TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Ep. 333: Stuffed Animals

Biz and Theresa ponder the existential questions surrounding stuffed animals. How many are too many? Do they have souls? If we throw them away will they curse us? Plus Biz has an update and Theresa stops. 

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 333

Transcript

biz ellis

This is Biz. I’m a part-time working mom with two full-blown kids.

theresa thorn

And I’m Theresa. I have a family business, two young kids, and a toddler.

biz

This is a show about life after giving life. Don’t listen with your kids, ‘cause there will be swears. This… is One Bad Mother.

music

“Summoning the Rawk” by Kevin MacLeod. Driving electric guitar and heavy drums. [Continues through dialogue.]

biz

This week on One Bad Mother, stuffed animals! Yeah, they probably have feelings so you can’t throw them away. Plus, Biz has an update and Theresa stops.

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: [Cheering] Wooooo! [Laugh.]

biz

Today’s gonna be fun, guys! Little fun, fun, fun because the holidays have begun, -gun, -gun. Speaking of holidays, head on over—just a reminder—to the MaxFunStore.com. Let me just say that again: to MaxFunStore.com and [singing] get yourself or your partner or your leftie or whatever you want to call them; more important—yourself! [Regular voice] Some new One Bad Mother merch. There’s an “I Am A Self” shirt. There is a bumper sticker that says: “Honk if you’re doing it!” Which is absolutely the greatest thing ever. And there’s a sweatshirt. And… things that already exist in the shop. So go. Get yourself a little something nice. Theresa? Speaking of nice! How are you?

theresa

[Hoarseness at the edge of her voice] I am okay.

biz

Hmm.

theresa

As you may all be able to tell, I don’t have much of a voice today. [Biz makes sympathetic noise.] So I am going to save my voice as much as I can and only say the truly— [Biz laughs.] —most insightful, deep and poignant remarks.

biz

Yes.

theresa

And when I’m not talking, you guys can just imagine that—depending on the context—I’m either grinning at Biz ear-to-ear— [Biz laughs.] —or I just have tears streaming down my face. [Laughs.]  [Biz laughs louder and at length.] Um—

biz

Those are usually the looks that I get in here, except there’s a third look I sometimes get from Theresa, which is the—"What did you just say? “

theresa

Oh. [Laughs.]

biz

“You’re gonna need to check that.”

crosstalk

Biz: Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Theresa: Uh-oh! Uh-oh! The uh-oh look!

biz

The uh-oh look! Uh-oh! [Singing] Generations! [Theresa laughs.] Things you think are funny might not be any funny anymore! Duh-duh-duh! [Regular voice] And that’s okay, ‘cause we’re learning. Go ahead. [Laughs.] [Biz regularly affirms Theresa as Theresa discusses her week.]

theresa

Um, thanks. Yeah. Last week was crazy. Gracie had a really rough week at school, so, like, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday were just shot. Like, those days didn’t exist, really— [Biz laughs.] —except in the weird— [Laughs.] The weird version of my life that is helping Gracie with her educational challenges. And then on Friday morning, she was ready to be back at school and she went back to school and I was still like, yeah. We’ll see how today goes. Y’know? [Biz laughs.] And she actually had a good day that day, but of course Curtis—my two-year-old—got sent home from school. I had apparently dropped him off with a fever and just hadn’t noticed. [Biz laughs.] I’m sorry, Curtis. It’s not the first time that’s happened and it probably won’t be the last.

biz

Nope.

theresa

I’m just being honest. Brought him home, and I—I’ve also caught whatever he has. So he’s home with our babysitter today as well. And the funny thing was, when they sent him home on Friday I experienced no… stress or upset. About it. Because I was already so broken- [Biz laughs.] —by the week that I had no expectations for my Friday. Like, I had fully stopped even—I know I have a to-do list and it’s bad? Like, there are things that are way overdue? Like—

biz

Sure.

theresa

Things that are wrong with my car because of recalls that I haven’t taken it in for that are like safety—like, there’s like a lot. There’s like, bad things—

crosstalk

Theresa: —in my to-do list—no. Biz: Bad—it’s not a happy to-do—it’s not, like—

biz

To do: Go to the spa!

theresa

No.

biz

It’s like— [Laughs.] It’s like the opposite of that. [Laughs.]

theresa

It’s—no. It’s bad. And probably bills and—but like really by Friday, I was just— [Laughs.] I was so—I just had no—I’d stopped expecting anything.

biz

Mm. [Laughs.]

theresa

So then when I got the call about Curtis, I was like—yep! That’s what—that’s what I do! [Biz laughs loudly and at length.] I go pick up a kid. That’s what I do! I pick up a kid at a weird time of day. That’s what I do.

biz

Wow. That is just—just—again, the casual throwaway of, “Bills, probably.”

theresa

Yeah!

biz

On the to-do list.

crosstalk

Theresa: No, for real. Not a joke. [Laughs.] Biz: I know! No, I know!

biz

It’s not a joke! None of what you said? Was a joke.

theresa

No.

biz

It was funny because… it’s true!

theresa

Yes.

biz

But it wasn’t like you were making the jokes. It was— [Theresa laughs.]   —like, “Oh, I’m so broken and I’ve given up so much expectations that—yeah.” And I—I also really just wanna somehow come up with a song about picking up kids at the—

crosstalk

Biz: —y’know, weird times of day. Theresa: Weird times of day? Yeah.

biz

That’s a good one!

theresa

Yeah! I just have to be ready at all times.

biz

Yeah! [Laughs.] How does that make you feel? [Laughs.] How’s that feeling of expectation?

theresa

I’m so relaxed. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

biz

Let me just drop this pen on the floor. [Screams, then laughs.]

theresa

If I could scream, I would. [Laughs.]

biz

I know. I know. See, your body’s even given up on allowing you to—

crosstalk

Theresa: I don’t have— Biz: —express!

