A Mother’s Confession: A SONG WITH FOOTNOTES

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hola comrades!
welcome to my latest Patreon Thing! this is Thing #10 (the Bowie “strung out” tribute was #9) and yes, things are just getting weirder and more awesome. good evening. it’s february 25th, 2016.

everything will become clear once you listen/read.

short story: jason and i challenged each other to write 11 songs last week in seattle, i wrote one, and the 
next day, jason recorded it in his houseboat. (he also played accordion and…some other stuff. just listen.)

fact, and every writer will back me up, short things are harder to write than long things.

motherhood leaves me little time to edit, so the song is almost 11 minutes. i make no apologies.

LISTENING/READING RECOMMENDATIONS:

listen FIRST, then read!

 the footnotes are an integral part of the song. this is a GESAMTKUNSTWERK, folks, even though it only has a few chords, you got me?

i highly recommend printing this out, or – if you must, even though i cringe when neil does it – taking your iPad/phone into the bath (but please, airplane mode, people!) and reading while the song plays. i also recommend a glass of wine (or a nice chamomile tea) with your bath, a hanky, and some lavender epsom salts (excellent for overall body relaxation).

if you are a parent and would like to add your own confession in the comments, i would feel less lonely. everybody else would, too.

i look forward to coming back here tomorrow and reading.

i can’t say it enough, the patreon is making my recent fuck-it-all-and-make-it-and-put-it-out approach to music possible. if you want to support more thing-making, please join (for as little patronage as $1/thing) the beautiful and growing patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/amandapalmer.

 

“A MOTHER’S CONFESSION” (the lyrics)


our son is four months old1 his name is anthony or ash for short2
and he’s too small to do things by himself3
we were in L.A. over christmas in a rental and we jury-rigged4 a place
to change his diapers on a shelf5

i was peeing in the bathroom and had left him for a second6
cause i thought he couldn’t move and he was safe7
as i came out i saw him falling in slow motion to the floor8
it was probably the worst moment9 of my life

and then i accidentally stole a thing of chapstick10 from the safeway11
i didn’t see it ’til i got out to the car12
i would have usually returned it13 but i was overwhelmed14
and late15 to take the baby to my cousins16 which was far away17

in my defense i’d bought like $8718 worth of groceries
and the chapstick was a $1.9919
i know it wasn’t the right thing to use20
to use my newborn21 child as an excuse
but it felt like a real reason at the time22

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried23
and as i pulled onto the highway i said “right….
at least the baby didn’t die…right?
at least the baby didn’t die….”24

and then we went to sarasota25
to see neil’s cousin helen
for her birthday she just turned ninety-nine26
we were also there for sidney
who was ninety-four two days before
but he was sick27 so mostly it was ash and helen time28

she survived the warsaw ghetto29
and she always30 says “i love you”
when she sees you ’cause she knows you never know
she’d worked for months while i was pregnant
on a gorgeous handmade blanket31
her almost-hundred-year-old hands crocheting every row

i’d been emailing her pictures32 of the baby and the blanket
every day since she had sent it in the mail
but they were of one that someone else had knitted33 34
she was really nice about it
then i went and shoplifted a pair of stupid sunglasses
from goodwill35 (they were on my head36
i’d tried them on and left them there)
but that’s not really bad compared to
when we left the baby in the car37.

at least he wasn’t in there very long.
…and not directly in the sun.
and thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done.
i’m even scared to put these lyrics in a song.

but
everything is relative38 and everyone’s related39
i can’t do that much right now
but take care of this baby40
i figure everything’s technically all right
if at least this baby doesn’t die.

(i’d also like his dad alive. so honey….careful when you drive41 42).

and then i took a plane43 to washington alone44
so we could visit jason webley who’s his godfather45
he’s playing the accordion46
i couldn’t wait to see him and share tales of my disasters
over dinners in his houseboat when i saw i’d lost my passport47

so i got a rush appointment at the place where you replace them48
and i drove the baby in and on the way i got a speeding ticket49

when the cop came to the window i was shaking and i said i’m sorry50
but you couldn’t hear me that’s how loud the sound of screaming was
cause he was hungry and i think that i was speeding
’cause i panic when i hear him cry51
my god what kind of a mother am i52

and as i pulled out of the breakdown lane i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said “right.
at least the baby didn’t die. right?
at least the baby didn’t die.”

while i was waiting for my passport i was hungry so
i twittered for good coffee in the neighborhood53
and there i saw a woman who was sitting at the bar
and it was noon and she was drinking54
and she called across the diner at me “how old is your baby?”
and she smiled at us nursing
and she said she had a daughter who was grown
and then she paused
and said she also had a son55

and when i’d paid and was about to leave
i picked him up and crossed the room and touched her sleeve
i said “hey this baby wanted to say hi.”56
and she held him tight and she started to cry.57

and i’m sorry that this story’s gotten long
and that everybody’s crying in this song.58

and as i got back in the car i turned the radio and heater on
and sat there with the baby in the back.59
and they were talking about syria and climate change and ISIS
and the candidates’ positions on iraq60
i feel so useless in this universe
i know i could be doing worse
i’m trying hard to stay at peace61 inside
i know it’s hard to be a parent
but my flaws are so gigantic62
…i wonder if i should have had a child.63

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said

“right.

at least the baby didn’t die.
at least the baby didn’t die.
EVERYBODY64:
at least the baby didn’t die!! right?!
at least the baby didn’t die!!
(i may not make it to the passport place on time!65)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and they might suspend my license for a while!!66)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get caught for retroactive theft!!67)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get turned into the DSS!68)

but at least the baby didn’t die69.”

 


 FOOTNOTES:

1 he was actually just about to turn five months when i wrote this song. he was born on september 16th, and this song was written on february 11th. so. yeah. saying five months felt not right but saying “almost five months” wouldn’t fit and to be honest about it i feel like the song is better if the baby is smaller. i don’t know why i thought that. i think maybe it makes me feel less guilty.

2 his name is Anthony David Karl Gaiman. i’d always thought i’d name a boy after anthony, because of how much anthony meant to me in my life, but only if he was dead. and when i was pregnant, anthony was sick but not dead and not necessarily dying. and you don’t name a baby after a not-necessarily dying person. that’s just bad luck. so neil and i talked about the name for a while after we found out he was going to be a boy, and at first neil wanted to name him damon. i mean: damon gaiman. i thought it was hilarious and neil did too but all of neil’s older kids were like NOOOOOO so that idea was cut short by family veto. and then we talked about ash one day walking around walden pond…because it just floated through the air and sounded cool…and we kept on walking and trying out different forms of ash with every letter of the alphabet put in front (bash? kinda violent. cash? too country. dash? we liked dash, but art and francoise’s son was dash. gash? SO GOTH. lash? we talked about lash for a while. what a sexy name, right? sash? perfect if he goes into ballet…) then anthony died. so we named him anthony. or ash for short.

3 that’s not really fair. he can do a LOT of things by himself. he can eat his own toes, he can grab his toy cloth pig, he can boob-hunt, he can wiggle around, he can even kind of play piano…i just meant, obviously, that he can’t change his diaper by himself, or be coordinated enough to stop from falling off a thing once he starts to fall off.

4 jason and i had an argument about this. well not quite an argument but i’ve actually always wondered if it’s “jury-rigged” or “jerry-rigged”, because i hear people say both, and i’m so confused that i say both all the time. so while writing this song i finally googled it. it’s TECHNICALLY jury-rigged. grammarist.com says: “A little-used definition of jury is intended or designated for temporary use. It’s a nautical term of unknown origin, and in its early use it usually appeared in the phrase jury mast, referring to a temporary mast put up to replace one that has been lost. This is the source of the verb jury-rig, meaning to assemble for temporary use, and its derivative adjective jury-rigged. Jerry-rig is a variant spelling of jury-rig. One could call it incorrect because it entered the language several centuries after jury-rig and is obviously derived from a misspelling of the original, but it is widely used and is accepted by some dictionaries. It would be easier to dismiss jerry-rig as incorrect if we didn’t have the separate adjective jerry-built, which means built of bad materials. Jerry-built may or may not be etymologically related to jury-rig (its origins are mysterious), but all major dictionaries agree that jerry is the correct spelling in this case.” (http://grammarist.com/usage/jury-rig-jerry-rig-jerry-built/)…after i sent this link to jason (who was across the room, making dinner) he argued that even if the correct expression is jury-rigged, people say jerry-rigged, and so i should feel free to use either. but by the time i found out that one was actually correct, i felt like i could never go back, and now it will bother me every time i hear someone say “jerry-rigged”.

5 so to call it a SHELF is actually not accurate, it was more like a…random surface in this rental house. kind of like a built in table. the worst thing about the whole episode was the fact that the floor was made of hard tile. i tried to fit that into the song. it didn’t fit.

6 okay. not a second. i mean, peeing takes more than a second. that’s a turn of phrase.  the truth is more awful, i was also doing more than peeing. this is where the guilt starts to creep in. i was downstairs in the house, and upstairs were allan amato and olga nunes, who had asked me if they could come by and interview me for their documentary about art. and i’d said fine, and was juggling getting ready for shooting their thing and taking care of the baby, and was not only peeing but putting on eyeliner. so i was in there for more like…three minutes. maybe less. maybe more. the irony of all this is that you can watch the interview, which was filmed about 15 minutes after this all happened. i’m not sure if i look weird, but i felt weird. https://vimeo.com/152328042

7 he managed to push himself, for the first time, with his arms, to the edge of the table. i could hear him cry from the bathroom, which was about 15 feet away…

8 …and as soon as i heard him cry and was rushing out to see if he was okay, he was just slipping off the edge. he didn’t actually fall in slow motion. it just seemed it. i ran over, with my heart in shreds, wondering if maybe i would have a paralyzed baby, or at least a baby with a broken bone. i had just been talking to my aunt sonia about how one of her twin sons had a broken arm at three months because he slipped out of her grip. he was crying so woefully. i held him to my chest and rocked him and rocked him and took him to the bed. and fed him. and then i looked over his entire body and he seemed to be okay. but now i had that image stuck in my head of him falling (like the recurring dream sequence in the brady bunch of marsha getting hit in the nose with the football over and over). the image will still not leave my head. it is stuck.

9 worst SHORT moment. i was okay about a day later. i spent the next day in a kind of a shivering shock, checking his body for possible broken bones or wrong things. the worst LONG moment was probably that time in 1996 i had the worst hangover of my life, maybe i’ll do that song next. with footnotes.

10 here’s how it happened, and i’ll even come clean about the time it happened in new york, like a month later. i go shopping. i have the baby. the baby is asleep in the car. i need to take the baby into the store. the baby’s car seat fits in his stroller, which is great. it means he will stay asleep. it is very good when the baby stays asleep so that i can shop without having to entertain or feed him. but. i cannot wheel the baby and a shopping cart at the same time. they both take two hands. i am not sure what other people do. i refuse to look these things up on the internet. so i improvise, and i’ve found his entire car seat fits into most grocery carts. this is AWESOME. it means i can park the car, run to the place where the shopping carts are, run back to the car, insert the baby, and then wheel him around the store. it also means he gets covered with groceries. you see where this is headed. so twice now, i’ve done a huge grocery run and gotten to the car (in this particular case) or home (in the case of the small package of cinnamon) before i realize that the baby had lost groceries hidden within or atop him. i now check the baby REALLY carefully before i leave the store. note that i am being a really big person and not making some cheap shot joke about the baby being the thief here. he’s just a baby, he can’t steal anything yet.

11 this was in sarasota, so the song is out of order. i know. the original lyric was the truth: it wasn’t a safeway, it was a Publix. Publix is a chain of supermarkets in florida. the hilarious thing is that i was getting it confused with the supermarket in L.A., which is a Vons. but no, neil confirmed, it was the Publix in sarasota where i accidentally stole the chapstick. it was jason who made me change it. we were working on the song in his houseboat and he was like, “what’s a publics?” and i was like “it’s a chain of supermarkets” and he was like “i’ve never heard of it” and i was like “well it’s only on the west coast” and he was like “amanda we’re ON the west coast, we’re in seattle” and i was like “i mean CALIFORNIA” and he was like “the lyric is going to confuse people, it isn’t clear it’s a supermarket” and i was like “i think people will understand” and he was like “i would forgive it if it was a weird supermarket-y sounding supermarket but it isn’t, it sounds like it could be something else because it’s a real word” and i was like “publix isn’t a real word” and he said “yes it is, the public’s opinion on donald trump is divided” and i was like “but it sounds so good with chapstick” and he was like “change it to safeway” and i was like “ugh fine.” i’m still not sure i made the right decision. i’m clearly not sure about ANYTHING. i think i’ll use “publix” if i ever play it live again, just to be like OH YEAH. (see exhibit A for a picture of the sarasota publix).

12 mind you – this is a GIGANTIC shopping mall parking lot. it’s florida. you’ve been to florida. so the car is like miles from the store. i should shut up here, i think. (again, see exhibit A).

13 this is the truth, and in my defense i have walked BACK into stores on at least a dozen occasions in my life when i got like halfway down the street and realized i was still holding the pen/chapstick/banana/whatever in my hand that i forgot to put on the checkout counter. this time i was just like FUCK. it had taken so much drama to get the groceries and the baby out to the car. i was like: they will forgive me. will they forgive me? i don’t know. do you forgive me?

14  true

15 not true. this happened in florida and when i wrote the song, i thought it had happened in california. so i lied, but by accident. kind of.

16  there are two sets of cousins in this song. were were at my california cousins over christmas. katherine is my main cousin there and then there was robert, who died just after anthony, who once played ukulele on the beach with me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsvI0KWoaTE), and gus, and guy and michelle, and betsey, and maureen and maddy, and frank, and annie, and brent, and grant, and mac…and more.

17 here’s a lie: the Von’s (which was the Safeway, which was the Publix) was actually only like two miles from my cousins’ house in california where i was late to be the time that i thought i was remembering when i wrote the song. so yeah i was lying there, not by accident. i just wanted my case to sound solid.

18  what’s weird here is when i wrote the song and was remembering the wrong supermarket, it was actually a grocery run i did of like $450 because it was all the stuff for christmas day. but the run to the publix, which is the safeway, which was the actual story, i think i actually only spent like $60. but still.

19  i admit: i made that up. it was a loose chapstick. it couldn’t have cost that much. i just googled to make myself feel better and most single chapsticks costs like a dollar. i am very relieved to see that mostly online you buy chapstick in a three-pack and that the three-pack is like $2.82.  point = AFP. (see exhibit B).

20 this is just a random interesting songwriting note: the original draft of the song had ” i know it wasn’t the right thing to do; to use my newborn infant as an excuse” with more crunched in timing, but jason said he didn’t like it. i trust jason. most of the time.

21  i felt weird about saying “newborn”, because, he’s kind of not. i mean, what counts as newborn? what counts as NEW? i just looked it up online:

“new·born ˈn(y)o͞oˌbôrn/ adjective 1. (of a child or animal) recently or just born.”

so i think i’m in the clear there. i mean, he was kind of just born. how are we defining “recently” here? i just googled again and wound up on the website of the World Health Organization…they say “A newborn infant, or neonate, is a child under 28 days of age.” so here i am, lying. they also go on to say ” During these first 28 days of life, the child is at highest risk of dying. It is thus crucial that appropriate feeding and care are provided during this period, both to improve the child’s chances of survival and to lay the foundations for a healthy life.” so there the WHO is, getting fucking meta in my googling about my own song. HOWEVER, i don’t really know if this can count as a lie because i DO state his age in the first line of the song.

point = World Health Organization. (http://www.who.int/topics/infant_newborn/en/)

22 it really did. but also i felt really guilty. you know that feeling?

23  so, a note about this car part. it’s a time-collage of tears. i’ve cried a lot since having the baby and often in cars and often after doing stupid shit. this moment may not have actually happened, but it might has well have.

24 this part is true. every time something has started bugging me lately, especially something really mundane, i’ve been clinging onto this mantra. it’s very useful.

25 hear that drum? it’s quiet, but it’s in there. so, jason lives outside of seattle in a houseboat. we were all sleeping on the houseboat. and that’s the drum that jason saw FLOATING DOWN THE RIVER OUTSIDE THE HOUSEBOAT the first morning we woke up there. jason was like: “do you see what’s floating down the river?” and i was like “no, what?” but he was already outside getting in his canoe. i stood there holding the baby thinking that this sort of thing probably happens to you every morning if you’re jason webley. red bass drums just float down the river and call to you when you wake up in the morning and you get in your canoe and go rescue them. that’s what makes you jason webley. i got some pictures of the drum rescue. (see exhibits C and D).

26 it’s a lie. she just turned ninety-EIGHT. but i tried really really hard to find things that worked with the story that rhymed with eight and i just couldn’t make it work. i tried, i swear. i felt really bad about this, because as you can see in a second, i already screwed up royally with the blanket.  on the other hand, sidney really did turn ninety-four. i wondered for a second if i should lie about him, too, and make him ninety-five, but that would have just made things worse, i think. i think helen will be really nice about it. i’m kind of nervous about her hearing this song. at least it doesn’t have any swears in it. helen doesn’t like it when i swear. wait, are there any swears in this song? i had to think about it for a second. i don’t think there are. anyway: sidney’s birthday is january 30th and helen’s birthday is february 1st and they’ve been married for SIXTY SEVEN YEARS. they were married after helen escaped poland and moved to new york after the war, in 1948.

27 it’s a half-lie to say that sidney was SICK, he wasn’t SICK so much as in the rehab center next door in a wheelchair most of the time because he fell three weeks before and broke his arm and hip. when you fall and you’re ninety-four it’s a drag. but i couldn’t fit it in and make it work. so i kind of lied. i mean…sick is usually reserved for not-broken-bone sick. what do we call that? what’s the word for sick-from-broken-bones? laid up? i needed one syllable. sue me.

28   for awesome ash and helen time, see exhibit E.

29 this is true. helen was in the warsaw ghetto. she and her sisters all escaped the gas chambers in different ways, and how they escaped is not my story to tell. helen is one of the most wonderful people i have ever met, and it has been so important to me that she and little anthony are getting time together. they have a kind of connection that leaves me in awe. they span almost a century. if you think about it, if ash lives a hundred years, they’ll SPAN TWO CENTURIES. think about how long a time that is. (for more awesome ash and helen time, see exhibit F.)

30  this is actually true. i don’t think i’ve ever visited helen and she hasn’t begun or ended a visit with “i love you” while she grabs my hands and said it at least once during the visit. i try to be more like helen lately and when i am with someone i love, i just say it all the time. it feels nice. if you think about the fact that you might die any second (and guess what, you might) it makes it easier. try it.

31 this is a totally true story with no embellishment or un-embellishment. she gave us the blanket when we first went down to florida, three weeks after the baby was born in tennessee. i couldn’t believe that she had spent so much time, SO MUCH TIME, making this gigantic and beautiful thing for our son. i imagined her sitting there day after day, putting all of this love and handiwork into the blanket. she’s ninety-eight. her hands are old. she gets tired really easily. it just felt…huge…

32 real emails. this part is true. (see exhibit G)

33 … which was why i was so shame-filled when the blanket mix-up happened. helen’s blanket is sea-foam green (see exhibit H).we were given another one, a smaller one, by someone else, at some other time. i don’t even remember when. that one was blue (see exhibit I). they looked NOTHING ALIKE. i mean, i had no goddam excuse. the only thing these blankets had in common is that they were hand-knitted. (or hand-crocheted, i’m never sure which is which). in my defense, i had a three week year old baby when helen gave us this blanket and my mind was melting down the inside of my spine. i was lost, pretty much all the time. this is, i would like to point out, the same trip where i stole the chapstick, at the publix. anyway…after we left florida that first time, i started emailing helen all these pictures of ash and the blanket. ash in the blanket. i noticed she wasn’t responding. and then she was like: “amanda, that’s not the blanket i made. mine was sea-foam green and that one is blue.” do you know how horrible it feels to get an email like that from a ninety-seven year old woman? it feels TERRIBLE. when i started writing this song, it was basically a song to purge the blanket-guilt. it’s almost worse than the baby-falling guilt. it’s hard to say.

34 and did you notice that i didn’t mention who knitted the other blanket? i am adding this here and i don’t even need to, but this is confessional. i can’t remember. i can’t remember who gave it to us. if it was you, please write to me. you’re going to get your own song.

35 this was the goodwill in seattle. the worst thing about this is that it was the BEST goodwill i’ve ever been to. so there are a few ways of looking at this. first of all, in my defense (i am saying that too much) i spent about $200 in this goodwill. i bought a skirt and a suitcase and bunch of nice dresses and clothes for TED and a jacket to wear during my surprise david bowie performance there which was PERFECT (did you see it? it was PERFECT, see exhibit J.)

36  this is a lie. they were actually hooked over the handle of the stroller. i tried them on, liked them, had lost my other sunglasses somewhere, and decided to buy them. i was, once again, using the baby as a replacement shopping cart and covering him with clothes, which he seemed (i am not kidding at all) to really enjoy. every time i went to the dressing room to try on clothes i was like “don’t forget the sunglasses are hooked on the stroller, amanda”. and then i forgot. i was a few blocks away when i realized it, and already in the car, and again, made the unethical choice. i am not defending myself here. i should have gone back. these sunglasses cost $3.99. (to see the sunglasses in question, which i haven’t lost, please refer to exhibit K). i really want to get my philosopher friend josh from yale involved in this whole situation, because it’s an ethical one, and he studies ethics, and he would probably be quick to point out that my calculating was unethical. i mean, if the sunglasses had cost fifty cents would it be more or less ethical? what if they cost $49? the whole point is that i measured using a scale of capitalism instead of a scale of ethics and i shouldn’t have done it. at this, point, though, it’s too late to send the chapstick and the sunglasses to whence they came (i mean, goodwill would probably not put them back on the shelf…would they?). so i’ve decided my ethical failure should result in two checks (exhibits L & M), one in which i pay the publix back their $1.99 and one in which i pay goodwill back their $3.99 plus $100 because they’re goodwill and not The Man.

37 i don’t really want to write this footnote. because of all the things in this song, this one feels the most incriminating. like, even in the footnotes, i’m fucking terrified that the parent-police are going to read this and knock on the door and take my child away. it would be easy to blame this one on neil, but the truth is we both fucked up and we left the baby in the car. i’m not going to go into the details. even i have my limits. ask me over wine in a bar sometime. at least he wasn’t in there very long, on a cool day. and not directly in the sun. and thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done. i mean: that could have been bad. HOWEVER, it has been comforting to realize that almost every parent has fucked up in this way at least once. after i played this song a few days after writing it, in seattle, where jason and i were doing a benefit for the everett animal shelter, a handful of people talking to me after the show confided their horrific “when i fucked up” baby stories. i wonder if i’m now going to become a receptacle of people’s horrific baby confessions. bring them on. i’ll take them. every one of them lightens my load. actually, maybe there can be a confessional as part of this song-post. i’m going to look into it.

38  it is!

39 we are! kind of.

40 i wonder if that’s going to come off as disingenuous. i mean, i AM doing things other than taking care of this baby. i am clearly accidentally shoplifting chapsticks and sunglasses, flying in planes, doing shows at TED, putting out david bowie cover records, writing long songs in jason’s house, and, you know, stuff. maybe herein lies the problem. maybe mothers of small babies really should just lie in bed and gaze into the eyes on their infant and nurse and listen to john coltrane and drink juice. i did that for the first three weeks. but then i didn’t. i think there’s one very obvious skill i have lost, that i was never very good at in the first place: editing. i am a shit editor. give me a few weeks and i can write a short song. give me a day and that fucker’s going to be 11 minutes.

41 this is kind of a way of throwing focus. neil is probably a better driver than me, overall, and we do have a speeding ticket coming down the pike (no pun intended) in the next verse. but come to think of it he did back the car straight into a tree about a week after the baby was born and the bumper was dented and he was really angry at himself and the funniest part was that we were leaving a yoga class. he was in fucking space. i tried to convince him to forgive himself. but anyway, i don’t want him to die more than ever, and i’ve always had a thing about him dying, mostly because i get stuck in my head and start thinking about how he’s older than me. and then i remember that any of us could get hit by a bus at any time and i look at my friends who have partners with HIV and i look at my friend zoë whose husband jeff just got taken by cancer at age 43 and i look at anthony who died at 65 and i look at all the people dying randomly everywhere at random ages and i just stop worrying about it because who has the time.

