I Didn’t Realize It Was Such an Issue…

I have guests over.  Chance is playing one of his favorite games, pulling all the DVD movies down from a shelf under our TV in the front room.  He studies each of the DVD covers intently; some he smiles at (he particularly likes Dave Chappelle), some he just joyfully flings to the floor.  Once he has a good pile going he slides them around on the rug like cars, scattering them everywhere.  He plays this game at least once a day. 

My guests are looking at me with that look.  Finally one of them ventures, “Do you really want him to do that?”   

“Yeah,” I say, “he’s having fun and there’s nothing that’s gonna hurt him.” 

“Buuuuuut,” they say back with incredulous googly eyes, “he’s making a mess.”  Capital M on mess implied.  Doesn’t that drive you crazy, their looks seem to say, it’s messy and how will you ever keep up?  What kind of unclean mother are you?

I consider explaining that I left the shelf that way on purpose when I babyproofed.  I think about mentioning the stage of development he’s at; you know, exploring, pulling objects off shelves and out of boxes. Getting into things.  Healthy stuff.

Finally, I shrug, “I don’t mind.”  I watch quietly as their brains explode.  Googly eyes roll along the carpet. 

Seriously.  I may be a little anal but if I was going to stress every time I had to pick up something I might as well go catatonic now, because the way I figure it, life is about 1/3rd cleaning up stuff.  Or, at least, it seems that way lately. 

I’ll sweep up the brain bits and eyeballs later, when I get around to the DVDs.    

                  – the weirdgirl

"The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload..."


Mmm, Fiber

I JUST NOTICED this rather shabby-looking corner of a gift under our tree that my son has apparently been using as a chew toy.  Considering the many layers of mastication visible here you'd think I would have noticed this happening, wouldn't you?  Bad mommy.  So should I pretend I haven't seen it or just turn the box around so he can have a fresh corner?          - wg

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CSI: Butt Explosion Unit

I answer a knock at my door to find…

Hello, ma’am.  I’m Detective McScoop and this is Officer Nappy. We’d like to ask you a few questions.

Me:  Of course! Is…is there anything wrong?

Detective:  We’ll get to that in a minute ma’am. (He consults a notebook.)  You have a son named Chance, is that right?

Me:  Yes.  He’s not here right now but…

Detective:  And did he recently start on solid food? 

Me:  Why, yes.  He’s been on solid food for a few weeks now.  What is this about?

Detective:  Bear with us, ma’am.  Does your son also take a nap from 1:00 to 3:00 pm? 

Me:  Well, yes.  Is he alright?!

The detective and policeman exchange significant looks.

Officer:  We have reason to believe your son may have been involved in a recent butt explosion. 

Me:  What?! What do you mean?

Detective:  There have been a rash of incidences involving hit and run poopings.  Victims have been hit tragically, and we believe intentionally, with butt explosions.  Usually after the perpetrator has consumed copious amounts of fruit.  The person responsible has eluded us so far. 

Me:  You can’t be serious!

Detective:  I’m sorry to tell you this, but we’ve been tracking the activities of your son for a quite a while.  We’d like you to take a look at this. (He tosses a photo at me.)

Detective:  You can tell by the splatter pattern that the pooper entered in through this door here and faced off with the victim at a right angle.  The victim had his back to the door when he was hit. 

Me:  Oh, my god!  (I turn away from the picture, gagging.)  My son couldn’t have done this!  This is preposterous!

Detective: We also found a bee rattle on the premises.  I believe that is one of your son’s favorite toys.

Officer:  They’ve been found at every crime scene, ma’am. Like a calling card.

Me:  That’s still not any proof!  Any number of potential poopers could have that rattle!  It’s a link-a-doos toy!

Detective:  There’s also a commonality among the victims… they’re all parents that belong to your son’s playgroup… parents who buy Luvs.  Your son is a Huggies man, isn’t that right?   

Me:  That doesn’t mean anything!  What about witnesses?

Detective:  So far the victims have either been hit from behind or so blinded with poop that they’ve been unable to identify their assailant.

Me:  How do you even know it’s the same pooper?  There could be any number of babies committing these assaults.  It could be some sort of gang!

Officer:  Oh, we know it’s the same baby ma’am.  The times of the incidences, the color and consistency, the range of the butt explosion all point to one perpetrator.

Detective:  Plus, the calling card “rattle” and choice of victims are all your son’s MO.  We currently have forensics working on a DNA sample to be sure.

Me (sobbing, I cover my face with my hands):  Enough enough!  What will happen if it’s him?