theresa

—anything left. [Biz makes sympathetic noise.] Not even my voice.

biz

She’s a little cracked teapot! [Theresa laughs.] That just leaks! [Laughs.]

theresa

How are you? [Theresa regularly affirms Biz as Biz discusses her week.]

biz

I’m okay. Update: Ellis is okay. Y’know, we were a little concerned. I said it last week and I appreciate everybody reaching out. Yes, Ellis—took him in for his physical, first off, that was good and I got us back on the physical track—‘cause if you remember last year, it was a good three months late and I was like, “Oh no! Am I gonna have to forever take him three months after his birthday?” ‘Cause you know, insurance—I just—I went in and they didn’t… uh, charge me! So I—it was fine! So—‘Cause I know you’ve done this!

theresa

Yeah! We’re so—and we keep getting—

crosstalk

Theresa: —farther and farther behind. Biz: Further and further! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Biz: So—you just catch up with yourself the next year. Theresa: Okay. Good to know. Okay. Good to know.

biz

So while we were there, we talked to the doctor about the excess of thirst and… y’know, did a few tests, and he’s fine. He’s not, uh, we were concerned that it would be, like, a diabetes Type 1 situation, and it’s not. And—I just wanna say—that given the worry research that I did before the testing, about what life might possibly become, I really need to give a shoutout to all of you who have kids with diabetes, as well as any—anyone whose kid has a medical condition or anything like that, that really requires you to have to stop your life. [Laughs.] To take—I mean, I was like—oh my god! I—if we have this, there’s constant testing throughout the day; there’s monitoring what you eat; you have to keep, like, a journal; you gotta do all this stuff. Ellis can’t do that. Am I just gonna go live at his school? Y’know? Like—I mean, these were things I was thinking about and I was like… I’m now just gonna assume every parent I see on the street has a situation like this? And love them even more. I just—you guys are doing such a incredible job and I really… see you. Along with that, we were all very happy about that for Ellis, but then something tragic happened. He lost Mr. Tumbles. Which is his love stuffed animal thing. Mr. Tumbles is a round, like, the size of a grapefruit. It’s pink. It’s like a cat, but [though laughter] doesn’t really look like a cat. And his name is Mr. Tumbles. And I remember seeing Ellis have it last Thursday before an after-school club. I always say hi to him before the club, ‘cause I’m picking up Katy Belle, ‘cause I also like to go pick up children from a location, take one home, and then go back and get from the same location—can’t seem to time that out. 

biz

And… that night, Stephan’s picking—Stephan’s back from China. He picks up Ellis. They come home. It’s bedtime. And I say, “Where’s Mr. Tumbles?” And that’s when we realize—Mr. Tumbles is not there. This was hard. Really hard. We got through the night and the next day I went and searched the school. I mean, I was—like—looking up on the roof of play structures to see if [though laughter] somebody’d picked it up and thrown it? And it also rained. I was ready to find him washed somewhere. Finally, I head up to the Lego class—which is not a Lego class, it’s a real class— [Theresa laughs.] —of 5th and 6th graders—and I’m like, “Do I interrupt the class? I don’t know what to do!” And like, a school administrator comes by and I kinda tell him what’s happening and he goes, “Well, I’ll go in and ask!” So as he’s going in to ask, there’s some, like, y’know, tweens—some 6th graders sitting out in the hallway doing some work. And they go, “What are you looking for?” And I said, “Mr. Tumbles. He’s a pink, round stuff animal.” “Yeah, we’ve seen that!” And then like five heads pop out! “Yeah, we’ve seen it!” I’m like, “Go. Go, prepubescent teen! Get me that Mr. Tumbles!” And they did! And we found him. And all was good. Which I think ties in nicely to what we’re gonna talk about today, which is—stuff animals.

music

Banjo strums; cheerful banjo music continues through dialogue.

theresa

Please—take a moment to remember: If you’re friends of the hosts of One Bad Mother, you should assume that when we talk about other moms, we’re talking about you.

biz

If you are married to the host of One Bad Mother, we definitely are talking about you.

theresa

Nothing we say constitutes professional parenting advice.

biz

Biz and Theresa’s children are brilliant, lovely, and exceedingly extraordinary.

theresa

Nothing said on this podcast about them implies otherwise. [Banjo music fades out.]

biz

Theresa? Stuffed animals. [Laughs.] I have so many questions. [Biz and Theresa affirm each other during their discussion about the joys and trials stemming from the existence of stuffed animals.]

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I’m just gonna start with: when you were a child, did you have a lot of stuffed an—y’know, because I feel like there’s, like, a bar. Couple stuffed animals to… like, a whole separate room for stuffed animals. Right? Like, there’s somewhere on that scale—where were you when it came to stuffed animals?

theresa

I think I actually remember counting one time and that I had 17.

biz

17—I think that is a reasonable number of stuffed animals. I had—I don’t—I wasn’t “needs a whole ‘nother room;” I was somewhere around… probably that 17-20. It probably varied depending on my age. But a lot of them were large, so they—there was space being taken up. I have an additional thought on that but I’m gonna save it for a little further on. And—the next question I have for you is: do you still have any of your stuffed animals? [Theresa laughs.] Now, I know we’ve talked sometimes about this with your fails. But I—I’m—I—for people joining us, right now, for the first time ever, do you still have any of your stuffed animals?

theresa

I had two of them.

biz

Mm-hm.

theresa

But I don’t think I have them anymore. I think I finally made the decision a couple years ago to get rid of one of those two? And then I think my parents had the other one and they made the decision to get rid of that one a couple of years ago. The one that I did just find the other day when Gracie and I were looking for stuff in the garage? Is like a small—a really small bear wearing a dress? And I don’t remember ever, like, sleeping with it or loving it a lot? [Biz laughs.] But I—but I think I kept it because I think my dad’s mom—my paternal grandmother?—had given it to me? And so it was special to me. Like, she died when I was nine. So like it was special to me and I think that’s why I kept it. I was texting my dad, like, “Did this come from Grandma Ruth?” Like, and he’s like—“I think?”