42 i wasn’t sure where else to put this picture but it seemed relevant somehow..it’s neil changing the baby on the back of the same ill-fated rental car in which the baby was abandoned-not-for-very-long. sometimes you just have to change a baby. neil is a champion diaper changer, whether or not he is macgyvering the changing station. (see exhibits)

43 he’s been really good on planes (see exhibit N)

44  i mean, not alone, because i was with the baby, but not with neil. alone-with-a-baby is totally a thing. i’ve actually gotten really into being alone with the baby, because he just IS and doesn’t need to make small talk about anything and i like hanging out alone with him in cafes and bars and stuff because it’s basically like being alone only you have to change diapers and occasionally feed the baby. i actually caught myself in conversation the other day saying “i’ll be there in three days” when i actually was talking about the baby and me. so i corrected myself. we’ll be there. we’ll be there, me and him. me. and him. us.

45 he makes a really good godfather. ash is his sixth godchild and he’s thinking about holding an annual Summit of the Godchildren. jason has been my real true friend for so long, and i treasure time with him. i’d found out about TED being early this year, and in vancouver again, so i hit jason up to see if he’d be in seattle, where he lives, so i could come introduce him to the baby. jason is liminal: (ˈlimənl/ adjective, technical 1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process 2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.) we met in australia in the street when we were both busking, back in 2000, and we stayed friends. then in around 2007 he introduced me to michael, my boyfriend before neil, and then he introduced me to neil in 2008, and then he officiated mine and neil’s wedding, and when i was just about to have the baby, he visited the place where i was giving birth in tennessee. he stayed for a few days and left for a plane about three hours after i went into labor, so he never got to see the baby. he’s a human threshold, this guy. the thread that threads me. anyway, when i showed up at his houseboat in seattle, we thought we might make some music together, but didn’t decide what, and then one night the power went out and i slept on the floor with the baby and he slept in the loft and we stayed up all night making each other giggle and challenging each other to write 11 songs the next day. well, 11 songs total, 4 each and three together. i wrote this one, on the upright piano in the houseboat (see exhibit O) . jason wrote one about the local donut shop (it’s actually good, believe me) and we tried to finish my children’s song, “the butt song” together. i just checked what day that was: it was the 11th. of february. i liked my song enough to ask him if we could record it the next day, and so we stayed up til like 3 am, and we did it. (see exhibit P for some photos of how charming our workspace was).

46 this is a REALLY interesting lie! so…he IS playing the accordion, but not at the exact time i did the vocal. i did the piano and vocal in one take. i worked on the lyrics all day and kept telling jason i was almost ready to record it. but then we wanted to go see the donut shop that he had written the song about and then jason wanted to make soup for dinner and we needed to watch some youtube clips of bernie sanders on saturday night live and by the time we actually started recording it was eleven o’clock, so i practiced the song like once and it was so long we just started recording and it was also funny because it was just us in the houseboat with the baby so when the baby was making noise which was like almost all the time, we couldn’t really record, and then finally at like 2 am the baby fell asleep and i got a good, single take. but jason couldn’t POSSIBLY be playing the accordion at the same time because it was just me playing and the baby on the blanket (THE RIGHT BLANKET) and jason engineering the song (exhibit Q) and he was also sometimes holding the baby (exhibit R). so he couldn’t actually play the accordion live on the take, he played it like two days later and also used that day as a photo opp for this footnote shitshow (exhibit S). and while we’re doing jason-multi-instrumentalist show and tell… he added the glockenspiel that you hear (exhibit T). and he also played, as you know from way back in the story, the river-drum…all spiffied up (exhibit U!) but back to the point: he IS playing the accordion, but at the same time he’s also not. schroedinger’s accordion. and to make things even weirder, i’m technically playing the piano but actually I AM NOT PLAYING THE PIANO AT ALL. by the time you listen to the recording, i’ve played the piano ages ago, and jason has technically played the accordion more recently than i played the piano. it’s all so confusing and timey-wimey.

47 this is a half-truth. i didn’t lose it…well, i lost it once…but that was a while ago. like over a year and a half ago. i still, to this day, do not know how i lost it. it was in my apartment and then it was gone. so i had to go to the boston passport office at the time (i’ll never forget it, because anthony was sick and in the cancer halfway house at the time, not far from the passport office, and i went from being with him in the cancer-room to getting my passport to going out to lunch with a friend who i think was suicidal and then back to cancer land. and one thing i remember was seeing all the babies in the passport office getting their passports. it was, otherwise, a dark day.) my original passport eventually surfaced but by then it was too late, i’d been issued a temporary passport, and this was the one that i had to get replaced with a permanent one before i went to TED in vancouver, canada. you need a passport. and i’d started applying in summer, with superkate helping me with all the bureaucratic forms and applications and one thing led to another led to another and pictures were delayed and forms were wrong and here i was, a week before leaving for canada, with no fucking passport. so it wasn’t as bad as i make it sound. i lied. it worked for the song. are we getting the gist here? sometimes you lie more, and sometimes you lie less, and sometimes you lie to make yourself sound better, and sometimes you lie to make yourself sound worse.

48  this part is true. i got the next possible appointment at the seattle passport office, which was like an hour drive from jason’s houseboat.

49 this part is also true. i was going 17 miles over the limit, which had just changed from 70 to 60. (see exhibit V).

50 all of this is completely accurate. i freak out, like most people probably, when cops pull me over. and i was already freaked out from motherhood and passport.

51  there’s a kind of a nice silver lining here, i suppose, which is that because i got pulled over and had been panicking about feeding the baby, i got to feed the baby in the breakdown lane, which was what i had been deliriously thinking about doing about 5 minutes before because i couldn’t find a place to pull off and now maybe i wonder if i was self-consciously sabotaging myself so i could legally feed the baby in the breakdown lane and not have to pull off the highway to feed him and therefore have a higher probability of making my passport appointment on time. which reminds me, i lied again. i got the speeding ticket on the way to pick UP the passport after i’d already been in once to apply for it. the whole thing was a pain in the ass. but i thought i’d make this clear. this was trip number two. wait. if i’m being totally honest it was trip-into-seattle-from-jason’s number THREE  because the day before i had to drive in to get a medical exam for another visa (it’s a long story). but i mention that because it was the drive-in-to-get-the-medical-exam-day that i saw the lady in the bar. spoiler alert if you’re reading these footnotes in realtime while listening to the song. wait, is that possible??

52 let me just pause here and say that i know how hyperbolic this song is, and i know what kind of mother i am. i am a normal mother. because everybody is totally weird, as far as i’m concerned. seriously. show me a normal person. i’ll give you $5.

53 this is absolutely true except see the last footnote. i wasn’t waiting for my passport (well, i was waiting in the grand sense, to get it the next day), i was on my way home back to jason’s after getting a medical exam for a visa. i asked seattle for a good coffee spot (https://twitter.com/amandapalmer/status/697111924400476161 and exhibit W) and a bunch of people twittered back and one girl mentioned the five point cafe (exhibit X), which i happened to be walking right by on the way to my parked rental car.  so i went in.

54 it wasn’t noon, but it was close. it was around one o’clock. but still. and she was drinking. i’m not sure what, something reddish/pinkish with ice. but you know how you can tell the difference between when people are drinking and they’re drinking? she was drinking.

55 all completely true, and she added that her daughter was eighteen and her son was fourteen. and it was the pause that killed me. and if you were wondering, the coffee was great, the staff was great, i wanted to return many times (see what it looks like by consulting exhibit Y) i had an avocado benedict and am planning on sending @msmellymel some kind of magical gift for helping me technically write a verse of this song. thanks, girl.

56 i didn’t literally say that, but i said something close. there was something about the way she was looking at us. i have to say, one of my favorite things about having a baby is giving him away to other people. he’s like a little warm human rorschach test. insert him into human arms and watch what happens. amazing things happen. scary things happen. the dark gets pulled out of the light and the light shoots into the closet. it gets WEIRD when you hand people a baby. especially when most people don’t go around handing their babies to strangers. i will stand by this: babies like being held, by everybody. actually, no. THIS baby seems to like to be held by everybody. unless you’re freaking out and anxious, then he cries.

57 true story. and i’d seen it coming. and while she cried, she looked at me and told me she was going through a really hard time. and we talked for a second. and then i left.

58 sorry not sorry.

59 this is mostly a fabrication of space-time. there have been plenty of times i’ve sat with the baby in the back of the car (most memorably, the time i realized we’d left him there and i just sat back there rocking him and me in a terrified bonding session) but this time wasn’t one of them. this time i got in the car and drove away. but i did put the radio on. but it wasn’t the news. we listened to indie music on KEXP.

60 true-ish. even though i wasn’t listening to NPR, which is my car music of choice, i’ve been reading the news a lot since coming back from childbirth. i think it’s been a stupid idea. now i’m just sad a lot of the time.

61 this was jason’s lyric. i couldn’t find a two-syllable word for “calm” with the right emphasis. he found it. i love jason.

62 i really wanted to use “apparent” instead of “gigantic”. but i figure throwing a pun that stupid in at the end of the song was just not a good idea.

63 this feels like maybe the most important lie in the song. it’s not true, that i’ve ever thought this. it sounds good in the song, and there’s maybe some part of me that wonders, but not really. not at all, even. i had this child and that’s that. i’ve kind of closed the door on regret. i actually closed it the second i was pregnant this time. i was done deciding. i thought about whether it was a good idea to keep this line in, and fuck it. i did.

64 “everybody” is the assemblage of people (about 30 of them) who crowded into jason’s houseboat the night after we recorded the song and agreed to be our chorus. they named themselves “the shakarooners” because the event we had all just been to, the everett animal shelter benefit, was called shakaroo.  i don’t know why it was called shakaroo. but…get it? sha….karooners? o well. the alternate group name was “the floating drum collective”. huge thanks to all of those people. you were awesome.

65  i did!

66  i’ve gotten three speeding tickets in under two years! they might! but they haven’t yet!

67  i haven’t!

68  i haven’t been!

69 he hasn’t! (exhibit Z)

 

 


EXHIBITS:

exhibit A: this is the publix in sarasota. not the vons in hermosa beach, not a safeway anywhere.

exhibit B: three pack of chap-stick, $2.82

PastedGraphic-46.png

exhibit C: the drum that floated by

exhibit D: jason rescuing the floating drum.

exhibit E: ash and helen time

exhibit F: what the hell, more ash and helen time

exhibit G: the incriminating email (one of them)

Exhibit G

exhibit H: the right blanket, with sidney and helen.

exhibit I: the wrong blanket:

exhibit J: the goodwill jacket from my TED surprise… (and al gore).

al gore.png

(photo from TED.com)

exhibit K: the sunglasses from goodwill.

exhibit L: checks to the publix (not vons or safeway) and to goodwill

Exhibit L

exhibit M: neil is an excellent father/diaper macgyver

Exhibit M

exhibit N: the baby flies with ease.

exhibit O: jason’s houseboat piano with my song on it

exhibit P: my lyric station, across from the piano.

exhibit Q:

IMG_3216.JPG

exhibit R:

exhibit S: jason playing the accordion

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exhibit T: the glockenspiel overdub

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exhibit U: the dog is named wilson. note hermann hesse books on shelf.

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(all photos of jason playing things by nicole moon)

exhibit V: speeding ticket.

exhibit W: the coffee tweet

exhibit X: the coffee answer

exhibit Y: the five point

Seattle_-_Five_Point_Cafe_01 (1) 2.jpg

(photo credit: wiki commons)

exhibit Z: see? totally alive, right blanket and all.

all photos by amanda palmer unless otherwise noted.

thanks again to the patrons for supporting me in my making of The Things. please do leave blog comments, we’re readin’. and if you liked this experience, please share the page. this shit will never be in stores…it’s not even on iTunes. it’s just me against the music, i mean, me and you and the internet, people. long live the punk cabaret, and i’m off to change a diaper.

i love you all a lot.

XXX

amfp

514 Responses to “A Mother’s Confession: A SONG WITH FOOTNOTES”

  1. Gavin Apmorrygan

    Just saying thank your for being so open and honest so happy to come across your patron and patron group. Seriously has saved a life.

    Reply
  2. Bekah

    Not a mom, but I have six younger brothers and sisters and I’ve had a few scary, not-so-good big sister moments. The worst was when I stepped on my youngest brother, Jonathan, when he was trying to take a nap on the living room floor (but in my defense, the room was pretty dark). He was still little then. Four to five months old. I didn’t see him until I took a step and put my full 120 pounds onto his tiny chest. He woke up screaming. I was horrified. I remember wanting to cry.
    Luckily, he was okay. Now he’s five years old and that whole stepping-on-Jonathan business has become one of those stories we always tell at family get-togethers. I wonder how old he’ll be when he gets to hear the story.

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    Amanda, you are putting my heart into words, as usual. My Finn is 6 months old. I saw you perform twice while we were both pregnant, and I went back onstage myself a month after I became a mom. Your ongoing thoughts on Motherhood have been a lifeline.

    My baby has fallen on the floor twice while I was preoccupied with peeing and/or dozing off, and once while he just launched off my lap. Each time I’ve been distraught. Each time the baby has been back to giggling within a minute. I took him to the doctor because I’d nipped his fingernail too short and he wouldn’t stop crying or bleeding. He and the doctor both laughed as he got his band aid.

    I think I might be the worst, but at least the baby didn’t die. He’s crawling now. Fear for us all.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      OH AND I forgot the best one: last night I fell UP the stairs with the baby in my arms. The baby did not hit the floor, and in fact did not even wake up, but I had to call my husband to help me pry myself off the ground without waking him or dropping him. I have an enormous lumpy bruise on my shin. The baby snored contentedly while I picked up my dignity.

      Reply
  4. Trootling

    I heard you perform this at Shakaroo and loved every minute of it! The whole car ride home was full of the other moms and I sharing horror stories. Two of mine… once I left a baby sleeping in the car when I went into a glasses store to find/purchase new frames. Didn’t realize until paying she was still out there! Also had my eldest child (3 years old at the time) shut (and therefore lock) the door behind me in dead of winter when I went out to garage. Could see her through the glass gorging herself on forbidden fruit — Altoids. And feeding them one at a time to her 1.5 year old sister. CHOKING HAZARD ANYONE? Had to call my husband from a neighbor’s house out of the courtroom to come and unlock the door. Shining motherhood moment.

    Reply
  5. KZS

    I can relate to this so much. I cried through the the entire song, remembering the struggle I also endured that first year with a newborn. I was responsible for another human being’s life. ME! I am currently sitting on my car in the parking lot at my daughter’s middle school waiting for her to get out of play practice. I am sobbing.

    My kids are now 12 and almost 16, and although the worries are different, they are still ever present. Though at least the babies didn’t die.

    Reply
  6. outfoxing

    Parental brain melting is one hundred percent a thing, a pretty universal thing at that. Hell, I’m currently babysitting my slightly-younger-than-Ash cousin while her parents work, and I’m mostly a zombie by the time I get home. I have no vague idea what I’m going to do if/when I have a kid of my own and the baby goes home with me. Changing diapers, soothing upset tummies, guiding little muscles to grow stronger every day, that’s the easier part for me. I’ve babysat most of my younger cousins for their first few years of life, I know the script by now. Being patient and hitting the brakes for a second when I’m stretched too thin is where I have trouble. Self-care is for sure important, and where I usually fall short tbh. There’s a balance between selfless caregiving and selfish indulgence that leaves you just enough room to get shit done well without completely losing your mind. So I’ve been told, at least the baby didn’t die. Sure, you’re exhausted and your brain feels like a thick sludge and it might be leaking out of both your ears, but he’s okay and apparently feet are a wonderful snack.

    Reply
  7. Sue Mey

    Hello. Trust me you are not alone. The village of self doubting parents is huge and we are doing the best.

    I follow RIE, Montessori, attachment parenting and pikler for freedom of movement of the newborn ( you don’t need them to seclude them into strollers, bouncers, etc. if you have a mirror and a floor mattress or a safe place for him to move he will do it and even do it earlier than most)

    So I was and am a big movement advocate. My son started walking at 11 months old and when he was about that age he crawl into the sofa and was starting to learn how to get down the highest part but in just a second he was on the top and fell forehead first into our very hard ceramic floor and I flew to him (I was next to him when it happened and everything moved so slowly) and picked him up from the floor and he would not stop crying for about an hour and he even cried in his sleep.

    He is 17 months now and I still let him fall on his own and climb things but that image of him falling will never leave me.

    Also I could not breastfeed and that made me feel so guilty. I am over it but it was a dark time.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      dude. as long as they don’t die. and i’ll google all those things. i’m like the most non-internet parent ever. i haven’t looked into any “forms” of parenting yet, except the amazing “continuum concept” book i’ve been devouring. i feel like my instincts are pretty solid and time spent obsessing about everything else is time spent not with him. and i learn from the herd/hive here in the place where i trust people. it’s part of the reason i was so happy to put this song out there to you guys.x

      Reply
      • Suemey

        I am a firm believer that instincts are the first part of the pyramid, then people I trust with their advice and then experts like Maria Montessori, Emilio Reggio, PIkler, Gerber (RIE), and Waldorf.

        Those dudes were so ahead of time. Maria said follow the child don’t follow me. If you trust your child and their absorbent mind they will show you their gift and their potential will unfold.

        I am a huge nerd when I like something and I like learning about those alternatives way of parenting (no violence, trust the child (baby led weaning), let them take risks, free play, freedom of movement, etc)

        There is a rabbit hole within the internet if you look for all those things. But if you go to the source instead of forums, it will be worth it.

        Your child is small and if you make him a pikler triangle and place a mirror and a stand up bar (like for ballet) a low shelve with some sensory items ( no batteries, and hopefully with natural materials (wood, metal, cotton) they will have a blast.

        The only three blogs I will totally recommend are howwemontessori, the kavanaugh report and Midwestern Montessori. And for RIE THE JANE SALSBURY PAGE.

        I bet your midwifes and doulas and some friends know about one or all of these things.

        Enjoy the baby and research when he is sleep of with your husband or friends. Seriously totally worth it.

        Reply
        • Lis_P

          I’ve been to pikler playrooms with both my kids and although the costs are high they’ve been a great thing for the kids as well as for me. You learn so much about how to let your baby discover movement without intervention just by watching how the pikler people do it, and the kids profit a lot in the long run. They are much more centered in their bodies than kids you are “leading up to everything”.

          They are in waldorf daycare/preschool, and I just scored my older son a place in a montessori school for the fall.

          Not so much a Gerber fan myself though.

          but yeah, in my opinion, if you follow pikler, waldorf and montessori, in my book you are good. Also: I’m going to share my own scary fall stories once I’m done reading. Because everybody has them.

          Reply
  8. em mccarty

    my third child–the daughter i waited my whole life for–she spent 12 days in NICU because i had an accidentally unattended homebirth and she didn’t get enough oxygen at first. she survived that and then when she was 4 months old, i dropped her (the only one i have ever dropped!) while trying to put her into the pocket sling i have used forever. i was on my way to my first appointment with my therapist. also, my darling daughter is the only one i have forgotten in the car. three times when she was a baby. for a few minutes each time–but still! so scary!! i remember when my first baby was born, i would cry–wondering when exactly i was going to fuck him up. somehow i have four healthy, happy children now. life is weird.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      life is normal. we are weird. or maybe: we are normal people having normal reactions to normal situations (which we think are weird). xx

      Reply
      • em mccarty

        this meme tells me otherwise…but memes often tell me what i want to hear–especially if i carefully sculpt my facebook page.
        i am strange. the world is strange. life is unpredictable at best. and we are all one glorious mess.

        Reply
        • alphatroll

          Life is one of those awesome kinetic contradictions that make the universe so cool. Like a steady, standing ripple in a stream, made of an entirely different collection of water molecules at any given time, yet it remains, just because entropy makes is flow downhill and there happens to be a rock in the way. Order created and fueled by chaos.

          Reply
  9. KZS

    Oh yes, my confession. When my daughter was about 3 years old, we had to call poison control… TWICE. First time was at my mother-in-law’s house, where she found a bottle of Wite-Out and drank it (thankfully, non-toxic). Second time, when I was hungover in bed after a night of drinking with my friends, and she grabbed facial toner out of the bathroom and drank that!

    The good news is, the baby didn’t die. She’s now an extremely unique and clever and talented 12-year-old. You’ve actually met her twice — once at your NYC book signing (she gave you Marlene Dietrich paper dolls) and again at the Rough Trade record store day event with Brian (with whom she has taken a few drum lessons).

    All will be okay ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      thank you for the hangover confession!! i haven’t dealt with one yet, since i’m keeping the alcohol intake to a minimum b/c breastfeeding. but…i’m sure that day may come. thanks for being honest. xx

      Reply
      • KZS

        You’re very welcome. And THANK YOU for this song. It brought back so many memories of my first year of motherhood, and I’m sure it will help other new moms realize they are not alone.

        Reply
    • Marina Radcliff

      Wow, the timing, I had my first call to Poison Control 30 minutes ago. I’m still shaking. My son is 2, and has this fascination with lip balm – he puts it on his lips, his cheeks, his forehead (also the walls, sometimes, other people, his stuffed animals). I have extremely dry hands because I wash mine a lot, and it’s winter, so I use arnica salve on them, and left it sitting on my desk. It’s a small pot and he smeared it all over his lips – and some inside, because he’s a baby and the line between inside and out is too finely drawn for their distinction.

      I kept calm, called poison control, Rowan talking in the background the whole time as I told him I was calling a lady who would help me know something, etc. She said to wipe it off (already done) and just let him drink a lot of anything he would drink (though I think I’ll keep him away from the wite-out and facial toner for this ;) ) to dilute it. As I was thanking the PC lady, Rowan piped up with “tank you, ladeee”, and then promptly opened a door into his lip so I could wonder all day whether the swelling was from the arnica salve or the hit he took from the door. And I’m STILL shaking from the adrenaline dump.

      Thank you for this, the timing of it, and for your honesty and really obvious joy in your daughter (mine is 4, and the light of my life, but 4 is my least favorite age, holy cow)

      Reply
      • KZS

        I also had friends whose 3-year-old was caught gnawing on a dishwasher detergent tablet. When they called Poison Control, their first question was what brand. Evidently, they must have had the “safe” brand, because they were instructed as you were to have him drink.

        My son (who is almost 16) never got into the antics that my daughter did. So when she came along, I was unprepared for the things she would do. My son never once attempted to climb out of his crib. In fact, he continued to sleep in it until it was time for his sister to take over. She, however, figured out how to climb out at around 18 months old, the same age when she also figured out how to unlatch the 5-point harness on her car seat! She and I were in a minivan and I was stopped at a red light — all of a sudden, she comes walking up to me! The little stinker.

        Glad to hear your son is okay, and kudos to you for remaining calm (something I have a hard time doing). Tank you, ladeee. ;)

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          I so feel you on the difference in the way 2 related children’s can be. My daughter Arabelle does/did certain things, and we go used to them and now Rowan is busting out All New All The Time things that could possibly kill him. It’s fraught. Good thing our children love us and are cute, otherwise I’m pretty sure we’d eat them. Thank you! :)

          Reply
      • Aerieowl

        When my daughter was about 1 and a half she climbed over the baby gate and fell head first on the concrete floor. She had a concussion. I was sitting on the couch paying bills and watched it all happen. I put her in her room for her nap and my daughter always fought sleep so I had to let her cry herself to sleep. It was her nap time. We went to the er and I sat with her covered in vomit rocking her. She was OK. It was so scary though. I was trying so hard not to cry and be strong especially when they were trying to strap her down to do an mri. They never got one.

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          Omg, so much love to you for having to go through that. My daughter had to have stitches in her chin. Holding her down while she fought me/us was a special kind of horrid.

          Reply
  10. Amy Heague

    I’m both laughing and crying. I can totally relate. dropping the baby, leaving it at home, locking a child in my grandmas house as we all left for lunch, forgetting to pick up a kid from school, closing all the doors between the screaming baby and the furthest corner in our garden, where I sat and cried until my husband came home from work…..they are all still alive, there are days where I wondered if I’d survive…… you are doing a champion job. xxxx

    Reply
  11. Ami Tain

    My Oldest boy is named Ash. He’s almost 3 now, but when he was 5 or 6 months old, he was starting to get really mobile. We had a little bouncy chair that I used to put him in and set him just outside the bathroom so I could take a shower. He was buckled in and I thought everything was fine. When I came out he was face down with the chair on top of him. He hadn’t started crying yet so I (still) hope that it hadn’t been long. He’d flipped himself completely over and took the chair with him. When I saw him like that and not crying I was terrified that he’d done that and suffocated himself somehow. I was naked and dripping and hugging him to me… still attached to the chair. At least the baby didn’t die.

    And I have totally accidentally shoplifted. Once and entire bunch of bananas. I was in a hurry and ran in, grabbed them, and ran back out. I didn’t realize it until I was already back home.

