two kids weren’t “real” toddlers. Evidently they went through the toddler stage, but they didn’t really ACT like toddlers. They just kind of hung out. I’ve never bought those drawer or door locks or done any “toddler-proofing” (what a stupid expression).

This one, though? This Georgia character? She’s the real deal.

And holy crap my friends, this is a lot of work.

I spend most of my time averting disaster.

If she can reach it, she pulls it over. On her head. On the floor. On the cat.

If she’s in the bathroom, she’s inspecting the toilet bowl brush.

Or the trash.

She’s climbed into the dishwasher. Onto the kitchen island. Attempted entrance into the fireplace. And will leave through any opened doors.

Gets stuck under tables. Gets inside bags, baskets and boxes.

Wedges herself into all accessible small spaces. Then screams.

Topples head-first into items she’s attempting to scale, such as, the bathtub.

Climbs stairs.

In short, if there is an item in the room that is disgusting and messy or has the ability to choke her or cause some other grievous bodily harm or threaten her immediate well-being, she makes a damn beeline for it and if I’m not RIGHT THERE, there will be disaster.

Not maybe. For sure.

Everything I do I have to do it quickly, because there is a toddler on my tail. She’s gotta be RIGHT up in my business, all the time. If I’m unloading the dishwasher, she’s standing next to me grabbing shit out of it, preferably knives.

And what is she some sort of power crawler? She’s NEVER IN THE SAME PLACE for more than 3 seconds. She’s there. I look away. She’s GONE.

And then I’m bolting around “Georgia!?” (as if she’s some sort of dog that comes when called), finally finding her wrapped in the computer power cords and grinning at me like “What?”

Taking a shower. Always a treat.

Three to five minutes during which I leave the toddler unattended. I usually resort to letting her play with a roll of toilet paper or some other weirdness, because at least that way she’s not engaging in potentially life-threatening behavior and it’s a mess I know and anticipate, which somehow makes it easier.

I guess.

There is really no way to make toddlerhood easier.

This shit pretty much just bites.

Except for the fact that they’re freaking adorable and are still babies most of the time, cuddling and being fat and babbling and laughing and kissing and perfect.

Well, when they’re not eating the cat’s food.

Or pulling books off the shelves.

Or crawling into the refrigerator.

For the tenth time today.

Because your older kids just can’t seem to figure out the whole refrigerator-door shutting phenomenon.


Let’s just look at a picture. To forget.

Or maybe, to remember.

"Who, me?"


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.

wtf? wednesday (…remember this?)

by Janelle Hanchett


I can’t believe how long it’s been since we’ve had a wtf? Wednesday, in which we celebrate the cute, slightly alarming things the kids say.  My bad.

Anyhoo, here we go…


Looking at a full moon recently, Rocket says “the dark spots are big holes. I know that because my teachers taught me.” And we all go wild in encouragement, telling him how smart that is, etc., and he responds “Yeah. I don’t just  think about poop all the time.”


So I was doing what I thought was a riveting rendition of “Girls just wanna have fun” while folding a pile of laundry larger than a Prius (appreciating the sweet irony of the moment) and Ava looks at me with disdain, with that “you’re such an idiot” face…and she says, kind of under her breath but clearly audible “I really hope daddy’s genes are stronger than yours.”


Rocket: “Mama, if I counted every day for the rest of my life, how long would it take me to reach infinity?”

Me: “you can’t reach infinity. Infinity never ends. It goes on forever and ever and ever.”

Rocket, walking off: “Oh. Kinda like God.”

[I include the God comments because they trip me out, because they come out of nowhere…as if they know something I don’t.]


At a stoplight, Ava says “Mama, I just gave that lady in the car next to us my ‘dragon face.’ The way I do it is I flare my nostrils and make a chipmunk mouth, and I think I look a little like a rabbid squirrel.”

I respond “That’s nice. I bet she appreciated that.”

And Ava says “Yeah, I know I would.”


