• Monday

    Warning: Unsolicited Parental advice below.
    Stop giving a shit if she is “sad”.
    How’s that for being straight forward.

    She’s got you figured out that you care more about her “feelings” then needing to listen to you.

    I smell excess pot smoking in her future, because she wants to!
    ;) >

  • kristanhoffman


    You know how you know I’m not a parent? When I read that — “No you’re not because I’m going to hide it and you won’t find it and then I’ll play it without you knowing” — I thought, Hey, that’s clever! At least you know she’s smart!

  • talleyklotz

    Fear is a legitimate form of communication.
    - Someone important said that and I totally use it ALL THE TIME.

  • The Prima Momma

    LOL! Oh Heather, thank you for this. We are at the “I am *not* your friend anymore!” stage. Which I would be totally okay with, except she only lets FRIENDS brush her damn teeth.
    God help me when puberty sets in.

  • connie

    You should be thankful you’re not Kate Gosselin. I’m pretty sure the entire world chewed her out for telling her children to behave. Imagine what they’d do to you for threatening to take Leta’s DS away.

  • rainonfire

    This goes along with my bf’s 7 year old who insists that “This is the WORST day EVER!” when we tell her no. Drama, drama, drama.

  • tracy

    thank you so very much for giving me a glimpse of what my life will be like in three & a half years.

  • Earthy Beginnings

    Guess I’m lucky I can still use the “oh you’re not coming??? ok but I’m leaving, bye!” which is quickly followed by my 3yr old’s “wait for meeeeeee!!!”… Ahhhhh but the joys of parenthood. Hang in there!

  • kariberi

    ya know you did what works for you and that is perfectly fine. Screw those who think it was bad on how you handled the situation. They are the same parents that have rotten kids that treat them and everyone else like crap and grow up thinking its all about them.

    By the way, Leta is really good at trying to make people feel bad. Lets hope her future husband wont put up with it like you dont!

  • reluctantcrafter

    I have 6 y/o g/g twins. So, to make you feel better, no, it’s not just you. And regretfully, it will probably get worse b/4 it gets better. Our best actress line is “this is the worse day EVER” (I also have no patience for this), to which my usual response is a story from my childhood followed by “you don’t know what a bad day is”. I’ll see you in line at the “Mom of the Year awards”…

  • carolfrog

    I know exactly how Leta feels. And I’m 32. But, somehow, the next day eventually comes, and I usually feel better. So that’s encouraging, right? . . . Right?

  • meanie

    Someone in our house had to wear pjs to school today. Yep I’m a mean mom who doesn’t want to hear the whining. As soon as she whines about clothing choices, it’s pjs all day. Today was the first trial of this parental technique. Curious to see what happens tomorrow AM..

  • Alexandra

    Heather don’t even joke about getting her period! I was a camp counselor for four years and had the pleasure of getting wee Brownies (it was a Girl Scout camp) and I had a camper that was six years old with a developmental disorder that meant she had the hormone levels of a thirteen year old and COULD GET HER PERIOD ANY DAY.


    She was the moodiest, brattiest child, but you couldn’t really fault her for it – she was like a teenager in a six year old’s body. Thank GOD she didn’t get her period, but I was so terrified that she would.

    She also had two mommies which didn’t make things easier for her, but her moms were both awesome and we had a great chat about her condition, but man was I scared she was going to get her period and all hell would break lose.

  • Little L

    “But now I’m going to have a bad day because I’m sad, and then I’m going to have many bad days forever.”

    I would – if I were you – wish I had this on tape so when, most likely this afternoon, she has forgotten and is enjoying herself you can play it back at her.

    I kinda dig how she stood her ground after you got in her face. Sounds like she did it quietly and with much guilt tripping. My kids would have never done such a thing. They do funny in other ways.

    (Yes, I find this exchange funny. Nothing worthy of judging, IMO)

  • vakadesign

    Holy crap, I hate it when that happens! You have one little moment of veering in the not perfect parenting direction, and the whole situation blows up and goes to hell.

    FYI? I totally brought up naked, starving African children this morning. I even described their distended starvation bellies. Oh yes, I went there.
    Katie: Parent Extraordinare.