    Reply
  12. RiverVox

    Are there any babies out there who have not fallen at some point? My oldest went headfirst off the bed and was stuck between the bookcase and the box spring. My other daughter flipped off the changing table, but thankfully landed on a soft rug. Nobody died but I remember that terror. And being so worried about their safety that I couldn’t sleep or think and there they are happily eating cat food and playing with a wall socket. Ash can’t crawl yet, can he? It’s a whole new world of excitement.

    Reply
    • billh

      Speaking as a fallen baby I can say that sometimes everything works out just fine, other than a strange shaped head when I eventually finish the balding process….

      Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      he’s just starting to grab shit and i can see the portal of hell that awaits me. i’m trying to combat it by carrying him around and LETTING him touch everything. here’s a knife handle! here’s a glass! here’s a frying pan handle! but if i’m holding him, he’s not in as much trouble. i know what’s coming. i know it’ll be a thing. i know. i know.

      Reply
      • Shaiyela Hornung

        We didn’t baby proof much with any of our kids. Medicines went higher and hot stuff is watched, obviously…but kids are fully capable of being taught what they can and cannot touch. I love a kid that wants to touch stuff, as long as they listen too. I hope Ash is like that!

        Reply
      • Sue mey

        its awesome that you allow him to touch all of it.

        In Montessori it is encouraged to have them use glass and cutlery when they start to wean at their weaning table. They don’t need a high chair unless is an adaptive one like the Tripp trapp from stokke that encourages independence

        Reply
      • Heather Minter

        I’m with you on not baby-proofing all the corners and shit. I mean, get a grip. But when I had a three year old and the twins walked at nine months I was losing my child-loving mind. And it’s a miracle they made it through. But Elliot has been standing by the stove and learning about fire since he could stand. An now he is six and can build and feed and put out a fire and cook himself eggs. So, you’re on the right track with teaching! Ours all handle sharp knives all the time.

        Reply
      • .ara Joan Nokomis

        have you checked out “the Continuum Concept”? basically it takes a village to raise a child….i trust you have one, cos when they start moving, they can move incredibly fast, & time warps….i tell ya….you need more eyes supporting you & him….

        Reply
      • Dawn

        I had an early crawler and adept climber. I was out front cutting the lawn one time to see him, inside the front window, holding a 10in chef knife he had to have climbed up on the kitchen counter to get, and then holding it in the living room when I saw him. Looking back, quickly abandoning the lawn mower and dashing in may have caused a sudden movement on his part that may have not ended well, but thankfully it didn’t. Yes, these things happen. He’s 15 and alive.

        Reply
    • Michelle

      I apparently launched myself out of my high chair and bonked myself so hard my forehead bled profusely, but don’t even have a scar to show for it today. I was also the teeniest, tiniest baby, so my poor mom probably thought she had killed me. As far as I know, I am not any worse off for having fallen on my head.

      Reply
      • alphatroll

        I suspect that there may not be a single person alive who didn’t fall on their head as an infant. Who knows, it may be neccessary for survival! I mean, isn’t it at least conceivable that a never-injured skull would eventually collapse without that stimulus to harden properly? Makes sense to me! ;)

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          Wolffs law (iirc) states that impact strengthens bones. So obviously you are right about this because science.

          Reply
    • Rachel

      My sister literally LEAPT out of her crib and went straight to the floor before anyone could react. She’s fine… Most days ;P

      Reply
    • Leonie Dawson

      My moment was the one where my 4 year old daughter catapulted her 6 week old baby sister from her rocker… face first into a metal fence and then concrete. She was okay by some miraculous luck. Two years on, I can still hear and see it all.

      Reply
  13. Megan Dunbar

    My baby fell face first of the couch and gave himself a blood nose when he was about 4 months old. My partner and I were actually holding him in place at the time, but he just kind of toppled forward. He did the same thing when he was 3 when sitting on a kitchen chair. Turns out, he is very clumsy and prone to smacking his head/face on things. He is 9 now. There will be more blood, I’m sure.

    Reply
  14. Val Blaha

    Oh my gosh… love, love, love this song! My son is 8 now, and I had all sorts of similar crazy mom moments. (Crazy Mom-ments?) The worst was when I tossed my son to the ground. Explanation: I was walking out our front door with him in my arms. It involves stepping down a rather tall step onto a wood deck. Stepping onto the deck, my ankle rolled, and somehow D (I think he was about 5-6 months old at the time) basically flew out of my arms and landed several feet away. Luckily he missed both the rest of the deck, and the large step stone just beyond, and landed in the bark/softer ground. My husband was standing about 5 feet away, but the whole thing happened so fast that he couldn’t react. Our son was just fine, but I was left in ruins the rest of the day. Sort of like the time he fell off a curb when I was like 6 inches away and couldn’t quite react. To this day (and the most recent time was 2 nights ago at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, OR), whenever he is near the edge of something tall, I get this weird chill than runs through my body as I worry about him falling. Pretty sure that will keep happening the rest of our lives. Oh yeah, there was also the time when he was about 14 months old when he managed to push himself over in his high chair. Whole thing went over backwards, baby and all. There was a particularly terrifying moment when his eyes seemed to roll back in his head, and I was sure he must have broken his neck. Then he started screaming, we grabbed him (of course we were feet away, but couldn’t act quickly enough), and he was perfectly fine, just startled and scared. As we all were. Sigh. At least the baby didn’t die. And thank you for yet another wonderful Thing. xoV

    Reply
  15. Johanna de Verdier

    I usually cry when I see other people cry but it now seems that I’m also crying from reading/listening to songs about other people crying.

    Reply
  16. Emily J

    Oh man. I was making my lunch while I listened to this and just alternately laughing and crying and laughing and crying and I’m not even a mom. (yet?????) I’m going to send this to my mom because I think she will like it.

    Reply
  17. Kimberly Parker

    I had a “caught in mid-air, inches from the floor” incident, an “drove directly to work with baby, forgetting to stop at daycare to drop him off” moment (which could have easily turned into a “left him in the car all day while at work” moment if not for glancing in the rear view before I got out) and SO many others.
    Keeping them alive and making them feel loved: Those are our main jobs. If you can say you did those at the end of a day (week? Month?) you can call yourself a successful parent.

    Reply
  18. KZS

    Oh yeah – also, when my son was a newborn and got sick… I called the pediatrician’s office and they recommended I give him some infant Tylenol. I realized a while after I gave it to him, that my sleep-deprived new mommy brain accidentally gave him THREE TIMES the amount I was supposed to. Talk about panic…

    But he’s almost 16 years old now. And that baby didn’t die.

    Reply
  19. Sarah Forster

    Amazing. I cried and laughed, probably at the right times. Everything makes sense, and I had so many bad moments. One of my worst was when I honked a driver because I thought he ran a roundabout wrongly, then he followed me all the way to my breastfeeding clinic to haul me out on it and I told him I was confused because my 2-month-old was crying in the back – he wasn’t because he had fallen asleep, but it freaked him out enough to leave me the f**k alone so I could wake my sleeping baby and take him in to the clinic and learn why i was failing at breast-feeding. Who follows somebody who honks them. He said it stressed him out. I was just happy he wasn’t a gang member, because that was the part of town I was in. Anyway. He survived babyhood, sometimes to my surprise, and is now a big 5-year-old at school.

    Reply
  20. Melissa Smith Kennedy

    I was laughing and crying at the same time. This is motherhood, right here, in all its messy, ridiculous glory.

    Reply
  21. Gareth Skarka

    (Saw your Patreon request about posting parental anecdotes here, so I’m re-posting this from Patreon):

    Just wiping away some tears — when my youngest child (my son) was an infant, I got up too fast while holding him. I hadn’t had enough sleep, and I was in bad shape, and I blacked out (blood pressure thing), and fell. WHILE HOLDING HIM. He was brand new, and I was convinced that I’d killed him.

    Of course, I hadn’t. He was fine, and he’s now 21. But listening to this song brought that god-awful moment of dread rushing back to me, all sense-memory-stylee.

    So yeah, every parent has those WHAT THE FUCK — WHY DID ANYBODY LET ME HAVE A BABY? moments.

    Reply
  22. Emsy

    My daughter once offered me a bite of her apple… I made a big show of taking a HUGE, BOISTEROUS, CHOMP… unfortunately her finger was in the way!! The look of horror on her face as my teeth sunk into her tiny 2 year old finger (“How could you HURT me Mummy?!) the shocked silence and then the HOWL of pain.
    Oh God – we BOTH cried! :/
    And then there’s the 100+ times she fell off the bed/couch/chair when we should have been watching. The 1,000+ times I bumped her head on the car door when lifting her into her carseat. The times I dropped my phone or a book on her head whilst breastfeeding her, not to mention the pasta sauce/jam/crumbs. The time I filmed her going down the slide and kept the camera steady as she faceplanted into the tanbark at the bottom (where ARE my lioness reflexes?!)
    OH and the time I fell down the front steps with her in my arms… heading out to our first MATERNAL CHILD HEALTH appointment!!
    The time she fell asleep on a long drive and I was so focused on ‘getting there’ that I let her sleep and didn’t stop to change her nappy… and she ended up with a rash. The time she just. wouldn’t. sleep. and I was running on 2 hours myself and I shouted at her until she cried. And then I cried. The time I broke my own rule and took the stroller on an escalator – the first and only time – only to have the wheel catch at the bottom sending her flying off the end and me on top of her. Luckily she was fine…
    The list of terrible mother moments could continue forever and ever!
    But I have a list of awesome mother moments at LEAST twice as long, so I figure I’m still ahead! ;)

    Reply
  23. Lisa Bonnice

    Here’s my “almost killed the baby” story. My daughter was a few months old when I was lifting her and tossing her up onto my shoulder. I tossed too hard and she flew right over. She was sailing over my shoulder, on her way to floor behind me, when I just happened to catch her foot at the last possible moment. I pulled her back up by the foot, with her wailing the whole time, and said pretty much the same thing you said, Amanda. At least the baby didn’t die.

    Reply
  24. Susan Williams

    relating to this 100%, I accidentally stole a nail varnish remover from a store as my baby was starting to get fractious and I’ve been so paranoid about her falling over in my bed. She’s rolling around a lot now at almost 7 months so I imagine Ash wont be too far behind her with that. I’ve found that they’re a lot more resilient than they look. Also, blankets magically switch all the time.

    Reply
    • Janelle

      Baby Me accidentally stole a candy bar. My dad was in a drug store and they’re right at perfect baby-in-stroller height, so I just took one. He didn’t realize until my mom asked why he’d bought me candy, then he went and paid for it.

      Reply
  25. Diane Paranque

    I don’t know what to say. I’m french, so it’s hard to speak in english and find the good words. Beautiful Song. When I had my little girl, who is almost 8 years old now (and still alive !), the first weeks, the first months, I remember I was often thinking : “Au moins, elle a survécu jusque là” (at least, she survived until today). However I don’t remember many incidents (except when we forgot to attach her in the car, she was 2 years old, I remember I put her in her car seat, but I had to get back in our flat, I forgot something. When I came back, I thought his father harness the seatbelt, but he thought I had… We noticed our mistake when we arrived and stopped the car. Luckily, we didn’t crash…) , but culpability and stress are in our DNA…

    And when I had my little boy, who is 2 years old now, I was much more relax. But… I have a friend, who had twins (boy and girl) when I had my boy. And his little boy died when he was one month old. :’( So I was touched, and I’m sure my love for this little one is bigger (if it’s possible) because of this story. And I did it again, I was thinking every day : “At least, he’s alive !”… Thank you for this song…

    Reply
  26. revsparker

    Two quick stories: First, guilt-in-advance: when I brought my son home from the hospital, I sat in the rocker with him, crying inconsolably because I knew I would be the first person to hurt him. It was this deep, existential dread and I knew there was no avoiding it. Also, hormones. Then, when he was about six months old, I was carrying him and he caught sight of the phone cord (remember those? the curly ones were baby crack…) he dove for it and I caught him by the arm, dislocating his elbow. I was sure that the doctors would turn me in and they’d take my baby away. Instead, they said, “See it all the time. Nursemaid’s elbow. You probably saved him a head injury…” Then there was the time he drove his big wheel down the stairs. Oh, and I didn’t find out until he was 16 that at age 4 he road his bike down to the railroad tracks to watch trains. Mind you, the railroad tracks were at least a mile away! And I never even knew about it. I thought I was keeping a close eye on him out the window… shit that was more than two quick stories. And that’s just the beginning.

    Reply
  27. Treadpath

    This reminds me of the first year we had a baby, and every night my husb& and I would congratulate each other on keeping the baby alive for another day. It also reminds me of when I was trying to cut her nails to keep her from scratching herself and it was, like, Day 3 of having a baby and I was exhausted and crazy and accidentally cut the skin of her thumb with the stupid blue baby nailclippers with the dumb cloudy magnifying glass that doesn’t really work on it… and it bled and she cried and I cried and felt horrible because I had this perfect thing and it was only 3 days before I broke it. I don’t know who needs more therapy about that injury, her or me (probably me), but I’m hoping that taking her to your concerts redeems me a bit as a parent. :)

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      both neil and i have chopped his fingers while cutting. NOW I USE A NAIL FILE. i have to do it every day…but no blood. i can’t stand the blood. xxx

      Reply
      • Riley Johnson

        My wife Rachel is very sneaky and cuts our little one’s nails while he’s sleeping (or files them). I am too chickenshit to do either. xoR.

        Reply
      • Redd Hynes

        We used to just bite Ashs fingernails when he was a baby. No blood! Nail file is an awesome idea though!

        Reply
        • alphatroll

          …that’s BRILLIANT! There’s this foundation in Stockholm that gives out annual prizes for great ideas like that, I really think you should look into it.

          Reply
      • Elan Auman

        I used a nail file on my daughter, but for my son, I’m using clippers. I think I’ve gotten more confident, maybe? Which is good because his nails grow SO fast.
        I did cut my daughters lip open strapping her into her car seat when she was a baby though. She squirmed and I had the clasp too high and when I snapped it it got her lip. My husband was so pleased because he didn’t make the baby bleed first O_o

        Reply
      • Marina Radcliff

        after doing the same thing to my daughter (ugh ugh ugh) I just started peeling them. The nails are so flimsy (even though they can scratch the hellz out of their own faces) they just kind of….work off, if you worry at them while you’re snuggling and they’re sleeping. I know some mothers who bite their baby’s nails – which has a squik factor for me, but might be sort of cosmically relevant in the whole using parts of your body to maintain a thing you made with your body? but if you have to stretch that hard for cosmic relevance you’re p….babble stop. Thank you for writing this.

        Reply
    • Kathy Vickers

      I always use an adult (mens) nail clipper on the kids – big enough to get the nails all in one go. Daft things designed “for baby’s delicate fingers” are useless

      Reply
    • Marguerite

      Oh my god, I forgot about a similar moment. I cut our third child’s nails in the hospital and accidentally cut one finger. The nurse filed a REPORT and the hospital and our doctor had to investigate. I had had a c-section and didn’t catch on right away what was going on. Our pediatrician was pissed on my behalf, though. It is surely not my worst parenting oops, but so far it is the only one investigated. LOL

      Reply
    • alphatroll

      Yes, taking your kid to AFP shows automatically makes you an awesome parent. I’m almost positive I learned that unquestionable fact from some extremely reliable source or other.

      Reply
  28. Chad Walker

    I’m not a parent, nor will I be one. But this… this is exactly why I love Amanda and support the Patreon. I’ve never cried and laughed so much while listening to a song. Or even just thinking about the song. Thank you.

    Reply
  29. Deb Easy-Tiger Batterham

    Oh hun, all parents have been there! I remember feeling like a failure constantly during that first 6 months. I couldn’t keep basic simple things in my brain at all – I too accidentally stole things, got lost, almost left my son in strange places several times, and a few times I had to just put him on the floor safely and go outside for a cry over it all. Those first 6 sleep deprived months are a crazy highly anxious fog of everyone just trying to survive. and you’re all alive! so you’re winning! AWESOME WORK. It gets way easier. Or at least, you get more sleep and they get more independent and able to take care of themselves – which to me feels easier!

    Reply
  30. B

    i know it’s hard to be a parent
    but my flaws are so gigantic
    …i wonder if i should have had a child

    Beautiful.

    Just wait until he starts crawling/walking… so many bumps and bruises.

    All parents have these stories. We’re humans raising humans and somehow our species goes on.

    Reply
  31. Danella Carter

    The only reason I have never accidentally left my babies in the car is that I don’t have one (a car, that is). However, my oldest has faceplanted off the sofa more times than I can count (it’s about a foot off the ground, she was fine).
    I’ve been pretty lucky (so far, touch wood) with the accidental parenting related mishaps… just one visit to a & e so far, and that was for a really silly reason (ingrowing eyelash, I worried it would get infected, they were very nice about it)…

    Reply
  32. KathyM

    Yepp, dropped, locked in the house, the drinking from the mini Purell bottle, it’s all happened. And then there was that time I gave my 7-month-old kid a sealed packet of peanut m&m’s to hold for entertainment on the way home from the grocery store. Dude sucked that bag right open and got his first taste of food coloring and chocolatey goodness. I found him with orange all over his face and an m&m on his tongue. Thank all the gods he didn’t choke. Also, he didn’t take any naps that afternoon :-) (Sounds like you’re loving your baby madly and figuring it out as you go, pretty much like all of us. Welcome to motherhood, it’s a crazy and wonderful ride.)

    Reply
  33. Heather Mann Taylor

    My 2 year old son fell off of a wooden chair and busted the back of his head open. Blood everywhere, soaked through my shirt and bra. I was standing next to him but couldn’t catch him just right. Also, when he was a few weeks old, I forgot to put the nipple on the bottle and poured the milk on his face and he got choked. And I’ve forgotten to buckle my kids in the car seat. Twice. But…at least they didn’t die.(I had anxiety attacks for about two weeks after he fell. I couldn’t get the image out of my head. And that I couldn’t catch him.)

    Reply
  34. Heather

    So, I never left him in the car alone, but when my son was about 5 months old, I forgot to buckle him into the car seat. I had taken the car seat inside, because sleeping baby, and he was chilling in it at the end of our visit, and therefore unbuckled. It didn’t take long before I noticed, but it was at least a few miles when I happened to look back and saw him half hanging off the side.

    Also- every year on his birthday I buy myself fancy champagne to celebrate the fact that we haven’t had any hospital visits (yet, knick on wood).

    Reply
    • Janelle

      I shared a similar story about my brother over on the Patreon–he was older, about two, and my mom forgot to buckle the carseat in. I’m not sure if she realized it before or after the seat fell over with him in it.

      Reply
    • Robin Stewart

      This sort of happened with my first kid. He was buckled into the car seat but the car seat wasn’t buckled in the car. The first stop we made I heard a weird noise but kept going. Then we turned and the seat went rolling in the back seat! Luckily the kid was six months or so and thought it was hilarious and was laughing his brains out. Scary for me though haha.

      Reply
  35. ALittleBitOfSomething

    My son, now 11, was nine months old. It was his dad’s birthday and we were at an apartment with stone floors. I was terrified, but my son wanted to play with the two dogs so I put him on the floor. It was fine until he climbed onto the dog bed and there was a puppy pile and my baby got pushed out onto his forhead — he looked up at me and, in slow motion, this HUGE swelling. I’m almost positive I cried more than my son did!
    Thanks for sharing; whenever my friends call me, “Ms TMI”, I point them (lovingly, of course) in your direction.
    I am really enjoying AoA which I would not have if you hadn’t reposted my request on Twitter. I got a book and a really cool online almost-friend. :)

    Reply
  36. Stephanie Brockway

    Hi Amanda! My second son fell down the basement stairs in his walker when he was about 7 and a half months old. By far, the most terror I have ever experienced! And the reason it happened? I was pissed off at my husband and was storming around the kitchen, frantically cleaning things, then put the broom away in the stairwell and left the door open, not paying any attention to my little Sammy rolling around the floor. An ambulance ride, emergency room visit, overnight stay and fractured skull later, he was okay. Thank GOD. The doctors told us that if anyone can survive a fractured skull, it’s a baby. Their little heads and brains are still quite pliable. We got interviewed by DSS, which was horrifying, and they also interviewed our pediatrician. Oy. But it all ended up fine! Sammy is now 18, transgender (Sunny instead of Sammy), a straight-A student, and wicked talented drummer and saxophone player who just had her audition at Berklee. There have been many parenting transgressions in my almost-22-years of parenting. But both kids turned out!!!! (You’ve actually met my first born, Ben, a few times. He helped film one of Anthony’s readings in Cambridge a couple of years ago. One of the best nights of his life!!! He loves you.) Hugs to you, Neil and wee Ash.

    Reply
  37. Lea Docks

    Love it… but a warning and lesson in the song. Like any new venture, in motherhood we are all flawed at the start and doubtful of our skills (fraud parent police ahoy..). Shame helps no-one, but you can and do learn to mend your parent flaws because you just farkin HAVE TO. Like the woman at the end
    of the song, it’s so easy to loose/break your baby
    FOREVER (sorry, emphasis). And it’s good to remember that – always. It’s a great song and relate-able, but when this stuff happens it is also a kick in the ass to tighten up, and we need to embrace that kick to make us better. The same thing has happened to others and baby did die, or was brain damaged etc. I know of a heart-breaking one – Mum is a head nurse, baby got a temp and she waited a little to take him to hospital. Turns out it was a virus, the vital seconds mattered and her son now has brain damage. She never even dropped him once. This happens, and it’s so vital that those of us who get lucky treasure that second chance. To share (*hugs*) I got lucky too, my daughter and i were playing on the bed, and she took off before i could grab her and crawled off the bed head-first (only a foot drop, and she was about 7-9months and big). Has never done it since, she is fine (thank christ) and her little brother never fell, made sure i learned. But my parents nearly lost him at a park, just chatting and he was gone in 10sec. Found him, but i’m rattled now – they have experience and still nearly blew it.

    I learned you can slide and chill when you know your kids and your own limits (dye your hair in bar bathrooms etc, it’s all cool as long as you KNOW you’ve got it), but half the fun and terror of kids is that they endlessly surprise you when the suddenly get new skills every day. My little 2c, please stay wild, be free, FORGIVE yourself, but DO take every lesson from the universe on the way. The best middle ground i have found is to play the games, listen, laugh, read, build the epic blanket forts, watch the late night movies etc with your kids they way you always wanted your parents to do – but grow those 100 Argus eyes and be the big fun parent who is also the safety net they need. Love you and your art AMFP – you’ve got this. Peace to you & Ash!!!

    Reply
  38. john usher

    I always tell my son that he bounces because he kind of did. He slept in a carry cot by our bed for his first few months and one night I picked him up, both hands, and he did a little wiggle, and I dropped him. He dropped maybe a foot-foot and a half back into the cot, did a little bounce and I caught him. Then I went hysterical. “Ohmygodohfuckchristi’vebrokenthebabyi’vefuckingbrokenthebaby.” My wife tried to calm me and checked the baby over, he wasn’t crying which, of course, was worse, but he seemed to be fine. I wasn’t though, I was going to be a house husband, my wife was going back to work, there was no way a clumsy, stupid idiot like me could look after a baby, I was only 23 myself, I WAS JUST A KID! MELTDOWN! Anyway, I got over it eventually, but there were other, scarier things.
    I’m a daydreamer which isn’t great when you are in charge of a pram with a soft squidgy human in it. Far too many times I have found myself in town, half a mile or more from home, several dangerous road crossings later, with no clear idea of how I got there. No idea if I had looked both ways or used pedestrian crossings.
    Anyway, my son’s 19 now and as I always tell him if he questions my parenting, “i haven’t managed to kill you yet,” which is the main thing.

    Reply
  39. DCHIPapa

    Well I was in pieces from about half way through. This could so easily be a longer piece with crowd sourced lyrics. We’ve all got something to confess – when we fucked up, or snapped as a parent. I got a verse about smacking my girls which wrote itself. Just the one time, and I’ll go to my grave thinking I’m a monster for that. But they didn’t die, right. Right?

    Reply
  40. B

    Here is a story to make you feel better. I’m sitting in the rocker nursing one of my five weeks old twins. My husband has just changed the diaper of our other twin. He tells me to be careful about leaving in the oversized ottoman as he’s learned he can push himself with his legs. My husband then proceeds to get up and leave him on the ottoman. I look down at the baby in my arms and hear this wailing and ask my husband where the baby is. He pushed himself off the ottoman… on to the floor.

    If you’re ever in Phoenix, I’ll make you some tea and we can share mothering stories.

