I Used to Be Funnier…
Calendar of Awesomeness
Better than anti-depressants! … Sort of.
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
As a parent, you are expected to associate with other parents who have children the same age as yours. I’m not sure exactly why but I suspect it’s because bears are less likely to attack large groups of people. I’ve been told that it’s because motherhood can be isolating and that mommy-and-me playdates are a great way for moms to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
I don’t know who started that rumor but it’s extremely misleading, as most mothers leave those groups feeling exhausted, judged, and even more lonely than before. This is why you should choose friends based on whether you like them or not, rather than solely because they had unprotected sex in the same month that your IUD failed.
I mean, that would be like choosing a husband based on the coincidence that you both know how to groom cats, or have the exact same genitals. It might give you something to talk about for a few days but pretty soon you realize that one of you is 85 and Icelandic and the other is a heroin addict who only speaks Spanish.
Still, many new mothers feel that joining playgroups is an essential part of being a parent and some even enjoy the experience. These women are usually drunk. Or they’re super competimoms who need someone to compare themselves to so they feel good about the fact that they’ve terrified their child into potty-training at 3 months. You can usually tell them apart because the drunk moms are having a much better time and are more likely to get arrested. The competimoms are the ones handing out mommy business cards and who are much less topless.
The first time someone handed me a mommy business card, I thought it was a joke. It said, “I’m Jayden’s mommy. Here is our number and address. Please come rob us.” That last line was just implied. I handed her a copy of my business card (“The Bloggess: Only offensive to assholes”) and then she told me that she didn’t actually have enough mommy cards and she took hers back. I told her it was fine because I have a photographic memory and asked if she had any dogs or security cameras. She left. Quickly. But that’s probably for the best because most “mommy business cards” are a sign that you should run like hell because that chick is probably insane. Still, the concept is a good one so I’ve decided to make some mommy cards for the rest of us.
(Note: I made that one primarily to give out to people you want to get rid of. It totally works.)
This last card is more of a test. If the mom laughs, then it’s probably a good match. If the mom is appalled and starts backing away slowly, then just clarify that it’s only because she seems like a conscientious parent who would totally feed her child all-organic and you’re trying to cut back on preservatives.
If anything, it’s a compliment.
Whenyou first become a parent, you’re often bombarded with quotes on motherhood and child-rearing and some of them are very helpful, but more often than not they are so out-of-date that it’s difficult to understand what they even mean. That’s why I’ve taken 20 of the top parenting quotes and tacked on a bit at the end to make them slightly more contemporary.
“Always kiss your children goodnight — even if they’re already asleep.” That way you can make sure they’re still breathing and haven’t turned onto zombies during the night.
“Mother knows best.” Unless she’s trying to get you to commit arson for her. Then it might be a good idea to leave home. But first maybe take some notes. It never hurts to know a little bit about arson.
“A mother has eyes in the back of her head.” In the form of a nanny-cam implanted in your childhood teddy bear on your shelf.
“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” Unless one of the presents is a unicorn that cooks and cleans. Then you’re pretty much obsolete.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Just because they’re related to you doesn’t mean they can’t testify against you in court one day.
“The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher.” A teacher who is constantly shitting his pants. Awesome.
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Or if they’re too young for responsibility, try a backpack filled with heavy rocks. But not so many that they get scoliosis. Back braces are expensive.
“He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin.” That’s how you get on Jerry Springer.
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” Handicap them by hobbling them at a young age so they can’t run away from you when you’re drunk.
“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” That’s why I always save my math homework to give it to my daughter.
“A parent’s love is whole no matter how many times divided.” Solve for A. This is the worst story problem ever.
“You will always be your child’s favorite toy.” As long as you never give her a pony.
“What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.” But sometimes that works out for the best. Like with herpes, for instance.
“There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst.” The second worst people to have in charge of children are bears.
“The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.” Unless you’re really drunk. Then it’s probably wise to let your child steer. Unless the child is drunk too. Then you probably need to examine your parenting skills.
“If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.” That way he’d feel less self-conscious about living under an overpass with all these hobos.
“Likely as not, the child you can do the least with will do the most to make you proud.” Or he’ll murder you for the insurance money. It’s kinda 50/50 really.
“You see much more of your children once they leave home.” But typically only if you get transferred to the same penitentiary.
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
Just a quick disclaimer before we get started with today’s lesson: It’s come to my attention that some people believe I’m being “morally bankrupt and irresponsible” by writing this column because they feel that new mothers are too stupid to realize that this column is called “Ill-Advised” for a reason. I have considered their suggestion that I write a column that educates everyone and offends nobody but I’ve decided to continue to write one that offends everyone and educates no one because it’s more entertaining that way. For me, that is. And for all of the people who recognize this as a humor column. All three of us are laughing at you.
