On a new episode of VICELAND's show WEEDIQUETTE, Krishna Andavolu meets the mothers breaking federal law to treat their children's autism with cannabis. Though the local government might prohibit it, these parents have a conviction that helping their kids shouldn't make them criminals.
Plus, BONG APPÉTITis back with a new episode, and Abdullah Saeed is teaming up with the founders of LA's Trap Kitchen to infuse their signature dish with a generous helping of cannabis oil. Abdullah and his buddies serve up the potent pineapple bowls—filled with jasmine rice, beef short rib, and lobster—to Slink Johnson, the comedian and actor who stars in Adult Swim's Black Jesus.
In 2011, Amy Poehler found herself at TIME 100 Gala, a dinner honoring what the magazine believed to be the most influential people of the year. She'd earned her spot. In the years leading up to it, she'd left a very successful stint at SNL to strike out on her own with Parks and Recreation, which after a first rocky season became a bonafide hit and a critical darling. In her speech at the dinner she thanked Hillary Clinton and Lorne Michaels for the profound impact and influence the two had had on her life. Then she thanked Jackie Johnson and Dawa Chodon. From Trinidad and Tibet, respectively, the two are Poehler's nannies. She thanked them for doing nothing short of coming to her house and helping her raise her children, and allowing her to have the career she was being honored for that night. Movingly, she spoke a truth many people know but seldom give voice to: Being a nanny is no small task. Good nannies like Johnson and Chodon, to quote Poehler, "are people who love your children as much as you do, and who inspire them and influence them." Important stuff, for sure. It can also be a thankless, frustrating drag, as we found out when talked to a few in-home childcare providers. Here are the weirdest, worst, most deflating or unexpected parts of their jobs, and how they'd like to tell the parents they work for.
Potty Training Is Important
I work for a family with two kids: an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. I was making lunch the other day when I heard the boy scream my name from the bathroom upstairs, and I ran to make sure he was OK. I was relieved to find him free of open wounds, but not thrilled about the reason he'd called. Somehow this eight-year-old boy missed the toilet by about three feet and was standing there, pantsless, pointing at a turd on the floor. All he had to say was "I missed," and kept looking at me, then looking at the log like I was going to clean it up. I told him this was unfortunate but that he was a big boy and it was time for him to start cleaning up his own messes, and he flew into a rage: "MY MOM WOULD PICK IT UP! SHE'S GOING TO BE SO MAD AT YOU!" We went back and forth for a few minutes but he ended up picking up and flushing the turd after I told him we could wait for her to get back to see who she'd be mad at. I told his mom when she got home and she laughed and acted like it was totally normal for a kid that age to have "accidents." Mmmk! - Raquel, 23
Mean Moms Gangs
I'm 20, but I've been told I look a lot younger. I nanny for a toddler on weekday mornings, and there's this group of three evil stay-at-home moms who hang out at the park a few blocks away from her house. Whenever I take her there, they are awful to both of us. They think I'm some kind of slutty teen mom, so they shoo their kids away when she tries to play with them, and ask each other who they think her father is or whether I'm still in high school while I'm very much in earshot. I've never corrected them because, to be honest, they scare the shit out of me. Besides, I don't think they'd be much nicer if they knew I was the help. - Lara, 20
No Go, Go, Go
Nothing drives me crazier than parents who work nine hours a day trying to plan out every minute of their child's life while they're gone. I used to work for a family who would leave me a detailed list of segmented activities that would take up every single minute of their day. Breakfast was exactly a half hour long, followed by exactly 45 minutes of piano practice, one hour of "playground games," half an hour of reading out loud, another half hour of reading quietly, a half hour of board games, a half hour lunch, an hour of Lego time, and on and on. I get that it's important to keep your kids on a schedule, but this was one step away from military school. Let your kids be spontaneous once in awhile! - Kelly, 26
Illustration by Brandon Celi for VICE.
TV Is Not the Enemy
I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I wish all parents would let their kids watch at least a little TV. I work for a family whose parents are really strict with TV. That sounds fine in theory, but these poor kids are teased by all their classmates and neighborhood friends about how little they know about popular shows and movies. I'm not saying kids should be able to watch hours of TV every day, I just feel bad that they can't relate to most of the things other kids their age are talking about. Plus, it would be nice to have something for me to distract them with on rainy days when I've run through every other activity in their house. At least let them watch educational documentaries, or take them to an appropriate movie once a month! - Leah, 25
Late? Pay Me
I'm sympathetic to last-minute schedule changes... up to a point. Being a working parent is hard, and sometimes you have to stay for that late meeting or whatever, but please keep me in the loop! It's so annoying when a parent comes home an hour or two late without notice, acts like nothing's wrong, then pays me as though they were on time. If we have an agreed-on daily rate and you're late, you need to pay me for the extra time I spent watching your kid. Please don't make me ask for more money in these situations—it's really awkward and it makes me feel like you don't value my time at all. - Hannah, 26
Laundry Service Is Not Part of the Service
I'm a child-care professional who spends all of my time focused on the kid I'm paid to be watching, I'm not a 1950s housewife for hire. Of course I clean up after I make lunch or dinner, and sometimes I'll put away dishes or wipe down a client's messy counters after I've put the kids to bed. But I've had a few not-so-great situations where parents have asked me to their laundry, vacuum, or dust while they're out. Anyone who wants a maid should hire one, but that's not my job. I have heard of people building cleaning into their contracts, but it's really rude to spring a cleaning job on someone you hired specifically to take care of your children. - Maria, 30
iOS: Becoming a parent can really put a damper on your relationships with friends, but meeting up gets easier if your friends are also parents. A new app, Peanut, aims to help women find “mama” friends through a Tinder-like interface.