    Reply
  41. Graeme Sladden

    First of all I loved the song and it felt just right. But now I must confess, and I will confess to just this one thing but it surely is
    the worst I have ever felt as a parent or in any other capacity really. Alexander, my oldest of 3 children was 4 years old and it was just his brother Rhys and myself in the house. Rhys was asleep and Alex was in serious need of a bath and
    we were all just doing fine, when all of a sudden I really need to go to the toilet. I think to myself he will be fine for a second while I dash to the
    toilet and just as I was finishing I found out I was wrong. He had fallen and bitten through his tongue to the point where it was almost no longer attached. I try my hardest to pull myself together but I’m not doing too great at it, I know what I need to do but I’m crippled with worry and then the front door opens and my wife Peta is home and she takes charge just enough so I can get my shit together and get Alex to the hospital. It was a long day and plenty of other crazy things happened after that and on other days besides but that was the moment I went to when I heard this song. I got teary but more out of love than anything else, he didn’t die, his tongue is still all there and I just keep on learning.

    Reply
  42. lynnaschaefer

    That is a beautiful blanket. Helen and Sidney are beautiful. I especially adore how Sidney is looking at Helen. Thank you for sharing them with us. Helen is right. Say “I love you” all the time. You really never know.
    I cried like a mother listening to this song. Especially the second time. I have three mostly grown children. I’ve been worrying about them dying ever since I got pregnant the first time. I mean, they ARE going to die, but I very selfishly worry about them dying BEFORE I DIE. My brother died before my mother died and it just about killed her. And yeah. It’s just. Too awful. And I realize it happens to moms, all the time, like every day. I’m a member of the group “The Addict’s Mom” and nearly every day someone posts about another young person, someone’s child, dying. It’s too horrible.
    And yeah, I have all kinds of mothering fuck-up stories too. What mother doesn’t? I’ve left the baby in the car, forgotten to pick up the toddler from school, over protected, allowed way too much sugar, didn’t lay down the law strongly enough about drugs, unhealthy relationships, etc., forgotten to keep on top of dentist appointments, therapy appointments, etc., etc., etc.
    Also trying to stay at peace inside. It is damn hard in the relative sense. Easier in the absolute.
    Thanks for this thing, Amanda. For your vulnerability and lying honesty. I love you.

    Reply
  43. EstherCW

    Not a parent yet, but an informal sort of foster mom to two kids whose mother is seriously unwell.
    I consider the youngest mine in all but blood and this song comforted me because I still feel guilt about having exposed him to horrible danger through my negligence. About 5 years ago I was taking him and his older sister to the park (they were 2 and 5) and because it was early and I’m a night person I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was almost literally sleepwalking along the sidewalk with a child holding each hand and when I managed to somewhat open my eyes I saw that I’d wandered so close to the curb that my beloved 2 year old was actually walking down on the very very busy road! It could only have been for a few seconds, but it scared my heart awake and terrified me about what I might do when I have my own kids full time.
    As long as we’re confessing, recently I asked this boy of (nearly) mine to get the cutting boards from the kitchen right at the same time as his sister was getting her cup of just-poured tea from the counter above the cutting board shelf. I know better than to let near boiling liquids be in the vicinity of mobile children but I didn’t ask her to wait until he was out of the way in time and the dish rack that had been drying upright slid forward knocking the mug out of her hand and spilling all over his pants. The next hours while he was in pain were the worst of my life. Then the doctor’s visit was worse. He is fully recovered now but I don’t think the guilt will ever go away.
    Thanks for reminding me that at least he didn’t die. He’s about to turn 7 now and he couldn’t be smarter or more adorable!

    Reply
  44. Maria Lynn Adkinson

    Before I had babies, I saw an ad for a baby helmet and thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw but now that I have babies, I want/need the helmet, the baby leashes, and a big clear hamster ball to put them in!!! I have 2 and between them, they have fallen off of everything!!! But they are fine! Happy, Healthy, well adjusted kids. P.S. babies are bouncy, it’s almost as if someone made them that way because they knew they would fall off of things!

    Reply
  45. Lesley Kimball

    I love this song so much! I am the baby in my family (by a lot!) and I’m grateful I got to watch siblings not kill any of their children (despite so many opportunities) before I had my own. I came into parenthood with a very healthy sense that babies and kids are extraordinarily resilient. Of course I still wonder all the time why on earth anyone let me leave the hospital with a baby!

    Reply
  46. Thiefree

    I worry that my choice to not have kids will alienate me from human moments like these. Like, every female ancestor of mine has had a baby since the dawn of time. I’m scared for what it means if I remove myself from that line. I think that’s why it means so much, my heart stopped when I heard his voice, and if you put Ash in my arms I’m certain I would cry while smiling.

    Reply
  47. graymalking

    It has been one year and one month since I’ve become a mother. It has been hard. The whole of the last year was.
    My daughter was born in her father’s hometown (we live in another town. About 400km away) and were staying at my mother-in-law. The day came to drive back home and we all left the building with the last things to load up the car, and then she asks “where’s the baby?” We had forgotten her in her car seat on the dining table. She was two weeks.
    One day I was just so tired that I decided to just sayt in bed with her. I ended up deep in sleep and woke up to a thud and her crying. She had fallen off the bed. She was six months.
    In September we adopted a kitten, a rescue that had been found in a rubish bin with her sibilings, and we were having trouble training her to use the litter. She pooped anywhere but the litter box. One day, I put my daughter on her crib to do do something for a second and when I turn back to look at her, she was eating a handfull of cat poop. I was in panic and torn between calling the doctor or not, because I thought she was going to give me a lecture about how I should pay more attention. I didn’t call the doc. The baby didn’t get sick from eating poop.
    She’s still alive.

    Reply
  48. Gabby Gilliam

    I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the footnotes yet, but just listened to the song. Every new parent should listen to this. It’s like an anthem for parenthood. We’ve all done these things, and cried about them, and felt incredibly guilty afterward. Having a baby fries your brain and alters priorities in such a way that’s it’s amazing any of us can still lead a normal adult existence. I agree with RiverVox that crawling adds a whole new element of surprise to your life. Shit gets real once they get mobile. Thank you for sharing this. I love it, and I wish that new-mom me had had something like this to comfort her when she made all of the mistakes she thought would ruin her kid’s life forever. He’s four and a half now and doing just fine! Give Ash a big kiss for me. Let him know we’re all very glad the baby didn’t die. <3

    Reply
  49. Damian Masterson

    My son turned one at the beginning of this month and I don’t have my big bad parent story yet. I know I’m not super dad. It’s just luck and timing, but I know it’s coming.

    We’ve had little hiccups, though. He slipped out of my grip once while I was giving him a bath and sat hard enough on his butt to get a nasty bruise. I felt bad about that, but I’ll cut myself some slack on that one that there wasn’t anything I could have done. I had a good grip on him. He just flailed in a novel way I wasn’t prepared for.

    However, once while I was napping him I stretched with him in my arm to grab my headphones and when I settled back I managed to bang his head on the edge of a desk. He didn’t appreciate that at all. 100% my fault. No mitigating excuses I could make to myself, particularly because of how trivial and unnecessary what I was trying to do was.

    Those are little things, though. I take deathly serious that it’s my job to keep my little guy safe and to be a better parent than I got, but I know there are limits to vigilance and someday I’m going to have my story or stories of when I messed up bad. It terrifies me, but I know that it’s part of what I signed up for.

    Reply
  50. InRandomOrder

    My beloved Amanda. “Mamma kiss an’ make it better” is made manifest no other way. I feel and taste the flavor of that power within the energy of this song. To embody that power is a Rite of Passage |/ Welcome to the first Sisterhood |/ My sons are 38&40. I still cry, my dear; for when they’re grown,*all* children … become our children. We don’t chase after them shoving cookies into their hands, but they know Us. They smile at us in the grocery, or in the park: and we smile back. With each bead we sew or piece we paint/quill/sculpt each bean we snap or meal we cook and then perpetually clean, becomes our Living Prayer for all our children. When that happens, we can’t cry for laughing. You’ve made it beautiful without making it sappy. I am so fucking proud, happy, teary eyed to be part of your process, and for the privilege of watching it unfold. Thank you for reading. (@Ahnweyodah)

    Reply
  51. Coleen

    I leapt out of my dad’s arms when I was six months old. They didn’t find the break for three days. Swear, I turned out fine! You couldn’t tease my dad about it until a few years ago, though. (I’m 41.)

    Reply
  52. Diana Devlin

    The paramedics said it was impossible. But the baby DID swallow that penny I accidentally dropped in her crib.
    The time I was so exhausted from cluster feeding that, once I finally slept, I dreamed that I dropped my son down a bottomless set of stairs. I woke up and ran to the bottom of the stairs.No baby. Much frantic crying and snuggling of baby who had been sound asleep in his crib.
    The time my son spiked a temp, and threw up on me, so I laid him on my bed and went to the bathroom to take off my pukey shirt and bra, and when I came back to check on him – 45 second later max – he was having a febrile seizure.
    Welcome to motherhood. Because you’re the one with him all the time, it’s all gonna be your fault. All of it.
    And hey. The babies didn’t die.
    They’re beautiful and rotten and 16 and 18 and don’t remember any of it.
    But I do. And keep these memories like badges of honour.

    Reply
  53. Robin Ruin

    My daughter is 9 now, and I dropped her once, when she was tiny. We had gone to sleep on the couch, with her on my chest, and I was so tired that when she rolled over on her own for the first time, she rolled right off my chest and onto the carpeted floor. She only cried for a second but I still carry that guilt and terror with me.
    Also, when I saw you at the Duke Center in Raleigh on your last tour, you played a cover song on the uke about being a mom and a musician and I cannot for the life of my remember who did it originally to find it again. Can anyone help?

    Reply
  54. Emster26

    Mine is about my nephew, and is evidence of a major reason in a long list of why I am child free by choice.

    I was intending to carry my then-one year old little man down the stairs. I was feeling confident, though my hands were full with other stuff and I was wearing a maxi dress. I saw that carpeted death trap and froze. There was no way we were going to make that journey upright. Luckily his mom was there with open hands to make a handoff. Unluckily, we botched the handoff. My hands were full, he squirmed the wrong way, and he hit the stairs. His head didn’t hit, and we caught him before he went down the stairs. He was crying, of course, but not too bad. I, on the other hand, was flipping the fuck out. I just dropped SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD! And also, I’ve never been good around injured people. There was the time I slammed my brother’s hand in the van door, the time my dog got a bone stuck around her bottom jaw…I just start wailing, worse than the injured party, being more of a nuisance than a help, which is not my MO most times. My brother yelled at me, they brought the kid in to console me, I just kept crying. But he was fine, walking around and smiling.

    And then he didn’t really take to the whole talking thing until 3. I felt super guilty and worried for two years. But he’s good now – talking all the time, enunciating relatively clearly, a happy, normal four-year-old.

    Reply
      • Emster26

        That is reason number 2 for me. I cannot deal with fluids. Sympthetic puker, bad gag reflex. I feel bad every time I hand the kids off for poopy diaper changes, but the alternative is me ralphing all over them.

        Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      i was there with my own. he was hurting and needed comforting…but i found myself sobbing and making things worse. he was crying, i was crying, everybody was just freaking out. i felt like the WORST mother. i’m getting over it. x

      Reply
      • Emster26

        After that experience, I realized that, while you do have to be careful, kids are not as breakable as you think. They bounce back FAST.

        Reply
  55. Dresden Linde

    I was in labor for a grand total of 10 days and 51 minutes. We had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days because of the baby’s jaundice. I had sworn up and down that I was going to follow of the “rules” (whatever those are….the fear of the Parenting-Police was/is VERY REAL.) I woke up do many times that first night to breastfeed. After 2 weeks of not really sleeping and what felt like constant nursing I was barely coherent, I don’t think that I actually qualified as a human. Anyway, one night, I fell asleep with the baby in bed. And he rolled out of our high bed, right onto the floor. What’s worse? I didn’t wake up. My husband woke up, turned on the light and was picking our son up off the floor before I even stirred.

    After that the two of us researched cosleeping and decided that we were going to give it a go. For sleeping sake. My son turned 3 in January. He still sleeps with me. He hasn’t rolled out of bed since and we’re both much better rested. But I’m still remember waking up and being horrified that I HADN’T woken up sooner.

    I spanked him once, when he was nearly 2. Because I thought that was how you were supposed to discipline. I bitterly regret it. The look on his face. The shock, hurt, betrayal. If I think about that moment too much….I can’t. I hate myself for it.

    I can think of million mistakes I’ve made in 3 years. And sometimes, looking back, they are all I can see. But today, when he woke up from his nap, he came racing into my arms, gave me a huge smile, nestled into my breasts and said, “Mama. I love you!! I love your best boobs!! When snow leave? Plant baby num nums? Plant a garden?”

    And I started crying. Because he’s not dead, and for now at least, he loves me.

    Reply
      • Dresden Linde

        You’re welcome. Thank you for this song. (It’s what finally made me take the Patreon plunge.)

        I’m grateful for a safe place to share these types of stories.

        Reply
        • Carla Martínez

          i’m here, working with emma (10 months) stuck on my boob. i have 3 other boys, 1 did die, but it had nothing to do with me and my lack of perfection on motherhood. i can barely breath, but they know i love them to death. i loved your story. thanks for sharing!

          Reply
          • Nicah

            I can’t even begin to imagine. All the best and much, much love to you, Carla.

  56. Tracy Chalker

    My Motherhood confession is about the daughter – now 24 – whom I took to the show to see you and Jason in Everett. When she was about 9 months old, crawling, I was helping my mother move out of her home. We were alone in an empty house, and all the door knobs had been removed from the exit doors to change the locks. Resting her on the floor to crawl in a huge empty space, I relaxed my guard. Of course the universe plants a quarter in her path, out of my eye-line, and of course she begins to choke. This is before cell phones were common, and I am locked in a house with no phone, no doors. I’m trying to fish it out, I am trying to Heimlich it out – nothing. I managed to kick open the front door while still beating her on the back trying to dislodge the quarter and ran screaming into the street for someone to call 911. She was turning blue. At the moment I got outside, screaming, and people started to look, she urped up the quarter, took a deep breath, and started to LAUGH. Everyone near me looked at me like I was insane, not knowing the terror of the last few moments. And this, my dear Amanda, is just one of many stories that make up the fabric of our childrens lives. In your case, Ash will get to hear his not only recounted, but sang along to, as he grows up, and will learn to love you just as you are – flawed, but ultimately loving and wonderful.

    Reply
  57. Jen Hackenholt Mont

    I don’t have words yet, but thank you as always. Also, I’m happy, overjoyed that as a patron in my small way I can help make this possible. Love to you!

    Reply
  58. Angela Rashida

    I was pulled over, not for speeding, but “driving erratically” because my screaming/crying infant freaked me the fuck out too. I am surprised they didn’t shoot me because the second I flung the car into park I lept out and into the back seat so I could manage my poor shrieking child. The entire incident was not very much appreciated by the cops. Ugh.

    Reply
      • Angela Rashida

        I mean for real. The kid is shrieking, and I slid into the backseat, clearly a new mom in hysterics, and the cops came up to the car with serious YOU ARE A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL eyes on me. They wouldn’t let me take her out of the car seat or anything. I think the one day with crying babies should also include driving with one so they understand better the hysterical new mother they’ve pulled over. But hey, the baby didn’t die. So we’re doing okay girl. (She’s two now and I think my hormones calmed down last week sometime. It’s good. Really, really good. <3 )

        Reply
  59. grumpyboat

    This speaks to me so strongly. The fears, the doubts, being so overwhelmed by it all…those early days are hard. I’ve watched my daughter fall off a dining table (that’s how she learnt about edges and gravity at a very young age, right after she learnt how to climb onto a table), fall off the bed, off a chair…but she’s okay. I’ve lost her in the house several times (she’s sneaky), and I also learnt the hard way that a toddler can fit out through a cat flap and make a break for it down the stairs. And that you shouldn’t underestimate their cognitive abilities, as she managed to unlock the gate on the veranda (which I was sure she wouldn’t be able to do), and made her way down the front stairs – concrete stairs, mind you – when she was barely 12 months old and had only walked UP the stairs once. When I realised she was missing AND that the front door AND gate were open, I was sure I’d find her dead at the bottom. She wasn’t, but the front gate was also open, so then I thought she’d gotten out and could’ve been anywhere up the road or in the creek behind the house. I was freaking right out. Cheeky bugger was looking at flowers down the side of the house. Strangely, she loves hearing the story of how she almost gave me a heart attack, now that she’s almost 9.

    It’s a beautiful song, and millions of parents will be able to relate.

    Reply
  60. Ami

    I have a 3 month old now, and a 22 month old, and a teenager out in the world. My toddler is constantly trying to off herself while I am nursing or holding the baby. The other day I found her cutting strawberries with a sharp paring knife after she wandered off for the 50th time that morning and I had a head cold. I should have checked on her faster. She’s fallen off the bed at least 5 times in her short life. A baby falling is a very common occurrence.

    On shopping with babies– I have two with me now and it’s a massive physical feat (or seems to be) just getting them in and out of the car and across a parking lot. I wear the baby in a Baby K’Tan or the Tula carrier while I push the toddler in the cart. I recommend wearing the baby in front of you while shopping with a cart and putting the seat in the stroller for clothing shopping, outdoor markets and malls. In a pinch you can change baby in the stroller/seat if the bathroom changing tables are gross looking. You can buy one of those giant clips to hold your bags on the stroller handle. When baby is big enough to sit in the shopping cart seat, you can get a lot of shopping done by opening a can of those Gerber cheese doodle things. We usually feed the babies organic, but those Gerber cheese doodle things are baby crack. Just keep feeding the baby every time they start to cry. My toddler is now totally conditioned to love shopping.

    Reply
    • Ami

      PS: I got two speeding tickets while pregnant this time. Both times with my toddler in the car. I was so exhausted that I had no idea how fast I was going. I have also smashed a mirror off my car after each pregnancy, while lacking sleep. It’s a wonder we are all still alive and I haven’t killed a pedestrian.

      Reply
  61. Jen

    Last year, about this time, I met you at a book signing in Tampa. I was with my 2 month old twins and we had driven from Missouri to visit their grandmother when I found out you’d be there. So we drove through Tampa on our way back from St. Augustine to see you. I got there early and we had forgotten something in the car so my boyfriend had to run back to get it while I stood awkwardly in front of the bookstore, wedged between a parking spot and a bush because I couldn’t get inside with my giant double stroller. Anyway, you and Neil pulled up in your car and went inside and even though I had driven 2 hours out of my way with 2 newborns to literally meet you, I got nervous and all I could do was muster a meek “hi”. Anyway, we stood in line for a couple hours and when I finally got inside to talk to you I managed to tell you about the babies and have you sign the books for them. You asked me how I was feeling and I said “fat”. And you kind of shrugged and said “oh”. I have been dwelling on this moment for a year. Why would I say that? What a weird thing to say, not just to someone who you admire, but to you. Feminist, armpit haired, free-willed Amanda Fucking Palmer. I love them, more than I ever thought I could love anything. But sometimes they make me feel completely insane. I feel like a completely different person than I was before I had them. I’ve lost so much of myself trying to make them into functioning humans. Even now, a year later, I feel like I’m living in someone else’s body. But I know that’s not important. They are important. But it feels important to me for some reason. Like maybe my life isn’t for me anymore. When they were about a week old, I was laying in bed, exhausted (from only getting half an hour of sleep at a time because my body had gone through so much and, you know, newborn twins), and I was holding my son who was sleeping in my arms. He was about 5 pounds at the time and looked more like a baby bird than a human. I kept nodding off. I heard a distant thump, and looked around, startled, to find that he had rolled, in his tightly swaddled blanket, out of my arms and onto the floor, face down. I jumped up and grabbed him and just squeezed him as tightly as I could and sobbed. Why didn’t I just put him down if I knew I was that tired? Was I too lazy or selfish to get up or to risk waking him? Now he would be forever damaged? Every time I look at him and he’s being weird I think “God is it because dropped him on his head?” But he is OK. They’re OK. Every day there is a new opportunity for me to dance them irreparably. But I haven’t yet. And they’re still alive. And everything is OK. As long as they’re OK, everything is worth it. Not sleeping, feeling like a troll, losing my sense of self. It might be OK. Anyway, you probably won’t read this so it probably doesn’t matter. But I really want to believe it’s going to be OK.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      i kind of love this typo…”dance them irreparably.” i think you meant “damage”. but isn’t that the best poetry? we dance them irreparably, indeed. xx

      Reply
    • Kirst

      Hey Jen,
      One day you will find yourself again, until then try and hold on! Don’t give in to the total loss of self (personality or confidence), you need to be *you* to be there for your twins… it sounds like you are having a hard time with things at the moment, but if you take a read through these comments you’ll see how many other people are there with you.

      Reply
  62. Jenneryy

    I just re-listened to the song in pieces with the printouts of this page spread out across my bedroom floor with my toddler (almost 3 y/o little girl) and I somehow love it even more than the first time I listened to it at work today! The lines about feeling so useless in this universe and it being hard to be a parent resonated so much with me and I just wanted to tell you thank you again for sharing so openly with us (and with pictures!!) because it makes us all seem less alone. I’m a single mom and hearing that NONE of us have it all together is amazing.

    Just to help you out, my mommy confession is that when my daughter was about six months old she wouldn’t stop screaming and I had that urge to shake her because I had tried everything. I was instantly so ashamed of myself (where was my inner peace in that moment?!) so I rushed to her room and laid her in her crib (which she didn’t sleep in because she always slept by my bed in a little bassinet thing), left the room, shut the door, and sobbed hysterically curled in a ball on the floor. Just both of us wailing on the opposite sides of a wooden door, her for unknown reasons and me because I was starting to wonder if I was going to just fail at being a mom completely. Of course, once my crying jag was over I got up, washed my face, and found her sound asleep in her crib. And they look so perfect when they’re asleep, so content, and I picked her up carefully and cuddled her on the floor. Even to this day when she’s having a full toddler meltdown and I want to cry along with her out of frustration I remember that bad day and it somehow centers me, because, hey – at least she’s still alive, right?

    Reply
    • Marc Will

      I take care of my two little nephews…3 times a week. I discovered…when the 9 months old is screaming his head off..and I’ve tried everything..and my frustration is building… I release the built up energy by kissing the top of his head…and saying some words of love. Let me tell you..there was a LOT of kissing the top of his head until he got through the worst of it. It seems responding with Love..whenever you are frustrated…works wonders for us all… When the urge hits..and you are at the end… Kiss them… and keeping doing so… teach yourself to respond with Love… every time.

      Reply
  63. lynnaschaefer

    That is a beautiful blanket. Helen and Sidney are beautiful. I especially adore how Sidney is looking at Helen. Thank you for sharing them with us. Helen is right. Say “I love you” all the time. You really never know.

    I cried like a mother listening to this song. Especially the second time. I have three mostly grown children. I’ve been worrying about them dying ever since I got pregnant the first time. I mean, they ARE going to die, but I very selfishly worry about them dying BEFORE I DIE. My brother died before my mother died and it just about killed her. And yeah. It’s just. Too awful. And I realize it happens to moms, all the time, like every day. I’m a member of the group “The Addict’s Mom” and nearly every day someone posts about another young person, someone’s child, dying. It’s too horrible.

    And yeah, I have all kinds of mothering fuck-up stories too. What mother doesn’t? I’ve left the baby in the car, forgotten to pick up the toddler from school, over protected, allowed way too much sugar, didn’t lay down the law strongly enough about drugs, unhealthy relationships, etc., forgotten to keep on top of dentist appointments, therapy appointments, etc., etc., etc.

    Also trying to stay at peace inside. It is damn hard in the relative sense. Easier in the absolute.

    Thanks for this thing, Amanda. For your vulnerability and honest lying. I love you.

    Reply
  64. Natalia Tenz

    [cross posted from facebook] I set my then 5 month old on a platform area of a playground (the newer kind, all hard plastic, all connected by hinges), that lead up to a slide. It was waist-high. I walked around to the steps so that we can slide down together. I saw her crawling over to the side and down she started to fall! I got to experience the scared-mother-lightning-fast-reflexes-and-hulk-like-strength that day – I quickly grabbed her chunky thigh before she hit the ground. That.was.scary…

    Reply
  65. cleva1

    When I was learning to use my baby sling – feeling all like the earth-mother-goddess-look-at-me-with-my-baby-sling – I forgot to pull up the side by my body and my tiny baby boy flopped right through onto the floor! Horrifying. I am told I screamed. (He screamed, too, but was fine.)