And now? Lesson eight: Prepare to be judged. And possibly stabbed.
Becoming a parent subjects you to a whirlwind of new and strange emotions and can leave you feeling more vulnerable than you have ever been in your life. It is at this exact moment that you will find yourself set upon by strangers intent on telling you exactly how terrible you are as a parent. You might think that you’ll easily brush these criticisms off as you are now a grown-up who understands that you are master of your own destiny and that peer pressure is something you overcame in high school, but then you’ll find yourself in tears because someone said your child will be a drug addict because you got an epidural, or that you should be forcibly sterilized because you put your kid on a leash.
That last one there? Not a joke. Totally happened to me. I was walking to the park with my daughter and she was wearing her halter and a woman rolled her eyes in disgust and whispered, “Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children” to her friend. Then I turned to her and said “SOME PEOPLE have children who have a hereditary condition that makes their elbows prone to dislocation at the slightest tug and if they hold their child’s’ hand and the kid falls then their elbows get dislocated and then SOME PEOPLE have to take their child to the doctor to watch the doctor put their tiny, screaming child’s elbow back in the socket. Maybe SOME PEOPLE SHOULD MIND THEIR OWN DAMN BUSINESS AND STOP BEING SO FUCKING JUDGEMENTAL OR I WILL STAB SOME PEOPLE IN THE FACE WITH MY KNITTING NEEDLES.”
That’s exactly what I said. Hours later. In my own head. I would never have said that out loud. Mostly because I don’t even own knitting needles. And also because I was still so unsure of my parenting decisions that I couldn’t defend them out loud. Which is sad because I was a great parent. And I still am. Not perfect. Not flawless. Not faultless. But great. And unless your children are currently locked in the bathroom while you go on a two-day bender I suspect you are too.
As long as you are a parent you will be judged and will be given unwanted advice. There will always be someone there to criticize you, but the good thing is that there is also someone there to criticize them. It’s a vicious cycle of blame and guilt and the best way to remove yourself from it is to realize that whatever decision you make for your family is the right one for you.
The circle of shame as overheard at a park:
“I can’t believe that you drank coke during pregnancy. I only drank warm milk. Your baby will probably have ADD.”
“You drank store-bought milk? That’s loaded with antibiotics and steroids. Your baby is like a tiny Incredible Hulk. I only drank milk from my own personal cow.”
“You drank raw milk during a mad-cow epidemic. How terribly irresponsible. I drank only purified bottled water from artesian wells.”
“Bottled water? Fabulous. So you’re the reason why my child will inherit a world filled with overflowing trash dumps. Way to shit on Mother Nature, asshole. I drank tap water from one, reusable cup. I even brought it with me to the hospital during labor.”
“You had your baby in a hospital? How cold and meaningless for you. I had my baby at home and my other children helped with the birth and then my husband cooked the placenta for us to eat.”
“So you forced your family to become cannibals. How wonderful for them. We planted our placenta with a sapling in the park to celebrate life.”
“You disposed of medical waste in the park. OUR PARK? Are you fucking kidding me? My kid is playing under a placenta tree? You don’t keep the placenta. You throw it away.”
“You threw away your placenta?! WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST SAY ABOUT THE OVERFLOWING LANDFILLS? Why aren’t you composting? It’s like you’re TRYING to destroy the earth.”
“Well, maybe I am. Maybe me and ‘my hulk baby‘ are trying to destroy the world using only store-bought milk and my placenta.”
“Oh my God, you are totally over-reacting. I blame all that store-bought milk in your system.”
“YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M ANGRY.”
“Oh, is that a TV reference? We don’t own a TV. It’s not good for children.”
“Children? With current overpopulation issues you still decided to have children? We have limited resources and your decision is just plain selfish. I’m keeping my IUD, thankyouverymuch.
“YOUR IUD IS MAKING THE BABY JESUS CRY.”
“YOUR ANTIQUATED RELIGIOUS VIEWS ARE TEACHING MY CHILDREN INTOLERANCE.”
“YOUR CANNIBAL BABY JUST BIT MY BABY BECAUSE YOU TAUGHT IT TO HAVE A TASTE FOR HUMAN BLOOD.”
“TERRY, DON’T BITE THE HULK BABY. IT’S FULL OF STEROIDS AND RAGE.”
“I WILL KILL EVERYONE.”
And that’s why I don’t go on mommy-&-me play-dates anymore.
PS. I tried to cover all my bases but if I didn’t manage to offend you with this post please leave me a comment and I will try very hard to rectify that next week.