Detective:  This isn’t a crime, ma’am, but it’s a nuisance. We’ll get him into a poop management group and some counseling.  He’s made quite a mess.   

Me (wailing):  He gets it from his father!

Detective: I’m sure he does, ma’am.  Can you tell us where he is?  Ma’am, it will only be harder if you’re hiding him. We’re here to help.

Me: No, I swear!  Last I knew he was with his grandma! 

Detective:  Well if he contacts you, you let us know. We’ll get to the bottom of this.  Thanks for your time, ma’am. 


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 9 

So me and the little one ventured out today after having the flu.  I could have waited a couple more days but I had seen some of the other mommies slow to a crawl in front of our house on their daily walks.  I admit, I got excited.  Could the mommies actually be missing my company?  Would they finally let me stroll around the block with them?  Ooh!  Maybe one of them would like to go shoe shopping!

I trotted to the corner full of cheer.  The mommies seemed full of concern.  They asked how the baby had been.  I explained how we had both picked up a flu bug but were feeling better.

The Mommies:

“Mm-hmm. Well dear, don’t feel too badly.”

“Though, you know this never would have happened if you had kept breastfeeding.”

“My little girl hasn’t gotten sick once and she’s almost one.”

“Breastfeeding is SO much healthier.”

“Well,” I said tentatively, “actually, this isn’t his first cold. The first time he got sick I WAS still breastfeeding.”

I was met with a stony silence.  The mommies turned to regard each other.

Mommies:

“Of course, avoiding exposure to germs is a must.  Clean environments are key.”

“Absolutely. I disinfect every day.”

“I do too.  I also personally prescribe to the harness method.”

“The what?” I stammered.  I could feel the cold freeze starting all over again.

Mommies:

“The harness method.  It’s this wonderful system for baby-proofing the house!  Don’t you have one?”

“It’s a system of harnesses and straps, you hang them from the ceiling, and it lets you keep the baby entirely off the floor!”

“It’s ideal when you need to clean.  Keeps the baby out of reach of all those germs.”

“I use it to clean even when you can’t see any mess. You can never be too careful.”

“I CAN’T believe you don’t have one!”

“Umm…” They must be pulling my leg, I thought.

Mommies:

“Well, remember girls, there’s also the Velcro method.”

“Yes, I suppose if you want to go the cheap route you could do Velcro.”

“But then the child has to touch surfaces and who knows what germs are there?”

“I pity those poor children who grow up in, how shall I say it?  Less than clean environments.”

“I know.  It’s SO sad!”

“I suppose the Velcro method is wear you put the baby in a Velcro suit and stick him to a wall?” I said brightly.   

The mommies finally faced me again.  “Oh, so you do use the Velcro method!  Well, it’s not that bad.  I mean, it’ll do in a pinch.  But no wonder he got sick.”

How will I explain the straps to my husband?


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 8

The baby went in for a check-up recently.  I mentioned it casually at the Mommy corner while the other mommies were trying to give me the brush off.  One of them had made a comment about his red cheeks and asked if he was getting sick because “I certainly didn’t want to get the other children sick, did I?”  Oh no, I replied, he just saw the doctor and he’s fine.  A little baby eczema is all.  Well, that was a big mistake.  The other mommies were all over me like Juicy Couture on a Hilton.

The Mommies:

“How are his percentiles?  Is he keeping up?  I haven’t noticed any growth spurts lately.”

“My daughter is in the 85th percentile for growth.  The doctor is amazed.”

“Well, mine had a 30% jump between his second and third visits.  My sister said that when they have jumps in growth they also have jumps in development.  It’s probably a sign of an advanced IQ, you know.”

“And of course, breastfeeding makes them smarter.  Too bad, you stopped.”

“So were his numbers a little low?  I’m sure he’ll catch up… sometime.”

I was flabbergasted.  Was I supposed to be writing those stats down?  The pediatrician keeps it all on file and everything has been normal so it never occurred to me that I should be keeping a chart at home, too.  His first two teeth had just broke through; and honestly, I was less interested in his growth percentile than helping with the pain.      

I stammered, “Well, mainly we talked about teething. He’s started a little early and…”

The mommies gave a collective gasp.  Next thing I know they were stalking off.  I suppose next time I should bring his chart?  Or did they think teething at 5 months is catching? 