And here is the granddaddy WTF? moment…

As Rocket, Georgia and I are lying in bed together, I can see that Rocket may be getting  kicked, so I ask “Rocket, is Georgia kicking you?”
And he answers, laughing, “Yes, she’s kicking me right in my bald spot!” And since our heads are all together, I deduce that there’s no way Georgia’s feet are kicking him in the head, so I ask “Oh, where’s your ‘bald spot?’ And he points to his groin.

I don’t even ask.

Do they ever stop talking? EVER?

by Janelle Hanchett


So yesterday I went out with the three kids. Mac was working (shocker), and I was feeling ambitious and altruistic, figuring “I can handle this. I’m a good mom.” Plus, if I’m OUT of my house I don’t have to deal with the mess IN my house.

I know. I’m a thinker.

So we went to breakfast. Then we went to a craft store to pick out fabric for curtains I’ll never actually sew, and we walked around the 2nd-hand baby store (where I bitched about the prices, realizing I can buy the same shit for cheaper at Old Navy and it’s NEW)…then we went to a couple other stores, then Costco.

And really the little hoodlums were pretty good. I mean they’re kids, so they can’t be THAT good, but for kids, they were alright.

But by the end of our outing I realized something: My kids never stop talking. They never, ever, ever fucking EVER stop talking.

“Mama, do you think it’s weird when girls talk about boys they like?”

“Mama, why are we going this way? Can’t we walk to the next store? Why can’t we walk? I wanna walk. We never walk ANYWHERE. Why do we never walk anywhere?”

“Mama, can we buy this wooden chest of drawers for my doll clothes?”

“Mama, I love it when I fart in my underwear.”

“Mama, Georgia has a booger.”

“Mama, you never buy us anything.”

“Mama, how do the police tell the bad guys from the good guys?”

“Mama, how did the Russian Revolution start?” (Yes, Ava actually asked that.)

“Mama, how come Hitler used gas on the Jews when  all the countries signed that agreement after World War I promising never to use gas again during war?” (and that too.)

“Mama, will I ever grow up as tall as daddy? How tall is daddy? Is he taller than an elephant? I want to be taller than an elephant. A crane is taller than an elephant. But what about a giraffe? Is daddy taller than a giraffe? A crane is taller than a giraffe for sure. Pretty much everything isn’t as tall as a crane. Right, mama? Is a crane taller than everything?”

And ON and ON and ON and ON.

And on.

And on.

And on.

Please give me a break. One break. Two minutes of silence.

Holy fuck do they EVER stop talking?

No. They don’t. They are relentless. I don’t think they breathe. They only talk.

When I’m with all three of them, there is always one of them making noise in my direction, needing me. Always.

Whether it’s whining or crying or wailing or squealing or talking…there’s always noise coming at me from the little people.

My husband can sit there and, by all appearances, not hear a single smidgen of it.

I on the other hand hear every single speck of chatter and feel compelled to answer each and every question they pose. [Unless it has to do with farts or poop or underwear. Most of those questions I let go unanswered, realizing the purpose is usually just to say the word “fart” or “poop” or “underwear” – any response being almost wholly irrelevant.]

I do okay at the beginning. But after a few hours…my Lord I’m tired of people talking at me. I’m an extrovert and all, but shit. Everybody’s got a limit.

And then I start giving one word answers and my daughter starts picking up on my impatience and I start feeling guilty so I try again but my heart’s not in it but they don’t stop because they actually physically cannot (by the way, is that some sort of ailment?)…so we just go on like that…forever….it’s all really quite a lovely little picture.

So I turn on music. Loud.

But they talk anyway. OVER THE MUSIC.

Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear them.

But they only TALK LOUDER.

Deep breaths. Mantras. “I am a rock in a stream.”

Yeah right. That shit never works.

I tried telling them once about the Dalia Lama stating that “senseless chatter” was a bad thing, clouding the mind and separating us from our Buddha nature. While it appeared promising at first, that particular strategy backfired miserably when they started accusing me of “doing senseless chatter” almost every time I brought up a subject they didn’t feel like hearing.

Oh well.

I know I’ll miss this in 20 years.


The only time I get any peace from the NOISE. Except wait a minute. Ava is not in this picture, which means she was probably with me. Talking. Talking to me. Talking to me endlessly. Shiiiiit.