( a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
When I was pregnant with Hailey, I had no idea what I was doing and when people would ask me what “my birth plan” was, I would say, “Um … I plan to have a baby,” and then I’d walk away because those people were clearly idiots, but then later I was reading the pregnancy books and apparently you’re supposed to have a detailed plan for the kind of birth you want your child to have. You’re supposed to decide how you want to deal with the pain, where to have your baby, what part of your body you want your baby to come out of, and a host of other things that all basically sound like various degrees of unpleasantness and horror.
If you’re anything like me, the baby books and your pregnant friends will scare the shit out of you so I’m going to give you the lowdown here.
You will have a million choices in your birth plan but only three things are certain.
One: You’re doing it wrong. If you have your baby at home, it will scar your other children for life and your baby may be trampled by wild horses. If you have your baby at a hospital, it will get switched with another baby who leaves the door open all the time and sells your VCR for drug money. If you have an epidural, your baby will come out addicted to crack. If anyone speaks to the baby for the first seven days, they will have psychic scars that will allow aliens to latch onto their brains. These are all things that were actually told to me by seemingly normal women who had been driven mad by the pressure of having to choose a birth plan.
Two: IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE. Choosing a birth plan is less like choosing a new couch and more like choosing whether to be in the Crips or the Bloods. Battle lines are drawn and someone’s going to get blood on them. Example:
Me: Once the baby’s born I’m going to become a cannibal.
Pregnant friend: Oh, like the Atkins diet. Good for you!
Me: Also, I’ll be dyeing my clothes with the blood of my enemies.
Pregnant friend: Well, you do look good in red.
Me: And I think I’ve decided to have a c-section.
Pregnant friend: SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH AND LEAVE NOW BEFORE YOUR SELFISH WHORE BREATH INFECTS MY UNBORN BABY.
Three: The person making your actual birth plan decisions is your baby. Related: babies don’t give a shit about your plans. Making a plan for the birth of a child is like making a plan for decorating your Christmas tree in the middle of a house fire. Until you’re actually in the heat of battle, you have no idea whether you’re going to want drugs or whether you’ll have to have a c-section or whether you’ll be stuck in traffic and the baby will be delivered by a cab driver who will burn off the umbilical cord with his cigar. And that’s fine. Hell, the Virgin Mary had her baby in a damn barn and he turned out okay.
In the end, none of that matters. Whether you welcome your baby in a hut or in a hospital or in the orphanage where you adopt her, the same basic rule applies: If you’re lucky enough to end up with a baby, you win.
PS: I was just singing that song about Jesus being born in a barn and it was all “… A child, a child shivers in the cold. We must bring him silver and gold.” And I’m all “How about a sweater?” Because metal’s not that warm. And my husband just pointed out that Jesus could buy a sweater with silver and gold but where exactly is he going to buy one? They couldn’t even find a damn hotel, much less an Old Navy. Plus, they’re going to have to carry a bunch of heavy silver and gold and myrrh with them on a fucking donkey.
Worst. baby gifts. ever.
( a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
Last week my daughter came home from kindergarten wearing a large sticker proclaiming “Hugs! Not drugs.” I asked her what the sticker meant and she explained that she’s now a member of D.A.R.E and that if people try to sell you drugs you should say, “No, thank you” and hug them. And while I appreciate the sentiment, I can’t help but thinking that snuggling with rejected drug dealers might not be the safest move for a kindergartner. I asked my daughter if she even knew what drugs were and she admitted that she wasn’t really paying attention but she thought they were “like bears, only smaller.” I think the point here is that the D.A.R.E. system is fundamentally flawed and that my child might need Ritalin.
Regardless, it is disconcerting that the information our children get about drugs is often wrong or lacking and it leaves them ill-equipped to make rational decisions about whether or not to do drugs and so I’ve created a small outline of the most popular drugs and their effects that you can share with your children. You’re welcome.
Remember, knowledge is power.
In conclusion, drugs are bad and if you use them your genitals will fall off and then we all end up having to take more math classes because of all the fairies you murdered. Also you should really never hug drug dealers because it’s a bad idea to lean against people who carry dirty needles and also because crack herpes is highly contagious.
This is all just basic common sense, people.
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
Note: I wrote this article while on massive amounts of cold medication and I’m pretty sure I have some sort of deadly cholera so I can’t really be held responsible for anything I write here. Which, now that I think about it, is pretty much the same as usual, except more drugs are involved. You know what? Never mind. Let’s just get started.
This week we’re talking about how to control temper tantrums with the subtle art of arson.
