Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The many faces of Elmo

I think we all know at this point that Elmo is Audrey's most favorite thing. If you don't believe me, here is a picture of her losing her mind when she saw her own Elmo shirt on my phone screen as we took a selfie together:


She has several Elmo dolls that live in our house and travel with us ... and they all have this same big grin on their faces. A grin that, depending on the situation, can become quite ... uncomfortable.

Here is Elmo in his natural state, looking happy/creepy as can be.

Here are a few photos of Elmo looking kind of terrifying:

Elmo the Potty Pal

This photo first appeared in this post about how Audrey might be a psychopath. She was playing with her new potty, and she put Elmo into the waste compartment before sitting on him and going potty.

I don't think Elmo particularly liked being in that position.

"Elmo has said 'no' but Elmo's friend still did not stop."

Suddenly, his big grin doesn't seem so happy. It seems like the grin of someone whose eyes are screaming "help me."

Elmo and the Black Cloud of Depression

Kermit always says it ain't easy being green, but has anyone talked about whether or not it's easy being red? People assume Elmo is always smiling because he's always happy ... but has anyone stopped to consider the possibility that maybe he's just putting up a front to cover the turmoil he feels inside?

Here's a picture that Audrey took with my phone, which I think captures a rare glimpse into what it's really like to be Elmo. Perhaps it's not as great as we've all led ourselves to believe.

"Elmo wonders if anyone would miss him if he died tomorrow."

Or, maybe I just shouldn't let my toddler take pictures with my phone, because they are always crap and she always takes like 25 of them at a time and it's a pain in the ass to delete that many pictures of the wall and the TV screen. 

Nah, definitely the Elmo is depressed thing.

Elmo is Watching You

This situation arose naturally after I packed up all our crap to head home from a weekend at my parents' house. I had tossed Elmo into the bag and then put a bunch of stuff on top of him ... but apparently he decided that he wanted to be able to see what was going on around him, like some sort of Super Creep.

"Elmo can seeeeee you."

I can't see his mouth, so I can't tell if he's smiling as usual. Are his eyes smiling? ARE THEY??!

Here is an artist's rendering of what the rest of Elmo's face probably looks like, depending on what you were doing at the time (let's face it: you were probably doing something bad, though):

"Elmo is horrified and disappointed."

Elmo Has No Escape

The lady who cleans our house every month is totally awesome, and one of the things she always does is gather up any crap that's lying around and shove it into whatever bags are lying around, so our house doesn't look so cluttered.

This is great most of the time ... and other times, it's EVEN MORE THAN MERELY GREAT.

Such as when I came home to this in the front entryway:

"Elmo has resigned himself to his fate."

Ummm ... I'm sure he can breathe just fine in there. 

... right?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Patent's Patented Guide to the weeks immediately before, during, and after having a baby

There's nothing on this earth that I like better than to give advice. Had you noticed?

And so, here comes another post where I tell you things that I've learned, and maybe it's new to you and you're thankful, or maybe you roll your eyes and feel superior; either way, you're better off than you were before!

Patent's Patented Guide to the weeks immediately before, during, and after having a baby


Adult Diapers -- buy them

I wrote a whole post about my adult diapers, but let me give you the short version:
I was really paranoid about my water breaking somewhere other than in the shower or on the toilet, so I bought a package of adult diapers and started wearing them over my underwear every night starting at around 36 weeks pregnant. They were hideous and ridiculous and I was an embarrassment to everyone in my life.

Fun fact: the adult diapers post is my most-viewed post out of everything I've ever written. Because apparently pregnant-women-wearing-diapers fetishes are a real thing, and people click over to that post hoping desperately for pictures. They won't find any. Sorry fellas.

But then, at week 39+1d, I started having contractions so mild I didn't even realize they were contractions. They just felt like period cramps, but period cramps that were becoming increasingly more rhythmic. And at around 9PM, as I lay in bed pretending to play Candy Crush but actually just timing these rhythmic cramps, I felt the trickle of my water breaking.

I was wearing a diaper. Because of this,
   -- The bed/sheets were unharmed.
   -- I walked to the bathroom without soaking the carpet. I did not feel the need to run there with my hands clasped between my legs.
   -- As we spent the next half hour running around the house like crazy people loading everything into the car and making 50 phone calls, I was not in any way concerned about soaking through my pants and making a giant mess in the house.
   -- By the time we were actually getting in the car to leave, I had leaked enough to require a new diaper, so I put on a fresh one and we headed to the hospital. My contractions intensified in the car, but I was able to focus on them and not on worrying that I might leak through the towel I was sitting on.

Those diapers were a f***ing godsend, is what I'm trying to say. Once your water breaks, it doesn't really stop leaking ever. It is too much liquid for just a pad to handle, and I can't imagine that leaking through my pants would have been very comfortable. Being in labor is uncomfortable enough without also having to deal with that

Just buy the diapers, and if you never need them, you never need them. And if you DO need them, you will be so, so happy you have them.

Extra bonus: One very smart lady told me that she also wore diapers for the couple of days after giving birth, when the crotchal region is like Niagara Falls during a hurricane sent by God as a precursor to the apocalypse. You can bet your ass I will be following her lead this time around.

