An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The extent of the religion in this house

Yesterday morning when I mentioned to Leta that the Easter Bunny had brought her a basket full of goodies she presented me with a blank face. I don’t know what I was expecting because we hadn’t ever talked about it before and she didn’t know that she was supposed to be excited. I could have said, “GAH GAH GAH GAH GAH,” and it would have meant the same thing to her: sentence does not contain any instances of the words “Elmo” or “cookie” so I can stop paying attention now.

We didn’t prepare her for the event for a few reasons. One, we are lazy. Two, how do you explain the Easter Bunny to a two-year-old? Look, Sweetie, this giant bunny wearing a bow-tie is going to break into the house while you’re sleeping because Jesus died for your sins. Three, on the off chance that she did catch on to the whole concept the last thing I wanted to do was listen to her ask about the Easter Bunny every four seconds. Already we’ve had to start spelling words in front of her because certain ones can trigger dangerous fits of hyperventilation, words like gummy bear and Grandmommy. I made a huge mistake last week when I told her that we were going to Grandmommy’s house later that afternoon because she stopped breathing air after she heard GRANDMOMMY and didn’t hear the rest of the sentence. The disappointment over the fact that Grandmommy was in fact not in our house that very instant was such that I had to talk her out of throwing her body into traffic.

Also, M&M’s are now known around here as “the letter that comes after L – ampersand – the letter that comes after L’s.”

Because we are no longer a very religious family we didn’t attend any church services, but we did celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior by dyeing eggs. Nothing says “Jesus is risen!” like a festive hard-boiled egg. This is an activity that until yesterday I had never taken part of, and I used to think my parents were ogres for having denied us that experience. Now I know they were just smart. At one point Leta had her left foot submerged in the bowl of green dye, and in each hand she held an egg that she would seconds later throw in a straight line at the ground.

Jesus is risen!

It was a picture of The Armstrongs at our finest: both Jon and I still in our pajamas, hair pointing in every direction except the right one, our child standing ankle-deep in a bowl of green vinegar with shards of egg shell tossed about like glitter. I can laugh about it now but at the time I was a wreck because I had a mental tally going of how many surfaces she could destroy with that dye. Jon kept telling me to relax because this mess was the essence of the activity, because we were creating memories with our child. And I totally see his point, which is why next year I think we should dye eggs while we’re drunk and naked.

  • plue

    I just wanted to share my sister’s potty-training story.

    One night my parents and I were watching late night television and we heard the toilet flush. We looked at each other and mentally tallied that all of the toilet-trained people were sitting around the coffee table.

    Just then, we saw my two-year-old sister shuffle out of the bathroom and back into her room.

    She toilet-trained herself.

  • Patty

    Wait til she’s 24, and you think, aw, we don’t need to do this anymore…she’s too old for a basket. Then at 11 PM Saturday she says to you, “Hey Ma, change poopy diaper?” – no no nonono – she says to you “When are we going to dye eggs?”.

    Will you be prepared?

    By the way, no kid ever went to college still in diapers. My son took so long to catch on I used to joke I was going to let his wife train him.

  • I never knew that “&” was “ampersand”. I’m always like, “That ‘and’ sign thingy.” Yay! I learned something today!

  • ylime

    Stemming from Charles Hawtrey’s comment about when Leta learns to spell…reminded me of a student learning to read asking me what a “pussy chick” was. Luckily, he came up to me and asked privately instead of blurting it to the entire class.

    I have to give him kuddos for trying to figure out how to say “psychic”. 😉

    That was a complete digression from your post. I’ve tried to comment here several times, but until a few weeks ago I had a crap computer with an even more crap internet connection. Love the site!

    Boo’s the haters! haha

  • mojobeat

    The dye problem was never an issue at our house, but then, I’m the youngest of eight, I do remember having to be careful with the stuff, but by then I was five. Easter was stolen from the pagans, “oester” as it was originally called refers to estrus, a womans cycle, and was a big fertility festival, thus the eggs and the rabbits, this is more or less the gist of the story, so if any religionist gives you crap about not being in church for Easter, tell them to stop stealing thier holidays from the pagans and killing everybody in the inquisitions.

  • happy

    I taught her to microwave peeps. A skill that will take her far in life.

  • sasha

    That’s about the extent of religion in our house too.
    Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

  • violet

    Spelling certain words only works till they learn to recognize the spelled word as meaning the same thing, which happens long before they learn to read or write. My nieces are two and five, but they know when you spell c-o-o-k-i-e, that you’re talking about cookie’s.

    I’ve only been reading your site for about a month now, but already it’s a daily habit. I’ve also gotten to love 3hive!

  • “Happy Zombie Jesus Day”

    awesome! next year I’m giving each member of my family a card that says that for Easter.