Lots of children deal with anger-management issues, and most of their parents will pass this off as a normal phase that kids go through as they learn how to deal with emotions. In most cases the parents are right, but in some cases those children will turn into dangerous sociopaths who are now waiting in the park to stab you. It is for this reason (public safety) that children should be taught to deal with anger and temper problems as soon as possible.
I should note here that there are different levels of aggression in children and you will have to use your best judgment to decide whether your child is normal or a dangerous menace who should be stopped at all costs. For example, if your child is two and is occasionally biting others, that might be a perfectly normal response. If your child is twenty and is occasionally biting others, then it’s slightly less normal.
If my child stabs a teacher with a fork, then I would probably have to question what the teacher did to provoke my child. If your child pushes mine down, then they obviously have serious anger management issues and I will track them down, show up in their bedroom at night, and threaten to have fairies eat their legs off. Some people might claim that this is an example of my personal anger management issues, but I would assure those people that I am actually a very calm and reasonable person and that if they don’t stop questioning me, I will cut their arms off with a hacksaw. I would just use the same “fairies will eat your legs off” threat, but sadly, most grown-ups refuse to acknowledge the existence of leg-eating fairies. Sad, really.
Wait. Where was I? My God, this is strong cold medicine.
Oh. Right. Temper tantrums. There are a lot of different techniques you can use to help your children control their anger. Communication, teaching them to use their words, distraction, and helping them understand the repercussions of a temper tantrum are all good techniques, but none of them are as deeply effective as convincing your child that they are a Firestarter. You might remember the book (and movie of the same name), but in case you missed it, Firestarter is a story by Stephen King about a girl who is able to start fires with her mind when she gets mad. It’s bad-ass and I highly recommend it. You should rent a copy of the movie and convince your child that it’s a documentary. Then, the next time your kid throws a fit because they don’t want to share their Barbies with their sister, just distract them both and quickly set fire to the Barbies. This will not only distract them from the temper tantrum, but it will also make them terrified of dealing with anger and they will learn to suppress all negative emotions until they are safely out of your home.
Be aware, however, that this plan requires both stealth and follow-through. The first time your child notices your poorly concealed flamethrower, you’re kind of fucked because then they’re going to suspect you and get mad at you and then the only way to keep up the ruse is to pretend to be insulted, walk into the bathroom, and surreptitiously set fire to yourself.
Yes, it will be dangerous and painful but no one ever said raising a child was easy. Of course, no one ever said that setting yourself on fire as a learning technique was a good idea either. Except for me, that is. I just said that.
I should maybe go lie down now. I blame this whole article on the cholera.
(a repost from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
This week we’re talking about “teaching responsibility to our children.”
So who exactly is responsible for that? That’s right. Their teachers. Unless you’ve forgotten to enroll your children in school, that is. Then it’s the cats. If you don’t have house cats, then the mantle of teaching responsibility to the children who are our future falls to you. So basically we’re all fucked.
I know. This is when you’re going to get all defensive and insist that you’re teaching your children responsibility but honestly, the first step in being responsible is admitting that you aren’t, so let’s all just take a deep breath and start there.* I understand first-hand how difficult it is to be responsible and, in fact, I was going to write about this last month but I got totally distracted when I knocked over one of my moving boxes from when I moved five years ago and found the complete series of Absolutely Fabulous, which I thought I’d lost in a fire, which was caused, ironically enough, by my own child’s irresponsibility. My point? I’m not here to judge you. I’m here to help you. Unless you actually are less responsible than me. Then I’m totally judging you.
Experts suggest that the best way to teach children responsibility is by your own positive example as a parent but honestly, that sounds like a fucking ton of work and so instead I suggest setting up a series of lessons intended to traumatize your child into being the responsible one in the family.
1. Buy your child a pet hamster. Also buy a matching dead hamster and put it in the freezer. Whenever your child neglects to clean up his room or leaves her bike on the front lawn, simply remove the live hamster and replace it with the frozen dead one. Explain that the hamster must have died from disappointment after hearing about your child’s lack of responsibility. After a few hours of mourning, replace the freezer hamster with the live hamster and explain that the child’s tears of regret must have brought him back to life but that the hamster was in rodent hell for those hours and that if he keeps getting murdered by their blatant irresponsibility, then he’ll probably eventually turn into an angry zombie and then kill the whole family during the night. This teaches responsibility both for a pet and for the well-being of others, plus it begins their education on the danger of zombies. It’s practically like you’re homeschooling them.
