WTF? wednesday

by renegademama

This week we’re heavy on Rocket quotes because Ava was gone half the week (in Europe). Still, not bad.


Rocket, whining and making a “puh-lease” face: “Daddy, may I have another cookie?”

Mac: “Yes, but not because you made that face and whined.”

Rocket: “Well, it worked yesterday.”


Me: “What did you learn about today at school?”

Rocket: “I learned about how a frog will puff up his belly to look bigger, so other animals won’t eat him.”

Me: “Smart frog.”

Rocket, with an eye-roll: “Mama. It’s a frog. It’s not smart. It’s trying not to die.”

Dude. He’s five. How the hell was I supposed to know he understands the difference between survival instinct and intelligence?

And….a WTF? moment brought to you courtesy of the man inhabiting my house.

Me, on Saturday morning: “Mac, we need to clean. The house is thrashed.”

Mac: “But I did dishes this week. Why do I have to clean now?”

(Just fucking shoot me.)


Rocket, to a friend, after I told her our whole family is going to see Further in San Francisco…”Yeah, but it won’t be the same without Jerry.”



Ava, after school, upon being asked how her day went by a family friend: “Well, the bad news is my technology teacher died. The good news is I have a softball game tonight.”

Death. Softball. Whatever.


0 Comments | Posted in wtf? wednesdays | April 6, 2011

don’t worry, I’m a parenting expert

by renegademama

Parenting Expert

This expression slaughters me. You know you’ve heard it: “I am a parenting expert.”

Well no, you’re not.

Let’s talk about why, shall we?

The Oxford English Dictionary (oh how I love thee, my OED) defines the word “parenting” as “the activity of being a parent; the rearing of a child or children; the manner in which a parent raises a child.” Clear enough. It defines “expert” as “one whose special knowledge or skill causes him to be regarded as an authority; a specialist.”

So let me get this straight…you are a specialist in the rearing of my children?

Wow. That is fancy.

Here I thought I was doing this all by my lonesome and all this time you were right there – the untapped resource, the authority, the specialist, the expert in my experience?! And I didn’t even know it! Gee whiz I never thought to look for you. Silly me. I assumed that since I am me and I’m the only me there is (as far as I can tell) and my kids are my kids and only my kids (as far as I can tell), if anybody were to become an “expert” in raising them, it would, by definition, have to be ME, since I am in fact the only one involved in their rearing and therefore, the only one who could gain sufficient skill or knowledge to reach “expert status.”

I mean how have you managed to acquire that skill and knowledge? Are you clairvoyant? Do you spy on us? Do you live in my attic and peep down through the heater vents? Or do you somehow “just know” how kids should be raised?

Alright, all kidding and sarcasm aside, I’d like to get serious for a moment and invite all current and potential parenting experts to step away from the computer and kindly go screw themselves.


I’m serious people. What the hell? I see those two words EVERYWHERE and it is clearly driving me batty. The worst are the people who blog because they are “parenting experts” and apparently just can’t help but share their knowledge with us dumb shits. How do people even say that with a straight face? How can you be an expert in something so intensely personal, ever-changing and unpredictable? How can you be an expert in the rearing of a child you’ve never met? And even more frightening, are there actually parents who see that bio or blog summary and say to themselves “oh good! Somebody who knows how to raise my children! Yay! What a relief! I was thinking I had to figure this out on my own! Whew.”

I imagine that if some of these “experts” were to read this post they would defend themselves by saying something like… “oh, I’m not telling you how to raise your children. I’m an expert in the many different ways parents raise children. I just have a lot of knowledge. I’m not advocating for one over the other. I just want to provide information.”

Which is, of course, total bullshit, because there’s always bias and slant and the only type of person pretentious enough to claim an authoritative status on something as ambiguous and subjective as parenting is exactly the type of person who maintains a very strong opinion on the way things should be done. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be calling themselves an expert. An expert is called upon for their expert opinion – their informed expert opinion. That’s the whole fucking point of being an expert. Otherwise, you’re just a knowledge sharer.

And I have yet to see that on a blogger bio “I am a knowledge sharer.”



I’m done.

