This Shit is Bananas

What’s this mumbo jumbo?

What could this mean?

Could it be the exclamation of Madame Halushki upon peering into the contents of a jolly baby’s jolly diaper sometime after said baby’s first experimentation with ingesting and then digesting yellow fruit?

Or is Ms. Halushki gettin’ all urban slang in an attempt to edge-off the Big 40 headin’ up 0806 style?

Yo, yo, yo Ms. Gwen and all that? (Dat?)

I’ve been around the track a few times myself.

My knees hurt.

I’ll have to add that to my Urban Cougar profile: "Nice legs, bad knees."

But no, no, no…I don’t do babies anymore. I mean, at least not my own. (Sorry Mom and Mother-In-Law).

Ah….babies. So stinky and sweet.

Babies...and all that anxiety over the first.

All the questions, all the books and advice. And later, upon the good advice of other moms-in-the-know, all the firm decisions to eschew all books - and further advice - and come up with your own answers.

All the doubts and double-doubts.

And double-dog-dare-you doubts.

Let ‘em sleep?

Wake ‘em up?

Give ‘em a banana before the eruption of the first tooth, or breastfeed exclusively until the kid is old enough to land a job at SuperFresh and buy her own bananas?

I am so not good at “parent”.

Let me rephrase that.

When Doctor Spock - or it could have been Mr. Spock; I always mix those two up - when some guy with-or-without pointy ears said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do” in his attempt to salve new parents’ anxieties over their untested ability to instinctively do right by their baby, he evidently had never witnessed one new mother’s attempts to wrestle a tiny cotton turtleneck t-shirt over the wee head of her 2 day-old daughter.

It’s true.

I know for a fact that there is at least one woman in particular who has conceived, gestated, labored and birthed all quite naturally and, I must say, as easily as if guided through the entire process by the grace of Uterusa and Fallopia (or some other such pantheon of fertility goddesses), and yet upon being handed the issue of her womb, felt from that moment on the complete abandonment of simple biological imperative, let alone the grace and guidance of some Mother Goddess swooping down upon a blazing Diaper Genie.

I was that defective mommy.

I am that defective mommy.

I mean, as far as instinct beyond the labor and delivery room, my nurture or my nature or possibly both…have abandoned me.

But you know what?

It doesn’t matter.

And not in the way you think it doesn’t matter….

My kids are only 4 and 6, but oh Lordy, if I knew then what I know now.

Don’t all parents of “older” children say that? Isn’t it supremely obnoxious?

And yet, I think - somewhat self-satisfied - that I’ve earned that right.

I used to pray…

Dear Mother Goddess in the Great Bunco Parlor in the Sky,

Please don’t let me break my baby.

Please don’t let me snap her little head off while shoving it through this petal-pink, GAP-made torture device called “infant turtleneck t-shirt.”

Please don’t let me accidentally put her in harm’s way of my overcoat, not noticing when she chews off a button and swallows it, either choking and turning blue or suffering the agony of pooping out a fake-ivory toggle clasp.

Please give me the patience to always peel and quarter her grapes before feeding them to her.

Please don’t punish her for my weakness… those few ounces of formula I gave her the night I drank a bottle of lambrusco and the alcohol content of my breasts hit 32%…please don’t allow the formula to work its dark magic, decreasing her I.Q. such that she is destined to suffer through high school as a member of the non-AP class hoy polloi .

Oh Goddess…

I let her sleep in my bed, please forgive me.
I let her cry in her bed, please forgive me.
I let her fall off the bed, please forgive me.

I took her outside without a hat, please forgive me.
I took her outside without sunscreen, please forgive me.
I took her outside before she was baptized, please forgive me.
I took her outside…please forgive me.

For all those times I propped her in her bouncy seat and let her watch Teletubbies while I took a shower, Oh Goddess, hear my prayer.

For all those times I propped her in her bouncy seat and let her watch Baby Mozart while I made dinner, Oh Goddess, hear my prayer.

For all those times I propped her in her bouncy seat and let her watch South Park because I let the Baby Mozart tape run out while I was wrapped-up in cooking a pot of halushki and didn‘t realize the cable TV had switched on… Oh Goddess, hear my prayer.