Gatorade -- buy as much of it as you can store

I did not buy enough Gatorade for after Audrey was born. Not even close. I should have bought cases of it, so that I could drink it constantly and not feel guilty about it.

Why? Because those first few postpartum weeks are PUNISHING on your body's water management system. On the one hand, your body is trying to get rid of all the extra blood and fluid it's been carrying around for the past 9 months, so you're going to sweat and pee like you've never sweated and peed before. But at the same time, your body is also trying to establish a supply of breast milk, which requires extra water. So your body is battling itself, totally unsure of what to do with fluid and where to send it. 

And I ended up feeling about as dehydrated as I've ever been in my life.

The dehydration took a terrible toll. My hands were dry and cracked, as were my lips. My appetite completely tanked, as no food sounded appealing at all. There was literally nothing that I wanted to eat. The only thing I could make exceptions for? Fruit and soup. And guess what fruit and soup have in common? THEY ARE FULL OF WATER.

Now, it's easy to sit here and say "well then why the hell didn't you just drink more water?", but it isn't always that simple. When you're that far gone with dehydration and no appetite and total exhaustion from not sleeping, the thought of chugging down yet another liter of tap water is so, so unappealing. I drank all the water I could, but it didn't seem to do me any good. I just peed it out and my lips stayed cracked and I couldn't eat and my breastmilk supply never really happened and I cried dusty tears into my peeling hands while lamenting every decision I'd ever made in my life.

I really feel like this could all have been solved by gallons upon gallons of Gatorade. Delicious, cold, refreshing, hydrating, easy to drink, and full of whatever your body needs while it goes through all these insane changes. At least for a week or two, if I'd drank four liters of Gatorade a day, things would have been better for me. I know this because one day I drank four liters of Gatorade and I felt absolutely incredible.

This time around, I'm actually learning this lesson. Gallons of Gatorade. Gallons.

It's cool to just keep one of these in the living room, right?

(Note: don't go making Gatorade your only fluid intake, and definitely don't keep up the Gatorade diet for longer than absolutely necessary. Let your body get its shit together, and then drink water like a normal person. Gatorade is full of sugar, yo. Don't give yourself a kidney stone or diabetes or anything and then blame me for it)

Your favorite protein bar -- buy a few boxes of them

It's pretty well established that eating properly in the first weeks after giving birth is a challenge. This is why women commonly fill their freezers with casseroles while pregnant, or have family members drop off lasagnas, or get "meal train" deliveries from friends and neighbors after baby is born. When cooking is at priority zero and eating isn't far behind it, it takes some pretty consistent reminding to get new moms to take proper care of themselves as their poor bodies try to heal and also try to get breast milk production going.

Protein bars are the easiest thing in the entire world to eat. You can eat them with one hand while you drive. You can eat them with one hand while your baby naps in the other. You can eat them with your non-dominant hand without spilling or putting an eye out. You can eat them on a boat, or with a goat.


Before baby comes, buy lots and lots and lots of protein bars -- enough that you won't feel like you need to ration them or find time to go shopping for more. I mean hell, it's not like they go bad in a week. If it takes you a year to get through them all, so what. Buy them.

(Also, my favorite protein bar is the Luna bar in either S'mores or Nutz over Chocolate flavor. They're pretty nutritionally balanced, with lots of vitamins along with the protein and carbs and fat your body needs, and more importantly, they taste good as f***. I will be buying at least 50 of them before new baby comes)

... 50 BOXES of them, ha ha am I right ladies?
... ladies?

80's-style sweat band -- buy one and put it in your hospital bag

They're great for gettin' physical.

I'll explain the full "why" on this one below, but just trust me when I say that if your hair is any longer than a buzz cut, you should buy one of these and take it to the hospital with you. You might not use it ... or it might be the thing that turns your entire birthing experience around. Worth the $8 they cost, I think.


If you start to lose your motivation, change something

This one seems so obvious when you think about it rationally ... but when you're 8 hours into labor, nothing is rational anymore and it can be very easy to forget. 

So let's just all drill this into our heads: If what you're doing isn't working anymore, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

There will probably be many points in the labor process (especially if you've not had any pain medication) where you think "I cannot do this anymore." And every time you hit one of these walls, you need to change something about what you're doing. Are the lights dimmed? Maybe try turning them back on. Are you listening to Nine Inch Nails? Maybe change over to Disney's The Little Mermaid soundtrack and try to sing along to "Kiss The Girl." Are you sitting on a birth ball? Try squatting. Try walking around. 

Try out the shower. Move to a different part of the room. Look out the window. Look at a picture. Turn on the TV. Change the channel.

Finding the next "right thing" to keep your labor progressing properly is like trying to find the right prescription at the eye doctor. There might be a lot of "worse! worse! WORSE!!" before you find your "better", but when you find it (and you will find it), you'll suddenly find yourself energized, motivated, and ready to keep plugging away at it. A few miles here, a few miles there, and eventually you'll get to the finish line.