(Thanks. I feel better now.)

what I learned this week: fevers, hippies and existential crises (nice rhyme, J)

by renegademama
  1. It’s possible to be tremendously afraid of something yet do it anyway. My daughter is going to Europe tomorrow for 2 weeks. When contemplating this, my mind goes straight to Eastern European human trafficking rings and/or the illegal sale of body parts (is there legal sale or was that redundant?). Then my mind sits there. And expands. And it keeps expanding until I’m so terrified  I determine that the only thing to do is move to a yurt in Wales with my kids, husband, and a large, protective dog.
  2. I’m letting her go any way because the likelihood of her hating me forever if I don’t let her go is far greater than the possibility of something bad happening. This, my friends, is what one would call “sound reasoning.” (I like to point out instances of “sound reasoning” in my life, due to its scarcity.)
  3. Whining is the most annoying kid feature. I’ve given this a lot of thought and pretty much settled on that one, though I’m open to ideas.
  4. Scrubs is a freaking great show. Japanese sweet potatoes are a win. I need a pedicure.
  5. I know this topic is clichéd and boring, but I have to say, insurance companies are evil and can suck it. The end.
  6. There are positive aspects of having a baby with a cold and slight fever. They are as follows: 1. unlimited cuddling of the very close variety; 2. an excuse to do nothing but sit in a rocking chair, nurse and watch T.V.; 3. an indisputable way to get out of all commitments, housework and phone calls.
  7. There are some seriously unfortunate aspects of the same scenario, such as: 1. watching your baby suffer; 2. the positive cycle mentioned above continues throughout the night, when it isn’t so cool; 3. the positive cycle mentioned above continues for more than 1 day, which is even less cool; and 4. watching your baby suffer. Right. That one needed to be said twice.
  8. When your 5-year-old says “I’m brushing my teeth,” what he really means is “I’m sitting on the counter in the bathroom, emptying the toothpaste into the sink and swirling it around with my sister’s Barbie. I am doing this without pants.”
  9. When you begin cleaning the house on a Saturday morning, watch your husband carefully. He may try to sneak out the garage in search of the neighbor, who is also dodging his wife and her Stalin-like expectations.
  10. I’m not sure why the great minds of today concern themselves with things like life on other planets, perpetual motion or life after death when there are huge, cosmic quandaries facing us every day, right here at home, left totally unanswered, such as whether it’s better to end a sentence in a preposition, thereby violating an age-old grammatical rule, or avoiding that violation by crafting a ridiculously long-winded, archaic-sounding, pretentious sentence. I mean there’s no easy answer here. (Yes. I’m still thinking about the situation in my last post where I wrote “I need things to move on to.” I mean, what are my options? “I need things to which I can move?” LAME. Or “I need things that will allow me to move on to them?” Out of the question.). You see? PROBLEMATIC.
  11. Other than having a homebirth, I recently engaged in the most hippie activity of my life: I put essential oils on my baby’s feet to “pull out” the fever and cold. Whatever. My mom told me to do it. She’s cool like that.
  12. Speaking of hippies, on June 4th, me, Mac, Ava & Rocket are going to Further. This makes me so happy I could twirl naked in Golden Gate Park with ribbons and flowers in my hair while smoking joints and loving the one I’m with. (Damn it. Another preposition situation.).
  13. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next two weeks without my baby who isn’t a baby. This is my sad face.
  14. To make it through the next two weeks, I’m gonna need you people to hold my hand.  Cyber-space style. I’m also going to need to stop saying things like “cyber-space style” if I ever want to convince people I’m cool.


14 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | April 3, 2011

Circle Time!

by renegademama

Yay! It’s Circle Time…that special time each week (which I invented 5 minutes ago) where we sit together with a cup of coffee or tea or pre-noon vodka (whatever you’re into) and listen to some fine tunes.  It’s singing time. Sing-along time. The Wiggles suck ass time.  Barney is a beast of horribleness time. My almost tween is listening to Bieber time, so I’m comforting myself by listening to good shit. Time.

And sometimes my friends mention that since becoming a mother, they’ve gotten out of touch with good music. Or any music. Or anything they used to think was cool. I have mostly done that. But not with music. Music is a holy land and shall not be tread upon by the invasive muddy feet of short people who like the Wiggles. Mac and I go to a lot of concerts (mostly in bars where kids aren’t allowed!), buy music, seek out music, spend money we don’t have on music. It is the last semblance of cool in our lives. And it may not even be cool.

So I was thinking I’d share something that I’ve been listening to, in hopes that you’ll do the same and we can all discover new tunes. Because when I listen to an artist, I listen to them approximately 75,000 times. And if they’re really good, I’ll never get sick of them. I’ll move on, but I won’t get sick of them. I need things to move on to. (Every time I end a sentence in a preposition, I know it’s going to be okay, but it still hurts a little. It’s like Catholic guilt for a recovering grammar addict).

We’re starting out with Langhorne Slim, my latest obsession. Saw him in January at the Fillmore in San Francisco. His music is real. His voice sublime. It makes me shake my head in disbelief that something could be said and sung so perfectly. I hear him telling my story. You may hate it. And that’s cool.

But even if my taste bites the big one, please tell me what you’re listening to lately. Because it’s Circle Time. When we share.

Before we get started, please make sure you check this out:

And here, my friends, is the music. This is acoustic. Usually he plays with a drummer and stand-up bass dude.  Enjoy.