    Reply
  66. Vicky

    This song had me bawling. I’m so glad you get it! My son is 1 & a half now & I still cry some days. I can totally relate. I once went shopping with my son & picked up a shirt which I liked – I was juggling cranky baby & nappy bag etc so I just slung it over my shoulder. I went to the counter & paid for everything else & forgot it was there & walked out. I didn’t realise until I was in the car. And when my son was jumping on the couch cause he wouldn’t stop & I just needed 5 minutes to make some food & I looked away for one second & he fell backwards, pretty much did a back-flip & fell off the couch & landed on his head on the tiles. Thankfully he was ok, but I felt like I’d failed that day. Thank-you Amanda, we mums need to stick together. You are doing a great job with little Ash, he is so gorgeous in the photos! <3

    Reply
  67. lapis

    So i used to let my darling 2yr old daughter play in the back yard while i worked in the kitchen. All her yard toys were within 4 yards of the door and she is one of those kids that can’t NOT make noise 24/7 so it was easy to tell where and how she was even without looking right at her. So we are each doing our thing and i pop into the bathroom (maaaybe 2 minutes) and come back when i get a weird feeling…something is wrong…can’t put my finger on it… I look out the window at the empty yard while i ponder what is wrong and then it hits me – SILENCE IN AN EMPTY YARD! I freaked the hell out. I was in tears running/yelling through the yard & house, panicking because we lived across the street from the Hagerman family (as in the Amber Alert Hagermans) and I’m sure someone has stolen my baby when i found the gate we never use open. I bust into the front yard to see a lady across the street staring at me and pointing two houses down where my daughter is happily playing with a Little Tykes car. I put a padlock on the gate and bought her a plastic car of her own after that but never forgot the terror of that incident.
    She’s somehow made it to 21 now so i guess i did okay, but it is hard to look at her and not still see my cute little baby…

    Reply
    • lapis

      Aaaaand i put her to bed with techno.
      When i couldn’t handle the colicky madness anymore and we were both so shattered from lack of sleep that i would imagine tossing her out the window, i would put her in the crib, turn the music up just loud enough that she’d have to really be angry to drown it out and i’d go cry in the shower.

      Reply
  68. Pantstrovich

    I’m not a mom. I was the eldest sibling of four very abused and neglected kids. So I was placed in a mom position without anything to back it up because I was still a kid.

    As someone who was treated like I was, it almost seems silly to me that you worry so much about your mothering skills, but I’m glad you do. You care and it shows. I think you are doing a fine, “normal” job, in your own way. And personally, I think Ash is going to turn out a pretty chill person, who is ready for anything, because of all you expose him to.

    I know it’s not the same, but you’ve been mothering long before Ash was born. You’ve taught me so much shit that I don’t know I quite would have ever gotten elsewhere. You taught me that I can be imperfect and still be a good and worthwhile person. Yes, I’ve been looking up to Neil’s Lorraine since long before Neil ever met you, and I’ve learned the same from her, but you do it so publicly. I used to struggle with my self worth and imperfection so much, but ever since I started paying attention to you (a year after Neil started dating you), I felt braver to be my whole self in front of people. Firstly, for myself, so that I can continue battling the fear that I’m not good enough, but it’s also because I want to pass on what you passed to me. If other people can see me doing it, they can be braver too, and maybe love themselves a little more too.

    I just want you to know that you’re doing a good job of being a mother, in the various ways you do. Thanks for being so candid. It helped me change my whole way of living and loving myself. I hope it does for you too.

    Love always,
    Electra

    Reply
  69. Tilley

    I’m not a parent, but I once dropped my baby brother (I guess I would’ve been somewhere around 12-14yo and he 1-3yo) on his head in a McDonalds playground. And not on the nice semi-squishy ground, but on the tiles at the edge of the playground. I was so scared and asked my mum “He’s not going to be like… brain damaged now, is he?” I guess she was angry and scared too because she said something along the lines of “Well, we just don’t know, do we?” One of the worst times of my life :(

    I love this song. Also I miss Jason! He took me to that donut shop when I visited him three years ago, it was really good. His town is a strange little place. His houseboat is wonderful. I hope I get to hang out with him again sometime soon. I’m sure he makes an awesome godfather. I giggled at The Summit of the Godchildren.

    Reply
    • Pantstrovich

      I also giggled at The Summit of the Godchildren. He could start his own little Children of the Corn cult, except they’d be Children of the Houseboat, which is slightly less creepy.

      Reply
  70. Desire Mosteller

    Just happened to watch this while in the tub with a glass of wine while my husband was abandoned with both kids. So that was perfect. Writing this while nursing the 6m old who fell off of the couch yesterday and gave us a heart attack. He bounced back faster than his parents!

    Reply
  71. Kate

    There are times when I hate what parenting has done to me…making me have rules and stuff, lol…there are times when it enrages me, the way he speaks to me (he is 9 and might as well be a teenager, or sometimes 45 years old)…in the media motherhood is romanticized, serene and beautiful and it is not-it is messy and chaotic and you’re going to screw up your kids no matter what you do. There are times when he is pure genius, his sense of humor and talents are so real and awesome and I hope he is going to be a great person but what can you do? You have to let them be who they are. We all make mistakes and regret things and it hurts but in the long run if you love them and care about them that is enough. Just the fact that you worry that you’re screwing it up, is a sign that you are not.

    Reply
  72. Sophie Alice Acton

    Reading all these, I am just that much more certain that I never want a child. My cousins are great kids, I love corrupting them, but man, I do NOT have the emotional energy to deal with the crying and all of that. Needing to go lock myself in the bathroom to cry is a terrifying hell of an alternate universe. You guys are all very strong people for making the choice you made, and doing your best to raise good, alive kids. Not for me, though. Nope. I’d have hopped the first bus to anywhere on day two.

    Reply
  73. Stacy Whitley Wruck

    When she was one and a half, she fell down a flight of stairs at a family reunion at someone else’s house. She skinned up her little button nose. She didn’t cry. Once I realized none of her bones were broken, I had to be left alone to ugly cry for 20 minutes.
    When she was two, I accidentally locked her in the car in a Target parking lot. It was in the 80′s. Almost immediately the temperature dropped and a violent North Carolina thunderstorm began. I stood by the window in the thunder, lightning, and, yes, hail for an hour because I didn’t want her to be scared. She pretty laughed at me the whole time. About the time the cop arrived to help the sun back out.
    When she was five, we were visiting family during a sweltering summer. She had going out the front door and running around the house, then coming back in to the drastic temperature change as my cousin and I cooked. After quite some time, I realized she hadn’t been in a while. I went out to look for her and was panicking because I couldn’t see her and she wasn’t answering my calls. I walked all around the house a couple of times. Finally, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see her panicked, screaming face as she banged on the window of my mom’s truck. She had climbed in and shut the door at some point, but couldn’t get back out. I couldn’t hear her. I pulled her, beet red and dripping sweat from the truck and ran inside. After administering first aid and crying, we both had to take a nap. I will never forget that face.
    I wish I could say that was all there is to report.
    BUT, she’s now 12, as tall as me and her feet are 2 sizes bigger than mine. She plays guitar and viola and wants to learn to code.
    At least she didn’t die.

    Reply
  74. calaverabee

    I had terrible post-partum depression after giving birth to my son. I was constantly worrying that everything I was doing was wrong. And then I dropped him! He was sitting on my lap on the sofa and he suddenly lunged forward (he was in the wobbly stage) and he landed face-first on the hard tile!! I couldn’t stop crying and hugging him and checking him, it was awful! He was totally fine, just a tiny bump on his cheek for a day… But I was so scared that the parent police were going to come get me…

    Then a few months later, my husband was carrying him on his shoulders and he slipped right off, fell backwards onto the (fortunately low) bed, then rolled onto the floor! Again, totally fine, little guy was just freaked out and crying. I was standing about 4 feet away and totally had the “slow motion” experience. It was horrifying at the moment, but in a way I felt relieved that I wasn’t the only one who was incapable of being a perfect parent… I know better now!

    My son turned one in November and we drank champagne and celebrated the fact that we managed to keep him alive for one whole year! Hopefully there will be many, many more. <3 |/

    Reply
  75. Robin Stewart

    Both of those blankets are crochet, neither one is knit hahaha.
    On to a parenting story. My oldest was 18 months at the time and I was in the kitchen doing dishes. He had broken through the baby gate and poured a brand new gallon jug of laundry detergent on the carpet. Then methodically he stripped to his diaper and went swimming in the detergent. This was in maybe a 10 minute time span. Only reason I found out was that he rubbed his eye and started screaming from getting detergent in his eye.
    I have others, but that’s the one I like the best right now.

    Reply
  76. Shannon Vann

    Should have read the warning about possible crying – the noon drinker got me. I have 8 and almost-6-year old girls. I once forgot to drop one off at school on the way to work. In my defense, she was quiet. She’s never quiet. We forgot multiple times last year to pick the older one up from soccer. She quit soccer. Now she takes ukulele lessons. I got pulled over for speeding IN A SCHOOL ZONE at peak drop-off time with both girls in the car. I got a warning. But the them 3 year old wanted to know why the cop had a gun. Then there was much hilarity about whether the cop was going to send mommy to jail or time-out. Then the little one wanted to know “mommy! Is him gonna SHOOT YOU???” This story will be told at family dinners for years to come. Also. I’m always late. Always. Love the song. ❤️

    Reply
  77. Krista Wilson

    My now 7 year old son toppled out of his cot when I left the side down while getting a nappy from the other room. He did a flip and landed on his back on the tiles. His older sister freaked out and still reminds me of that to this day. Then there was the time that my daughter’s car seat strap hung out the window and caught onto the tyre, dragging the whole seat down. Thankfully the car was stopped almost immediately…

    Reply
  78. Cassandra Miller

    I have many stories of motherhood fails, but my absolute worst was when my youngest locked himself in my car.

    I had just finished a really long work day (over 10 hours), and my husband dropped the kids off with me. I was trying to get both kids in the car, but decided to turn the AC on first as it was very hot (over 100* and my car had been sitting in the sun all day). As I go to shut the door my then 2 year old climbs into the front seat, shuts the door, and locks them. I call the emergency line, hysterically crying begging them to send help. My child isn’t overheating at least because I turned the AC on but I was so scared of him… pushing buttons? He couldn’t put it in drive, but goodness he could do plenty other things. Luckily, a lady came and gave me a hug, and then talked my 2 year old into pushing the unlock button using a McDonalds Furby Toy while simultaneously calming my 4 year old who was freaking out because mommy’s freaking out/his brother is locked in the car. Then comes the flashing lights and sirens to point out my stupidity as I’m apologizing to officers/fire fighters and crying/hugging both my children as hard as I can… and thanking the lady (who never would give me her name or anything so I could pay her back somehow… just kept saying she was a mom and understood… thank goodness for her).

    We all have hard times… motherhood can be full of them… but its worth it. It is all so very worth it. :)

    Reply
  79. Ruth Morton

    I’ve done all those things and more. Funny how babies learn to turn over at exactly the moment you leave them alone. I locked my keys in the car once at a shop and had to walk home with my new baby in my arms. She was so sunburned by the time we got home! Same baby was also face-dunked in a wading pool, as she was in my arms as I leaned over the pool to reach my son. I even forgot to pick up my child after school once and there is no greater embarrassment I can think of. Wow, even more parenting shit is flooding back now, so I better stop! I am now Grandma Ruthie and a Great grandma Ruthie, so you see my kids survived my parenting. I listened to your song at 4 in the morning all alone and it is gorgeous. Thank you for it.

    Reply
  80. Joanna Ashleigh

    This is wonderful… So wonderful. I’m scared as hell about the thought of being a mom, still undecided on the matter… But anyway, I took a glass of whiskey to the tub. Just submitted a college application that took me two months to complete (applying for a BA in dance, I’m 30 and trained in an offshoot of dance that isn’t widely recognized or respected, never done ballet or any of that)… I pulled on a lot of favors. Here’s hoping I get in. This is real shit. Thank you for writing/singing about real shit.
    Xo. Your adoring afp patron.

    Reply
  81. kkeor

    If you mom a child, and you don’t think “fuck I am such a fuckup at this shit” at least a few times (more like a million, but just in case), you’re too safe and your child will grow up to be an inhuman Dandy Mott, Ethan Couch sociopath murderer. <3 And I mean this out of love. So if you're offended, start fucking up harder so you can catch up with the rest of us.

    Reply
  82. FrancineHibiscus

    Helen and Sidney are magnificent! And that blanket!! What a treasure!

    Reply
  83. Lauren

    My kid is 7. He’s adopted. He lies a lot, mostly because he’s smart, and maybe a tiny bit because he was in foster care. He told me the truth tonight but I thought he was lying because I couldn’t tell the difference. He got in trouble for being honest. I finally figured it out and explained to him why it happened and told him the story of the boy who cried wolf.

    But I punished my kid for being honest and that is a very confusing feeling and parenthood is weird, and this song is amazing.

    Reply
  84. Litter Picker

    I knew something of that special brand of dread when my friend Kate’s infant son fell, along with his high chair, onto the tiled kitchen floor.
    He’d been eating red jelly (jello, I think, if you’re American). He’s screaming, she’s frantic, there’s an empty bowl and a glob of red stuff on the floor. I’m trying to persuade her that an ambulance might not be necessary, that his screaming is probably a good thing at this point (considering the alternatives), and that the red stuff is probably jelly.

    “I KNOW it’s blood,” she says. So I scooped some up on my finger, and tasted it.
    Jelly never tasted so sweet.
    That was 25 years ago. He didn’t die yet.

    Reply
  85. Kathy Vickers

    When my eldest (now 12) was 8 she broke her wrist – no bruising, no swelling, a little pain. On the 4th day when she wouldn’t put weight through it we took her to Emergency and got it checked. She spent 6 weeks over Christmas (summer in Australia) in a cast. I’m a nurse who has worked in orthopaedics and I didn’t pick it. She’s broken her foot twice and locked herself in the car when she was a baby (hint – never given the kid the carkeys to play with then shut all the doors, even in the rain). My youngest (now 6) was what we called the “white noise machine”. Had a cry at just the right pitch that, when he got going, you could hear absolutly nothing over it. My middle child (who is 17 months older than her brother) nearly smothered him to death days after I came home from the hospital. She wanted to cuddle him so she lay on top of him and he’d started going purple by the time I got there.

    The overwhelming responsibility of trying to be good enough, the maddening way the little buggers are in charge of the goalposts (and keep moving them), and the thought that “if only we didn’t have the kids we could……..” is mind numbing at times. I love my kids, but there are days when I really don’t like them, I resent them, and I think longingly of being young and single again.

    Logical thinking goes out the window with the haha on days when it’s all going to shit, and I really resent those days when no-one seems to see that there’s something wrong. All kids really need in these early days is love, food, and safety. All the other window dressing we do when they are babies is for our benefit, not theirs.

    Reply
  86. Samaire Provost

    Oh, my dear. Oh goodness. I want to hug you. First of all, I have five children. I dropped the second one in a Mervyns because he was a very leg-thrusting baby, I was distracted, and did not have a good hold of him when, at just a few months of age, he leg thrust and went sailing over my shoulder and onto the floor. I felt like a horrible mother. Second of all, I left baby number five in the car while I went in with the other four. Five minutes later I gasped and asked them all, “Where’s Jamie?” and then rushed back outside and got him. He was fine, it wasn’t a hot day, I wasn’t caught by anyone, he had a mild look of concern on his face (he was maybe 5 months old) and I felt like a horrible mother. Third of all, Amanda, you sweet thing, you are married to a millionaire. You needn’t go through this. Get a nanny that travels with you, a-la-Brad & Angelina. Neil can afford it. Trust me when I say it will be incredibly worth it. Have her shadow you like a Lady-in-waiting and tend the baby when you can’t.
    Good luck, sweetness. Treasure every minute with them both, this time will never, ever come again. ❤

    Reply
  87. lizzle4rizzle

    My parents are visiting me from across the country, in great timing. I just explained to my own mother what I was reading, knowing she’d appreciate the refrain of “at least the baby didn’t die.”

    About watching the baby fall in slow motion, she said, “Oh no, you always put them on the floor! I never put you up high.” Immediately followed by, “…but I did once lift your brother out of his little counter seat directly into the overhead light in the kitchen. HARD. I thought, oh my god I dropped the baby on his head! But…upwards!” Then my dad walked in and said, “And I fell down the stairs with him once!” “Yeah, but you protected him really well!” A nod. “I did.”

    My brother is now a sciencey beer genius and I love my parents.

    Thanks as always for sharing, Amanda :)

    Reply
  88. mwwaterman

    When our kids were little I always figured that a day that ended with “No one is bleeding and everyone got fed. Twice” was a win!

    Reply
  89. Kimberly Matteson

    Oh boy, this song brings me back to when my husband and I were new parents. What an experience…so so stressful and wonderful at the same time. The baby falling…honestly, I think that happens to every parent at some point. Mine rolled off an ottoman, another time rolled off the bed. You’d think after the first time I wouldn’t let it happen again, right? But they’re so quick…you look away for one second and that’s all it takes. While I can’t say I ever shoplifted anything, we did forget her in the car one time. Thankfully only for a couple minutes, before we both looked at each other and at the same moment realized, wait a sec! If you’re here, and I’m here…where’s the baby? And we both went running back outside. But just wait until he’s mobile…that’s when the real fun begins. You’ll get a whole new set of parenting fail stories to tell! ;)

    Reply
  90. Jamie Shirley

    I have a few *bad parent* moments. When Tempe was 6 months old I had gone back to work and Tempe has colic so nobody would babysit them. I mean NOBODY. Even family said they couldn’t handle it for longer than 20 minutes. My child broke babysitters. We wanted to rent them out as a “scared straight” tactic. Or as an advocate for birth control. So I was working at a sandwich shop and when Tempe’s father and I worked at the same time I would bring Tempe with me. One night I was tearing down the food prep area and Tempe was in their car seat on a table and for once not crying. We were playing peek a boo (seriously, this game is a curse on my family, I have a Harry Potter like scar from when I was little and my mom was playing it with me). What I realized was that Tempe was laughing so hard and kicking their little feet so hard it was scooting the car seat to the edge of the table. This dawned on me right as the slow motion fall began and there was absolutely NO WAY for me to get to the car seat on time. I got Tempe out of the car seat and we cried and I called my ex and he finished closing down his store and rushed to mine to take us to the ER. Where we tried for hours to get Tempe to fall asleep but Tempe was hungry and they didn’t want me to nurse because it might mess up the CT scan (to make sure my baby wasn’t bleeding internally…panic!)

    Tempe had some bruises and bumps and kinda looked like Quasimodo for a while. And did you know when your skin is as tight as a baby’s the bruises don’t just fade, they slide down the face/body. I was horrified and thought I was the worst mother in the world.

    Then there were the times my child got locked in a house/bathroom/revolving doors. The house at least they were in their swing thing, I had run outside to catch my mom to get help opening a jar of baby food and the door locked behind me.

    When they were 5 they were taking a bath and the doorknob broke and jammed. And panic hit and I literally had to dismantle the doorknob from the outside to get the door unlocked (it is much harder than TV makes it look to break down a door).

    (TW sexual abuse)
    .
    .
    I think though the worst story I have is this; when Tempe was 5 they were being abused on the school bus and they had shown signs. Wetting the bed, suddenly not liking school, constantly complaining of a stomach ache, I was a “room mom” which meant that I came to the school and did games and fun things for all of the holidays and parties. Tempe’s dad was in town and we wanted 20 minutes alone together so we left right before the kids were dismissed so that we could use the time it took Tempe to ride the bus home to actually have a minute alone. Tempe cried and cried and cried as we left and we left anyway. A week later is when Tempe told me what was going on. It started with “I don’t like it when X makes me kiss him using my tongue.” And that is when I realized I had been so caught up in my own depression that something terrible was happening to my child and I didn’t see the signs. Tempe turns 17 in 16 days and this still eats at me. It was this time of year when they told me what this boy was doing. But, by coming forward Tempe put an end to not just their own abuse but this kid was abusing 3 other girls on his bus rides. The school claimed it was just “inappropriate touching” and beyond counseling did nothing further, despite my insistence that SOMETHING had to be going on for a six year old boy to know the things he did. I wanted him to get help too.

    We all worry about fucking up as parents and we do fuck up. Because we’re human and it happens. But my child is turning 17 (the baby didn’t die) and I couldn’t be more proud of them. So obviously I did some things right because my kid is fucking amazing. Right now I am posting one new reason I love them every day leading up to their birthday. I am also trying to get 365 messages of love and hope written out for them so they can open one a day for a year. I know my mom regrets many things and I still love her. Just like my kid still loves me. And I them.

    I love you, and I have faith that you are a wonderful mom. Ash is a blessed and loved baby.

    Reply
  91. Kimberly R

    When my daughter (now 18!) was 2 months old, I left her in the center of a full size bed to go grab a fresh set of clothes for her from the dresser a few steps away. I had my back turned when she managed to roll off the bed, but the “THUMP….waaaaaah” of her hitting the floor and then wailing about it still haunts me. In the end, I cried about it longer than she did. Parenting is a rough gig, but you and the mister exude so much love that your kid is one of the luckiest kids out there.

    Reply
  92. Jessica Tsuzuki

    I’m not surprised to see over a hundred comments, but thought I might add my own. My kid is only two and a half now, but seems pretty normal in most respects.

    But every time she rolled off the couch or threw herself out of her crib (seriously, gate up and everything, she climbed over and dropped…twice!) I would see this horrible vision, like a PSA from hell in the style of the old milk commercials from the 90s. Little Julia, now grown, telling the camera. “I could have been Prime Minister, or Justice of the Peace. I could have cured cancer or invented something really amazing….but now you dropped me on my head, and I’ll only ever be a (insert brainless job).”

    And I would tell myself I was such a failure and the worst mother on Earth, and I still feel that way sometimes when she goes to play in her room and I get so absorbed by video games or whatever that I’m just not paying attention when she suddenly needs me…

    But then I remember a story I read on my phone shortly after Julia was born, when we were still in the hospital, right after my first bout of feeling like a mom-failure. An ape had given birth to triplets and immediately murdered two of them. Like on purpose.
    And I realized, hey, I’m not that bad. No part of me wants to hurt her and if it did, I would get help.
    I am not a failure. Neither are you.

    At least the baby didn’t die. Thank you for this song. I know some soon-to-be moms who will need it sooooo badly.

    Also, I’ve got tons of sympathy for anyone who drives with a screaming baby and may occasionally forget the kid in the car. They have an app for that now apparently and I heard a lot of people being super-critical (“Well I never forgot MY kids in the car because I love THEM.”) And I usually feel compelled to explain how I once got the baby ready for a train trip (we live in Japan) and I had thought of everything– snacks, toys, food, extra clothes, beverages, diaper bag, etc. I got her in the stroller and unlocked the door, turning just in time to see my pants-less reflection in the entry-way mirror.
    If a grown woman whose been wearing pants for 30 years can nearly accidentally moon an entire country of people who find tank-tops taboo (shoulders, oh my!), then any exhausted parent can momentarily forget that screaming love, now quiet in the backseat. It’s to be avoided, and it can turn tragic, but it isn’t this unimaginable thing. I totally get it.
    Thank you for finding the courage to share your flaws. They are ours, too.

    Reply
  93. Chelsea

    I never slept with any of my kids until my fourth was born. I thought it was fantastic and wondered how on earth anyone could roll onto their babies in those horror stories and smother them, I always seemed to know she was there. Until one early morning one of my other kids was crying in bed and I rolled over to turn on the lamp, which took a minute because it was dark and I couldn’t find the switch. When I rolled back I heard an audible gasp and realized I had been suffocating my two month old with my giant body. Both of us got a good scare out of that, and she didn’t die. Also didn’t stop me from continuing to sleep with her…
    This wasn’t a life threatening or baby related story, but once, when the experimental stage of texting was fresh and exciting after my husband and I both got smart phones, I accidentally texted a picture of myself that was intended for my husband’s eyes only to the mother of one of my daughter’s friends, whom I had just met and who I would be seeing in a few hours for a first play date we had been arranging. I died, I definitely died a horribly embarrassing death the minute I realized what I had done and that it could not be taken back. Thankfully the mom thought it was hilarious. I wish I could say that was the only embarrassing text mishap I had after that, but suffice it to say that intimate things are now solely spoken or experienced in face to face moments between my husband and I because technology is too complicated for me not to make a fool of myself…

    Reply
  94. Shaiyela Hornung

    After the 5th or 6th time my daughter rolled off of something (the couch, her dresser/change table, our bed, etc)…I realized babies are pretty indestructible. Maybe not in that 28 days of newbornity, but definitely by the time they start moving. It doesn’t make you feel any less terrible. My daughter turns 3 in a few weeks and she’s a giant (the size of a 5 year old). I miss all the baby moments…I do not miss the insecurity of newbornity, the out of whack hormones, the disconnected lost feeling, or the foggy brain. This too shall pass Amanda! So much quicker than you know. Thanks for sharing your horror stories from the field – we all have them, but many of us are too scared to admit the fuck ups, and we shove them down deep inside to let them fester like dirty secrets do until our child is old enough to get a mock horrified laugh out of it over family dinner one day.