2. Set small fires on the kitchen table and see how long it takes your children to notice them and put them out. If it’s more than 10 minutes, you’ll need to punish them and also to buy a new table. I suggest one made out of asbestos because asbestos is really hard to burn. Not that great to eat off of though, but these are the sacrifices you make as a parent. Also, make sure you don’t have your DVD collection lying around nearby because they will totally melt into a solid cube of melted plastic on your carpet and you’ll have to cut out that whole section of carpet with scissors because nothing is getting that shit out. For real. Not even baking soda. Note: It’s not necessary to have an excuse for the fire but it helps to have one that deflects blame from you. Personally, I chose to tell my child that the fire was started by a poltergeist who was angry because she kept leaving her shoes in the middle of the damn living room.
3. Forcibly emancipate your children. Anything you do for your children after age 5 just serves to make them soft and dependent, so you should do your children a favor and make them leave home as soon as possible. Many people get confused on this step and give their child up for adoption, but that’s just passing the buck and you’re certainly not going to teach your child responsibility by shirking your own. Instead you should have your child live in a nearby town or (if they can’t afford the rent) the shed where you keep the lawnmower. If your child is under age 3, you should probably remove the lawnmower because sharp blades are dangerous around young children and also because it’s probably not very good for the lawnmower. I feel like I should point out that most toddlers are not even remotely responsible enough to live in a garden shed by themselves, so if yours is living there, then congratulations because they must be really advanced for their age. You must be very proud indeed.
Thus ends our three-point lesson in being responsible. I actually had four points but a poltergeist deleted the fourth one because someone left the cereal box open and now all the corn pops are stale. Way to go, asshole.
Updated: Fuck. I owe you an apology. My husband just pointed out that “admitting it” is the first step in fighting alcoholism, not in accepting your own personal irresponsibility. So basically I think this means that this whole lesson was built on a lie and probably won’t help you at all. Unless you’re an alcoholic. Then I think I may have cured you. You’re welcome, alcoholics.
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
This week we’re exploring the many ways you can completely devastate your children by giving them terrible names. I know. Seven years ago you thought that naming your kid something unique would make them stand out, so you called her “Madison,” and then everyone else named their kid Madison, and so now you’re looking for a name so unique that no one else would ever choose it, except that the reason they’ll never choose it is because it’s stupid. You’re not doing anyone any favors here.
I understand the quandary. My sister just had her fourth kid last week and she’d used up all the names she liked on the first three kids so this last one ended up with the middle name of Elora, which is a beautiful name but it’s also deliberately lifted from the movie Willow. I suggested to my sister that when you’re at the point when you’re naming your children after characters from Val Kilmer movies, maybe it’s time to stop. Then she assured me that number four was her last one because she didn’t want to end up with a kid named “Goose,” but that “Iceman did have a nice ring to it” and I was all “Dude. ‘Iceman’ is the name of that serial killer who brutally murdered hundreds of people. You know what? You aren’t allowed to name children anymore.” She didn’t protest. Probably because she was too busy taking care of her second youngest who I’m reasonably sure was named after the main character in Twilight. Then she pointed out that I’d unintentionally given my daughter the initials “HEL” and that my own name (Jenny) is the formal definition of “a female jack-ass,” so maybe I’m not really in a good position to be so damn judgmental. She has a point.
I’ve met a lot of people with terrible names (Jennerfer, Quntilla, and Mister are my personal favorites) but I thought I’d poll Twitter to find out which names really stuck out as being truly unfortunate to them. I want to be very clear that if you have any of these names, I am not making fun of you. I’m making fun of your parents, who might be high right now. And who you should probably be forcibly emancipated from. I asked my readers on Twitter to share the most horrific names of people they know and they did not disappoint me. Prepare yourself:
“My dad named my sisters Xena and Trinity, after fictional characters. If Trinity was a boy, he totally planned to name him Neo. He thinks The Matrix is a documentary. I share this man’s DNA.”
“There was a person in the San Antonio phone book in the early ‘80s named Weldon Rumproast.”
“There was a man named Lord where I worked. It was really hard to send him emails.”
“I used to work with twins called Girleen and Pearleen. GIRLEEN. AND PEARLEEN.”
“Went to school with a boy whose sister’s name was ‘Babygirl’ — Mom said hospital named her.”
“I had a student named Nimrod. Is that horrific enough? Probably became a badass.”
“Placenta. I swear to God. That. Actually. Happened.”
“I work with two sisters whose names are Ivory and Sno. Their last name is White. Because of course it is.”
“At the hospital birthing my son, a girl had just named her daughter Felony. Seriously.”
“A girl named T9cy graduated with my brother. Worked with a nurse that named her daughter Dysphagia (a swallowing disorder).”
“I know a mother who named her daughter Meconium … a baby’s first poo.”