22 Comments | Posted in Circle Time! | April 2, 2011

and then this one time, I got my kid to T-ball practice

by renegademama

One of the reasons I started writing this blog is that simple, “normal” parenting tasks – ones that other people seem to complete with relative ease – completely overwhelm me. They floor me. I gotta have an outlet for this confusion, lest I finally determine that I am, in fact, fatally maladjusted and ill-equipped for life, and give up entirely.

For example: extracurricular activities. I don’t get those. I mean, I “get” them: it’s the stuff kids do outside of school.

But I don’t get them – like, how to DO THEM.

One, maybe. Extracurricular Activity. Not plural. No plural around here.

Each kid gets one.

Yeah, I know. Bad mother.

But you gotta understand the situation here. I am genuinely impressed with my parenting skills when each one of my kids is involved in a single extracurricular activity. Except Georgia. Georgia gets boob. That’s her activity.

And I’m not kidding. I feel like an over-achieving, June-Cleaver-emulating, Martha-Stewart-weeps-in-the-corner-when-she-sees-me-coming bad ass when I get Ava to softball practice. And if I’m on time? Whoa. Hold up. Somebody’s on FIRE.

I think about this sometimes when I see other people’s kids doing freaking everything. Tennis lessons, Girl Scouts, violin lessons, French lessons, karate, earth-appreciation camp, junior democrat camp, social justice grammar school league (okay I made those last two up). And I don’t get it. Do their parents have chauffeurs? Do they have house boys (I have no idea what that is, but I think I want one.). Have they discovered 5 additional hours in the day, perhaps hiding under the armoire? Are they self-employed? Are they independently wealthy? Is there something wrong with me? (well, yes, Janelle. We’ve been over that. Now move along).

I mean COME ON I can hardly get my kids to SCHOOL each day, let alone optional character-building activities.

I think it’s a bit unreasonable to set those kind of expectations.

I mean pretty much the only reason my kids make it to school every day is because I’ll get arrested if I don’t take them and I really need them to leave the premises for awhile, so I can gather my strength to face the upcoming after-school extracurricular. I can’t believe I just said that out loud.

These things sound okay on paper. Like T-ball for example. Sounds innocuous, right?. Little kids, uniforms, balls, dirt, tees. One practice on Thursdays. One game on Fridays. Yeah, alright. I’m in. It’ll be fun.

Oh NO it won’t.

They didn’t tell you that the practice is at 4pm on Thursdays, so unless you’re a stay-at-home-mom, it’s a virtual act of God to get a kid moved from school to the park at 4pm on a Thursday – which means you’ll spend every Wednesday (when it occurs to you with a pang of sorrow that tomorrow is Thursday and thus T-ball practice) calling grandparents and distant relatives and old friends who hate you, begging them to help. Games at 6pm on Fridays? Alright. Manageable. But it isn’t just a game. It’s a game that requires particular clothing, meaning you will first have to locate this clothing (“Rocket WHY are your baseball socks tied to the dog kennel in the neighbor’s yard?”) and quite possibly wash that clothing (which of course is optional. But locating them? Not optional.). And then there’s the gear. (“Where the F is the mit?”) AGAIN. And of course we’re trying to eat food before the game so nobody starves, in addition to trying to dress Rocket in a baseball uniform that doesn’t exist (while he’s rolling on the floor in hysterics after trying to lick his sister, who is now screaming because her privacy’s been violated and she has homework and doesn’t want to go the game at all and NOBODY EVER CARES ABOUT HER EVENTS!) and it’s cold on the field so dress appropriately (but “I HATE UNDERSHIRTS MAMA!”) and the baby went to the bathroom for the 3rd time today, right now, so I’m yelling at Mac to handle it but he’s making food and I’m wrestling kids. And everybody’s reeling and WHY? Why is my life sucking so badly at 5:45pm on a Friday?

Because of the damn extracurricular activity.

I know what you’re thinking. Plan better, Janelle. Make a schedule. Organize your life. Use a calendar for goodness sake. Act like a grown-up.

But the problem is, I can’t do that either.

I put things in my Blackberry calendar then never look at it again. Or I write things on the family calendar then fail to realize that today is the day indicated on the calendar. Yes, I do these things. This is me.

Hello. My name is Janelle and I am inept.

We don’t plan. We avert disaster.

Maybe my kids will resent me one day because they only got to do one thing at a time. And that’s okay. I do what I can. And once they have their own kids, suddenly facing their own limitations, they’ll realize with perfect clarity that I did the best I could, with the tools I had at the time.

Or didn’t have. As the case may be.


Hey kids! I have an idea. Let's watch T.V. in a cardboard box instead of doing extracurricular activities!