crosstalk

Theresa: “I don’t know.” Biz: I dunno. [Laughs.]

theresa

Like, we’re pretty sure—like, I’m like, I’m looking at it and I’m like, I remember this. I don’t know why I would’ve kept it unless somebody special gave it to me? [Biz laughs.] So that’s what—and Gracie loves it. ‘Cause she was with me when I found it and so she asked if she could hang onto it. So it’s in her bed right now.

biz

Well, that’s nice!

theresa

Um, but that’s it.

biz

Yeah. I… don’t really rem—I don’t have any. Except for… a… Corduroy Bear, but I’m pretty sure my mom gave that to me, like, when I was in college. You know what I mean? Like a—[high-pitched voice] “I remember this was your favorite book and you’re—it’s very sweet!” And I—y’know. Uh, drug him around. Now he sits on Ellis’s bed. There was also… in one of the Alabama trips in sorting and purging boxes, I had found a doll that I suddenly had instant memories for. It was like a… fleece-bodied baby doll. Like, very small. Not too small. Like, I would say it would take, like, one hand you could be holding it around the waist. Plastic face, and it had like a music box in it and when you wound up the back, it kind of moved like a… ah, what would you call—a very slow version of one of those car— [Laughs.] Like, it’s snuggling! It moves as if it was gently snuggling very small. And it played a sweet song. And Ellis was like, must have! And I was like, alright. And then we brought it home, and… Ellis has never looked at it again, and I… twisted it the other day. It definitely doesn’t play the song it played— [Laughs.] The last time we twisted it. And because of this next question that I’m gonna ask you—yeah. It’s—it’s still around. Do stuffed animals… have feelings and/or can they be possessed or cursed?

theresa

Are you asking me or my kids?

biz

Yeah! I’m asking—well, first I’m gonna start with you. Do you have any of that, like…

theresa

They only have the feelings that I project onto them.

biz

[Long pause, then in a very serious voice] The show’s over. [Bursts into wild laughter.] How are we friends? Um— [Laughs.] Okay. Alright. And what do your children think?

theresa

Grace definitely thinks they’re the same as people.

biz

I could imagine.

theresa

100%.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

She is more protective of her stuffed animals’ feelings than she is of probably her own feelings. [Long pause.] Oscar… [Biz laughs.] Not quite so much? But yeah, I mean, thanks to Toy Story.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah. They definitely—

biz

Fuck you, Pixar! [Laughs enthusiastically, and continues laughing as Theresa continues speaking.]

theresa

—have some feelings, when he thinks of it. Like—it’s not like it’s bothering him throughout the day? But like… when he thinks of it, yes. Curtis— [Laughs.] interestingly—he’s gonna be three in a couple months—

biz

Oh my god.

theresa

Yeah, I know! I know.

crosstalk

Theresa: Let’s save it for another day. [Laughs.] Biz: [Singing] Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking… [Laughs.]

theresa

So… he definitely is on the opposite end of the spectrum of this right now. Like—

biz

Okay. Right now. Yeah.

theresa

I—was like, he sleeps with his penguin? And he calls it is Ah-ah—and I said, like, la—this is just an example, but this comes up regularly. I was saying goodnight to him last night. I said “Goodnight! I love you! Sleep well! Goodnight, Ah-ah! Sleep well!” and he says “He not alive.” [Biz laughs wildly.]

crosstalk

Biz: Idiot! Mama! [Laughs.] Theresa: I was like—I said—yeah! Straight up!

theresa

But I said—well, yeah, you’re right. He’s not alive, but I can still say goodnight to him, right? “No! Don’t do that! Don’t do that! He—he can’t talk!” Like, he’s just like— [Biz laughs.]

biz

This’ll be the little physicist in the house. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah. I was like, okay, fine.

biz

Yeah. Um… obviously, guys… I—the way I know that I think stuffed animals have feelings—or will curse me—is because I have like a bin of like stuffed animals of my children’s. That like—‘cause every once in a while I have to cull the stuffed animals, and… when I take them and I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to, like—"

biz

Say goodbye to you.

theresa

Say goodbye to you, and I know that there’s a lot of, like, oh, you can or you can’t donate them, but like—I always leave it up to the places [though laughter] I donate to decide sometimes? Y’know? ‘Cause God help me, I cannot take a stuffed animal and throw it in the trash. I—I cannot throw it—

crosstalk

Theresa: I wouldn’t like doing that. Biz: —in the trash.

biz

I—I haven’t, but I—I can s—even with how I feel about them? I would not enjoy— [Biz laughs.] —putting one in the trash. That would make me feel bad.

theresa

Feel bad, right? Makes me feel horrible. And, like, donating them I’m even like a little like, okay, we’ve made some sort of pact, stuffed animal. You and I. You’ve been filled like a [inaudible^]. [Heather note: I think she’s referring to golem folklore, but there’s no word or phrase remotely resembling that word—and connected to the folklore—that I could find in Hebrew or Yiddish or English. Sorry! I’m very confused about what she is referring to. I love the golem legends, though.] You’ve been [though laughter] filled like the—like the—y’know, I—I think it’s from the, like, Jewish community of the, like, the [topas^], where you, like, with your thoughts you create like a—like a gremlin kind of thing. Gremlin’s the wrong word. I apologize. But you can bring life to something from your—yeah. So that’s all of the stuffed animals. We’ve made an emotional pact, and if I get rid of them or throw them away—especially, like, ones that like might’ve been my mom’s? That like—at home in Alabama, when I opened the box and I found some of the ones that I remember from my sister’s room that had been my mother’s—

theresa

Wow.