Take care of EVERY minor comfort issue

Before a man runs a marathon, he must first put tape over his nipples. He must do this because if he doesn't, his shirt will rub just ever so slightly over his nipples with each stride ... and as he sweats, his shirt will become heavier, and it will rub a bit more ... and the salt in the sweat will turn his shirt into soggy sandpaper ... and by the time he finishes his 26.2 miles, his nipples will be raw to the point of bleeding through his shirt. The same man in the same shirt in the same weather running 5 miles may have no issues whatsoever.

It is amazing how even the most minor irritation can, over a long time, become absolutely unbearable. And this completely applies to being in labor.

I remember keenly the moment when everything turned around for me. I was sitting up on the bed and it must have been 3 o'clock in the morning, six hours after my water had broken. I was dilated to maybe 6 cm or so, so I still had a ways to go. And I just didn't think I could do it anymore. I told everyone that it was too much for me, that I would probably need the epidural after all, that I wasn't as strong as I thought.

And do you know what gave me the boost I needed to keep going? It wasn't the support and positive reinforcement I got from my mom and husband and doula (though that was nice too). It was that f***ing 80's-era sweatband.


I hadn't realized it, but my hair, which had started out tied back in a tight ponytail and held in place with multiple bobby pins, was falling down and strands of it were consistently in my face and eyes. And that minor irritation had, over the course of hours, dragged me down to the point where I thought I couldn't go on anymore. My nipples had bled through my proverbial shirt.

But I put on that sweatband, and my hair wasn't in my face anymore. And that was it. I continued my labor for many more hours, without pain medication, until Audrey was finally born at 7:27AM. That f***ing sweatband was the turning point in my entire night.

Another minor discomfort to be on the lookout for is leaky bottom. As I mentioned above, once your water breaks, it will continue to leak throughout the rest of your labor. Do you want to constantly feel that wetness pouring out between your legs? If not, get the hospital to give you some of those fabulous mesh panties with a big pad in them (or, bust out those diapers again!). Keep your legs dry

(Note: this was also a godsend later in labor, when I could NOT stop peeing myself with every contraction. Seriously, it was like a dog that pees on every single tree and you're like "how do you even have any more pee left?!" but then you get to another tree and sure enough, he's got a few drops for that one too. If I had been peeing down my legs or into my bed, I would have been even more miserable than I already was).

Are you cold? Say something to someone. They will find you a robe, or another gown, or a blanket, or some big fuzzy slippers, or whatever it is that's going to make you comfortable again.

Do not let even the most MINOR of discomforts go unaddressed. Giving birth is f***ing uncomfortable enough on its own without your right arm also being a bit itchy.

Ask the hospital to give you a sitz bath to take home

Make your insurance buy that bitch for you.



Drink the f*** out of the Gatorade

Like seriously. Drink the f*** out of it. Are you thirsty? Does water not sound like something you want? Drink a Gatorade. Drink all of the Gatorade.

Eat 10 protein bars a day if the alternative is you don't eat properly at all

There were a lot of things that went wrong with my attempts to establish good breastfeeding, but I'm willing to bet that part of the problem was my absolute inability to eat and drink properly in the first week or so after Audrey was born.

Making breast milk is a lot of work for your body. Give that poor bastard the raw materials it needs to do its job.

If you're not in a situation where you can sit down and eat a slab of that lasagna that your Aunt Betsy brought over, eat a protein bar. If you need to leave for the doctors' office right f***ing now and there's just no time for any of that tater tot casserole you thawed out yesterday, eat a protein bar. Wake up, eat a protein bar. Middle of the night feeding, eat a protein bar.

When in doubt, eat a protein bar.

And wash it down with an unholy f***-ton of Gatorade.

Epsom salt butt baths motherf***er

Due to the severity of the, umm, injury I suffered when birthing Audrey, Epsom salt sitz baths were a required part of my postpartum recovery process.

And I genuinely believe that they should be a part of EVERYONE'S postpartum recovery process (unless you had a C-section, I guess, but even then, why not?? Does your bottom not deserve the royal treatment??). If your bottom has just passed a human through it, you deserve daily sitz baths. You should be pampered by more than just your adult diapers.

You set your sitz bath on the rim of your toilet and fill it with warm water and Epsom salt. Swish it around until the salt dissolves. Sit your little bare, swollen, maybe torn and stitched up tushy in there. Read. Eat. Drink. Update Facebook. Sit until the water is no longer warm enough for it to be comfortable, and then reluctantly get up and go on about your day.

Through the magic of science, the Epsom salts will help reduce any swelling in the area. The warm water plus salt together will really help keep everything clean down there, which is great when you're not allowed to wipe your arse yet. Plus, the mandatory 10 minutes or so spent alone in the bathroom playing Candy Crush (or eating a protein bar and drinking a Gatorade) a few times a day will be absolutely lovely.

I loved soaking my undercarriage in saltwater, and my undercarriage loved being soaked in saltwater. It was glorious and I highly, highly, highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who pushes a baby out of that body part. The saltwater will actually help keep you from rusting.


Everyone's got tips on surviving labor and delivery. These are mine. TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM YOU BASTARD; I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU DO!