“I knew a guy named ‘Hi.’ Seriously, that was his given name. I never knew whether to say hi, hey, or hello when I saw him.”
“I have all y’all beat. At my high school, there was a girl named Leukemia.”
“Some guy on my ex-company email list is named Ho Mo.”
“I ran across a gentleman whose first name was ‘General.’”
“I knew someone named Merry Christmas Smith.”
“My roommate was in kindergarten with ‘Pajamas.’”
“There’s a girl in my office named Sharmonica.”
“Latrina. It’s Italian for ‘bathroom.’”
“My mom went to high school with an Asian kid named ‘Peter Pan.’ His Dad did it on purpose and thought it was funny.”
“Most horrific baby name? Holden Hiscock — no joke, real person.”
“Most horrific? Mordecai BREEZEBLOCK.”
“I once met two sisters named Daquiri and Brandy, but Daquiri was something like ‘Dakiri,’ which just made it that much worse.”
“A woman working at a bank here is Nova Kane.”
“I had a little girl in my preschool class named Tiereney. She was a horror … you get what you pay for.”
“First name Ashe, last name Hoal. Like Coal. Yeah.”
“Most horrific: Awesome. They named their baby girl ‘Awesome.’”
“I went to school with a Justice, Precious, Success, Fanny & a Cinderella. They’re all boys.”
“I’ve worked with more than one Queen, a few Princesses, and with Beauty, Friday, Gift, and Tractor. True as Bob.”
“My mother worked with a woman named Vagina (vah-geena). Yeah. She went by Geena.”
“Farquair McArthur, but it was in Scotland so everyone pronounced it FAHRK-er.”
“My old janitor was named Richard Boob … as in, Dick Boob. For a 13-year -old that was comedy gold.”
“I knew a Freakus Pelekus (it rhymes) when I was growing up. No joke.”
“I can do you one better. Dad’s urologist was Dr. Ballcheck.”
“I knew a woman named UT. She was named for the University of Texas.”
“I know a kid named Master. When I met him, all I could think was, ‘Oh God, what if he wants to join debate club?’”
“Taught swimming to a kid named ‘Carstairs.’ On a related note, am thinking ‘Boatgarage’ for next baby.”
“I know a guy named David who named his son Harley, so when asked to identify himself, he could say, ‘Harley, David’s son’.”
“Horrific: Shamontreal after ‘the country in Canada.’ Knowing the mom, it’s impressive she knew Canada & Montreal were related. She had a sister named Shantartica.”
“Went to school with a girl named ‘Marijuana Pepsi Jackson.’”
“I had a woman who applied at my bookstore who was named ‘Sparkle.’ Really. I can’t make that shit up.”
“My favorite aunt: Leotha Zola Slagowski. Awesome.”
“My great-aunt Bubba’s christened name was Beulah Wonderbell.”
“We had a student named Yhorhighness (your highness) and his sister was Urmajesty (your majesty) at my last school.”
“Have relatives (siblings) named Ronya, Donya, Tonya, Sonya, and Rocky. #wtf”
“We had a kid named Whoopi Vasquez in class once.”
“Most horrific name would have to be a guy my wife knew in KY named Turley. Horrific because his last name was Curd.”
“I knew a T. She was a police officer in Georgia. She had a sister named Q.”
“My friend’s mom is a OB nurse. How about ‘Heavenly Angle’? Yes, they were informed of the typo. Kept it.”
“Oh, I can beat that. Ready? My friend met a woman at the bus stop whose daughter’s name was … wait for it … ATROCITY.”
“My cousin named her child ‘Nemesis.’ Yeah. Nice.”
“When I was pregnant NYT ran an article on bad names that included ‘Ogre,’ but the worst I’ve met was in son’s class: ‘Anomaly.’”
“My little Bro went to school with a girl named Cholera.”
“Friend of a friend is named Guy Richard Sack.”
“I have a cuz named Dub. Full name? W. Youngest of several, all starting with W. They ran out of names. Welcome to the Ozarks!”
“Knew a kid in HS named Scooby. His mom was still looped on demerol when she named him.”
“I work with a girl named Chattara. Like the Thundercat.”
“Worst ever? Ex husband went to school with a Titsalina. Her last name was Belmsquatch. Swear. To. God.”
“My great grandfather’s given name was Doctor, middle name Lumpkin. Did they call him Doc? Nope. They called him Lump.”
“I also met a kid named ‘Doctor’ after the Dr. who delivered him. I think the MD didn’t want Mom to have his real name.”
“Friend worked with a woman whose daughter’s name was Menageatrois. I shit you not.”
“There was a little boy named Trailer at a party my kid was attending. Left me speechless.”