biz

I, like, y’know, I can remember who gave her this like elephant? It was like I opened it and I immediately was like, yep! I’m gonna have to have these shipped to California. ‘Cause I can’t get rid of these. I’ve—

theresa

Wow.

biz

Like, the moment they opened, it was like opening the Ark. Of the Covenant. Like, out came the curse and just said, “We’ve made this agreement.” So I’m having a hard time. Uh, so—with that in mind—

theresa

Mm-hm.

biz

I… wanna shift to our children.

theresa

Okay.

biz

I… like, after… year two of a child’s life— [Laughs.] I—I—I really tell people, do not—

crosstalk

Theresa: Stop giving stuff animals. Yeah. Biz: Stop giving stuffed animals.

biz

Because I think stuffed animal storage? Is a real issue?

theresa

It really is.

biz

And… I… appreciate stuffed animal hammocks? But I—I don’t wanna stuffed animal—

crosstalk

Biz: —hammock? Theresa: Neither do I.

theresa

It’s just gonna make the room even smaller—

crosstalk

Theresa: —than it is already. Yeah. Biz: Even smaller! The stuffed animals make—

biz

—the room feel even smaller and not in a cozy way, and it also feels like clutter, and… my children both have, like, I would say, y’know, like a small tub size bin of stuffed animals that we’ve gotten down to. They never play with them.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I mean, there are a few that stay on the bed for Ellis. Katy Belle’s? Nope. Kitty hangs out, but that’s Kitty. Her lovey. The rest, they just sit there! They’re just in a box! Taking up space! And you can’t—yeah! So even though we don’t have a lot? It feels like I have a room full of stuffed animals. How about… you? You got—

crosstalk

Biz: —three children! So that’s three times the stuffed animals! Theresa: Well—yeah. Yes. It’s so many. And—

theresa

That, put together with—Jesse goes to the flea market every weekend, and there is a… stuffed animal dealer who has Beanie Babies?

biz

Oh, god.

theresa

And—what are those? Like, fancy stuffed animals that they—

crosstalk

Biz: Feist or Feast or something like that? It’s an F word. [Laughs.] Not the f-word I wanna use! Theresa: Yeah! It’s like, Feist or—yeah. Those. Yes. [Through laughter] It’s an f-word.

biz

But it’s an f-word!

theresa

And they’re beautiful.

biz

Yeah!

theresa

And… Jesse… [Biz laughs.] On day—not—it’s—I won’t say every weekend? But it’s on days when either he brings a kid with him to the flea market and they pick something out, or if for some reason it’s—he feels like doing something nice. He will bring home one. And… as time has gone on, it’s like… well, then, both Grace and Oscar want one! And then as time has gone on, it’s like, well, Curtis is old enough! He wants one too! So at this point it’s like… any time a kid goes with Jesse, they come home with at least three stuffed animals. And I’m using that loosely ‘cause I’m including Beanie Babies, but I think Beanie Babies count. Like, they’re—

crosstalk

Biz: I think Beanie Babies count! Because— Theresa: —they’re stuffed animals.

biz

I would say the, like, foundation of the [though laughter] bins of stuffed animals we have are built on Beanie Babies! Uh—

crosstalk

Biz: ‘Cause the two different sizes! Theresa: ‘Cause it’s heavier. Yeah.

biz

‘Cause some of them are the small, like… I would call it, like, a hot musubi size. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah. Like the Beanie Boo?

crosstalk

Biz: The Beanie Boos—and then there are the Beanie Babies that are like— Theresa: Yeah. For the backpack? That size? Yeah. They’re bigger.

biz

Bigger. And they’ve got those eyes. Those eyes that say, [terrifyingly calm voice] “I’ll kill you in your sleep if you ever get rid of me.” [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.]

theresa

So… what we have right now is… it’s—it’s so out of control. And I’ve gotten rid of some!

crosstalk

Theresa: I have gotten rid of some! Biz: No, I believe.

theresa

And w—the reason I texted you last night with this topic idea was that what I was doing was, there was a shelf in the kid’s room that’s been covered in Gracie’s stuffed animals, but she now is sleeping downstairs. So I decided I’m gonna get, like, a basket for her. I’m gonna put all those in this basket, bring the basket downstairs, then I can use that shelf for some of Oscar’s. ‘Cause what we’ve ended up doing, is using the whole bottom bunk. For stuffed animals. [Biz laughs.]

crosstalk

Biz: Yes, you have. Theresa: The whole—

theresa

—bottom bunk! Because Curtis is still in the crib, if you guys recall. So there’s a bunk bed in there and there’s a crib. Curtis is still in the crib. I told him when he’s three he can sleep on the bunk bed. That’s two months away, and I—and basically, for the last month or two, the bottom bunk? It hasn’t even been usable for a place to sit or lay down, ‘cause it’s covered in stuffed animals. It is filled with stuffed animals. So… I took Gracie’s stuff off the shelf. Moved those downstairs. Pulled out probably one garbage bag full of—this is gonna traumatize you—

crosstalk

Biz: No, it’s okay. I know! A garbage bag. I’ve seen it. Yeah. Theresa: —full of stuffed animals that I know haven’t seen anybody care about or look at—

theresa

—Or think about for a long time.

biz

Garbage bags are a good way—

crosstalk

Biz: —to put ‘em all together. Theresa: Hid it in my closet.

theresa

Because I have to get rid of it later.

biz

Yeah. Do you hear their voices at night? [Laughs.]

theresa

Nope! Nope!

crosstalk

Theresa: Blissfully unaware. Biz: I put earplugs in! [Laughs.]

theresa

And I have—real, live—

crosstalk

Theresa: —children talking to me in the night. Biz: Animals, I know! [Laughs.]

theresa

Um… so—and then I took what was left—and believe me, it doesn’t make a dent. With the shelf and with bagging up a bag full? So then I, y’know, I put some more on the she—w—whatever. I—I did my best.