And a happy childbearing to all :-)

And here are some linkies to other pregnancy-related, childbirth-related, and new baby-related posts I've written that you might also enjoy:
Guide to buying maternity clothes
How to craft the perfect pregnancy announcement
Why did I choose natural birth?
How to write a birth plan that won't make the nurses hate you
My birth story for Audrey
Advice to a first-time mom
Hippie parenting decisions I made for non-hippie reasons
Reviews of the cloth diapers I use

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good child/bad child: Volume 2

The first volume of Good baby/bad baby was a hit, so here we are again with a post in which I try to make myself feel better about the terrible things Audrey does by contrasting them with the marginally good things she does, far less frequently!

The food fake-out

I'm ashamed that I still fall for this one sometimes. At this point, it's "fool me once, shame on you; fool me six thousand times, I clearly have some sort of severe brain defect."

The fake-out goes like this: Audrey holds out a piece of food like she wants to give it to me. I lean over with my mouth open for her to feed it to me (that's the only way she wants to share -- by feeding you like a zoo animal). Then, at the last minute, she yanks it away and eats it herself, laughing at me. Now, granted, she does actually share her food with me often enough that it makes sense for me to still open my mouth and lean forward ... but she takes it away at the last minute often enough that I shouldn't ever EXPECT to get whatever piece of food is on offer. (Unless it's something she doesn't like. Then I can expect her to try and load my mouth up faster than I can even eat whatever she's shoving in there)

So this weekend, Audrey was having a snack of some baby cheetos. 

Delicious baby cheetos.

Baby cheetos are really tasty, especially when they're fresh -- and this was a brand new package. I was sitting on the floor near her, but not directly next to her, and I was pretty wiped out after doing a lot of physical activity that day. So when she walked up to me holding out one of the delicious cheetos, I actually got kind of excited and relieved. I was hungry and tired, and here she was bringing me food! Delicious food at that! She even walked over to where I was to deliver it!!

I said "ohhh, is that for me? You're so sweet!" and opened my mouth to receive cheeto.

The cheeto brushed against my bottom lip, leaving behind the faintest coating of cheddar-flavored dust ... and then just as my mouth filled with saliva in anticipation of receiving the rest of the cheddary goodness, the cheeto was whisked away and back into Audrey's mouth as she laughed and laughed at my gullibility.


"Elmo kiss!"

At Audrey's 18-month well baby checkup, we had to fill out a little questionnaire meant to test her development versus the normal. One of the questions was "does your child put together two-word statements and thoughts on their own? (things like 'all done' and 'bye bye' do not count, as these are still single thoughts even though they are two words)." I checked "yes" to this question, but then the more I thought about it, the more I wasn't really sure if that was true or not. Does Audrey do this? I don't know!

But then two days later, she assuaged my concerns by doing the cutest thing in the entire world. We always bring her into bed with us when she first wakes up in the morning, for family snuggle time, and sometimes she insists on bringing her blankie, her Elmo doll, or both in from her crib. Well, on this day, Elmo alone made the trip down the hall with her.

As soon as she got into bed with us, she decided that it was time for everyone to show Elmo some love. She started shouting "ELMO KA!" (which is Audrey-ese for "Elmo kiss") and shoving him into our faces. Elmo had to kiss Jesse, then me, then Jesse, then me, then Audrey a few times, and then back to Jesse and me. Every time, Audrey would make a kiss noise (pronounced "MAH!" in Audrey-ese) and shout "Elmo ka!"

There was so much love that day. So much Elmo love. It was precious.

And I didn't have to worry that I had lied on the questionnaire at the doctors' office, which was a solid bonus.


I think every parent remembers keenly the first time they heard their child scream "MINE!" and refuse to give up an object.

Audrey does this with my phone sometimes. She wants to keep playing her puzzle game and opening every single app one after another; I think she's had enough screen-time for the moment and suggest that we are "all done phone" and it's time to move onto something else, like reading. She immediately yanks the phone away from me, screaming "MINE!" and starting a toddler tantrum.

Ummm, excuse me? Did you pay for that phone?? Oh, you didn't?



She potty trains her stuffed animals and it's adorable

She has started practicing with toilet paper now, too. "Wiping" everyone's bums and then tossing the TP into the potty and flushing it. So cute.

Her methods are unnecessarily harsh


She worried about the boo-boo on my finger

I had a hangnail, and when I ripped it off, my finger kind of hurt for a bit. Audrey was concerned about this, so I told her that Mommy had gotten a boo-boo and it would be nice if she could kiss it better for me. She did.

For the next couple of hours, she continually checked on the status of my finger, grabbing it, looking at it, saying "boo-boo" and then kissing it better.

It was so sweet.

She made me eat her french fry

This was after she had dipped the french fry in ketchup and then sucked all the ketchup off of it four times in a row.

Four times in a row it was in her mouth. Her saliva enzymes were practically digesting it before my eyes.

And then she made me eat it.


She helped me unload the dishwasher!

I like to end on a good note, so I'll leave you with this stunning display of good-childery: I was unloading the dishwasher, and Audrey started pulling out plates one at a time and handing them to me to put away. Once all the plates were out, she started pulling out all the parts to her sippy cups and giving me those as well. And once we were finished, she pushed the empty drawer back into the machine and closed it.