Four years ago I bought my mom a ninety-dollar scarf for Christmas. The scarf was oversized, turquoise, and made out of a natural fiber I couldn't pronounce. The gift was undeniably expensive but I figured it was an appropriate token of affection for the women who raised me. That year I also bought mom an animatronic dancing Santa. It was in the discount bin and cost two dollars. The Santa spun in circles and played Jingle Bell Rock. Mom thought the Santa was the greatest thing she ever saw. She laughed and played it dozens upon dozens of times. She has never worn the scarf. Not once.
I hadn't intended the dancing Santa to become a Christmas tradition. It was a throwaway gag. A festive accent to the actual present I had put time and effort into. My mistake was assuming that mom loves things in the way I love things—with a droll sense of detachment and a well practiced eye roll—but that's just not the case. She loves things with an unbridled enthusiasm usually reserved for primary school teachers. It's one of her absolute best traits and it drives me up the wall.
"It's so good of you to make a new Christmas tradition!" she said playing Jingle Bell Rock Santa for the umpteenth time. "This is something I'll look forward to every holiday season! With a new Santa each time!" Jingle Bell Rock Santa stopped. Mom smiled and hit the button. Santa started up again.
Since that time my mother has collected twenty-two animatronic dancing Santas. They were gifts from myself, other family members, and well-meaning friends. There is the sunglassed Santa that dances to Gangnam Style. There is the limited edition singing bass that wears a Santa hat and croons Bing Crosby. There is also the jumping Santa that our dog tried to eat and is missing half its face.
During the holidays mom places these festive robots around my childhood home and sets them off at random. They are her absolute favorite things and have turned the simple act of walking to the bathroom into a veritable Five Nights at Freddy's, full of jump scares and unprecedented use of the word fuck.
This year in my latest effort to hide from my extended family and avoid my childhood friends, I hauled up in my former bedroom and decided to rank Mom's top-five Dancing Santas. The uncanny monstrosities were judged based on their festive qualities and movement abilities. The videos were taken between the time my brother stopped doing drum pad covers of Christmas Carols and when my grandma phoned to ask why we don't visit more often.
5. Gangham Style Santa
I purchased this bad boy at Honest Ed's, the iconic Kubrickan maze of discount goods and terrible puns located in Toronto's Annex [soon to be closed for a condo obviously]. I hadn't tried out the Santa before bequeathing it to Ma, and I couldn't read the label because it was printed in Mandarin. Gangnam Style was a surprise for us all. On Christmas when the tune blared out of Santa's backside and Saint Nick began thrusting his hips, Mom squealed until literal tears were rolling down her face. When she caught her breath she said "Go put Macarena Santa beside the dog!"
4. Figuratively Snowing Frosty
Last year due to a fun little bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder ( S.A.D LOL) I put off Christmas shopping until December the 23rd. That meant that I had to make my way to an overcrowded mall, frantically battling it out with all the other sad sacks desperate to purchase the their family's love. After four hours of grinding my teeth and swiping my card the only thing left to buy was the Santa. The closest thing I could find was Figuratively Snowing Frosty. Later that night on the bus ride to my parent's house I made him snow until the batteries wore out. I felt oddly at ease.
3. Jumping Snowman
The Jumping Snowman made the list because the Jumping Santa no longer works after the dog attack. While Jumping Santa still exists somewhere in the abode as nightmare fuel for unsuspecting visitors, for the sake of this article he was disqualified from the rankings. The most impressive thing about Jumping Snowman is the height he gets. In my lesser moments I fear he will track me down replicant style in a hunt for meaning and vengeance.
2. Santa's Little Helper: The Walking Dog
Look at this bullshit.
1. Jingle Bell Rock Santa
The one that started it all. There he is with his face all aglow. There he is spinning in circles, ringing his bells, and playing his music in some kind of ill-fated attempt to stay with it. To turn on Jingle Bell Rock Santa you push the button on its back. Two years ago the button broke. Now unless you physically restrain Santa he will continue indefinitely, spinning ad nauseam, and bringing continual festive cheer until some Grinch comes in and ruins the party. I am usually the Grinch.
Bonus: Mom opens up Santa's Little Helper: The Walking Dog
That look on her face… probably not worth it. I'll probably get her a book next year.