  • sara-sundries

    I have a 5 year old girl. I totally hear you. And I’m so glad you are blogging about it because now I know I am not alone. (BTW,I would be SO dead so many times over by now, as well!)

  • Becca

    I am all about getting in my kid’s face when required. There is no shame in instilling fear. My dad had an eyebrow lift that was all he needed for control. He never hit us but we knew there would be deep shit if we didn’t obey THE EYEBROW.

  • chanachang

    wow. my four year old has very similar reactions to my stellar parenting methods. I am worried for the future.

  • Caitlinator

    I think I may need to use some of your parenting techniques on my mom.

  • Little L

    Those asking about the confiscating of the DS: read the story- Leta got out of bed and in between little sentences intended to throw Heather into intense guilt, slowly put her clothing on.

    Oh and Barbara? “First”??? What is this, PerezHilton.com?

  • AmandaB

    Oh dude. SOOOOOOO happy to know my son isn’t the only one who talks to his mother that way. That whole convo coulda been me and him. And I can’t even blame his period for his melodramatics.

    So I blame Bush.

  • The imPerfect Housewife

    You make your child get dressed before school??? Where is mom jail because you need to be there! Why don’t you really show her and let her go in her underpants one day – I bet you won’t have that “getting dressed” issue anymore! HA HA I’ve got two teen daughters…need I say more??

  • Marriage Confessions

    I don’t know about the hate mail, but personally? You’re my parenting hero.

    Shut it, Leta. (Even though you are adorable and brilliant and I probably would never be able to say “Shut it” to your cute face in real life…)

  • rochelle

    Did you steal my child in the middle of the night? Because we have that discussion once a week – and mine is 9! The only exception is mine would like to no longer live because life is soooooo hard. I mean, the dressing and eating and going to school…… you know, UM YEAH, LIFE. Welcome to the pre-tweens. Really gets you excited for the next phase doesn’t it? YEE HAW. :)

  • PaigeWAydensMama

    My kid is only 16 months old and you were FAR more patient with Leta than I am on a GOOD well-rested day with him. Kudos.

  • DonnyPauling

    I love it! So dramatic!

  • Stretchmarks_notbitter

    Yeah, getting up at 4:30am is awesome, but 3:30am is better. I would know…because that is what time our 7 week old decided to wake up and NOT go back to sleep (our 2 year old fights us with bedtime until 11pm). And, if waking up that early was not bad enough, I was so tired I decided not to pay attention and apply handsoap to my toothbrush…yeah, that’s not toothpaste. I can’t wait to have 18 more children…that is, if I dont accidently apply something toxic to my toothbrush tomorrow morning.

  • DealWithIt


    My most recent favorite in my house is “(grumble grumble) Whatever Mom”. Totally sounds better wtih the 7yo tone and eye roll.

  • WanderingOne

    I can’t much because I was a lot like Leta when I was her age… As far as the hiding stuff goes. For the pouting, well, I would have forgotten all about it in ten minutes or less and bounded out the door to school. I’m gonna say it: Kids today. ;)

    I totally don’t disapprove of your parenting. Personally, I think that parenting has gone quite soft in recent years. Look, our parents were a little harsher with us, and we all turned out pretty well. We’re all relatively sane, functioning adults. A little tough love never hurt anyone, and it sure has helped a lot of people have the thick skin you need sometimes in this world. I shudder to think where all the uber sensitive parenting is going to lead these kids, frankly.

  • the niffer

    I know it wasn’t so funny at the time, but I find the drama absolutely hysterical.

  • amybjorge

    “Now, If I had said this to my father when I was growing up, I wouldn’t be alive today.”


    No, I’m sorry. I only judge people for not getting in their kids’ faces when it’s called for.

    It results in a generation of entitled, spoiled, self absorbed, undisciplined brats, IMHO.

    Ma and Pa Ingalls are rolling in their graves right now.

  • Jules K.

    I would have totally used the Africa line. Then I would have thrown in a little Darfur and factory farming for good measure.

    My son’s kindergarten has a “worm” policy, wherein kids who misbehave get these paper worms they have to pin to their name on the calendar. The parents receive a disciplinary notice the same day. Since starting kindergarten and learning about this system, my son gives me 3-4 worms a week. Apparently, I’m on the verge of being expelled from mom-school.