crosstalk

Biz: [Laughs.] You have a shit-ton of animals. Yeah. Theresa: I did my best.

theresa

It’s so many and so… and a lot of them are pretty nice? But I don’t care.

biz

I know.

theresa

Like, I don’t—and the thing is is that I can see the appeal in why people give these as gifts! And I can see why Jesse lets the kids bring them home. They’re kind of small. They’re soft. They’re really cute. It’s an—it’s a way of, like, imaginary play. It’s not bringing plastic into your house. It’s like—there’s so many things about stuffed animals that are really awesome! Like, that’s why they’re so popular! But, the storage is… and—and there’s—there’s no—like, Oscar does play with his stuffed animals? He has these, like, little mice stuffed animals that he creates elaborate games with—

crosstalk

Biz: Oh, that’s nice! Theresa: —and it’s like the cutest thing ever?

theresa

But then he’ll lose track of them and he’ll forget about them for months at a time. And… there’s just so many. That it’s… it—it feels like—

biz

You’re drowning under stuffed animals?

theresa

Yes!

biz

I was thinking—I know that when Curtis shifts to the bottom bunk, you have the option of removing the crib from the room and gaining back space. But you could leave the crib in!

crosstalk

Biz: And fill it with stuffed animals! Theresa: And just fill it [though laughter] with stuffed animals!

biz

I feel like lately in our haggard and broken states— [Theresa laughs.] —we may have been a little harsh on many of the topics that we’ve been sharing. So I want to… talk about some of the positives.

theresa

Okay.

biz

Of stuffed animals. And I only have one. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] And that is—my relationship with stuffed animals as an adult? Is not the one my children are having. And… I know that for Ellis—who does not necessarily, like, care about all the stuffed animals, right? ‘Cause the moment you’re like, “Can I get rid of these stuffed animals?” They’re like [screaming] “Nooooo!” But like—there have been nights where he’s been… y’know, scared of something, y’know. I dunno. Whatever. Children have nightmares who don’t wanna go to sleep. That I can go in and I will, like, what saves us is… I’m gonna line up the bravest animals on your bed. Right? And so they go—‘cause his bed’s against the wall. So they start at the foot of the bed. We’ve got, y’know, flamingo. We’ve got Corduroy. We’ve got so-and-so—right? And we go down the bed, all the way up to him with these animals that are gonna stand watch for him. And that works… like, every time! Because they clearly provide a sense of safety? Y’know, Katy Belle for a while liked sleeping, like, completely pregnancy pillow style, but with stuffed animals. Yeah! I—I—I think… they… are nice for kids! I mean, it’s why I like to get them! For the kids! ‘Cause they’re nice!

theresa

Yes! I agree!

biz

Um, so… that’s a nice thing!

theresa

I mean, we give our kids loveys from the time they’re babe—

crosstalk

Theresa: I think kids— Biz: Yeah! Exactly!

theresa

—do connect with them! And I mean, right now, even though I—I mentioned that Curtis knows that his penguin is not alive, he also is in this phase right now where if he’s upset, I will literally hand him the penguin and he’ll go, “I’m happy!”

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah! They absorb— [Laughs.] Theresa: And hug it! Y’know?

theresa

Like—it’s really—it really works! Yeah.

biz

See, that’s why I think—I go back to that, like, whole… y’know, we’ve put too much emotion into the stuffed animals! Because they do! They—you’re right! They absorb their little emotions.

theresa

Yes.

biz

So… how do you… allow the stuffed animals to move on?

theresa

Oh.

biz

Because—again, I have a couple of bi—like, I’ve got this—there was like—when Katy Belle was young, I was doing still a lot of corporate work, and I was doing a conference in Barcelona and I had to be in Barcelona multiple times. And we stayed at a very fancy hotel, ‘cause—corporate. And I miss that part of my job. And—

theresa

And every time you went, you just took a—

crosstalk

Theresa: —bag of stuffed animals and left them in Barcelona. [Laughs.] Biz: Stuffed animals—and left them— [breaks into screaming laughter.] So good!

biz

Oh my god, that’s such a good idea! Um, so— [Laughs.] So the—there was a gift shop. Very fancy gift shop. It was a very fancy hotel. And they had these beautiful Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals. I mean, they’re gorgeous. And they’re like a reasonable—like, they’re kinda big and they’re awesome. And I—every trip, I got one. They’re still beautiful. Neither kid is like, “I love Winnie the Pooh so much!” I mean—not enough to be, like—but I—they’re beautiful! And I don’t know what to do with them! And… y’know… there’s some that are shitty! I got some shitty stuffed animals! Animals that can’t go through the wash and be taken care of. I’ve got a stuffed dog called Bubba that, uh, is the size of a dog. It’s very soft. So it’s not like—you can’t stand it up. It’s not like a stand-up dog in the house. It’s like a lay-on-the-floor, very big, Bubba’s been with us for years. Onion the cat has often turned Bubba into an object of affection. [Theresa laughs.] And so Bubba doesn’t always, like, smell the best if you get real close. And I don’t—I’m like—Bubba has to go. Bubba’s not well. There’s several rips in Bubba. Even if I fix Bubba, like… where’s Bubba going? Besides taking up, like, a table-sized room of space! Bubba currently still sits in our bedroom, next to, like, other things that need to be fixed. And… I mean, Bubba’s one of those ones that should just [though laughter] go in the trash!

crosstalk

Biz: [High-pitched voice through laughter] But I can’t do it! Theresa: [Through laughter] Here’s—here’s what we’re gonna do!

theresa

I just figured this out!

biz

Can you come over to my house? [Laughs.]

theresa

This is what we’re gonna do. Every time we meet for the show—

biz

Uh-huh.

theresa

We’re each gonna bring each other a bag.