    Reply
  95. Allie

    When my little one, now nearly 10 weeks old, was about 5 days old she fell off my bed. I picked her up from her bassinet, scooted over what I thought was far enough, and laid her next to me. On the outside of the bed. I know… Stupid.

    She kicked my leg with her tiny little legs, which were so much stronger than I have her credit for. Her momentum threw her to her side and right off the edge of the bed onto the hardwood floor. She missed the power strip by an inch. She landed mostly on her hands and knees with a good think on her head. I made an inhuman noise, my partner came flying out of a dead sleep, and she wailed for 15 seconds and then just wanted to eat while I sobbed and tried not to puke from fear and self-loathing. I put a bit of ice on her head though I couldn’t see a mark, and I was convinced she’d have a concussion. She, of course, was and is perfectly fine and is still very strong. I still hear the sound of her hitting the floor almost every time I pick her up.

    Man, what a weight is lifted telling that story. I can’t tell you guys how hard I cried when I found out even Amanda Fucking Palmer’s kid hit the floor once – and so many other people’s too.

    Reply
  96. Karly

    Ok confession time…when my baby was small i accidentally drove with her in her carseat unbuckled! It was an honest mistake…you know how it goes when you’re out running errands and youre dragging them around in a carseat and they’re sick of being buckled down so you unbuckle them and swear you’ll remember to buckle them back up but they’re asleep under a blanket when you get in the car and you forget. This happened on more than one occassion (at least 3 times) and each time i was mortified and felt i should turn myself into the police. Funny enough the only thing that calmed me down was knowing she was perfectly fine (at least she didn’t die, right?).

    Perhaps the most heart breaking “i cant stop reliving it in my mind” moment was when she was still quite small and i layed her in her bassinet so i could read a story next to her. It was a medium sized boardbook but heavy enough that when it slipped from my fingers and landed square on my baby’s nose she screamed bloody murder. I freaked out even more than her and my boyfriend had to calm us both down. And just when we were calmed down i noticed the blood…exactly one drop on the tip of her nose where the book scraped her and i lost it. Not only did i hurt my baby and made her cry i actually drew blood!!! She was fine of course but i felt like i mutilated my baby…

    Thanks so much for sharing your story…it makes me feel less alone…i saw you debut this song at Shakaroo and it made me laugh and cry…it was just a little too close to home…your baby is beautiful btw.

    Reply
  97. Sarah O'Brien

    This is brilliant, Amanda!
    And yes, so been there! Have three, all survived so far, now 12, 10, 7. I take great comfort in the fact that every parent I’ve talked to knows *exactly* what I mean when I describe “that dropped watermelon sound when their heads hit the ground”! So many incidents… Dropped the boot lid of my car on 3-month-old first child’s head… Checked in on 9-month-old second child at night to see a little blood on his lip, it was late on a Saturday night and decided no way was I taking him to Emergency, woke in the morning to a dinner-plate sized pool of blood!!! He’d bitten through his tongue!

    This made me laugh and cry. I so clearly remember these early days, the anxieties and self-doubt. You are doing an amazing job, and you are so clearly a wonderful mother.

    Reply
  98. Vicki Kyriakakis

    Dear Amanda. Thank you so much for writing this song. Here is my story.

    You and I were pregnant at roughly the same time. My daughter Lexi was born a week early in late August last year. So I’ve followed you’re posts on pregnancy and motherhood closely. (Particularly as I am a massive fan of your art and – as an aspiring writer – a huge fan of Neil’s. At a signing in Melbourne Australia once I manically asked him if I could just borrow his brain for a while. He graciously said as long as I gave it back. I walked away feeing equal parts mortified at myself and delighted by the idea that I really could maybe borrow Neil’s brain).

    Anyway, this morning I put Lexi on our bed and went for a ‘quick pee’. Read a pee and a scroll through Facebook. I had surrounded her with pillows so I thought she was safe. Well yeh except she can now climb over pillows so moments after I left her I heard a thump and a wail. She’d fallen off the bed FACE FIRST.

    She seems ok (apart from sporting a head cold I have given her) so I think we had a lucky escape but Jesus Christ. I felt like the worst mother in the world!

    I’ve also felt lots of grief over the world I’ve brought her into. And more than once changed her nappy in the boot of the car.

    All of which is to say, if we are ever in the same city and happen into the same pub, I’d love to buy you a wine. You feel like a kindred spirit.

    Thanks for helping the universe birth this song. Xx

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  99. grind

    I work in retail. we aren’t looking to catch moms who steal chapstick by accident. And @billh I have the strange shaped balding head due to falling. it’s not that bad..life is good. :-)

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  100. Alice Janke Tyson

    You’re doing great. It’s kind of the rules that babies learn to roll when you’ve got them somewhere high. Also they finally work out crawling when you’ve left the toolbox on the floor. There is nothing quite like coming back from the loo to find the baby with a hammer or a saw. (Mine are still alive to. For 7 years and 3 years… I should point this out!)

    Reply
    • Lis_P

      Well, it’s called “motivation”. Why would they want to crawl when all they can reach are the same old toys? A toolbox though, or the open dishwasher? Hell yeah, THAT’S the interesting stuff!

      Reply
  101. Tami

    Amanda, I’m looking forward to the years ahead! Your confessions made me want to share a questionable thing my parents only recently told me about. Apparently, before I was 2, my mother couldn’t open child-safe bottles, so my dad opened all of the bottles in the apartment for her, and left them out loosened like that. Well I found one of these and drank a whole bottle of cough syrup and stayed awake for 3 days; it was my very first robo-trip. I was stunned to learn this, thinking “oh my god, they were younger than me NOW when they had me.” I ended up alright, of course: I became a musician! Haha. Anyway, I’m sure whatever happens will make your child more interesting, strong, amazing, and other positive words! You are loving and wonderful and I love your music. Best wishes!

    Reply
  102. Mike Linnett

    There was a time when the boy was somewhere between 2 and 3 where me and the ex thought the local hospital was going to report us to the parent police.
    Within what felt like a few weeks we had the running into the picture frame (big ol glass splinter in the hip), the falling out of bed (dislocated shoulder, busted collarbone), the “money went in my mouth” incident, the time he ran full tilt into the washing line (using his head as a brake). Definitely the most guilt-inducing was when he was being a bit awkward about getting his shoes on so we could go to the zoo, so I was playfully (for real, we were all laughing) pulling his arms over his head while mummy took care of the business end. Then there was a pop and no more laughing and tears and a dislocated elbow :-/
    I was about ready to just quit. Like for fucks sake, I’d literally just pulled his arm out of its socket. Zoo trip cancelled, A+E trip instead, lots of waiting, a quick popping it back in, and bags of reassurance that it’s easy to do, happens quite a lot, etc

    Reply
  103. Lisa

    Amanda thank you. I love this song and I adore you and your heart. So… Small confession but heck, I’m only 2 months in with my baby Griffin so who knows what tomorrow will bring. But, just yesterday, I went to check to see if he had pee’d in his diaper. These days, when I check for wetness, I have come to just stick a finger in there and you know, feel around a bit. But, I was in a bit of a rush and when I stuck my finger in and pressed down on what I thought was the diaper part, I suddenly realized with a sinking feeling that it was instead his very sensitive skin down there. He and I seemed to both realize at the same time, as we both looked at each other in shock. And then, his little face scrunched up and the wailing began and crescendo’d with fervor. I quickly opened up his diaper to find that I had even pitched and nicked part of his precious skin with my fingernail! I admit there was even a tiny bit of blood. I was horrified. He was horrified. And that cry!! It was like he KNEW I had done it and cried as though I had done it on purpose. So pitiful. So loud. Oh the guilt. I kept saying to him, yes I did that, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!

    Reply
  104. Silver

    When she was just a couple of months old, my daughter ended up on the car floor with her car-seat over her because I had forgot to secure it. Some time later, she put her hand on a hot iron — still has the scar from that one. And years later, because I always let my kids do what they want, she tumbled head-first from a 1,5 m high wall. She’s still alive, and, somehow, I managed not to get my son hurt as much. (Though I surely did not try any harder!)

    What I am more sorry about than these physical injuries, however, is how I occasionally treat them when I am tired or angry. I think these leave worse scars, to be honest. But that’s something you may not need to worry about for a while longer!

    Reply
    • Redd Hynes

      I worry about that too, the part of how I treat my son when I’m too tired, too impatient, too angry. I don’t say terrible things, but I still worry. You are not alone!

      Reply
    • ThatLoudAmerican

      I go through phases where I’m just an ass-hole in the morning, having not slept enough or eaten enough or felt valued enough. But you know what? I sit down and tell them I’m sorry. I tell them why I am feeling the way that I am (sad, sleepy, hungry) and then I say I’m going to try to do better. I try to demonstrate mindfulness and I try to live it to (hard!). But it does seem to work. We all use this language of recognizing when we’ve made a bad choice in behavior and why. We say we are sorry and we try to better. Except the 3yr-old. He’s just a dick ;) Hang in there. We are all just doing the best we can in the moment!

      Reply
  105. Kaalyn

    Oh, the irony this song posted today. Of course like most I smiled and felt sad – and the trillion shades of everything else in the gradient. My mother and I (who aren’t particularly close) just had an in depth conversation that included how upset and sorry and guilty she feels for not knowing I was being severely, severely abused as a child. There’s absolutely ZERO way she could have known and I’ve always felt it deeply important that she know that, but I know it’ll never sink in fully — bc nothing can compare to a mother’s guilt or sense of responsibility or helplessness. I almost even felt like sharing this quirky tale of our human and motherly failures with her. …how we’re all doing the best we can but things go wrong and things get confused and convoluted and exhausting and it’s so hard to find calm or order half the time. And EVERYONE has a tale or fifty about things they’d rather not admit to the world. So, this raw honestly is AFP through and through, and I’m pretty darn certain that you’re about to become that parent-guilt receptacle you’re foreshadowing. And I do hope it brings you and us all some levity. Soon you could have your own exhibit of full of parent confessions. You can finally call it “Not my finest moment, apparently.”
    But then on the other side of all this laughing and silliness there was the heavy weight on my chest in listening because… I just lost my baby girl who was born too soon to hang in and her brother is trying but it’s…unlikely. So, for me it’s.. ‘at least, the babies will likely die’. ….but ‘at least, the babies won’t be in pain’. Yet, even so, there’s no way to not feel some kind of guilt every minute of every day that my eyes aren’t watching and glued on him; cherishing every single breath. Yet we all need sleep, the human body can’t panic and worry that much and not need to restore itself now and again, annnnnnd the heart can’t grieve the loss of one while staring at another and be expected to not go insane. Though the situations are very very different, the kind of humanity in this little song — and the fact I as a listener can have objectivity and fault you not in the least for any one of these things — reminds me that no one would likely fault me for needing a pause sometimes. A shower. For needing a breather. For not always being able to be there and be strong. To not kill myself over not being able to save my boy, or for my body not able to hold onto them both just a liiiiiittle longer. We’re all doing the BEST we can…..and while most of us of us would die to save our kids if the opportunity presented itself, there are plenty of other parents who take long pauses before naming theirs, and others who don’t even know their names. We’re doing alright.
    Sigh… So, I’m sorry for the dump…but on a song about babies, pretty sure my little heart couldn’t hold back the damn today. It’s been a very very long month. And this just…this did a lot for my spirit. And I’m so glad I listened since I’ll admit my very fragile heart didn’t know if I could at first glance. Thank you, Amanda — for always always always seeking to be so transparent. Your vulnerability and authenticity is a gem that makes so much of the world breathe a little easier and know that we’re all doing pretty darn okay :) I’m so happy for you and Neil and Ash :)
    <33

    Reply
      • Kaalyn

        Thank you so sweetly for this :) For reading the long message at all – but most of all taking a second to say something comforting. This means a lot. It’s always the little things that make the biggest difference.

        Reply
    • Katt

      Kaalyn, I wish I could wrap my arms around you and say “It’s okay to fall apart for a bit, I’ll hold the pieces together for you.” You are amazing for being able to articulate what you are going through. I went through loss after loss and I remember how alone in the world I felt and how impossible it seemed to get anyone to see me. I see you. Sending you love and hope and hugs. <3

      Reply
      • Kaalyn

        Oh, I cannot express how much this made me warm in my heart. And that’s everything to me right now. I’m sorry it took me awhile to respond; things are still stressful and tough over here. (Baby boy *is* still barely hanging in but there’s no way to know for *certain* that he’ll definitely pass on soon, so making the decision to let him do so now and suffer no more doesn’t feel as humane when there actually is the tiniestttt of chances he could in fact hold out. It’s just like, 98.5% unlikely. Sighhhh.) So, because I don’t have many friends, and haven’t been able to let many people in to my world for other reasons, this warmth and love from you guys has supplied a much need rejuvenation. And oddly, even though they’re just “comments from strangers who don’t know me” and many might think that’s somehow meaningless or insignificant, I actually think the complete opposite. So, I can’t thank you enough for that. You didn’t have to read all this and you certainly didn’t have to respond. You could’ve just passed along and continued on with your day. But you didn’t. You felt something real and spent some time thinking about me and my boy, and passed on little girl. And that’s more valuable to me than I think you could have ever known or anticipated as you did so. Truly, thank you. *gratefully accepts this hugs and love*

        Reply
        • Katt

          You are a lovely person and I genuinely wish that I lived nearby and we could meet for a pot of tea and a long chat. I can hear between the words you write just how exquisitely painful that 98.5% is. Sending you more love and an invitation to contact me anytime if you would like a shoulder and a listening ear. Sometimes strangers are the most useful listeners. <3

          Reply
  106. Julie

    Ah, Amanda, this is basically the essence of parenthood and made me tear up instantly. ❤️ One always thinks that parents are some kind of über-being while they’re just very tired, kind of timeless (as in having not time for whatever) humans and we’re ALL just kind of wing it. Improvisation FTW and all ;)

    I have two-and-a-half year old twin boys and what a ride it still is. There is always something going on (even though it gets better. Every month it gets better, I promise!). My baddest thing was leaving a fresh cup of cappuccino on the table. In reach of the children. Just for a second! Which was totally long enough for Cub to grab it, turn it over and pour the reeeeeeaally hot beverage right over himself. I was shell-shocked for a milisecond, then grabbed him and put him under the shower, tearing his clothes off. I was a wreck and so blaming myself. Luckily, nothing more than a slightly red skin happened, no burns. Phew.
    Oh no, that wasn’t the worst. That was when I left the boys with their cousins (who are a few years older than they) in the same room with a burning fireplace (no open fire, closed… What’s the word? You know, a metal thing with glass door one sometimes has in a living room). I thought they were old enough to keep an eye on them and keep them away from the fire. They weren’t. Now, THAT was an evil burn on Cub’s hand. My poor baby. No scar left, fortunately.
    And yeah, they always start to move when you least expect it. I think every baby falls down somewhere sometimes. There’s a reason why they are this flexible…

    Honestly, I adore you for how much you do with Ash, traveling, recording, visiting people. There are so many parents closing themselves in out of fear that SOMETHING might happen or because they feel it’s just too much effort. But there’s a line from Finding Nemo I so love, because it reminds me not to close myself in: “You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him! That wouldn’t be much fun for little Harpo.”

    Reply
  107. RebelMissChaos

    I don’t have a baby but I have a dog and listening to the song I had to think about one specific situation.
    I forgot her in front of the grocery store next door. She was attached there for hours until she finally managed to free herself and annoyed people to let her inside our house and waited in front of my appartment door until the neighbors rang the bell for her. I felt sooo bad!!! But she wasn’t even mad at me she was just happy to be home again.

    Reply
  108. Zamorra Rodriguez

    I left my daughter with my sisters so i could go to college for the day.When i came home she was crying her head off whenever she moved and was like that for hours and i couldn’t figure out why until my sister finally told me she had fallen off the bed. She had fallen and broken her arm. =/

    Reply
  109. Sunniva H

    I don’t know if this counts (I’m not a parent) but at 19 I was working in a nursery (kindergarten/barnehage) and was changing a baby’s diaper, and another child came in with her mother, and I put my head around the door frame to greet them, and the baby I had at the changing table crawled over the edge of it and fell on his head… and I was so awkward and frazzled and forgetful that I didn’t tell his parents it had happened so they could check out he was ok. That was 7 years ago and sometimes I get pangs of guilt that he got some lasting damage and that it could all have been prevented if I had done my duty and informed his parents of what had happened. I am so sorry.

    Reply
  110. Sarah Fuller

    I love this :-) so many parenting fuck ups i’ve erases many from memory…. do vividly remember finding an almost chewed nighttime flu tabled in my son’s mouth when he was 1…

    Reply
  111. Annika

    I’m not a mother, but an older sister. Me and my three brothers used to wrestle a lot – and it usually got quite violent (but in a sibling-love kinda way). I remember my dad told us not to wrestle in the bunk bed, because we could fall from it, and I was the oldest so I was kinda in charge of my younger brothers. Of course we wrestled in the bunk bed. I remember my youngest brother, Axel, falling in slow motion, right down on his metal babyscooter. He landed on his back on one of the sharpest edges on it. I was maybe 11, he was maybe 2. I was horrified, thought he must have a broken back. My dad rushed in, furious with fear, scooped him up and into the bathroom to check him. He was pretty fine, just got a pretty gnarly wound from that sharp metal edge, and crying and crying and crying. I felt so bad, and I still think about it and get choked up, 16 years later. I also, by accident, while wrestling, made my other brother run straight into a couch arm-thing and bite THROUGH his lip. Blood everywhere. I was a good sister but those mistakes still haunt me, even though my brothers don’t even remember them.

    Reply
  112. Schnouki

    One thing I’ve learned after my baby son fell from the changing table: when you tell about that, all parents will also tell you about their fuck-ups. Friends, family, even my boss… Yep, we all did this.
    The kid is now perfectly OK (he was about 5 or 6 months when this happened, he’ll turn 1 in a few days), he can almost walk, a few days ago he managed to stand up in his high chair, but god it’s still scary when I remember him falling from that table…

    Thanks for this song Amanda. You’re doing fine with the baby, and he looks adorable :)

    Reply
  113. Cris Clucas

    I loved this so much and want to thank you for putting into words how hard parenting can be. Totally related in every way and my baby is 17.5 years. All the best Amanda from Canberra Australia. xx

    Reply
  114. ProfessorCake

    My first baby tossed herself backwards in a fit of rage and hunger out of my arms onto a hardwood floor. My second baby threw herself out of the carseat in a fit of boredom with how long it was taking me to buckle her in. My third has yet to visit the local emergency room in any kind of accident capacity, but I am sure it is only a moment or two away. They keep telling me that babies are built to bounce, even with the side eye you get in ER.

    Reply
  115. Chris Albery-Jones

    Oh wow. This song is one of the bravest things I’ve ever heard. My daughter is 7 so it’s a while since she was this small but I remember how terrifying it was (and still is!) that someone (the government? the parent fraud police?) would turn around and say “you are a terrible parent, we are taking your child away”. But this song tells the truth – we all fuck things up – my daughter fell on the floor off the sofa when she was a few months old and I spent hours on the phone to the doctors to make sure she was ok – it was terrifying, but I think if there any parent tells you they didn’t screw up in some way like this, they are basically lying. But no one talks about it! Except now you did! LOVE this <3<3<3

    Reply
    • Elisa

      I so agree. Most people won’t tell you but my friends and I have exchanged our horror experiences. From babies falling down stairs head first to falling from a buggy on the tram tracks (forgot to strap baby in buggy

      Reply
  116. sarahsmash

    Once I was breastfeeding my 1-ish month old and my husband had brought me a burrito (yay!). I took a bite and rained rice and beans down on my poor little girl. I was brushing all the food off her when I noticed something in her mouth–a piece of cilantro-lime rice–in my sweet perfect new baby’s mouth. I freaked out (She’s too young for solids! What if she chokes?!?!?), fished it out of her mouth and started crying. (Hormones?) It’s funny now, but I was so horrified at the time over something so silly and strange. I don’t even know if anyone will understand this. Even when I laugh about it now, there’s still part of me that feels bad about it. Oh man..being a mom is a trip.

    She has fallen off the couch a few times, hit her head on the wall while we walked down the hallway…

    I’ve also accidentally stolen things from the grocery store in a similar manner. Except mine was like 4 boxes of crackers that had wedged themselves under her car seat. I went back to pay for them later that night (shameful confession: mostly because my local police department posts surveillance photos of shoplifters on their facebook page and I couldn’t bear the thought of being in one of those pics.) I think they thought I was crazy when I was trying to explain how I missed that many things in the cart and I just kept saying “and then my baby started crying!” as if that was the answer.

    And there’s so many things to worry about. And I am a champion worrier. And I worry about worrying. And then I wonder if that means I worry too much. But look at the world! How could I not? It’s easier to focus on my little part of the world, at least for now. And my now 10-month-old is doing fine, growing by leaps and bounds. And it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

    But, oh man, Amanda. I cried and laughed and cried so many times listening/reading this. I so so get it. So. Much.

    Reply
  117. Sarah Clinkscales

    I am a mother of two. When mine were small. (2 years apart). I had a dentist appointment for the replacement of my fake front tooth. By some miracle it was just me and my infant son. He was nursing of course. So I never left him but a friend offered to keep his older brother during my appointment. I arrived at the dentist office. Went in. Waited about 10 minutes. Sat down in the dentist chair. He’s an old college friend. We chatted while he removed my front tooth. Then he asked me how the boys were. OM MY GOD! THE BABY! THE BABY’S STILL IN THE CAR! I jumped out of the chair and ran for my car. He was crying so hard he had turned his car seat over. I sat with him, cradled in my arms, for at least 15 minutes. Both of us sobbing. HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY CHILD FOR 15 MINUTES??? It was all I could do not to drive away. If I was not toothless at that moment, I believe that I would have. You read about this. Hear about this. And wonder how people can do this. Well. It happened to me. Exhaustion was the main reason. The lack of his bubbling brook of his older brother. The infant was sleeping when I parked. Still. I will never forgive myself. To this day. The receptionist wanted to report me. Thank goodness her boss is my friend. Thank goodness my son was alive. He’s 12 now. My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Beautiful boy. I never spoken of this before. I feel better. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      I know it’s been two years since you wrote this, but I wanted to say thank you! I had a similar incident a few days ago where I left my daughter for 10 or 15 minutes without realizing as well. I DID get reported, and the woman from child services laughed it off and told me it was silly she even had to come see me. I certainly didn’t sleep the night before the meeting, though! And the whole thing is haunting me day and night. We are all human and make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we love our babies any less <3 Thank you, Sarah!

      Reply
  118. Steffi Leube

    So true. Love it, had to cry and laugh and smile.
    My girl fell off the changing place once, too. It was the worst moment of my
    life. We had to stay in the hospital for one night just to be sure and
    that didn`t improve how much a failure I felt I was. Such things happen,
    I suppose. And thankfully babys don`t die that easy. You`re a great mom, I`m sure and motherhood suits you. You have created so many beautiful art already.
    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  119. Rain Allen

    So many moments with my 5 month old. My boyfriend fell asleep with the baby on his chest (he was maybe 3 weeks old) and started to roll to his side in his sleep…the side facing the edge of the bed. He somehow woke up in time to catch baby by his arm before he hit the tile,but banged his head on the side of our bed frame. I’ve gone on 4 hour road trips leaving diapers or the pumped milk sitting on my kitchen counter. I’ve gone out for a smoke and forgot the monitor and walked inside to a screaming baby. His 15 month old cousin has stepped on him, sat on his head, and cut his head with a pair of scissors he found. The dog has stepped on him. My poor baby boy just doesn’t care about any of it any more.

    Reply
  120. Gabriella Vagnoli

    Confession 1: I dropped my second baby because my first son was falling. So I basically was going to sacrifice the second to save the first. Kinda like a Sophie’s choice situation right? Not really, the toddler was just falling off a chair and would have been fine while I dropped a 3 month old to the ground.

    Confession 2: I thought I left my son at the store. I freaked out. My husband had taken him out of the car without my knowledge. I was so sure I had left him at the store. I cried for an hour after finding out the truth.