Blessed be the cloth diaperers.
Blessed be the baby wearers.
Blessed be the co-sleepers.
Blessed be the the cribless.
Blessed be the playpen-less.
Blessed be the selective vaccinaters.
Blessed be the extended-nursers.
Blessed be the mothers of children whose first words are “They killed Kenny! You bastards!”

For Yours is the glory!
For Yours is the power!

Unto you I offer
these Emotive Baby flashcards,
these orthodontic binkies,
these black-and-white geometric pattern mobiles,
these Teach Your Baby Esperanto video tapes,
these non-traditional family Waldorf dolls representing the diverse socio-economic strata of our country,

Unto you I offer the entire contents of the One Step Ahead catalog.
Unto you I offer my Zany Brainy credit card.
Unto you I offer my ten-year subsciption to
Alpha Mommy, Better Child.
All this, all this and whatever you want…

Whatever, whatever, whatever you want, oh Great Goddess…

Just PLEASE don’t let me screw up this kid in the first year.

PLEASE don’t let me physically dent her.

PLEASE don’t let me psychologically ding her.

PLEASE…PLEASE… let me at least get her to her first birthday and eating solid food and walking - or scooting or something - so that if I should trip down the stairs over my own two feet and crack my very skull upon the landing, at least the baby will be mobile enough to toddle toward the cupboard and survive on Cheerios and dried spaghetti until my husband gets home from work.

This is my humble prayer.

I sure hope you’re listening.

And while you’re listening, could you point me in the direction of which book should I read next…and then throw away, of course, of course...


But here’s the thing

The thing is this, and listen up. I'm about to get obnoxious:

No matter what you do in that first year - I don’t care, put yourself and the kid in a plastic bubble, happily breastfeeding and growing the child’s first dinner of pureed carrots from seeds planted in the composted diaper contents, all the while telling only non-violent, politically-correct and highly-empathetic versions of Goodnight Moon -

the thing is that eventually, one day - and one day not too far away - your sweet, blonde-haired, blue-eyed four-year-old is going to turn her chubby babyface toward you and, with the voice of a cherub, sing out in perfect pitch:

“This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.”

And you’re going to wonder out loud…

“WHERE the HELL did you learn THAT?!”

From the mouth of my babe who is, literally, always within two feet of me - if not right up my butt - or at a preschool run by a bunch of rock-and-roll hating Lutherans, thank you very much.

Oh, but wait…then your six-year-old is going to come off the bus - or home from the neighbor kid’s house - eating a hunk of fluorescent blue food (and does it matter what kind of food it is? Fluorescent blue is the least natural and most manic-behavior inducing color of any food, so it might as well be a hunk of fluorescent blue caffeinated sugar-brick as well it might be a hunk of fluorescent blue tofu) …and that blue food will immediately cancel out any and all positive health and welfare points banked during your long hours of latching child to boob. And you will remember with bitter irony all those first weeks of wearing raw cabbage leaves on your swollen chest like some Carmen Miranda of the Halushki Review, rubbing your raw nipples with Lansinoh during the in-between times, just so you could keep on keeping-on with creating your super-smart child, or super-healthy child, or super-attached child.

And it works…really, it does.

My children are super-attached to me. Or they were.

They are bright and confident. At least today…

Anyway, they can crush chicken bones between their front teeth. That has to count for something.

And they have no qualms, no hesitation, no lack in self-confidence when they tell me things like

“I like the taste of my boogers. But, I don’t like the taste of Lydia’s boogers. We swapped at recess.”


“I don’t like when you sing, Mommy. Your voice scratches the inside of my head.”


“Did you know I can reach the tree limb from the roof outside my window? But only if I lash myself to the gutter with dental floss and lean out over the driveway.”

Or how about

“I don’t need to go to preschool. I want to be a rock star when I grow up. Like Gwen Stefani.”

Uh, HELLO kid?

Gwen Stefani is NOT a rock star.

Pop idol, maybe.

And then instead of reviewing the ABCs or snuggling-up in the soft autumn light and reading Kitten’s First Moon or learning simple fractions while mixing the ingredients for whole wheat zucchini bread…instead of all that, you spend the afternoon with your four-year-old teaching her the words to Rhiannon and showing her how incorporate ballet moves with hippie-magic twirls and trying to get THROUGH to her that if she wants to be a rock star, then she need to look no further than Stevie Nicks as a mentor.