biz

Okay. [Laughs.]

theresa

We’re gonna trade bags, and I won’t—

crosstalk

Theresa: —tell you what happens to your bag. Biz: Don’t tell me!

biz

Uh-huh.

theresa

And you won’t tell me what happens to my bag.

biz

Well I can tell you right now, though— [Theresa laughs.] —this’ll wind up in my garage! [Laughs.]

music

“Ones and Zeroes” by “Awesome.” Steady, driving electric guitar with drum and woodwinds. [Music fades out.]

biz

Music: Chill acoustic guitar plays in background. One Bad Mother is supported in part by Casper!

theresa

Casper is a sleep brand that makes expertly designed products to help you get your best rest, one night at a time. Jesse and I have a Casper mattress. We’ve been sleeping on this mattress for years now. It’s a fantastic mattress. Very comfortable. And it comes to your house in a cardboard box. [Biz laughs.]

biz

You need to get something for the kids? How about a gigantic cardboard box! [Theresa laughs.]

theresa

Casper products are cleverly designed to mimic human curves, providing supportive comfort for all kinds of bodies.

biz

You can be sure of your purchase with Casper’s 100-Night, Risk-Free, Sleep On It trial, and hassle-free returns if you’re not completely satisfied. So maybe don’t give the box to your kids right away. [Laughs.] Get $100 towards select mattresses by visiting Casper.com/badmother and using “badmother” at checkout. That’s Casper.com/badmother and using “badmother” at checkout. Terms and conditions apply. [Music fades out.]

theresa

Hey, you know what it’s time for! This week’s genius and fails! This is the part of the show where we share our genius moment of the week, as well as our failures, and feel better about ourselves by hearing yours. You can share some of your own by calling 206-350-9485. That’s 206-350-9485.

biz

Genius fail time, Theresa! Genius me! [Biz and Theresa affirm each other as they swap their weekly genius stories.]

clip

[Dramatic, swelling music in background.] Biz: Wow! Oh my God! Oh my God! I saw what you did! Oh my God! I’m paying attention! Wow! You, mom, are a genius. Oh my God, that’s fucking genius!

theresa

So my mom got my kids an advent calendar? And… a—just one, for the three of them to share. Which means every third day someone gets to open a door. And this was causing screaming every single morning. [Biz laughs.] Because nobody could remember whose day it was, or if they could remember they were wishful about—that it—they might—it might actually be their day.

biz

Or mistrusting.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

Yeah. [Laughs.]

theresa

Exactly. So then I realized—I don’t care what this thing looks like, and I took a giant Sharpie and I wrote the initial of the person on each door for the whole [though laughter] rest of the month. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

biz

That’s genius.

theresa

And it’s all better.

biz

That’s genius.

theresa

Yeah. Thank you.

biz

All better now!

theresa

Yep!

biz

Good job! So our genius was just getting through the one night without Mr. Tumbles? Uh, so… Katy Belle jumped in the moment she—we heard, and she gave him her stuffed animal Sushi? That she has? That we all know is like—it’s special enough that he understands— [thrilled sigh] “I get the Sushi?” And then Stephan drew a picture of Mr. Tumbles? And put it next to the bed and that also worked? I was scared that was gonna be traumatic, but it wasn’t. It was great. And Ellis was comfortable enough to sleep! That night.

theresa

So good.

biz

And I just—ugh.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Ugh.

theresa

That’s so stressful.

biz

Oh, yeah.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Wasn’t happy.

theresa

Good job.

biz

Thank you!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hello! I have a genius to share. Um, it’s the holidays, and cooking is not my thing and I feel particularly like a failure around the holidays ‘cause I’m not into cooking. And, y’know, and it’s supposed to be special and I’m supposed to make a turkey or a ham or whatever. [Biz laughs.] But I suck at it. So this year, I called our local grocery store and ordered a whole premade meal. And I just have to warm it up. I don’t have to stress when we have the fucking turkey. So that’s half my genius. The other half of my genius is—I saw my therapist in October before the real, real holidays season hit, and I got on the antidepressants! And— [Biz laughs.] —everything is better. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs enthusiastically.] And it was just—it’s so worth it! It’s hard? Y’know? To make the appointment and to get to the appointment, to find somebody to watch my kids during the appointment, and then talking during it and, y’know, get bloodwork done and then actually see the fucking doctor to—doing the whole thing. [Biz laughs.] But now, y’know, now it’s the holiday time and I don’t feel like I’m drowning! So… anyway! That’s—that’s my genius. I just wanted to share. You’re all doing a good job. Thanks. Bye.

biz

Yes!

theresa

Yeah!

biz

Yes!

theresa

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

biz

You… are doing… a great job.

theresa

Yeah, you are!

biz

Ordering the meal—

theresa

Oh my god.

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: Is so good!

theresa

If I am ever expected to provide— [Biz laughs.] —a Thanksgiving meal? You better believe that’s what I’m doing.

biz

Absolutely! It—I mean, you know how we feel about therapy? And antidepressants.

theresa

Oh, yeah!

biz

We are fans.

theresa

We are big fans of that.

biz

However, in this case, ordering the food— [breaks off, laughing.]

theresa

Yeah! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Theresa: May be even more important! Biz: May be—

biz

Be a more important genius. Good job! Failures.

clip

[Dramatic orchestral music plays in the background.] Theresa: [In a voice akin to the Wicked Witch of the West] Fail. Fail. Fail. FAIL! [Timpani with foot pedal engaged for humorous effect.] Biz: [Calmly] You suck!

biz

Fail me, Theresa! [Biz and Theresa affirm each other as they share their weekly fail moments.]

theresa

Okay. So I mentioned last week we had spent a week in Oakland for Thanksgiving. And when we were on our way home, I discovered that while we were there, I somehow lost a— [Biz laughs.] —Ziploc bag with prescription medication in it!