  • We decided to wait until next year to dye eggs because my son is 8 months old and I don’t think he would have been much help 🙂 Next year though we plan on dying eggs and then using the left over dye to color our dog…

    Oh and I wanted to comment on the post before this one… I have a neice who’s first sentence was “Want to roll one?” whenever she saw a peice of white paper… like when I was babysitting her so her parents could go to drug rehab classes and offered her some blank paper to draw on… kids say the darndest things

  • If it makes you feel any better we colored eggs with my six year old well after we put the two year old to bed!

    Another long-time reader, first-time commenter. I love your site thanks for not letting the nay-sayers bother you!

  • Erin

    I laughed out loud while reading this (as usual) and my roommate in the other room said, “What are you laughing at?” I said, “Dooce!” and she said, “Oh, I know, I just read it!”

    You are loved by roommates everywhere.

  • happy

    We found signs that said “Bunny Trail”. So, we laid a line of stuffed bunnies, chicks, any damned stuffed animal around, that led to her Easter basket. Over the years she became a bit obsessive when Easter was getting near. And since I tend toward the obsessive myself, I went along with it. She figured out how many animals we needed to have one every twelve inches and drew a goal chart(you know, the big thermometer thing). Any time we were near a thrift shop, another bunny for the trail. She’s in college now. I still give her an Easter basket, but now with dvds or cds and just a bit of candy. The stuffed animals were donated to our local free store for other kids to enjoy. She’s amazingly normal. I don’t know how that happened.

  • I’m such an awful mommy. I totally forgot about the egg-dying part.

    My daughter is 3 and she doesn’t much care WHY the Easter bunny comes, but knows he is in league with Santa, and they are best friends for life.

  • freecave

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, too funny!

  • We did a practice run of the egg dying thing about a month ago. I stripped down the toddler, handed the dying process over to the eight year old and got the hell out of the way. I truly wanted to build a memory but the randomness thing was a bit too much.

    Next year maybe I’ll strip down too, and a drink might help with the OCD.

  • I am sure Jesus would appreciate nothing more than the very idea of you drunken and naked coloring Easter eggs! Oh wait maybe if the eggs had little swear words on them! Ya know I totally hate to be an idea moocher but can we do this to next year? We’ve been a bit less than religious this year too! Gotta make up for that somehow!

    Thanks for the great idea! Happy Holiday Burgler, Egg Dying, Chocolate Celebration Day!

  • vajrabelle

    I don’t care what any of those uptight [further obvious titles omitted to limit more insidiously righteous outrage] say about your blog — it makes me laugh out loud every time and I whole-heartedly thank you (and Leta, and Chuck, and even Jon/John) for it.

  • jams

    i am just happy to see you can understand the delicious peeps
    youre either a lover or a hater, and i happen to be a peep lover
    the wax eyes are annoying though
    and yes, i know they are ‘gross’ and yes, i still love them. appropriately, i will be seeing my dentist for a filling thursday
    happy spring!
    speaking of great yellow things – here in the pacnw, after you know, fiftysomething days of straight rain, it’s the perfectly timed daffodils that i swear save my life and soul every spring

  • If you’re not doing it drunk and naked, you’re just not doing it right.

    Which is pretty much my motto in life, now that I think about it.

  • kwall

    Please turn on comments for Semantics. The comments could be great! I love this site, Heather you’re awsome

  • Renee Dodd

    It’s true, the connection between absolution through blood sacrifice and a bunny distributing eggs and chocolate in nests of plastic grass is a little hard to explain to kids.

    As is why they shouldn’t just keep eating the candy contents of every plastic egg as well as hard boiled eggs as fast as they can… I watched some very excellent parents do their best to tackle this over the weekend, but the lil’ cutie still barfed on Dad’s shoulder at the end of the day.

    Ah, Easter!

  • Akgmcgirl

    I too find it easier to ignore certain, (most) subjects around my 3 year old son, because I too cant stand the constant every 10 second questions about a certain thing we might be doing later! lol. My husband family is planning a large family reunion in Boston this fall, and my son and I will be going, I havent even brought it up to him, and have asked the family to not elaborate to him about it, because if he found out he was going on a plane… well by time October finally got here, I will have pulled all my hair out and stuffed his mouth shut with it, because I would be so insane from the CONSTANT reminders of the airplane!

  • “Also, M&M’s are now known around here as “the letter that comes after L – ampersand – the letter that comes after L’s.””

    Just wait until she learns how to spell!

  • I had everything set up, I was psyched and truth be told, a little tipsy. We had collected leaves for the impressions, decided on the colours and everything was laid out on a plastic tablecloth…

    Then he played with his trains.

    I would have loved to have a little green-footed shot putter at my house.

  • kim

    Great post! Funny as usual. I have been reading your blog for a long time, and I enjoy it immensely.

  • calicokitty

    technicolor eggs, nice visual Alliteration of Yellow

  • saywha?

    I just focus on the fertility side of Easter. It’s all about spring, new growth and of course doin it like bunnies. Oh and chocolate.

  • Aj

    Drunk and naked: just like the first Easter.