They are so confusing, sometimes.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 7

The other mommies were discussing cleaning products at the Mommy corner today.  (I had been hovering around determinedly a few minutes when they finally let me join in.)  I’ve been informed that I should only use green cleaning products around the baby.  The non-green chemical products are incredibly dangerous; especially Mop & Glo.  Mop & Glo is a killer!  What with the babies licking the floor and all.  I have actually seen the baby lick the floor a few times now, so I don’t doubt the concern.  The bottle preparation area should especially be free of chemical contaminants (this last was said a bit snidely – they all know I’m not breastfeeding).

But the conversation continued… on the flip side, it is absolutely crucial to sterilize everything several times over for the health of the baby.  Exposure to germs OR germ-killing chemicals is very, very bad.

I was so desperate for mommy company I didn’t want to point out the slight discrepancy here.  Then the mommies asked me what I used for cleaning; I did use green products, didn’t I?

Oh shit, I thought.

“Of course,” I said, beaming my lying face at their smirking ones.  “I’ve always used green.”

The truth is I don’t know what’s used on the floor, or in the house for that matter.  I have a cleaning service for that.  I’m simply happy that someone else has wiped up the formula and juice droplets as I run around after the baby.  Sometimes, I don’t even sterilize his new toys when I take them out of the wrapper.  I just rinse them off in warm water and let him go to town.  I do swiffer the floor in between cleanings and wipe things down with baby wipes, but I hardly think the mommies would consider that sanitary.  (They don’t need to know.)

I felt bad but I consoled myself with the vision of my darling boy in the cutest little outfit – the one I put him in when I should have been sterilizing something.  I do have the sense not to let him crawl on the floor right after it’s been cleaned. 

Now I’ll be up all night wondering if there are Mop & Glo particles out to get him.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 6

Distant relatives from out of town came to see the baby today.  It was during his customary nap time so I just kept him up a little longer than usual.  He fell asleep in my arms; so wonderfully warm and snuggly!  The Relatives were terribly disappointed in me.  Apparently, I was being soft and setting him up for bad habits.  They said you should never let babies get in the habit of sleeping while you hold them, no matter the age of the child.  So I explained that it was his nap time and the alternative would have been to wake him up when they got there.  That was a no-no as well.  You should NEVER wake them up.  Except, the Relatives amended, if the baby was going to miss a feeding, or to change his diaper, or to take his temperature, or to make sure he was really breathing correctly and didn’t have sleep apnea.  You really should monitor the baby’s sleeping in the first several months because you could never be too sure.  There was also the chance for heart arrhythmia, so looming over the sleeping baby to listen for a regular heartbeat was also advised.  Think what could happen if I wasn’t there!

I asked the Relatives if that’s what they did when their children were young.  (They really were distant; the last I had seen or heard of them I was five years old.  The only warning I got for the impeding visit was a quick call from my mother.)  I even wondered aloud (though politely!) about how to manage the feat of eating and sleeping myself if I needed to monitor the baby’s sleeping so diligently. 

The Relatives gave me the most gruesome fisheye.

Silly me, they had never had children of their own.  How preposterous!  But I was assured that they had the proper care and feeding of babies on the best authority.  The Relatives watched A Baby Story all the time. 

Every time I take a nap when the baby does, the guilt just eats at me.    


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Photo Op

Aw, there’s my little ball and chain.  Two out of four actually.  Of course, I’m probably not supposed to let the cat sleep near the baby like that.  Now, none of the baby care books specifically said “no cats” in the sleeping area the way they said no blankets, pillows, toys, etc. but I’m sure they’d frown upon it anyways as some sort of hazard.  Those baby care specialists get so touchy when you re-interpret their guidelines.

But don’t these two look happy?  And both in stripes, too.

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  Chance and Intrepid Jake


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 5

The other mommies are making fun of me again.  Most days they just snicker quietly as I walk up to the Mommy corner.  (That’s where all the stay-at-homers meet for walks.  The Nannies meet at the park, and the rest of us (meaning me) wander around by ourselves.)  They think I can’t tell what they’re doing but I know.  They’ve been making comments about my clothes.  And lately they’ve said some of them out loud.

It’s not like I’m wearing anything much different from what they’re wearing.  Comfy pants, knit tops… they’re all very similar.  I can’t help it if I like colors and tailoring.  They already disapprove of my parenting philosophy – mainly because I don’t have one and didn’t research any while I was pregnant or read any of the parenting philosophy books.  And I heard the chorus of snide remarks when I stopped breastfeeding.  They got downright snippy when they found out my son scored nine on the Apgar test even though I never gave up caffeine.  But they really, really disapprove of the fact that I’m still buying clothes for myself.  They find problems with everything, especially the shoes.

The Mommies:

“Well, aren’t you spiffy today. That’ll look better with a few stains on it.”