Or Chrissie Hynde if she’s into leather and thinks that Telecasters are the shit.

Or whosit?…that chick from Garbage. Shirley Manson. She looks dangerous.

Or what about the wonderfully eccentric LA hillbilly-punk stylings and attitudes of Exene Cervenka?

Or first lady of rock-a-billy, Wanda Jackson?

Or even, good gravy, uber-teen "she never said she was punk" Avril Lavigne.

But Gwen Stefani? Bah.

See? This shit is bananas.


Do you think this is what Dr. Spock meant by “Trust yourself, Mom?”

And I imagine it will only get worse.

And then, of course, some blithely self-satisfied but beaten-down parent-of-teenagers will shake her head and with a wry half-smile tell you:

“Sister, you don’t know nuthin’ yet. Enjoy these bananas. It gets worse yet again.”

How obnoxious.

And other than someday actually handing my teens the keys to a 2-ton piece of machinery filled with highly-combustible liquid and capable of moving at a really, really fast clip - and saying "Carfeul, dear, or you're grounded forever"- I honestly don’t know how it can get worse; how interactions with my children will further spin far and wide from any acceptable, civilized, non-crazy, post-absurdist definition of "parent".

The four-year-old doesn’t even drive yet, and look what she did to our car.

This is what happens when a child has had enough of being dragged around running errands and tells you she’s getting OUT of the car NOW and - after chewing the duct tape from her wrists and then unsnapping the 32 child-proof latches on her car seat - is about to make good on her threat.

And you try to get off the road so she doesn’t jump into traffic.

And you drive into another car.

To the tune of thousands of dollars.

(You should see the other guy.)

So, yes…babies. Enjoy ‘em while they’re young. Enjoy 'em when they're not so young.

But, truly, the worry about breaking them....

That shit...that shit is bananas.



Anonymous said...

Amen, Sista! You ain't no Holla Back Girl, but you are da bomb!

Omg, who am I kidding. You are too funny.

Momma Star said...

You need to get out of my head. Really, there isn't much up there to spare.

Much love.

Anonymous said...


That was some cool Cesar Vallejo type shit there in the middle.

Real pick ya up kind of stuff.

Have to tell you that those kind of rocks stars don't really exist. They are more made these days. So if want to get her on the Gwen Track you gotta start moving NOW.

Otherwise tell her all the real money is in publishing and that she can make a whole lot more money and get to tell The future Gwen's what to do if she just keep practicing her piano and makeing up little gems.

Unknown said...

That looks like a Toyota Echo. We have one of those. Great cars.
Good thing you weren't driving the Porsche. said...

Ah, thanks know, I just take notes on the boards and break it all down, Mommy Style. You women are my Muses. :-)


Well... we'll see what happens. Yesterday, she said she wanted to be an artist.

And who the time Isabel is ready to make her break as a rock star, the corporate machinery may have deadened everyone's musical tastebuds (as so happens every few years) and she'll be the new shot of tabasco.

In fact, that's a Great One Name Fame Persona: Tabasco. Except, I'm sure that's a copright or trademark, so we'll have to change her name to Tabasko.

Did you sell your apartment yet? I'll bury St. Joesph in teh yard for you.

Mr. Cooper,

Actually, that would be a big dent in the Sienna, my super hip minivan.

In fact, I was thinking of leaving the dent there so I'd have more street credibility, but then I realized that that would just be stupid. Not stoopid, but stupid.

And okay, the dent was my fault, not my daughter's. Although, after I clobbered the other car (no one was hurt, but the guy in the other car almost beat the crap out of me for denting his mom's car) my daughter said, "Whoa. Sorry."

Anonymous said...


I got St Joseph in the court yard, but he may be confused and trying to sell the whole building. I got another one at the Santaria store up the street and after discribing him to Maryann, she tells me he's St. Christopher and a lot of good he's gonna do me.

So since then I went to 3 santaria stores and nobody has St Joseph statues. Now that I got the discription from Maryann I won't get duped again. But I am in serious need of one, If you got an extra laying around please send him to me before either my head explodes (like scanners) or my stomach acid actually burns it's way outside to freedom. I knew I shudda bought that Zantac stock.

Kath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kath said...

OMG too funny! Flash forward 4 years and she is making whimsical sock creatures at the dining room table with my son. Perfect angel. You're doing a great job.

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