biz

 [Through laughter] Oh, shit! [Laughs.]

theresa

And I, like, really do—like, it could be somewhere in my car?

biz

Yeah?

theresa

It could be in the house where we were dog-sitting? It could just be out on the street somewhere? It could be in a coat po—like, I literally—I looked everywhere I could possibly think of to look for it? Gone.

biz

Wow.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

Wow.

theresa

Yes.

biz

Oopsie! [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.]

biz

I… I just have never followed up with Katy Belle’s orthodontist. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs enthusiastically.] [Through laughter] It’s been… it’s been a long time. I mean, like to the point where the x-rays prob—the bazillion-dollar x-rays that we had done, that they don’t turn in for insurance until you do the whole—whatever. Are probably no good anymore. I was just kinda waiting for two feet—teeth to fall out that they wanted to pull? [Laughs.] ‘Cause I didn’t wanna fucking deal with that? And now… it’s been a—like, I know I have to take her in. I don’t… want to. I don’t want to think about the money surrounding this? I don’t want to think about the discomfort to my child surrounding this?

theresa

Oh, yeah. It’s just the worst.

biz

I don’t want to think about having to listen to the complaining about what you can and can’t eat! I want none of it! Pretending it doesn’t exist is not going to make it go away.

theresa

No. [Laughs.]

biz

But it’s also not motivating me to get it done any faster. So… there.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

You suck!

biz

Really, that’s bad. [Laughs.]

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, One Bad Mother! This is a fail. I was cleaning out my daughter’s closet and found a floating tea set. Um, that someone had given her when she was too young to have baths in the big tub. Um, it was the teapot and two little teacups. And I thought, oh, this’ll be fun in her next bath! Um. But… as she is a toddler—she’s not quite two—uh, my child likes to drink bathwater! [Biz laughs.] So I essentially invited her to [though laughter] a bathwater tea party. [Biz and Theresa laugh.] Um, I’m—not [though laughter] doing a good job. [Laughs.] But you guys are. Have a great day. Bye-bye.

biz

Theresa?

theresa

We’re really not.

biz

No, we are. Do you listen to the show?

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Theresa! [Theresa laughs.] [Imitates British accent] Would you like some tepid pee in your tea? In your bathwater tea today?

theresa

I am shocked that this thing—item even exists!

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Because I would think— [Biz laughs.] —all kids, this would lead to bathwater drinking!

biz

“You know what’s a good idea? Let’s, uh, release a tea set that you can put it in the tub. Hey! Do you think that—" [Theresa laughs.] “—that might encourage kids to drink the te—‘cause like, we have a floating car set. That’s fine. No one’s gonna use the car as a cup. But a tea set really suggests you should fill it up with water, and the water access is— nah, don’t worry about it. You’re—“

theresa

“I think—that’s a stretch.”

biz

“Yeah. [Laughs.] You’re overthinking it, pal.” [Theresa laughs.] “Go get us some coffee!” Well, you’re doing a horrible job.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

But it’s very funny.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

And so obvious. [Biz and Theresa both laugh delightedly.] Tea for everyone!

music

“Mom Song” by Adira Amram. Mellow piano music with lyrics. You are the greatest mom I’ve ever known I love you, I love you When I have a problem, I call you on the phone I love you, I love you [Music fades out.]

theresa

Music: Jazzy piano plays in background and continues through dialogue. One Bad Mother is supported in part by StoryWorth. A great part about the holidays is reconnecting with family—swapping stories and reliving moments. But keeping these memories alive can be hard. Give your family a meaningful gift this year: StoryWorth!

biz

StoryWorth is an online service that helps your loved ones tell the story of their lives through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. Every week, StoryWorth emails your family member different story prompts, questions you’ve never thought to ask, like—what have been some of your life’s greatest surprises? And what’s one of the riskiest things you’ve ever done? After a year, StoryWorth will compile every answered question and photo you choose to include into a beautiful keepsake book that’s shipped for free. Guys? This is genius. Because it saves me the trouble of trying to remember and write everything down that my family has ever said. [Laughs.]

theresa

Preserve and pass on memories with StoryWorth—the most meaningful gift for your family. Sign up today by going to StoryWorth.com/badmother. You’ll get $20 off your first purchase! That’s StoryWorth.com/badmother for $20 off. [Music ends.]

promo

Music: Upbeat, fun music. Lisa Hanawalt: Hey, if you like your podcasts to be focused and well-researched, and your podcast hosts to be uncharismatic, unhorny strangers who have no interest in horses, then this is not the podcast for you. Emily Heller: Yeah, and what's your deal? [Lisa laughs.]  I'm Emily. Lisa: I'm Lisa. Emily: Our show's called Baby Geniuses! Lisa: And its hosts are horny adult idiots. We discover weird Wikipedia pages every episode. Emily: We discuss institutional misogyny! Lisa: We ask each other the dumbest questions, and our listeners won't stop sending us pictures of their butts. Emily: We haven't asked them to stop! But they also aren't stopping. Lisa: Join us on Baby Geniuses. Emily: Every other week on MaximumFun.org. [Music ends.]

promo

Music: “Switchblade Comb” by Mobius VanChocStraw. A jaunty, jazzy tune reminiscent of the opening theme of a movie. Speaker 1: [Severely distorted.] I’ve got a message for you. April Wolfe: Hi! It’s me, April Wolfe! The host of Switchblade Sisters and co-writer of the new horror film, Black Christmas. Katie Walsh: And I’m Katie Walsh. Film critic and occasional host of Switchblade Sisters. April: We’re here to announce that, for one episode, we will be doing something a little different. Much like Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s The Fly, I will be going through a truly disturbing transformation! Katie: April will transform from the interviewer into the interviewee. I will be asking her all about her new film, Black Christmas, her writing process, and ongoing existential dread. April: But I will also be discussing John Carpenter’s perfect masterpiece, Prince of Darkness. Speaker 2: You guys seen any movies you like? Katie: So, tune in to Switchblade Sisters for a one-of-a-kind episode, with April Wolfe. And me! Katie Walsh. April: See you then! Speaker 3: Only the corrupt are listened to, now! [Music ends.]