Now, did this actually save me any time? Goodnesss no. I can unload the dishwasher at a much faster rate than one single dish at a time. However, it was a major step up from her usual "helping" with the dishwasher, which consists of taking all her sippy cup parts and hiding them in the pantry while putting blankies and stuffed animals in their places. So she definitely gets a ton of credit for that.

The usual "help" I receive. Also, baby bed-head is truly unmatched anywhere in the world.

Plus, she did it again this morning, and she thanked me for every item she handed me. Because I thanked her for everything she gave me, and I don't think she fully understands what "thank you" means. So we just stood there thanking each other over and over again as she handed me spoons one at a time, and it was delightfully inefficient but I love her for trying.

So all in all, I guess she's a good child.

I guess.

I mean, she did dump out all her Legos while I was desperately trying to tidy up enough for the housekeeper to vacuum (yes, I pay someone to clean my house thoroughly once a month. I make no apology for this. It's a life-changer) ... and she did hit me in the face when I told her to open her mouth so I could brush her teeth ... and she did jump on the couch after I told her not to jump on the couch ... 

But she's a good child. I'll keep her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Children's shows whose premise makes no sense to me

Look, I get that children's shows aren't meant to be dissected by adult-level critical thinking. They're meant to be silly and simple, and 2-year-olds generally don't ask a lot of questions about why certain things are the way they are. They just accept them.

But I have some concerns, dammit, and we need to discuss them!

The Chica Show

The Chica Show is on the Sprout channel that Audrey and I spend a lot of time watching. It's a show about a costume shop run by a couple of chicken puppet/muppet things, and their chicken-kid Chica who I assume is female. They have the usual kids' show antics, with things being misplaced and forgotten, huge messes being made and then having to be cleaned up, and trying to find the perfect costume for some sort of unusual or special case scenario that puts them all to the ultimate test.

Here's my problem with The Chica Show, though: the costume shop also employs an adult female human.

I don't mean to sound racist or anything, but ... why the hell is a HUMAN BEING working at a business owned by CHICKENS?

At first, I was willing to allow it because they're muppets, not regular chickens. So maybe they have the capacity for thought and emotional intelligence of humans, but just happen to be in the form of chickens. In which case, it's reasonable that they would have a human working for them.

But then I saw an episode of The Chica Show where the dad chicken was reading a newspaper ... and it wasn't a regular newspaper. It was written in a weird non-language that I could only identify as "chicken scratch" ... so these chickens apparently speak English as a second language, with their first language being "bok bok bok" because they are f***ing chickens. And there was a picture on the front page of the newspaper, accompanying the lead story, and do you know what the picture was?



So I don't think that Chica and her family are meant to be muppets at all. I think they are just actual chickens who somehow manage to own and run a private business. This is supported by the fact that Chica herself doesn't even speak English at all. She only speaks "bok bok bok."

And this lady ...

... is at a point in her life where she has a couple of chickens for a boss. She can't mouth off to them, because they will fire her. When she's feeling ill, she has to call in and ask a chicken if she can have the day off. Every year, she gets called into the back office for her Performance Review, wherein her performance is critiqued by a pair of f***ing chickens.


"I've noticed you've been clocking in a few minutes late from your afternoon breaks this week. I'm going to have to dock your pay a bit to reflect the discrepancy. Bok bok bok BOKOK!"


Sofia the First

Sofia the First is a Disney Junior show. Based on the opening credits, the back story is that there's this young girl named Sofia who used to live in the village below a castle, but then somehow they realized she wasn't just a regular villager at all, but was actually a princess from the castle. So she promptly moved into the castle and has to learn how to be a princess after being raised for the first several years of her life as a common villager.

Okay ... I have so many questions about this:

She addresses the King and Queen as "Mommy" and "Daddy" so clearly they are her parents, or are supposed to be. How the f*** did they not notice that for like 8 years she was just living down in the village with someone else? I mean I can't speak for everyone, but I've been pregnant a couple times and given birth once before, and I can tell you that that is not the sort of thing you just forget about. Did her folks really just suddenly look at each other one day and say "oh f*** didn't we used to have three kids?" How on earth does this situation even arise?

Also, who the hell was raising her in the village? I assume she had some sort of adoptive parents, but to this day I have not seen them appear on the show (Sofia's friends from the village appear often). Did her royal parents just steal her back from her adoptive parents and never let them see her again? Did they have them killed? And Sofia never wonders about them or misses them? That bitch is ice-cold.

And if she's actually adopted and the King and Queen aren't really her biological parents, how the hell did that adoption process happen? I mean, I imagine it would be quite a big deal to get adopted into royalty and become a princess. Was there some sort of lottery and her bio parents won it, and sold her into royalty in exchange for never speaking to her again? What the shit is going on here!

And finally, let's just also take a moment to consider that Sofia attends "Princess school" with a bunch of girls her own age. Where the hell are they living that there are so many princesses of similar age and in the same geographic region that they need their own school!!? There are at least 15 other princesses in the class with her. WHAT IS THIS PLACE.


Also, Amber is a c*** and I don't care who hears me say it.

Ultra c***.


This is a show on Sprout about a bunch of alien animals who run an intergalactic smoothie shop.