  • XOXO

    < judging >
    You’re gonna go down for that mess, Armstrong.

    * I * however, find that since you didn’t actually yell or growl or eat her, that you’re in the drawing for Saint of the Month.

    Good work, kiddo.

    < /judged >

  • EliBailey

    My daughter liked to say things like that too. I vividly remember her WAILING that she was “going to need therapy for this,” when I was getting onto her for swearing once. She was around 9 or 10 at the time.

    A little fear is good; kids need to know they can’t walk all over you. My mother was a very loving and affectionate parent, but she did NOT put up with back talk, and neither did I with my kids. I think you definitely did the right thing with Leta.

  • keelies

    I swear Leta and my daughter must have some kind of interstellar mind-swapping exchange thing going on because I hear the EXACT SAME THING most mornings when we have to get her off to preschool. Covers over the head, repetitions of “I’m sad forever”, and complete & utter disgrard. So, NO, you are not a bad parent and it’s a relief to know that apparently I’m not either. Timing and racing doesn’t often work for us either. By all means if you unlock the magic code to getting Leta dressed and ready faster, PLEASE post!!! My sanity cannot handle many more refusals to eat anything other than candy corn or slices of american cheese for breakfast!

  • aynwinter

    When it comes to girls, 5 is the new 2. Today, I threatened my kindergartner w/ a return to preschool b/c putting on socks (which I know would be worth more than gold in Africa!) today was so challenging as they were all too “fuzzy.” And thankfully, she wears a uniform b/c I know my life would be utter HELL if we had more of a choice between a skort or a jumper. Rather than making me want to slit my wrists before breakfast I have not even bothered to buy the uniform pants as I know I might as well be asking her to eat a bowl of fish eyes than to wear those. Thankfully I also have two boys, one older and one younger than my daughter, who when I hold up something for them to wear never even glance my way before saying “fine.” It’s all about finding balance.

  • Belle

    Way to go dooce… making the youth of America FOREVER sad. ;) N

  • MedicatedMama

    I don’t fear using threats as a parenting technique. I look at it this way…I didn’t listen to my parents because I loved them so much that I wanted to do whatever I could to make them happy and never disobey or disrespect them because I cared about them SO MUCH. Um, NO! I listend because I was AFRIAD! I listend because I was truly scared of what would happen to me if I didn’t. I think there is a fine line between being a parent and a drill sargent. It’s just the way it has to be in order to teach your children manors and respect.

  • d3 voiceworks

    cheese-n-rice motherfucking piece of shitass morning what is so hard about getting dressed…is about what goes through my mind with the ragamuffin rugrat who WEARS A UNIFORM but still has plenty to say about it, trying to wield some control, and dragging her dirty feet in the process. makes me crazy and every day is a big challenge to quell all my sarcastic comments and show no cards (read: reaction). i swear ta dawg i wonder why we have kids sometimes because sometimes it is not fun. at all. wtf man? i know my parents would never have put up with any of the bullshit we deal with. mother mary of god help me.

    okay rant over and so was this morning’s episode, like many hours ago., i could try to let things lough off a little faster, probably.

  • Coyote

    Bwahahahaha! Girls are a trip. My daughter, the youngest of 4 and the only girl, was an endless source of drama and entertainment. I was fortunate because I had a backup system consisting of her 3 older brothers who she desperately wanted to be like. So, when she’d have a fit about something, she’d hear a chorus of sibling voices telling her to “get over it” or “just grow up” or “this is SO not a big deal.” Worked like a charm.

    I also kept a jar full of quarters on top of the refrigerator, one jar for each child. At the beginning of the week, I put 7 quarters in each one. If they misbehaved, I took out a quarter. At the end of the week, I gave them whatever remained in their jar. Invariably, my daughter had the fewest quarters, which peeved her to no end, and her brothers would say, “See? Yet another reason to stop being a poop-head.”

    Eventually, all the peer pressure and monetary deprivation affected her in a good way (along with copious amounts of love and loving guidance). Her teachers were always telling me how cooperative and helpful she was in class, and compassionate toward her classmates. In high school, she won all sorts of awards for being awesome in various ways. Now, she is a vibrant, creative 20-year-old, and simply a delight to be with.