“Those aren’t very practical, are they?”

“You can’t run in heels.  What if your child needs you?”   

“I heard about a little boy who tripped over shoes like that and the heel sliced through his jugular.”

I try to explain to them, “Sure you can run.  You just have to practice.  And the heels will break off before they slit anyone’s throat.”  But they won’t hear it.  I just don’t know what to do.  I had no idea clothing could affect the well-being of my child.  I’ve already given up my legion of black tops (shows formula terribly you know – once I tried pinning a brooch over a formula stain but they said I might put out the baby’s eye).  Apparently the only acceptable clothes are sweats and athletic shoes (I seriously have not owned a pair of athletic shoes since 12th grade gym), with the occasional twin-set thrown in for a special occasion.

So yesterday, I caved.  I thought, well maybe if I wear some loungewear they will finally let me walk around the block with them.  I wasn’t going to change my shoes though, you have to draw the line somewhere.  I pulled out my best cashmere hoodie and running pants with the kitten-heeled mules, an outfit that coordinated beautifully with the romper my son was wearing I might add, and trotted down to the corner.

They looked at me like they wished I would die.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 4

I know it’s all my fault.  I drank caffeine, you know, while I was pregnant with him.  No alcohol, mind you.  I waited until he popped out for that (except, of course, for that unfortunate trip to the wine country before I knew I was pregnant.  But boy, was THAT fun!).  But I definitely had caffeine.  And sugar.  Caffeine and sugar were my friends.  It’s not like I consumed copious amounts of caffeine, just a few cups to wake me up.  OK, now, the sugar sometimes got a little out of control, but I was eating for two for god’s sakes!  And lactating!  The type of things that just require the high energy of sugar.  The caffeine was just comfort food.

So anyways, the little guy has just mastered sitting up all by himself, no boppy or anything, and I catch him rocking back and forth.  Rocking like a madman, rocking like he was a Deadhead too stoned to stand up twirling around in circles at the concert any longer.  He was even drooling a little and looking a little gleefully manic.  Rocking.  I know it was the caffeine.

Mommy and Me is no longer returning my calls.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 3

I took  the baby shoe shopping today. I made him sit in the stroller the whole time while I tried on shoes.  I showed him the shoes as I tried them on; explained the difference between slingbacks and mules and other pertinent information.  He was quite patient and he loved the turquoise sandals with the rhinestone buckle.  I know he did.  He smiled at them.

At one point while I was pregnant I couldn’t fit into any of my shoes any longer.  I was actually wearing my husband’s flip-flops.  And then I heard the horror stories… about women who could never again fit into the same size shoes they wore before they were pregnant.  I was crushed.  I couldn’t imagine… after all the time I spent patiently building up my shoe collection, to have it brutally ripped from me and to have to start all over again… it was almost too much.  Thankfully my feet did shrink, but I did miss a whole season of footwear.  Well, you can understand the shopping spree was really a celebration; probably beneficial for the baby to witness.

But the baby did have to sit in the stroller for quite a long time, just hanging out.  He had a set of plastic keys to play with and would doze off occasionally when he wasn’t helping me evaluate shoes.  Still, someone asked if I thought he felt lonely when he was in his stroller, and I had a sudden horrified vision of my son, years from now, in therapy because he had always felt abandoned and unloved.  His place at the center of my universe usurped because of a pair of strappy sandals at 30% off.

They were really cute sandals though. 

Bad mommy, baa-aad.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 2

OK, I confess: I stopped breast feeding.  The La Leche League is out to crucify me.  I’ve been afraid to leave the house because I see them circling their mini-vans when I look out the window.  I’m considering going into a witness-relocation program.  I found a whole generation of women my mother’s age willing to hide me.  They’ve been terribly supportive, giving me comfy slippers, teaching me the secrets of Benadryl.  Even encouraging me to let the baby sleep on his tummy for naps if that’s what he really wants to do.  He keeps flipping over in his sleep anyway.


Chronicles of a Bad Mommy

Episode 1

I’m obviously not stimulating my baby enough.  I haven’t made up any new songs for him today or read him any Shakespeare.  He did get to play with his interactive toys, designed by educational professionals and child psychologists to best stimulate his growing mind. But I did not play with his toys with him, I did not encourage him in his exploration or point out the next step of play in his development.  Nope, I plopped him down in front of the TV, turned on Nogin, and let him play.

I read two whole chapters of my novel uninterrupted.

Subsequently, I've been banned from the local Mommy and Me playgroup.  Damnit, those were my best drinking buddies.