First off, they appear to all be children, but their parents are never in the picture. There's an octopus who I think is an adult, but he is rarely around and only seems to show up when equipment needs fixing. How does a group of children manage to run a business? Who gave them a license to operate??! If no one did, then how are they not killing their customers on a regular basis??? If you asked a group of young children to make fresh fruit smoothies in bulk day in and day out, would you really expect anything but death, dismemberment, and diarrhea? My god, the diarrhea!!!

"These ought to be good for making smoothies ... right?"

Also, I can only imagine what the overhead costs are for running a smoothie shack in outer space in a giant f***ing space station

This shit does look expensive.

The smoothie shack in the parking lot of the bowling alley near my house couldn't even stay in business, and that place was run (presumably) by grown-ass adults! Not to mention, the margin on fruit smoothies is probably razor thin ... especially in outer space. The supply chain logistics of importing enough fresh fruit every single day to keep up with demand ... the mind boggles. We're talking refrigerated space ships making the trip from whatever distant planet is appropriate for the growing of fruit and delivering that inventory daily. UPS's eyes cross at the prospect, but they've got children doing it. 

None of this is adding up. None of it.

The Pajanimals

The Pajanimals are a bunch of muppets who are perpetually about to go to bed, but there's always some problem they have to deal with first before they can get to sleep.

Here's the thing with them, though: take a look at them.

They are all different species of animal. A horse, a duck, a cow, and a dog. But ... they're all siblings.

How did this happen?

Jesse's theory was that they must have all had different dads and the mom is just a gaping whore, but there is one Dad character (he never actually appears; just shouts from off screen that they need to get ready for bed) and they all seem to acknowledge him as their father. So either he's stepdad of the century (and mom's whoring ways have died down), or Jesse's theory is wrong.

Theory number 2: they're all adopted. Probably foster kids.

This makes things a bit more troubling. The Pajanimals all share one bedroom, and their "parents" never actually appear. They just call out things like "take a bath!" and "don't use too many bubbles!" and "brush your teeth!" and "five minutes til bedtime!" Other than these brief instructions, the kids are totally responsible for taking care of themselves.

Is ... is The Pajanimals actually a show about some sort of group home for foster kids, and the "parents" that these kids love and refer to as Mommy and Daddy are actually disinterested jerks collecting money from the government while totally neglecting the children they're supposed to be caring for? I mean, every night the kids have some sort of crisis, and every night they have to fly off to some Imagination Land or whatever and ask the moon for advice. Probably because their "parents" are too busy spending that government check on crack cocaine and Natty Ice.

Oh. This show makes me sad now.

I'm probably just reading too much into it. 

... right?

I just don't get muppets.

I previously wrote some "reviews" of children's shows on the Sprout channel right here

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Learning to speak toddler fluently

Between when your kid learns how to say "mama" and "dada" and when they learn how to say "Mommy why the f*** did you give me chicken when you know I hate chicken?", there's this really awkward and long phase where they talk, but you can't understand a damn word they say.

Audrey is in the depths of this phase now. She talks all the time. She points at things and says their name. She asks me to give her things. And I have no idea what the f*** she wants.

And if I don't understand her, she gets mad. Like it's my fault I didn't immediately grasp what "itzka bee!" was supposed to mean. So, in order to help me keep her vocabulary straight, here is a list of a few of the things Audrey likes to say, along with their English translations:


You can tell what's important to Audrey by how carefully she says the words. Here are a few of the words and phrases she could teach a friggin diction class on:

This surprises no one, as she is obsessed with Elmo and learned to say this word perfectly the first time she heard it.

Audrey loves apples. I give her a big chunk of peeled apple and she carries it around for half an hour gnawing on it like a beaver. Please note, however, that she thinks that all fruits are apples. One time, she wanted an "apple" really badly ... but the apple in question was actually a lemon my mom had zested for a recipe. Audrey pitched a fit until we gave it to her, at which point she kept saying "apple!" and taking a bite, then making a face, then saying "apple!" and taking a bite ...

Audrey thinks that anyone who has not gone through puberty is a "baby". She deeply offended an 11-year-old boy at a restaurant by pointing directly at him and shouting "baby!" The look on his face was priceless.

Uh oh! 
Used 100% of the time when she does something bad. She's a broken record whenever we go shopping together, as she throws things out of the shopping cart and then says "uh oh!" like they were carried away by a strong gust of wind despite her best efforts to control them. Rotten little liar.

The only time Audrey sees an iPad is when we're with my parents ... but she knows the iPad has games on it, so she will walk around crying "IPAD! IPAD! IPAD!" until someone agrees to play it with her. Kids these days, I swear. Technology addicts from birth.

Papa is what Audrey calls my father, her grandfather. She doesn't say "Mommy" properly; she doesn't say "Daddy" properly; she's leagues away from saying anything resembling "Grandma." But "Papa"? Not a problem. Because Papa is the best, apparently.
Stupid Papa.


These are the phrases you might actually be able to figure out, based on context and if she said them a few times. They include:

All done = "Ah-yah" 
This one is easy enough to identify because she will be thrusting an empty cup or yogurt pouch at you while she says it. And if she's "ah-yah" her dinner, you have about one second to react before she pushes her plate off the high chair tray and onto the floor. So ... always be ready for "ah-yah." Or you'll be cleaning ketchup off the ceiling again.