“Guy at my office is named ‘Kshitz.’ Another is called ‘Semen.’ Not kidding.”
“I used to work with a guy who had his name legally changed to ‘Mister Ooh-la-la.’ No joke. He was on Springer once.”
“The star football player at my son’s HS last year was named SirGregory. That was his first name. SirGregory.”
“One of my college roomies was ‘dahaisy’ — pronounced just the way it’s spelled, 3 syllables. Fail.”
“When I was in high school I wanted to name my daughter Tether. Thank goodness I got a dictionary before I got a baby.”
“I went to college with a girl named Tackila. I assumed it was pronounced tak-eye-lah. She corrected me. It was Tequila.”
“I know a guy named ‘F.’ (True story.) His parents were minimalists.”
“We have a family friend named Cash Register.”
“Decision. Satchel. Delicious. Luxurious. ALL TRUE. Luxurious was a boy.”
“I knew a girl named Spontanious — spelled like that. No good.”
“I have a student named Joytotheworld. No lie. That’s her first name.”
“My father taught a girl named Travesty. I wonder if her mother owned a dictionary.”
“I had an aunt named Genitalia. We called her Aunt Gen.”
“I went to school with a guy named 84. As in the number 84. His middle name was ‘South.’”
“I know a guy named ‘Potato Chips.’ He showed me his passport.”
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
This week I really wanted to write about something less controversial than breastfeeding. Something like forced prayer in school. Or using gene splicing to make babies that have cat faces. But those ideas were shut down so I’m back to tackling breastfeeding. Buckle up, buttercup. This is probably gonna get bloody.
Remember when we were kids and everyone had those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books and you’d hold your finger over the last page you went to so that if you died in the book you could be all “Oh, wait. No. I meant that I didn’t want to open the casket. I meant to not choose that. Turn to page 8.” And your teacher wouldn’t let you do book reports on them because apparently a book report consisting of “According to the cover, this book was about a dragon but I never got there because I died on page 8. The-end” was just another example of “your continued failure to apply yourself”?
Well, you know what? Fuck you, Mrs. Johnson, because those books were a metaphor for life. Every day we make choices that take us further into our own adventure as we write our own stories and try not to get eaten by dragons. That last part is a metaphor too. Unless you live in a house filled with komodo dragons. In which case you should probably fumigate.
My point here though is that choosing whether to breastfeed or not is one of the many choices that people have to make in life and almost never does that decision result in dragon attacks. It does, however, often result in personal attacks as women who choose to breastfeed and women who don’t both face harsh judgment and occasionally even battle each other gladiator-style. Except they do it metaphorically online rather than on a televised screen where the rest of us could actually enjoy it.
I’m slightly biased here because after months of agonizing pumping, lactation consultants, and medications that made me smell exactly like pancakes (true story), I finally gave up and instead used those agonizing pumping hours to bond with my daughter. I wished I’d had someone there to tell me that that was okay. Another friend struggled through valiantly and wished that she had someone there to tell her she was a saint for not quitting. Neither of us got what we needed because this column didn’t exist then. But it does now. So get ready to choose your own adventure. If you have successfully breastfed your child, then go to section one. If you are giving up on breastfeeding, then go to section two. If you never had a choice on whether to breastfeed, go to section three.
Section 1: You choose to breastfeed. Congratulations! You are a bad-ass mother. Not only will your child have a stronger immune system and be healthier than non-breastfed kids but you’ll also create a bond that will stay with you and your child forever. Plus, they’ll be able to levitate and trap unicorns. I’m not sure about the last two but this is what my lactation consultant implied to me when I told her I was quitting. Breastfeeding is also a great form of entertainment and self-defense as my sister was so good at it she could hit the cat with her boob milk from across the living room. I could too but only with the bottles of breast milk that my sister had in her freezer. That cat hated me. Also, women who breastfeed have a lowered risk of breast cancer. True story. And supposedly you lose weight like mad when you breastfeed. It’s like being bulimic but you don’t have to throw up and no one threatens to send you to a mental institution. Plus, I’ve heard that formula has bugs in it. Like, not as many bugs as hot dogs have in them but probably close. You. Are. Awesome and I’m applauding you. Go have some chocolate cake. You deserve it.
Stop reading now.