    If you find you are crying a lot and having feelings of inadequacy all the time please seek help. Post partum depression is a real thing and not to be taken lightly. It is not something you have to “struggle through” to be a “good mum”

    Reply
  121. Anna Miller

    I’ve had two major slow motion baby falling moments. The first involved my 7 month old son managing to twist of out of my arms and dive head first onto our kitchen slate tiles. It was horrific I was certain he’d cracked his skull with that one. The second was when Andrew (baby’s name) managed to climb halfway up the stairs because I had left the stair Gate open. He was standing waving to me and I did the worst thing possible. I panicked, then he panicked and fell in slow motion. I was certain that this time I wasn’t going to beat lucky as last time but he survived unscathed apart from a rather nasty looking black eye.
    Amanda, thank you so much for writing this song. I am really struggling with motherhood just now. I have some health issues that make it harder to manage than it already is and I feel that it isn’t fair on my baby to have had him. I feel I fail him daily even if he is my joy in this life.
    Listening to your snapshot of motherhood reminded me that I am not alone and that we all struggle because being a parent is the hardest thing we will ever do.
    p.s. I cried too

    Reply
  122. The Cemetery Dreamer

    I’m not a mother and I’m unlikely to become one. I have however spent more time around babies and toddlers than I ever thought I would since meeting my boyfriend and his giant family – 3 babies born since I met him, and another 3 on the way!

    I’ve got pain in my back this week and every twinge seems to take me back to the moment I fell down the stairs carrying a toddler. We had one of his sisters staying with us and her youngest was barely 2. When she wanted to go downstairs she used to sit at the top and wait for a passing adult, then stretch her arms up to be carried down. We used to count the steps as we went down to help her learn numbers. I got to step 6 on the bend and then the combination of no carpet and fluffy socks saw my feet slide out from under me. Next thing I knew I was lying in the hall, having somehow shifted her from my hip to my chest. I was holding her so tight one of my buttons had left a red mark on her forehead. That red mark and her silently shocked face will haunt me forever. Then her mum came running and we both started to cry. One small red mark that faded in minutes and she was fine. I was bruised and had a huge scab forming on my back where my bra had dug in as I bumped down every step, but mostly I was in shock. I’m still not sure if I was more shocked that I had fallen or that I had managed to cradle her – having previously believed that I was entirely devoid of natural maternal instincts. I cried quietly for hours while my boyfriend slept. I didn’t kill the baby. A week later we were ‘watching her’ while she played in the garden with her brother and the seesaw tipped up knocking out one of her teeth… Despite the dentists insistence her adult tooth would grew through black because of the nerve damage it is fine and at 5 she has a perfect smile. We didn’t kill the baby.

    Somehow none of this has relieved my deep gut wrenching terror of children and accidently hurting them. His other sister moved in with us when her little one was 10 months old and stayed until she was nearly 3. I spent the entire time trying to avoid being left alone in the room with her in case she got hurt. Cooking was my greatest dread – hot appliance in open plan kitchen plus toddler… I would sneak downstairs at 10pm after they went to bed to make my dinner much of the time. What if that instinct I didn’t know I had failed to work a second time?

    Reply
  123. Jennifer

    This song is beautiful!
    A few weeks ago, my 9mo old girl rolled off the bed when I was out of the room. I came running when I heard the THUD – I found her face-planted on hardwood, crying her head off. It scared the s**t out of me! Mom-guilt is horrid… I cried and thought I must be the worst mother ever. But I’ve learned that every mom has a story like this! Surround yourself with this knowledge that you are not alone. The best thing we can do is learn and move forward. And always strap them in… trust me.

    Reply
  124. Redd Hynes

    This is so beautiful. I cried, it was hard not to.
    I have an almost 10 year old son named Ash. I’ve suffered from mental illness my whole life and always worried, hell I still worry, that I shouldn’t have had a child. From day one, I always told myself at the end of the day, no matter how beaten I felt, how much of a failure, Ash didn’t die, I did a good job. So I must admit that I laughed out loud when you got to that part.
    My Ash has fallen as a baby, out of bed (sleeping with us! Gasp!), off of chairs and couches. Did he die? Nope. He grew up to be so kind, gentle and an artist. I couldn’t have done as shitty as a job as I was and am convinced that I’m doing, if he has turned out so well. He isn’t perfect, but I haven’t fucked him up mentally or had him die on my watch yet, so I have to be doing something right.
    (Haven’t had coffee yet, so sorry not sorry about this mess)

    Reply
  125. Jennifer Darlington

    One of my twins, Hayleigh, fell off a chair onto her head when she was about the same age as Ash, she is now 15.5 (freshman in high school)and has had straight As since 6th grade, won the two highest humanitarian awards the school gives out last year, has been on student council since 6th grade, AND is super sarcastic, loves Dr Who and always has her nose in a book…unless her eyes are glued to her phone :)

    She turned out fine! If like to think the fall jiggled something loose and that maybe, just maybe made her who she is today (ha! That’s a lie I still feel guilty about it!)

    Now I feel bad because I mentioned she is a twin and have said nothing about the other, Hannah, she is a sweetheart! She would give you anything she owns if you told her you loved it (of course she tends to think other people will do this if she says she loves something of theirs!) she loves animals, and reading and has had a rough time making friends until this year because she is SUPER outgoing. Not everyone likes that, but she doesn’t mind!

    Now I feel even more guilty because I didn’t even mention my son ( but there wasn’t a pause like the lady in the song I just forgot to mention him until now because it wasn’t really relevant until now because my initial short comment was supposed to be about my one daughter falling off the chair…) Anyway, he is 14.5 (those .5s are important when they get older…remember that) he is a great thinker, asks crazy tough philosophical questions (since old enough to talk) he makes up great stories and illustrates them, his name is Sabastian.

    Wow that went waaaay longer than planned, now I’m worried there was a space limit on this comment thingy and I will have wrote all this out on my phone for nothing!

    Loved the pics! The best baby mom advice I can give is DEEP BREATHES! Love ya!

    Reply
  126. Simone

    dear amanda, quick note between breastfeeding and diaper change: thanks for this phantastic new THING! i love it!
    here three of my bad baby stories: as a baby my daughter fell into the actually not existing gap between her bed and my bed (floor was slippery and bed slid away) while sleeping, another time i left her in the car together with the car keys (old car, so it was locked and could only be opened with a second key, which my dad had to bring from not so near by. in the meantime, like half an hour, i tried to entertain her to not make her notice anything’s wrong – which of cause failed), and once i sat fire to our kitchen while making a diaper having switched on the wrong hot plate (and yes! i blame that to maternal amnesia! ;p)
    now for something completely different: baby karl, who is 2 weeks older than baby ash, says hello! please come to your favorite german city cologne again soon!! ;)

    Reply
  127. Juliest

    My daughter was one, and she and I were heading to my aunt and uncle’s lake camp for a family get together. I checked and double-checked google maps, and thought I had a good shortcut. I went in completely the wrong direction, and tacked an extra hour and a half on to our short trip.

    My sweet baby girl was becoming restless and frustrated – I was hoping she would have a nap on the drive because she really did need one, but she stayed wide awake. And then she started to cry. And I consoled her, and tensed, and drove. I was determined to get to this gathering. I wanted to see my family, I wanted my family to see my girl. And then she started to scream, and my whole body went rigid like I’d poked a screwdriver into an outlet.

    She had never traveled well as an infant, and we travel frequently. Me and my husband in the front, and usually no way to get in the back to drive with her, because of luggage (though I DID unbuckle and climb back once when there was less luggage, and no shoulder on the highway to pull over on to). I often sat sobbing in the front seat, longing to get back there, or for us to stop for a second, third, fourth, fifth time. But my husband -as new to babies as I was- thought CIO was good, and that stopping any more often than we did would teach our infant wrong. Even seeing my agonized tears, he didn’t fully understand the pain this caused me, and my raggedly tired, somewhat broken mind.

    That day she wasn’t hungry, or thirsty, or hot. Her diaper was clean, she was just tired. So she kept screaming, and I kept driving. I tried consoling, I apologized, I cried with her, but I kept driving. Her pitch changed to desperate.

    And then I screamed at her. I didn’t use words, but my language was crystal clear, and I heard myself fling every ounce of my pent-up sadness, anger, frustration, and contempt in one long, animal roar; At my beautiful, smart, wonderful, trusting, affectionate baby girl. My one and only. And now I had terrified her. And I was still driving, and I sobbed along with her, feeling guilt, and self-hate, and a sick, vile sense of self-satisfaction.

    She wailed, and we sobbed, until she fell asleep. And I kept driving. And I told no one. No one at the get-together had any idea of our harrowing journey through mini hell where Mumma turned into the devil. They only knew I went the wrong way, and we laughed about it. I didn’t even tell my husband later that night. No one ever knew. Looking back at the pictures of that day, you’d never know what I’d put us through to get there.

    Motherhood is hard. You’re certainly not alone.

    Reply
    • Lis_P

      I think nobody, not even the most affectionate fathers, can empathise with the way our babies’ crying will travel through every nerve in our bodies like a stream of red hot lava and put our mind out of working mode in a matter of minutes. It’s insane. There are no words, really.

      Reply
  128. luci_fer

    Lovely. Made me cry and I don’t even HAVE a kid. (I’m… still deciding if I want one at all. Which is kind of difficult as partner wants me to produce baby, like, YESTERDAY. He’s a bit older and broodier. There’s no pressure from him, apart from the pressure of him wanting it, y’know? I’m kind of waiting for when my body and mind align and say – yes! baby! now! but I dunno if it’ll ever happen)

    I think publix and and chapstick go together really well, too! (I don’t really ‘know’ US stores, aside from Walmart, but Safeway was also a UK supermarket chain at some point. Before it became Morrisons. So it’s also recognisable across the pond) But then again, pfft! If people don’t recognise it, let them google it to see what it means. They can work for it ¬.¬ (also I think the context makes sense of it).

    I was rushed to hospital a lot as a toddler, as I used to unfailingly eat the poisonous plants in the garden. My friend said she left her first born on the sofa while she was doing washing up, and he fell off and hit his head. She was terrified.

    Not a baby, but hey, our PM left his child in a pub and they only realized when they got home. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    Reply
  129. Lia Jepson

    I am loving the space for writing off the guilt. I have alot of those guilty stories but one instance that is more hilarious than anything in which I lost my one year old toddler in the house, only for couple of minutes, only to realise she had toddled her way into the understairs cupboard to play with the dried dog food. That stuff was like crack to her. And I had shut her in. I still remember my 4 year old burst into tears when we let her out as she actually thought we had lost her. Bless her heart. I on the other hand couldn’t stop inappropriately laughing which just resulted in my 4 yr old getting very cross at me and telling me I was a naughty mummy. The 1 year old was totally un-phased by the whole thing. I’ll leave the details of the guilt stories out but there have been a few emergency room visits due to cracked heads. There will always be a “I should have been watching” moment/s but the majority of us are doing and giving all that we have. If we all got out of the guilt race I’m sure parenting would be an even more beautiful thing than it already is .

    Reply
  130. vocabulauren

    My almost one-year-old rolled off the bed while we were sleeping a few months back. It was the most horrifying feeling in my whole life. I too, spend the next day examining her for a concussion or various broken bones. Also: grocery shopping will be much easier once he can sit unassisted and can sit in the designated baby area. You could always try a baby carrier? My daughter used to be covered in groceries too. The glares she gave me were hilarious. It gets easier. Keep on keeping on. <3

    Reply
  131. Jessica V

    My kid crawled off the bed at 7months, and I can still hear the sound when she hit the concrete floor face first. She’s now five. I suspect I’ll hear it for the rest of my days. She was fine, had a nice fat lip for the rest of the day but that was all. To make it even better, it happened on my birthday. Right before our first parents night out without baby.
    I also became an accidental shoplifter, because babies are overwhelming and and demanding and sleep deprivation doesn’t help. I’m happy to say, the shoplifting stopped once the kid started communicating better ;)

    Reply
  132. Sarah Maris

    I have a one year old, and a two year old…. Because we wanted to have our children close in age… Or we’re INSANE… Or both… Whatever. Life was nuts and exhausting and overwhelming BEFORE Jack got diagnosed with leukemia in September, and since then it’s just been this blur that we are trudging, soldiering through – all the while laughing at more and more morbid and inappropriate things. We’ve been transplanted from our home in Whitehorse to the Ronald McDonald house on the property of the Children’s hospital in Vancouver. We’ve lived here for six months, we’ve got three-ish more to go. We have to buy groceries every day because we share a fridge with so many other people and there’s not a lot of room to store things – I inadvertently steal a lot of produce these days – and Jack has become an accessory so that’s even worse I think. At least you don’t have Ash committing your Theft Under $5000 on your behalf! Most days while we’re pushing the boys through the grocery store, Jack decides there’s something that he needs to have now…. And before all of this I would have been a reasonable mom and said’ “no” and kept moving, but now it’s like “Christ, you’re a cancer patient, I’ll give you anything if there’s an off chance you’ll eat it.” So I pass him the apple of the carrot or the banana or whatever as we make our way through the store fully intending to pay for it on the way out…. Hardly. Ever. Happens. At least half the time I end up at “home” pull him out of the stroller to find some limp vegetable stuck to his butt that ends up in the bin…. Second confession… I don’t ever feel all that guilty.
    They’ve both been dropped (though not by me – yet – but that’s only because I’m actually a super hero under this exhausted, dishevelled mother disguise.)
    They’ve both lay in bed screaming at night while I’ve cried tears of frustration and anger and exhaustion and cursed them under my breath.
    Oh and the other day, I found Sawyer teething on a bottle of hand sanitizer. The lid was closed still, wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t happened to look over at that particular moment.
    But at least they haven’t died!
    Motherhood is a trip.
    Thanks for writing this Amanda xo

    Reply
    • MarshmellowTerrorist

      Your exhausted, disheveled mother disguise is beautiful and you are kickin ass, lady. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise <3

      Reply
  133. RiverVox

    A friend of mine once pushed his son in the stroller onto a subway car, then got stopped by a train official on the platform, the door closed and the train left with the baby on it. My friend jumped onto the tracks and started running down the tunnel after the train, somehow avoiding being electrocuted by the third rail. He was rescued. The train went to the next station, baby and father were reunited. (You may remember this Amanda, it was about 2002 in Cambridge, between Harvard & Central I think.)

    Reply
  134. Heather Minter

    This song came along at a perfect moment. My kids are older (8, 6, 6) but I have many, many stories of fucking up and almost killing them. I was JUST telling them this morning about how their abuela saved Zoe’s life by bringing her tea and found her stuck between the mattress and bed rail (when she should have been in a crib but we didn’t have one and thought she was secure and we were having sex which we hardly got to do because I was living with his parents and helping them run a restaurant because mothers gotta do and he had Maya back at home). But that was seven years ago (they’ll be seven this year). And now I still fuck up. But as we say in massage school “Someone got a massage and no one died.” But today someone did die. My friend’s husband had a heart attack. And the hospital had sent her home because he was stable so she wasn’t even there and it’s been a year since her other friend’s husband (my neighbor) died from falling down the stairs. So when we say “the baby didn’t die” it’s a real fucking mircle and amazing. You sing out what we’re all feeling and the rawness of being human. Thank you. I needed this. And because one can not say this enough to someone, “You are doing an excellent job. I love you.”

    Reply
  135. Molly

    After having a c-section and still being in the hospital, I was left in my room alone with my son for the very first time. (They don’t let you stay with your baby alone after a c-section until you can get out of bed yourself.) I was sitting in a chair and rearranging my new baby in my arms and he slipped and briefly tumbled head first out of my arms. I caught him before he was out of my lap, but…. my heart stopped. The moment still crosses my mind often and with much guilt. My son is now 3. My husband doesn’t even know that happened.

    Reply
  136. Stefanie Lukacs

    Oh god. When my son was just around 2, my husband and I decided to eat at a local Chinese buffet. I had a plate for my son of all kinds of things to try, one of them being a piece of chicken. You know the kind, you usually dip it in the red sweet and sour sauce. I’ve always been freaked out about the choking. Hate the sound, hate the sharp stab of fear that shoots through your heart. But on this day, my diligence of micro managing food pieces and their size appropriateness slipped. He took a big bite. And skipped chewing straight to swallowing. I cringe as I remember this every time. As everything happened so fast and so slow, I watched and heard the choking sound and my first thought was, “He’s going to die.” I think I first tried to fish it out with my finger but it was too far back. My husband grabbed him from the highchair, pulling him through the straps and gave him the Hiemlich Maneuver. The chicken came up, I took my son and walked outside, clinging to him and crying. My poor husband, I abandoned him there with a restaurant of people staring at us, lol. I came back inside to people asking if he was alright, that they were scared too, half smiles and nervous laughter. We paid and left, obviously not hungry anymore. Never have I felt so awful, horrified, terrified, sad and happy in such a short time while bouncing between each emotion. That has been the worst moment of my life. But Jesus freakin’ Christ at least he did not die.

    Reply
  137. Katriena Knights

    Once I was putting my son into his snowsuit and I pulled on the waist to pull it up. His feet left the ground and he tipped backward and smacked his head on the floor. There was a lot of crying. He’s 22 now and seems undamaged by the experience. And another time I LOCKED him in the car by accident… Fortunately we were in the garage at the time. I had to call a locksmith to get him out. The whole time we waited, I tried to tell him how to get out of his carseat and unlock the door, but he didn’t seem particularly interested. (I don’t think he was quite 2 at the time.) In any case, both my kids made it to adulthood relatively unscathed, so there’s that. Also, both those blankets are crocheted, just for an FYI. :-) I knit. I admire people who can crochet, because for some reason all I can do in that area is single crochet in circles. And make granny squares.

    Reply
  138. Sugarpucker

    Amanda, I don’t know if you will even see this since you get so many comments, but I had to try. I would like to begin by saying I am not a fan of yours. That sounds bad. I don’t mean I don’t like you I mean that I don’t know you. I am not part of your fan base. I am a Neil gaiman fan and had not heard of you until you guys got together. This sounds mean too. Ugh. I read your book and I liked it. I thought it was very good. I don’t necessarily agree with you on all your thoughts but it’s clear that you really believe them and the book was well written. Your passion and art were clear in it. So why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because I want you to know that I am not from Camp Amanda. You have many loyal fans who are from Camp Amanda who think you are awesome no matter what. I want you to know, that’s not me. I want to tell you, as a fellow mom who is not a fan of yours(I mean this in the non-bitchy way), you are doing fine! I send you hugs and mom support. Babies are hard and scary. It is stressful having to keep them alive. No one tells you this when you get pregnant. They should. ‘At least the baby didn’t die’ is the perfect war cry. The fact that you are worried about fucking up, trying not to, and learning from when you do is enough. You are downgrade great, momma. Keep it up. Xoxo

    Reply
  139. Karin Masden

    I noticed you because of Neil, whose books I have read, because of a yen for perfume that is collected by many people who also read Neil. I saw your pictures and I thought you were interesting or odd and didn’t investigate much further. In addition, I had heard of the Dresden Dolls. I never was very musical and never really paid attention. I’m going to guess at this point I sound awful. Its not my intention and I do already feel guilty but I think you’ll understand. Anyway, the point of this is that I stumbled upon this because of Neil. I’m an extremely impatient person and was not inclined to watch anything, especially from someone I had not thought i was interested in, for any amount of minutes over maybe 1 or 3. I started to skim through your words. I noticed where you said i must watch first and despite being a little bit of a rebel and generally too curious to not investigate further and follow the instructions, I clicked on play. It didn’t work. I clicked a lot. I clicked all over in case it would open up bigger and just start playing. I’m a technical idiot despite being a technical writer. It’s ironic but it’s true. I’m probably using ironic wrong, sorry. Anyway back to the point, it finally played huzzah, and I love you. Every single thing you said, I mean sung, spoke to me. And your words, and your pictures. I don’t know what you normally sing and do, well except stand in a wedding dress in city streets I did see that, and I will now go search you out and listen to you, but the point is you seriously touched my soul by being so real and honest. You are singing and talking about what we think, but everyone is too scared to say it out loud, too afraid to let everyone else know that they’re normal, but there are a million people out there that have done something everyone else would scorn or judge. It’s not just the things that happened that we can all relate to, it’s your ability to recognize all the feels about it and tell us about them. Telling us about your guilt, your fear, your sadness, your frustration, your apathy, your passion. All the feels everyone stuffs down. I feel like we are sisters. Thank you for sharing, I’m a new fan. For the record, I have forgotten my baby (now 25, he didn’t die!), lost one in a grocery store, had a motorcycle fall on my two year old (looked away and it fell perfectly encasing him in a curvature instead of crushing him), among many other ghastly innocent but guilt inducing lapses because I should have been better. But you are right, my babies didn’t die! And then my lovely 19 year old nephew did, just five months ago, and I long to be able to say he didn’t. Breathe your son in deeply, and keep singing and talking and sharing and imprinting every feel. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
  140. wil329

    When my son was about two months old, I badly needed to take a shower (because showering when you have a baby kind of goes out the window). I was living in a loft at the time, and the washing machine/dryer was in the bathroom. So I put him in a laundry basket on a flat surface (where we folded laundry), and I jumped in the shower for what I thought would be five minutes tops, and about two minutes in, I heard him wailing. And he had rolled over in the laundry basket, which caused it to fall off of the flat surface, and he and the basket ended up on the ground (tiles, so, yeah), and he was wailing, and I held him (soaking wet, water in the shower still running), and I was convinced that he had a concussion and would die if I let him fall asleep, so I kept him up as long as I could, but he fell asleep, and I watched him sleep because I was convinced he had a concussion and would die, but then he woke up and I promised to never again put him in a laundry basket and today he is nearly 8 1/2 and I have never put him in a laundry basket — although I think today he would probably like it, tumble and all.

    Reply
  141. Andra Alex

    I loved this! I cried with everybody in the story…You are a good mom and a magnificent human being!

    Reply
  142. Anna Junková

    I love the song! I cried and I laughed and thoroughly enjoyed it. My mom keeps telling the story about how she dropped her newborn nephew and for many years I thought it is something really awful that doesn’t happen to anyone. I thought my mom was the only person who has ever dropped the baby. It wasn’t until my friends started to have babies that I understood it is perfectly normal, it happens to everyone, but it still traumatizes people a great deal. I don’t have a child but I dropped a puppy once, right on his head and I heard a silent crack sound. The puppy was completely fine but I cried for an hour feeling like the worst person in the whole world. But at least the puppy didn’t die. Thank you for the song and your general awesomeness.

    Reply
  143. LincolnX

    When I was six months old my sister dropped me on my head on a concrete porch. Today I am a neuroscientist studying brains. My sister jokes with me and says that I owe my abilities to her. I always say, “but… just think of what I COULD have been if you hadn’t damaged my brain…” Laughter ensues.

    It all words out. Kids are made of rubber for a reason. Thank you for the art.

    Reply
  144. Frankie Bat In A Rocket

    <3 my dad was left in a car as a baby and he got pretty badly sunburned. He's fine (well…"fine" might not be the right word but you know ;) ). I love this song and the footnotes and Ash and. life. <3

    Reply
    • Frankie Bat In A Rocket

      oh and I fell off my rocking horse when I was a bit older than a baby & broke my head (icr whether my mum said I was unsupervised or not) and I’m pretty ok :) And once when my cousin was a baby, I accidentally whacked her head into a door frame and she’s even better than me!

      Reply
  145. Andshegoesdown

    I don’t have children, but here’s my story, which I only know because mom actually wrote all of these things on a notebook! Please do, it’s hilarious to read these things as an adult.
    I was 4 months old and I was in bed with dad, who was supposed to watch over me…. But he fell asleep pretty much instantly. An hour later, mom heard a loud noise, she went to the room to find my dad still sleeping in bed and me… Nowhere to be found. I had fallen between the bed and the wall! And dad didn’t even wake up with the noise. Apparently mom was really mad at him, mad enough that she wrote about it on her notebook, but it soon became a “remember that time when…” moment :)

    PS: I didn’t die!

    Reply
  146. Monica Lenk

    I’m not a mother, and as a person without a baby, I appreciate you for handing yours to strangers! A fairly new acquaintance once handed over their baby to me, justifying that he would probably not mind with the warning: “babies can sense fear” (I was not afraid, so we were fine)

    Reply
  147. Karly

    Ok I have one more confession that I haven’t told anybody, not even my baby’s father… Just a couple weeks ago I was making dinner and my 18 month old was strapped into her highchair next to me as I chopped veggies up. I stepped away to wash my hands, taking a little longer than I probably should have and when I got back I saw my baby holding the GIANT and VERY SHARP knife I was just using. I thought I had placed it on the table out of her reach but apparently it wasn’t far enough and she managed to reach over and grab it. The sound that came out of my mouth was unlike anything that I’ve ever heard anyone make in the history of the planet…kind of a cross between a gasp, a gulp and a squeal mixed with the feeling you get when your heart, brain and lungs want to explode. Meanwhile there is my baby just sitting there wielding a knife almost as big as her with the biggest smile on her face, waving it at me with pure pride at what she had done. Needless to say I managed to extract the blade from her and then I proceeded to check every inch of her body to make sure she didn’t cut herself (she hadn’t). Then and only then did I finally allow myself to breath again… but at least she didn’t die, right? :)

    Reply
  148. Maike

    I wish I could have my baby back.
    And I love, love, love all your stories about your babies. It´s a little bit like I could have all those stories too. Lovely stories, sad stories, lively stories. Thank you all. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
  149. raven1star

    I also do the grocery store thing of putting the carrier in the grocery cart and placing groceries on top of/around the baby. I find it both funny and disconcerting when I have bread and tortillas stacked on top of her.