Shoe = "shhhhhhhhhhhhhhoe"

She just learned how to make the "shh" sound, and apparently it takes quite a while to say it properly before moving on with the rest of the word.

Juice = "shhhhhhhhhhhhhhoe"
  You may notice that this sounds exactly the same as 'shoe.' Thankfully, context is usually pretty helpful in figuring out what the hell she's talking about. For example, if she's trying to walk across the kitchen wearing a pair of Jesse's giant slippers and shouting "shhhhhhhoe!" ... she probably wants juice.

Kitty = "tiy", Bunny = "buy"
  Don't worry if you don't catch these ones right away. She will repeat the word approximately six thousand times while pointing at the "tiy" or "buy" in question. We went to an Easter Eggstravaganza a couple weekends ago, and the decorations just blew Audrey's mind. She spent the entire time running around pointing at pictures of bunnies on the tablecloths and demanding that one of us acknowledge every single "buy" she pointed at. It was exhausting.

Mommy = "Ommy"
  She calls me "Ommy", so now I call myself "Ommy" because it's super cute and dammit, it's close enough. Does this mean that when she gets older, she's going to start shortening it to "Om"? "Ughhhhh, Om, you're so embarrassing." I hope that this happens.


Frog = "bah", and Ribbit = "ehh!"
Apparently, the "f" sound is hard to make, so Audrey replaces it with "b" instead. She absolutely knows what frogs are. She absolutely knows what sound they make.

And she absolutely cannot replicate either of these words.

It took me way, way too long to figure out what the hell "bah" was, especially since "bah" saying "ehh" like a constipated person heading into their second hour on the toilet wasn't much of a clue.

And my personal favorite ...

Daddy = "Guy"
I don't understand the process by which "Daddy" turned into "Guy", but there it is: she points at pictures of her father and shouts "guy! guy! guy!" 
This is hilarious, but has potential to be even funnier if I can just get her to start calling him "some guy". We'll work on it this weekend.

"Audrey, who is that?"
"Some guy!"
[everyone lolz]


At least Audrey knows her limits. There are some sounds that are so complex, she won't even give them a try. These include:

"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."
Audrey has a book of nursery rhymes that we read a lot. And every time we get to this one, I rocket through it as fast as I can. Saying the poem so quickly makes me feel alpha as hell. I should time myself and then go brag about it on various web forums! People will be so jealous.

Every time we read Peter Piper, as soon as I finish, I hear Audrey going "pka-pka-pka-pka" almost silently. Like she's just practicing her p and k sounds but not saying any actual words. She knows she doesn't stand a chance against my punishing speed, and she doesn't want to be humiliated. 

I get it.

[elephant noise]

I make an elephant noise by going "brrrrr!" but with flappier lips and a changing intonation. It's not likely to land me an elephant husband or anything, but it's close enough to get the job done.

Every time I do it, Audrey sets her lips and starts going "bbbbbbb ..." but never actually makes a sound. She's like that person standing on the diving board trying to psych themselves out to make the jump, but never actually following through. Maybe one of these days ... ?

Well folks, there you have it: an approximate Audrey-to-English dictionary. It's still a work in progress, and I still feel bad whenever she says a phrase and then looks right at me waiting for an answer ... but oh well; I just say "yeah!" and she seems to accept it.

Also, most animals are called by their sounds, and any large unidentified animal is a "moo." I think this is just a good rule for us all to follow. Really simplifies things, no?

"Moo, I guess."

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to write a birth plan that won't make the nurses and doctors hate you on sight

(I had another post planned for today, but I got completely caught up and busy doing other things, so I'm pitching this softball instead. I hope you understand.)

I've shared the birth plan I wrote for Audrey's birth in a lot of different places, and I think it's time I actually shared it here on the blog so that I can link to it any time I want to share it again in the future. Think of it like my diary, but anyone can read it and make fun of me for it later.

I love birth plans. I like researching things before I do them, and giving birth is a hell of a thing to do. I can't imagine going into it blind, without at least trying to figure out how I intend to handle it. So I wrote a birth plan.

Here's the thing about birth plans, though: a lot of Labor & Delivery nurses and doctors don't like them. Why? Well, how would you feel if some a-hole customer off the street walked in with a 6-page 30-point plan for how exactly they felt that you should do your job? You'd probably get a little annoyed at them because hello, I do this all day every day, I think I know what the hell I'm doing.

But at the same time, giving birth isn't really like being a customer at the gas station. It's not like you're just getting on the roller coaster and you have no choice but to follow the rules on the wall or else you die. Giving birth is an activity that you are actually doing. You are an active participant in the process, so there's nothing wrong with having a say in how you want things to go! Most people wouldn't walk into the hair salon and just say "cut it however you think; long, short, curly, wavy, I have literally no opinion." So why would you treat childbirth like that?

You just want to make sure that in addition to advocating for yourself, you also respect the knowledge and experience of those who are there to help you.

That was my goal in writing this birth plan. I wanted the nurses to actually read it instead of rolling their eyes and chucking it in the trash ... but I also wanted them to still like me after they read it. I wanted them to know that I respected them and that I wasn't trying to be "that patient" (you know, "that patient", the one they all play rock-paper-scissors to avoid having to deal with), but that I also knew what I wanted and I hoped that they would be willing to respect me in that too.