biz

Theresa? There’s no guest today. Except the very special guest of a mom having a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, Biz and Theresa! Uh, this is a mom having a breakdown. [Close to tears.] I’m calling because I have this really demanding job. And I have this sweet 14-month-old baby. And so often I feel like it’s just easier to kind of put the baby in the backseat and pay attention to my job, because it’s crying louder and it’s more disappointed in me. And it just makes me feel horrible. So… um, this is—I’m calling at 7:27 on a Saturday night, because I got the millionth weekend request in the last 10 weeks, and… this is just a mom having a breakdown. I—my daughter is 14 months old, and I know people do this for years! They kee—they work and they have cute babies at home, but I don’t get it. So… you’re doing a great job, and thank you.

biz

[Sympathetically] Oh.

theresa

Wow.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah! I don’t get it either.

biz

I don’t—

theresa

Does anyone get it?

biz

I don’t get it.

theresa

I—I don’t think—I don’t know anyone who gets it.

biz

And I’m not sure however long… we are doing it? That it means we’ve accomplished or done—y’know what I mean? Like, there’s that thought of—everybody—“Lots of people have to do this. They have to balance work and, y’know, children.” That doesn’t mean they’re enjoying it—

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah! Or doing well— Biz: And it d—

theresa

—at both of them?

crosstalk

Biz: Right! Or that—Yeah! Theresa: Or feeling fulfilled. Yeah.

biz

That it’s a reflection that you should be enjoying it.

theresa

Right!

biz

It sucks!

theresa

It really sucks.

biz

It really sucks! And I don’t think—I mean, I could easily be flippant and say, “It’s worse when they’re little!” But I don’t think it is. I think any time it holds the potential power of feeling like we’re divided when it comes to our energy and what we’re putting that energy into! It’s hard.

theresa

And having a job that expects stuff of you outside of regular working hours? That’s a next-level thing? Like, I feel like… it’s worth acknowledging that not all working parents have a job where they’re being asked to work during times that are normally their family time.

crosstalk

Biz: I agree. Theresa: Like, that’s—

theresa

That’s extra rough. On top of something that’s already really hard.

biz

Yeah. Uh, yeah. You’re right, Theresa. And… you are right that this sucks! And… I’m really sorry. And we see you.

theresa

We do.

biz

And you’re not alone!

theresa

Mm-mm.

biz

And you—you’re doing a really good job.

theresa

You are. [Theresa and Biz affirm each other as they wrap up the episode.]

biz

Theresa? What did we learn today? We learned… that stuffed animals are possessed by spirits that will haunt you— [Theresa laughs.] —if you ever throw them away. [Laughs.] Should’ve saved this for a Halloween episode! I think we learned that—[Breaks off, laughing.] [Theresa laughs.] I think we learned that stuffed animals—obvious gifts for children— [Laughs.] Which is why they wind up in the house so much. I do! I still—will like be walking through a store and I’ll be like, [high-pitched voice] Oh, it’s a cute little stuffed animal! It’d be an easy little treat because they’ve been working so hard—

crosstalk

Theresa: It’s harmless! Biz: And blah, blah, blah.

biz

It’s harmless! It’s harmless. Stuffed animals: you can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t throw them away because of the curse!

theresa

Yeah.

biz

We also learned that the holidays are here. And… I just wanna say that I feel like I’ve been a bit on a soapbox lately. [Theresa laughs.] So I wanna kinda bring it in, keep it short and sweet. Not something that’s gonna be written on my tombstone! [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] You are all doing an incredible job.

theresa

Yeah, you are.

biz

This is very hard.

theresa

So hard!

biz

Very hard! [Theresa laughs.] This particular time of year is very stressful! So stressful. I—again—how I sometimes wander off is listing all the things that are stressful.

theresa

Mm.

biz

But you guys know. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah!

crosstalk

Theresa: You guys really know. Biz: You know what.

biz

Yeah! You really know.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

We see you. [Theresa laughs.] Go out and see each other. Try and be—see yourself.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Be nice to yourself. You’re doing… a very good job. Theresa? You are doing… a very good job!

theresa

Thanks, Biz, so are you.

biz

Thank you! We will talk to you guys next week!

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: Byeeeee!

music

“Mama Blues” by Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans. Strumming acoustic guitar with harmonica and lyrics. I got the lowdown momma blues Got the the lowdown momma blues Gots the lowdown momma blues The lowdown momma blues Gots the lowdown momma blues Got the lowdown momma blues You know that’s right [Music fades somewhat, plays in background of dialogue.]

biz

We’d like to thank Max Fun, our producer Hannah Smith, our husbands, Stefan Lawrence and Jesse Thorn, our perfect children who provide us with inspiration to say all these horrible things, and of course you our listeners. To find out more about the songs you heard on today’s podcast and more about the show, please go to MaximumFun.org/onebadmother. For information about live shows, our book and press, please check out OneBadMotherPodcast.com.

theresa

One Bad Mother is a member of the Maximum Fun family of podcasts. To support the show go to MaximumFun.org/donate. [Music continues for a while before fading out.]

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—Audience supported.

About the show

One Bad Mother is a comedy podcast hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn about motherhood and how unnatural it sometimes is. We aren’t all magical vessels!

Join us every week as we deal with the thrills and embarrassments of motherhood and strive for less judging and more laughing.

Call in your geniuses and fails: 206-350-9485. For booking and guest ideas, please email onebadmother@maximumfun.org. To keep up with One Bad Mother on social media, follow @onebadmothers on Twitter and Instagram.

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