  • I’m mildly disappointed that there is no photo of a green-footed Leta here.

    Happy Easter!

  • dkat18

    Ok, I’m actually leaving a comment (my first I must say) about the last entry ‘Semantics’, it was HILARIOUS, I don’t know why, but since I read it I’ll random think of it and laugh out loud, thank you.

  • My daughter came back from Easter with her father and his family and said she had eggs for her step-father which, she declared proudly, she “sucked and blowed.”

    I just about fell over laughing.

  • staceypacer

    WOW…how much fun, as long as you can see past the sea of green! I try to remind myself not to spaz out about the house, but rather savor the memory!

    First time commenter, long time reader!!!

  • PK

    I’m still finding glow-in-the-dark dye on our clothes. Dye from 2004.
    Nudity would’ve saved the clothes, but where would I still be finding the dye, I shudder to ask.

  • Jo

    Oh wow. I was excited about being the second person to leave a comment on a post. And then I realized that I hadn’t signed in. Now demoted to third. Oh well.

    Easter eggs…the thrill of it all! Actually, we’ve only dyed eggs once or twice…

    I love your (Leta’s) eggs. They are very pretty. 🙂

  • ktjane

    I love that photo!

  • berrychick

    I made the kids dye Easter eggs outside- I felt bad at first like I was just an anal neat freak mom… I let that go after the third cup of dye got knocked over.
    There was more dye on them then on any eggs.

  • I boiled eggs, but my kids came home from their father’s today and said, “We’ve already colored eggs.”

    I got more interest in coloring eggs from the middle-aged men who came over for lamb dinner yesterday and drank all my liquor.

  • muhahahaha “smoke a bowl?” as part of the morning routine would be particularly funny when she wakes up with grandmommy.

  • desjal

    First let me preface this by saying that 2 years ago, I bought some really large plastic eggs and a bunch of mini-bottles and had MY PARENTS hide them in my yard for my friends and I, so I’m all about Easter being fun.

    Second, I’m not a parent, so this is not a question that keeps me up at night.

    My cousin told me that they were having a big panic attack because their 6 year old asked ‘what’s a bible?’ the other day. They realized that they may have had unintended consequences on their children when they chose not to practice organized religion.

    So, when you decide not to participate in organized christian religion, do you reject Christianity and the belief in Christ? And if you aren’t rejecting that, how do you give your child a proper education about Christ?

    I am not a very good Catholic, but I feel that is my choice. Being Catholic is so much of who I am that I cannot imagine NOT being Catholic even though I’m about the worst Catholic in the state of Virginia.

    Please don’t think of this as judging, I’m just very curious about what u do if you give up organized religion but don’t become agnostic/atheist.

  • sinbandera

    As fun as your Easter experience sounds, I must say that Mexicans know how to do Easter right. We don’t do all this hard boiled egg nonsense. What we do is months in advance we start gathering empty egg shells (we break the eggs, leaving a hole at the top and the rest of the egg pretty much intact). These empty shells then get filled with confetti, and the holes get covered with tissue paper. These are called cascarones, which on Easter everyone cracks on each others’ heads. Much more fun than what you white people do. Especially if you fill the eggs with flour instead. I mean, you’ll have a few angry uncles, but they’ll eventually get drunk and forget about it.

  • Taylor

    Your blog is excellent. The stories that you tell and the advice that you give has helped me get through some tough times as a new mother and dog owner living in Utah. I am also an ex-member and feel pressure from neighbors and family members to “choose the right”. Next Easter when my baby is old enough to dye eggs I will surely remember this post.

  • Dear Doocey-poo,
    I am praying for you and John and Leta and Chuck and Flynn.

    Peace and long live science.


  • Drunk, naked and OUTSIDE!!

  • Nothing says “triumph of life over death” than sparkly pink and purple chicken embryos. My mom always tried to do that with us, and it never caught on. I went to catholic school and the ancient nuns were pretty up on “fun,” so we did decorate eggs and go trick-or-treating around the school/church property every year… and what kid is going to say… no, I would not like free candy that I can hide and eat at intervals completely unregulated by my parents?? But the egg thing never really did it for me. I saw those people who do REAL egg art with the faberge and such on PBS when I was 4, and it really made dunking eggs in vinigar and food coloring seem pretty dorky and plebian by comparison

  • I remembered this year after the egg incident why I let their father take them on Easters.

    Those baskets cost a FORTUNE!

  • staceymay

    So Duchessjane, am I still missing something? I read it again, and I still think Scarlett slept with a 12 year old!

  • Staceymay – I’m glad I’m not the only one who read Scarlett’s comment that way the first time through.

  • We weren’t brave enough to try dying eggs yet. We did go on an easter egg hunt, which for the one-year-olds, really isn’t much of a hunt. It’s more like “the easter egg pick-up.”

  • Only you could have your child ankle deep in green dye on Easter Morning. The rest of us were elbow deep in pink.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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