And you know what? My amusing and self-deprecatory birth plan worked. The nurses passed my birth plan around; one asked if she could keep a copy to show to others. They not only read it, but they remembered what it said and reminded me of my own preferences when things started to go haywire and I couldn't even remember what I wanted anymore. It was awesome.

So, I offer this up to anyone who wants to either copy it, copy parts of it, copy the tone of it, or copy none of it but draw a big dickbutt right across the middle of it:

Patent's Patented Plan for a Natural, Intervention-Free Birth That Won't Make the Nurses Hate You
(and might even make them excited for you to come back and have another kid)

Hi! My name is [my name] and my husband is [his name]. [husband] works here at [hospital] – he’s the [his job]. Maybe you've seen him around the cafeteria! He tells me he eats salad a lot … is that true? Would he lie about that?! Would you tell me if he did? Whose side are you on, anyway?

Today, we’ll be working (I’ll be doing most of the work) on giving birth to a little girl named Audrey. And since I’m at least 80% insane, I will be doing my damndest to achieve a natural birth.

Attendants: My husband [name], my mother [her name], and my doula [her name] will be helping me out with this, assuming they don’t piss me off and get kicked out of the room (they might).

Labor Preferences: Because I am trying to labor naturally, I am going to be a bit of a pain in the arse. I apologize in advance for this. To facilitate my natural labor, I request that:
  • I do not receive continuous fetal monitoring unless it is deemed medically necessary. I know it’s just Velcro but it’s still going to make me rage out. Intermittent = better.
  • I do not receive IV fluids unless it is deemed medically necessary. I will be drinking water when I am thirsty, because I get thirsty a lot and you won’t like me when I’m thirsty.
  • I be allowed to move around freely, laboring on a birth ball, squat bar, shower, tub, hanging out the window by my feet, and doing the splits vertically on a wall for no reason.
  • I would like to wear my own gown for as long as possible, until it either becomes horribly soiled (which it will) or I need to be in a hospital gown for some unforeseen reason.
  • Pain management: We will be doing everything in our power to avoid any drugs. Even if I scream “GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL OR I WILL CUT OFF YOUR FACE,” do not give me an epidural. The safe word is “Baloney.” If I say “baloney,” call the anesthesiologist. Otherwise, just slap me hard and tell me to pipe down. I’m serious about the slapping.
  • No Pitocin unless we all agree that it is necessary. Even if labor is taking forrrrrr-everrrrr, as long as both the baby and I are doing well, we will keep on trucking the old-fashioned way.
  • If we could dim the lights and not be all shouty and stressed out, that’d be cool too.

Birth Preferences:
  • When it comes time to push, I would like to push instinctively. If it works for pooping, I figure it’ll work for baby-pooping too.
  • I do not want to lie on my back to push. I might be squatting, kneeling or sitting upright, depending how I feel, but please do not force me onto my back (that’s what she said!)
  • I would like to view the birth in a mirror, if I’m in a position to allow me to do that
  • I would like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns, reducing my likelihood of tearing my bits like a plastic grocery bag
  • Speaking of tearing my bits, no episiotomy unless it is an EMERGENCY. Oh god, my poor bits

Once the baby comes out:
  • Skin-to-skin contact immediately. Weighing/cleaning can wait until after the first hour. I wanna snuggle that slimy disgusting wriggling creature the second she clears the gates
  • I will attempt to breastfeed immediately, since there’s no time like right away to start feeling inadequate as a parent
  • Do not clamp the cord until it stops pulsing. We are a family of vampires and need blood.
  • No Pitocin after delivery unless I am actually hemorrhaging.
  • Newborn procedures all done in the room – if you take the baby out of the room I’ll scream “kidnappers!” and try to chase you and it’ll just be bad all around because I probably shouldn’t be running moments after giving birth.
  • Throw my placenta straight in the $*@%ing garbage. I don’t even want to see it. Ew.

Uh oh! C-Section Time!
  • My husband will be with me during the operation.
  • I don’t want to see anything. I’ll probably throw up and pass out like a billion times, so don’t let me see what’s happening and don’t even tell me what’s happening. That will just make me throw up and pass out more. I’m serious – I got an abscess lanced one time with local anesthesia and I threw up and passed out. I don’t handle surgery well.
  • Also, if general anesthesia is needed for some reason, please note my tendency to throw up at the drop of a hat. I would prefer not to aspirate and die.
  • Double-layer closure on the ol’ uterus, if you please. I want that sucker strong and durable.
  • My husband will go with the baby to do whatever it is babies do after being C-sectioned, and he will hold her right away while I continue to throw up/pass out in the O.R.
  • I would like to attempt to breastfeed as soon as possible, like an optimist/moron

Oops! It turns out it’s a boy after all! Who knew?!!?
  • Circumcise that little bugger and help me come up with some new names because crap.

Thanks for helping us achieve our super optimum birth experience! I bet everything is going perfectly according to plan even as you read this, because of course it is – it’s childbirth! The most predictable thing on earth!

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