    There Is Hope!

    P.S. If you can find a nearby drama program, sign her up! It’s a great outlet and diffuser for all those burgeoning emotions :-)

  • Nancy D.

    I’m judging that you handled that just right.

    I have two actual teenage daughters in my house. We don’t have issues surrounding talking back, sassing or otherwise respecting parental authority.

    BECAUSE we established that as a no-fly zone back when they were way shorter than me (not so much now) and I got into their faces and made it CRYSTAL clear that such an attitude is neither acceptable nor tolerated.

    We have a good relationship with our teenage daughters. We have a relatively angst free home. Sure… some of it comes in the door. And yea… sometimes we have to have course corrections. And if we could just get the whole idea of “do your school work” impressed into them as well, all would be fine and dandy.

    But the work you are doing NOW pays off in 10 years.

  • Moiras Mama

    1-OMG this gets worse? My daughter is almost 2 1/2 and the morning battles are driving me nuts. What gives. I thought this would get better before her teen years and the obvious drama that comes with that.
    2-Threats are not a normal occurance in everyone’s house? I try so hard to be patient, but it seems like every other sentence out of my mouth is you can do X, or you can go to your room, your choice. She fights us on everything.

    Infancy, nursing every 3 hours for months, I could do that. Trying to outsmart a 2 year old, I’m losing fast. I love your idea to make it a game though. I might have to figure out how to tweak that into something that will work for a 2 year old.

  • freckledmama

    I have 3 girls, I so feel you on this one. I usually breakdown and say something like, “If you’re so miserable, you should run away. C’mon, I’ll help you pack.”

  • redvixen

    oh yes … I have had those days with my girls.
    I did learn something along the way however, as it finally struck me one day – WHY does she do this on days that I a) had no sleep for a week, b) am sick, or c) have PMS myself???

    Ahh .. light bulb went off!! It is a mirror.

    So … I found when I could (was not always for sure) ..I showered and got myself energized or at least went into bathroom alone and pinched my cheeks and put on a happy face, before entrancing into children. I over exaggerated being happy.

    It mostly worked – well except for my when I had horrific PMS myself and was possessed by demons. So usually.

  • DarStar

    Um ya. Drama or a theatre program for kids has been wonderful for the 10 year old diva in this house.

    Critisize fear tactics? Never. I applaude you. Do what you gotta do sista. However, I just can’t figure out how to be scary enough!! It seems that nothing works. Nothing scares this kid, she’s a machine. Whatever happened to the days when we were scared shitless of our parents? I guess it all boils down to power and control, and even though I KNOW that the best way to GET it is to GIVE it (some of it), I still haven’t quite mastered the perfect formula. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

    Basically I think – Armstrongs, brace yourselves.

  • Jinx

    Hahahahahaha! If I had said that to my father, I wouldn’t be alive today either.
    She’ll get over it. ;)

  • Squeetthang

    My mother asks, at least twice a year, if I was scarred for life by the spankings I incurred during my childhood…the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, I will carry with me, FOREVER, the fact that I never got any jelly shoes. Mom swears she saved me from a horrible blister infestation. She also gave up on dressing me around the age of four…the turmoil was too much for her. It resulted in alot of spandex and cowboy boot mashups.

    Ahh, the joys of having girls…

  • theotherlion

    Did you know that you are using a behavior management technique that people write books about? For the REALS. And you are doing it beautifully. I think it’s called 1-2-3 Magic. Anyway, we have a list of “Key Phrases” in our preschool classroom and many of them are similar to, “I’m sorry you feel that way. It’s time to do work now.” I particularly enjoy, “That’s a bummer.” I work with kids who have behavior disorders. When they swear at me and kick me, I say, “That’s a bummer. Go sit in time out.”

    Dude, Leta cracks me up.

  • donna boucher

    So funny!

    I wanted to say that I love the picture of you and Jon.

  • naysway

    This is NOTHING! You have two girls. TWO! Just wait. Wait until they’re BOTH so sad they can’t go on with life, and it’s all your fault. Forget Africa. Forget rationale. You will never believe how badly you want to shake the shit out of something you gave birth to as you do when you have girls.

    And another thing… GUH-ERRRRLS!