    Reply
  150. Mary

    Just cried and laughed listening to this while nursing my one month old son – thanks for an honest portrayal of new motherhood and how daunting, terrifying, and awesome it is. You are doing a wonderful job, Mama.

    Reply
  151. Jacquelyn Frost

    You weren’t kidding about listening in a quiet place. The first chance I got to listen was actually this morning at work, while pumping milk for my baby. It’s a quiet time for me, since I get to close my office door and get some private time for myself with my cow machine. So I listened. And I was happy for that closed door, because I cried. I cried because this describes much of the last six months of my life since my daughter was born. I cried because I wanted to reach through the music and hug you. To get a hug.

    One time, when I was driving home alone-with-the-baby in the rain and in the dark, my daughter just lost it – she was very suddenly and very loudly hungry. I kept trying to get home, but the traffic just got worse and worse. I pulled off the highway and parked on the side of a road behind a parked semi, moved to the back seat, and tried to nurse her. But my car’s overhead light sucks, so it was basically in the dark. She was little – maybe 2 months? 3 months? – and still not so good with the latching, and we both were tired, frustrated, and we cried and cried. Eventually she settled down, but as I pulled away to find my way back to the freeway, I was still crying because my heart hurt. By the time I got home, though, she was sleeping. She was fine. She didn’t die.

    The feels were strong too because you mentioned Sarasota… my grandparents lived there until this past year when they passed away, at 85 and 83. Within 2 months of each other. I was 6.5 months pregnant when my grandfather died, and I traveled to Florida from California for his funeral feeling sad and guilty for the selfish wish that he could have stayed with us a little longer to meet his first great granddaughter. By the time my grandmother passed away, I was too pregnant to fly, and that left me with more guilt. Always say I love you, because you never know.

    This is all a rambling way of saying thank you. And I see you.

    Reply
  152. Valerie

    Wish a song could be written about a lesbian stepmother with no children of her own, but loves their mother and then as my own children.

    Reply
  153. Larissa Greeno

    I only just got to listen so am a bit late to the parade. You know what I always think whenever a mother tells stories of how she thinks she f’kd up.. “there but for the grace of God”. I’ve left my babies in the car when I’ve popped into the shop (though not forgotten them but OMG I can see how easily that could happen). I’ve fallen down the stairs with a baby in my arms. My husband forgot to strap our little girl into her car seat when it was on the floor and she nose dived out of it. All we can ever do is our best. And hope our best is good enough and that we don’t screw them up too much.

    Personally I think to be able to juggle what you do with a baby is an amazing thing. And I am sure it must be very hard sometimes. But also.. what a wonderful upbringing!? Much love to you. Awesome mother xx

    Reply
  154. Katie Whitney

    So after my daughter was born, every time I picked up a kitchen knife, or put the blender blades in the dishwasher, or used a pair of scissors, I’d have this horrific daymare of the sharp blade impaling her. Blood, so much blood. 911. If she survived, then her getting taken from me. If not, then the worst, of course. And the deep grief would visit me briefly, and I’d weep while I chopped an onion. I feel like these horror fantasies, that even now (4.5 years later) still crop up, played some role in helping me keep her safe even when I was so ridiculously sleep deprived. But they also just felt like part of this new mindscape of mothering–a seriously lonely place, in spite of all the massive heart-expanding joy, that frequently manifested in early postpartum dreams as a city with no people. I guess what I’m trying to say is, at 11 minutes, your song is too short.

    Reply
  155. Brender

    I’m so glad you are getting so much love for all the things that happen as a new parent that just fucking happen. I fell down the stairs while holding my infant and landed on her. This same kid rolled off the changing table and hit her head on the freckin diaper pail on the way down. I wore my second baby in a sling for so long that I barely remember what he looks like from birth to 10months. One day, in the car, I noticed that the button on my skirt went missing – when I got out of the car to get the baby, the button was in his mouth and he was choking on it. I had to do the infant Heimlich to dislodge it. You are doing a great job as a new mom. I really admire your desire to not give up the things you love because you have a wee one now. It took my 40th birthday to roll around for me to realize that I should be going out, making friends and having fun – just like my kids.

    Reply
  156. deva

    Thank you Amanda. I wrote this last year about the hell of having a sick baby and asking for help. Wanted to share with you and everyone here.

    A Stream of Thought from my Vulnerable Self

    So, facebook asks “What’s on your mind?”. I should have written “Please help me, please please help me”…

    Because the morning before I was sitting at my kitchen table screaming and crying and shaking and my big girl and husband were trying to comfort me but I just kept shaking and crying and screaming and my thoughts were all a big mess before me…not straight thoughts, curly thoughts , crookedly jaggedly hopping about not making any sense. All I could finally make sense of was that I needed help. Because the night before my baby was up crying and screaming and vomiting for three hours straight and the night before that and the night before that and the night before that and… And and and the doctors say she’s ok as long as she has fluids but in the days she won’t sleep and she wont let me sleep or eat or drink . And I need to drink.

    “Dry-drated”. Dry-drated is when you are dehydrated but your baby is as well, so you are glued to the couch and she is sucking you dry… and you desperately want to help her but you also desperately don’t want to be dry-drated any more.

    And so that night before the shaking, I am holding my baby and rocking back and forth and we are both crying louder than each other and she is screaming in her head “Mommy, please help me” and I am screaming out loud “God please help me God please help me God please help me” over and over again. Even though I still don’t even know for sure who or what God is to me.

    So, “What’s on your (curly, jumbled, exhausted, dry-drated) mind”? I should have written “Please help me, please please help me”. But people knew and they helped us anyways. And my family from afar and people I have only met less than a handful of times helped me and I am thinking “Why, I don’t deserve it” and I don’t even know what to say except “Yes Please” and “Thank you”, which is all I have because my mind is still not quite straight. But thank you doesn’t feel enough so I hope that they will forgive that I don’t know how to (and I don’t have the energy to) fully express my gratitude quite yet.

    And so today I am looking after myself and answering to no-one, not no-body, not no how. I’m going slowly and I am re-hydrating every part of me and I am ignoring the dishes and the laundry laundry, never ending laundry. I want to enjoy my own company and also my big girl and husband and other people again… But not today. Today what’s on my mind is me.

    Reply
  157. Christina Mitchell

    You are going to have good and bad days- being a mom is one of the hardest and best jobs that you’ll never be thanked enough for. You are doing a good job, believe this. Things get better and more fun as your little one gets older. -hang in there.

    Reply
  158. jenny

    I love my son more than anything, and I’m embarrassed (afraid?) to admit this… sometimes I think the best thing I could have done for him is not to have had him.

    Reply
  159. Caity Smith

    From someone whose mom pretended it wasn’t hard, and didn’t get honest, I am so fucking moved by this and bawled the whole time, inhabiting a child who felt like you were singing to her, and a woman who felt like you were singing for her. i feel like you’re singing for a lot of people, and when i do have kids please know i will be thinking of you and drawing strength from you. and the thoughts at the end, should i have a baby, even if you didn’t have those thoughts, i still think its totally normal to think that, because how can you not fuck up on some level? and who wants to do that? no one. But there is no perfect mother the best we can do is be honest about the fuckedupness. and then we can see the beauty in the imperfection. it’s crazy to have your life shift so dramatically and to have this one sole focus (at least the baby…) come back over and over, it’s like a total rewiring of the brain, and what an amazing experience but messy, and so much strength in artfully expressing this experience…
    <3 <3 <3 thank you.

    Reply
  160. HollyElise

    Yep, crying.
    When I was pregnant with my son, I had to go to prenatal check-up alone-with-a-toddler and she fell asleep on the drive there and transferred to her stroller without waking up but the midwife I was seeing was busy and we ended up waiting in the waiting room forever and my daughter woke up (and for reference I’m 6+ months pregnant in this scenario) and was totally melting-down-sobbing-miserable and NONE of my usual tricks worked and I kept trying and trying and felt like everyone else in the waiting room was staring and judging (as you do, but worse when you have major anxiety like myself) so I went to the bathroom and stood there holding my sobbing child on top of my giant baby-belly and started crying too.
    It was awful.
    It was possibly my lowest mother-moment, all that was running through my head was “I HATE THIS I HATE THIS I CAN’T DO THIS”.
    And then this also-pregnant lady came into the bathroom too, and she’d been watching me across the waiting room, and she gave me a big hug and held my daughter and calmed her down while I washed my face and calmed myself down and then a nurse came in and said the midwife was ready to see Angel Lady, who told her to take me first. And I never got her name but I know she had four sons already and she put “Breathe” essential oil on my wrists and gave me another hug before I went to see the midwife with my now-calm daughter.
    And I wish I knew her name.
    Rght now my daughter, who is four now, and my son (almost two) both playing together quietly and creatively and when we go places people always strike up conversations with my precocious daughter and play peek-a-boo with my son and I’m trying to be Angel Lady to other mothers. Because everyone needs that person who says “You are doing fine, and everything is going to be fine” and “at least the baby didn’t die.”
    Thank you, Amanda.

    Reply
  161. constancef

    chuckling in recognition of that new baby haze, even though mine was a long time ago, I can still remember it felt like wading through treacle. x

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  162. Kristin

    We all have a story, we are not alone. Thanks for this. My daughter was around 20 months and had begun protesting being buckled into the stroller. Since we live downhill from most everything, I decided to not make this a battle (we have to choose battles wisely at this age) and let her sit freely during all of our uphill commutes. One day as we were heading home from the sitters (downhill mind you but I really couldn’t handle a tantrum on this day and let her go unbuckled) she began singing her favorite, ‘wheels on the bus’, hand gestures and all and when she got to her favorite part “the people on the bus go up and down” she stoop up! She stood up while going downhill unbuckled in the stroller and proceeded to do a forward flip landing directly on her forehead on the cold, solid sidewalk. She screamed like I never heard before and I was freaking out. I live in France and don’t speak the language well, do I call emergency? what the fuck do I do?? Luckily there was a pharmacy across the street and here in Europe the pharmacy is the next best thing to a doctor and the sweet old Chinese lady who owns the shop calmed me down and assured me that children were much tougher than they appear; they are not easily broken. And she was right. A little blood and some bruising and 10 minutes later she was singing again. This time buckled. But I’ll sure as hell never forget. Parent PTSD is real.

    Reply
  163. Kristen Pilcher Siemens

    Thank you for making me cry, I think I needed it. I’ve done all of these things with my two boys. They’re 6 and 3 now and every night as I lay down I think, “Well, the boys didn’t kill themselves today nor did they force me to kill them. So I guess we’ll call that a success.”
    Keep being strong for your self and your beautiful little boy. And keep making art for your self and thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

    Reply
  164. Sonja Newcombe

    Ah, the mum guilt and fear of judgement. All-too familiar. Especially the “leaving them in the car” bit. I have two, who’re 4 months and 2 years. They don’t come in with me when I pay for petrol because it’d take me 3x as long.

    Chin up, you’re doing great! :)

    Reply
  165. Mandi Blahey

    My husband and I listened to this (loudly) last night, more than once :) Thank you for making real all those moments when I was sure I scarred my kiddo for life (he fell off a dryer, a couch, cracked his head open on a speaker, ate dogfood) and for all those moments now, since his hospitalization and recovery, that I realize that we can only try. Try to keep them safe, try not to go crazy while doing it. The message I got from that song? We LOVE them, and that’s the most important thing we can do. Love them, let them know it, and let the rest happen, as life does <3

    Reply
  166. Cam

    I envy all of you. So much. When I was pregnant, my guy started changing..he got violent..controlling..manipulative..he kept me from my friends..he told me how ugly and useless I was..he sent me to the ER twice while I was pregnant because he hit me or threw me and both times the baby stopped moving..
    Anyways..baby came..I was alone with screaming baby and screaming violent guy..finally the socialworker stepped in and removed my son..I was heartbroken..but I stayed with my guy still..it took a year and an amazing therapist to finally make me realize that I was worth something..and that he was not.
    My kid lives with my parents which I am so grateful for..I know what kind of people they are..I know how loving they are..and I get to see my son a few times a week and some weekends I get him home..
    But I am fighting so hard to get him back for real..the socialworker is vague and really doesn’t tell me what it is I need to do to prove myself..

    I’ve missed out on all of those small things..being all dizzy..putting groceries on my kid in his stroller..bumping his head..I never had those horrible moments..and I was supposed to..I wanted all moments..good or bad..

    But I can only try to look forward..and with a new amazing guy by my side (whom my son adores..and who adores my son) I can actually see a brighter future..

    But I’ll never get those missed moments back..be happy you have those moments..All these small moments every day..

    Thank you for an amazing song Amanda..It made me cry..
    Thank you for being real and honest and so human.. <3

    Reply
    • Antoinette

      I am so sorry you didn’t get to experience those moments. I think they should have removed your ex instead of the baby. I hope you get him back soon. I’m glad you’re with a good guy now!

      Reply
  167. Brandy Brouillard Lilly

    We are all making this parenting shit up as we go. My son has survived our parenting and is now 10. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t remember why every single decision was made as if the world hung in the balance those first few weeks but the weight of that was so exhausting. You and Neil are genuinely good people. You will raise a genuinely good person. Hang in there. It won’t necessary get easier, but it will change and it’s wondering and terrifying. Hugs. So many hugs. All of the hugs.

    Reply
  168. samantha

    When my daughter was 6 months old, she fell asleep mid-afternoon on the couch….a rare thing because even then, she was a creature of habit and would only sleep in particular places. I welcomed this sleep session because it gave me an unexpected moment to myself, something that didn’t happen very often. I took advantage of the quiet and walked out to the the deck and for 30 seconds, had a moment all to myself….30 seconds, 30 seconds is all it took for her to wake up and roll off the couch. I heard the thud. I will always hear that thud. When I ran over to her, all I could see was blood…everywhere. She wasn’t crying, she was just bleeding and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I rushed her to the hospital, blood all over her, all over me, imagining the worst case scenario….did she break something, did she have brain damage, was CPS going to take her away.? Turns out, she tore her frenulum….until that day, I had no idea what a frenulum was..not the name anyways…it’s that weird piece on tissue inside the upper lip that seems to serve no purpose. No purpose it seems, except to bleed…and scare the crap out of me, and make sure I would never, ever, leave her on the couch alone again. Ever. She’s 10 now, a healthy, happy 10. My mistakes didn’t kill her. Have those 10 years since that ‘couch roll’ been accident free? No way….she’s an adventurous kid, and I’m an imperfect mother who is trying to navigate this whole motherhood thing.

    Reply
  169. Heather McGuirk

    Oh Amanda, Every Mom has done a million, million things like this. I didn’t even leave the room, I was just putting on a bra and Tris rolled over for the very 1st time… and rolled straight off the couch! At least the baby didn’t die. :( The time I had the worst day in the world, so stressed and crazy, isolated all the time and we were potty training and he peed his outfit for what seemed like the 20th time that one bad day and I snapped and asked him why he was “so stupid” … my innocent little lamb, who had done nothing wrong at all, I just had nothing left… I could tell you so many stories, I have 3 of the buggers, 2 have made it all the way to adulthood (yay! didin’t die!) Tris is now 13 years old and such a well-adjusted kid who knows he is loved to pieces and always has been, despite the times I’ve snapped at him or told him “Hurry up!” when I should not have. *HUGS* We all make many, many mistakes, and if we’re lucky we get to sing your beautiful song. <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  170. ameyknits

    When my older son was under a year, we were driving home from my mom’s house (~2 hours). The drive took us on I-84 in NY thru the spot where there are prisons on both sides of the highway and strongly worded signs warning you to not stop on the highway at those points. While Thing 1 had been happily playing or sleeping for much of the ride, he became inconsolable when I was near this section. He was hysterical, I was panicked, and I pulled over. I started nursing him and a State Trooper materialized in moments. We had a brief talk, he sympathized (his wife was home with twin 9 month olds), said he’d give me 10 minutes and let other officers know I was there. He left and I panicked that there would be a prison break, I’d get carjacked, and that Trooper would think I’d lied to him. 3 minutes later, ANOTHER officer shows up and is NOT sympathetic. I MUST leave NOW. I put my confused baby into his carseat where he begins screaming again and drive off. I debate checking in to a hotel 20 minutes from my house if it means I can stop the car and never get in it again. I cursed all those people who said, “Oh, they can’t cry forever” – they’ve clearly never been in a car with a crying baby.

    I think my emotional low point was just before I was diagnosed with PMDD. My boys were older (8 and 11?) and were bickering and complaining and not getting anything done (we were homeschooling) and all I could do was cry. I cried like all day long and considered calling CPS to see if they’d just come take them for the day so I could be alone. I just needed to be ALONE for an HOUR. I should’ve called my people, but I was way far down. Over and over I thought about CPS. The next day I called my doctor. I now have better living thru chemistry.

    Reply
  171. Luis Shmoo

    holy crap, that song was so powerful, I am a guy who’s going to hug his mom today and thank her for all the struggles she might have gone through, thanks for this!

    Reply
  172. rockch

    Thank you. We all needed this. I left my 6 month old bub on my bed while I ran the bin out in a panic as I heard the truck coming up the road in the morning. Only to hear, with horror, my front door shut behind me. I spent ten minutes screaming in my pyjamas in the rain trying to smash my own front door in with my fist/a plant pot/a plank of wood/anything whilst my elderly neighbour called the fire brigade. They opened my door and I ran in full of dread but he was just giggling on the bed.

    Reply
  173. Laura West

    I’m studying Creative Writing in college right now and focusing on poetry. In my poetry class right now, all of my poems have ended up being about motherhood somehow. I have an almost 5-year-old, an almost 2-year-old, and an almost 1-year-old (they all have March birthdays), but I almost never write about my kids. There is some more mom-guilt right there. Going to school and leaving my kids with my dad while I’m gone feels like I’m being a terrible mom. Every morning, when my son wakes up and needs me to feed him, I pretend I don’t hear him cry for a little while so that my husband will get him. I hate cooking, so I give my kids a lot of meals that consist only of cold cereal or string cheese. In summer, my kids are basically naked unless we go somewhere, because I’m way too lazy/tired to get them dressed. Every one of my kids has crawled off the bed multiple times when they were learning to crawl. We have hardwood in our bedroom, so they got big lumps on their foreheads. A couple months ago, my daughters found the iron and plugged it in and “ironed” their carpet. We’re lucky they didn’t burn themselves or set the house on fire. My husband and I were both home. We were napping. I could keep going, but I won’t. We all screw up. I screw up every day. But my kids are alive!

    Reply
  174. Oliver G. Smith

    I was that kid who was constantly getting hurt when I was young. I mother says I had no sense of danger. All within the first three or 4 years of my life, I jumped off a counter and almost bit my tongue off, jumped of a wall and face planted on a concrete slab breaking my nose, busted my chin open twice, and fell out of the top of a 20 ft tree. My mother definitely blamed herself for not being able to prevent these from happening, but somethings are unpreventable. Sure my mom made mistakes, but I truly believe she did the best she could as a single mother in raising my sister and I. Everyone is susceptible to making mistakes because we are human and not perfect. I think all you are can do is do your best because being a parent is hard and being a child is hard. I definitely resented my mom to some degree growing up, but I recognize now that she did the best she could. My sister and I are both well adjusted adults, though we were both not well adjusted adolescents. I think the biggest factor that makes my mom so great is that she has supported me and loved me unconditionally through everything. When I came out as being gay, when my depression hit the fan, when I was diagnosed with autism, and when I started my transition from being female-to-male, my mother never wavered in her support and showing me that she would always love me for as long as she could. I really think that is what matters.

    Reply
    • Strange Angel

      You sound like a perfect babyhood match to my son. In his first two years, he managed to get several stitches (on different occasions) from…
      -pulling a loose transformer off an almost-touches-the-ceiling shelf by catching the sheet we were using as a drape.
      -pulling a heavy crystal vase off the same shelf, this time by somehow managing to get ahold of a piece of cording (fabric, not electrical) and getting it around the vase, way up there.
      -doing an accidental backflip summersault off the high backend of a couch.
      -making a move we called “frog legs” while I was juggling him and groceries on my way through the front walk.

      Reply
  175. katmulkey

    There’s the time I tried to be so socially conscious with those cotton diapers needing safety pins. “This fabric is so thick” I said one day during the changing, it was suddenly so hard to push the pin. Then I realized I’d stuck it through a pinch of skin. We cried together.

    Reply
      • katmulkey

        Yep wee, helpless baby Unwoman. I still feel terrible about it. This is the exact pin. (I keep it with me to remind me to pay attention to what I’m doing; sometimes that strategy works.)

        Reply
        • Tom Steiger

          Oh you poor dear! It doesn’t seem to have done her any lasting damage. *hugs* to you both!

          Reply
      • alphatroll

        Thanks for catching the name, I totally missed it! If it WAS little Erica, she seems to have recovered quite admirably from the trauma of sharp metal objects piercing her skin… ;)

        Reply
  176. Megin

    Oh, Amanda – I love you so much for this. One minute into the song and I vividly remember the gut-wrenching slow motion moment when my little girl decided to do a dive off the bed and I wasn’t close enough to catch her. I think we’ve all done most of these (Also guilty of leaving her in the car for five minutes alone, and piling the baby high with groceries because those damn seats are so huge. Some carseats are made with a little divot in the bottom so when you open the seat on the front of the shopping cart the carseat will latch onto it. Give it a go!) Babies are springy and elastic for a reason – it’s because none of us are perfect, and Mother Nature took it into account. *huge hugs* You’re an awesome mom, because you care.

    Reply
  177. Amanda Whyte Donahue

    Thank you so much for writing this. You managed to capture how vulnerable and morbid I became once my baby got here. I never really understood what a serious mind fuck the whole thing is until I had my own little girl. It’s so easy to think you’re the only one feeling that crushing self doubt.

    My baby is 6 months old and I have made plenty of new mom mistakes. I dropped her, I’ve bumped her head on the car door frame, cut her finger when trying to trim her nails, let her put her face in the bath water WHILE I WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE… The other night I unevenly warmed her baby food without noticing. Pro tip, pureed carrots heat up faster than all other pureed veggies. I put the spoon in her mouth and she started screaming. It is super hard to look for blisters on the inside of a 6 month old’s mouth, especially if you are crying too. Rowan is fine, but I keep thinking about how I hurt her during one of her favorite activities. Eating has won out over distrust, but I swear she prefers to have her dad feed her since this all went down. Despite all of this, she is still alive and still chunky.

    Reply
  178. Strange Angel

    For you, Amanda, a copy of what I sent to my ex wife…
    We went through two “early self-termination” pregnancies before realizing her blood type and our guy’s were causing spontaneous rejection.

    “When you have almost 12 minutes and aren’t driving, I want you to listen to this…
    Why the no-driving? Tears. And feels. And listening to it in the undistracted quiet. And our daughter. And our son. And our two “almosts”.

    https://amandapalmer.net/amothersconfession/

    Reply
  179. Tanya Whittaker

    Thanks for being so honest .. I think too many new parents try to one up other new parents.. like it’s some competition on how well you can keep yourself together…. it’s hard.. damn hard….

    I had a non medicated birth at home… wanted to breastfeed but my milk never came in… and I had no idea because I’m a new mom.. but I was literally starving my baby for the first few days… to the point where he was so lethargic we had to keep putting cold clothes on his face to keep him awake while we made him drink formula… so devastating

    Lost myself and identify in being a new mom which was totally depressing… mourning my childless life… and finding myself again.. it takes awhile but I’m finally back.

    When our little guy was starting to walk we thought he was good to go.. until he was walking down the porch steps and tumbled down 3 onto pavement… augh. I know what you mean about the etched image…

    *high five* at least the baby didn’t die!

    Reply
  180. Molly

    My eldest son rolled out of my bed and onto the hard wood floor when he was a little baby… on two separate occasions, months apart. THWACK! Oh my god. He was FINE, both times. But still! And one time, when my younger kid was a newborn, I drove across town– upon arrival, I realized I’d forgotten to strap him into his carseat. He was just asleep there in his seat, loose and free. I still want to cry with shame and horror when I think about these incidents. Yikes.