Section 2: You tried to breastfeed but it just didn’t take so you’re quitting. Congratulations! You are a bad-ass mother. I know that’s what I just told the moms who are still breastfeeding but that’s because it’s true either way. Whatever decision you make for your child is the right one … because it’s your decision. Unless your decision is to let a wild bear breastfeed your child. That’s a terrible decision. I’m not even sure why we’re having to clarify this. It is true that breastfed babies have some health advantages but you know who was breastfed? Hitler. Probably. I don’t really know that for sure but it’s possible. Also, my lactation consultant told me that women who breastfeed have a lowered risk of breast cancer which sounds awesome but I pointed out that it also kind of sounds like maybe you’re feeding your baby breast cancer. This is when my lactation consultant got all huffy walked out. Then I yelled after her “That’s probably why they call them ‘booby traps.’” She never came back. My point here is that this is one of many decisions that you will make (and be judged for) as a parent and that this one just feels worse because you’re too sleep deprived to think straight. You. Are. Awesome and I’m applauding you. Go have several margaritas. You deserve it.
Stop reading now.
Section 3: You aren’t breastfeeding because you adopted your child or you are a father or you don’t have kids or you’re on too much meth to breastfeed. Congratulations! You don’t even have to think about this. Doesn’t this all seem ridiculous and overblown from the outside looking in? Yes. Yes it does. You. Are. Awesome and I’m applauding you. Unless you’re one of the people on meth. You have a problem and you need to get that shit worked out. For real. Meth-laced milk is terrible. Unless you’re a meth addict, in which case it probably tastes delicious. I don’t really know how meth works.
Stop reading now. Also, stop taking meth. That’s probably the only valuable bit of advice I’ve given in this entire column.
Join me next week for Lesson Three: Your children’s names are stupid. Stop doing that.
(a re-post from my favorite blogger and advice columner)
“Hi. My name is Jenny and I’m here to fix you. You may not realize that you even need my help and that’s a sign that you need my parenting advice even more. I’m like your own personal Mary Poppins. But with more profanity and less spontaneous singing.
Also, you may be here wondering why someone sent you this link when you don’t even have kids and that’s probably because it’s not entirely unlikely that a distant relative may die at sea and leave you with a passel of waterlogged orphans. Or maybe that someone is trying to tell you that you actually do have kids. Congratulations! You probably owe a lot of back child support. But enough about you. Let’s get started, shall we?
The subject we’re exploring today is lying.
Lying is a problem that all parents have to deal with eventually. Like when my daughter was 4 and she was all “Who got my hands all dirty?!” and I was like “Um … you. You’ve obviously been playing in the mud even though I expressly told you not to” and she was all “No. It must have been … uh … elves” and I was like “Elves. Really? That’s the best you could come up with? Elves are for making cookies in trees. They don’t touch mud. Because that would be counter-productive. Think, Hailey. I mean, if you’re going to lie to me at least make it believable. Like when I told you that Santa Claus was real. You believed that, right? BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT SHIT THROUGH.”
Then she started crying. Probably because she realized that she’d never be as good of a liar as me, and that’s good. This is what you want. You want your kids to not lie to you. Or to become fantastic liars and go into politics. Those are both good options.
Some parenting manuals claim that the best way to teach kids about lying is by example, but I think that’s just because most parenting manuals are written by people who don’t love their children enough to come up with imaginative and overly complicated lesson plans. Like maybe leave a box with a big bow on it in plain sight in the closet and tell your kid that they aren’t allowed to peek until their birthday and then later stumble into their room and be all “Oh my God, I’ve been bitten by a python. Quick! Bring me the present from the hall. It’s filled with powerful python anti-venom vapors. That was my gift to you” and then they’ll bring it to you and you’ll open it and breathe deeply from the box and then you look at them with horror and shock and say, “THERE’S NO ANTI-VENOM LEFT. YOU OPENED THIS AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. WHEN. YOU. DON’T. LISTEN.” Then die slowly and agonizingly in front of them with a look of deep disappointment on your face. Then they’ll be all “Why?! Why did this happen?!” and you’ll be like “Well, it probably happened because you didn’t listen to me” and then they’ll be all “Wait … I thought you were dead!” and you’ll be like “Well, that’s because you’re 5 and you don’t know how anti-venom works. Pythons don’t even have venom. Why do we bother to buy you all those Ranger Rick magazines if you’re not even going to read them? That’s the second lesson. Don’t just look at the pictures. The words are there for a reason, Hailey. This isn’t Playboy. It’s education.” BAM. Two lessons in one.
Of course it’s possible that your child will claim that they never even opened the box to begin with and in that case you should probably send them to their room for lying twice. Or perhaps they really didn’t open the box, in which case you should tell them that you’re proud of them and that the box was probably opened by the evil fairy that lives under their bed that grows bigger every time they accidentally knock over their milk or masturbate. Whichever ridiculously minor thing you think is most unforgivable.
Join me next time for my second topic: “Breastfeeding ~ frankly, we’re all a little sick of hearing about it.”