Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Nothing more healing or incomprehensible

On Saturday my Aunt Lola had her second mastectomy. We joined my mother and step-father in her recovery room just as she was coming back from surgery, and as three nurses tried to lift her from the gurney to the bed she flashed us her bare back side. “HEY, LOLA,” I yelled, “WE CAN SEE YOUR ASS.”

One of the nurses almost dropped her. “Your family is ruthless,” she said as she rushed to cover Lola’s butt.

“Are you kiddin’?” Lola laughed. “They know I’ll get ’em back by lettin’ the rottenest fart they ever done smelled right as they’re leanin’ down to give me a hug.” I took that threat very seriously.

My mother had been at the hospital for almost 12 hours waiting to hear if everything was okay. She looked almost as tired as Lola, tired of being the only sibling in her family who is willing to take care of the others. When we walked in the door with a hopping, happy Leta I could tell my mother would have rather seen no one else on Earth, and Leta ran straight to her and clung to her neck like a heavy piece of jewelry.

We couldn’t have asked Leta for a better performance. She sang her ABC’s and danced to imaginary music, stopping frequently to hug my mother’s knees. At one point she swirled into the middle of the room and began belting out a possessed rendition of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” complete with manic head jerking as if the spirit that had taken control of her body was having a coughing fit.

My mother called the next day to say that Leta had successfully taken her mind off the depressing situation, and that she had done nothing but sing “Baa Baa Black Sheep” in Leta’s voice since we had left the hospital the night before. Good work, Team Armstrong! This morning I taped her singing it and stopping dead in the middle of the third line because she forgets the words, except she totally tries to play it off like she meant to do that all along.

Leta sings “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (Flash movie)
Leta sings “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (Quicktime movie)

  • thank you thank you thank you…it’s grim and gray up here in northern california and leta brought a chuckle to my day…

  • Marella

    Oh my… this just made my morning even better! She’s an angel!

  • Holly

    I’d like a lyric sheet so I can sing along Leta-style

  • Damn you…”rottenest fart” made me spit cream of wheat on my monitor.

    Yes, I eat cream of wheat for lunch.

  • di

    That was a great pick me up! Perhaps I have just found the song that replaces the other song in my head from Ze Frank’s site… thank you, Leta!

  • Is it wrong that I’m totally jealous of her eyelashes? (Also, what is a baby doing with those cheekbones?!) LETA. STOP HOGGING ALL THE PRETTY.

  • Alison

    It is so fun to watch Leta grow up. She is no longer a baby in this video – she is turning into a gorgeous little girl.

  • Jewlzy

    Oh my gosh..she is the cutest thing EVAH!

  • Jensa

    Leta is so adorable. I’ve been lurking around this site for the past couple of weeks and have been enamoured with your family and the relationships that you share with each other. You guys remind me of my husband and I–you are so supportive and understanding of each other, so loving. Of course I am only able to see the tiniest of snippets into your lives, but your unending quirkiness keeps me coming back. Now, all we need for our family is our own Leta to brighten everyone’s day!
    If only I can be so lucky!

  • sara

    simon and i just sat here and played that video over and over. i am telling you – he is in LOVE with leta. i kind of want to record him watching it s that you can see how infatuated he is with her! this morning he was screaming, drooling and slapping his legs as he watched her!

    i think it’s love.

  • Maya

    Hahaha! Loving it. She’s so cute.

  • the best medicine available!

  • wow, now I have to leave work to go nibble on my little munchkin at home 🙂

  • Leta could not get any cuter. You ought to bottle her and sell her. She’s just the cutest thang ever. Can she say CRAY-ON like normal people, though?

  • HighlandAmy

    Hi Heather.
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month. It’s pretty awesome 😉
    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I think your daughter is super cute! Congratulations to you and your husband on a job well done!
    -Amy

  • Thank you for that moment of preciousness. She is so sweet. Absolutely, totally made my day.

  • Raughy

    don’t you just love the way some children have an innate ability to sense those moments when they can stake a claim in their grandparents’ wills? My middle child likes to look up (unprompted, i must add) at her grandmother with HUGE eyes, and say, with utter sincerity “Nana, you make the best chocolate chip cookies EVER”. each one of these episodes is definitely worth a piece of fine furniture. well-trained, Leta.

  • grublet

    I love how most of her singing/reading has mon mon in it somewhere and how she skillfully changes it to mama when she’s over singing the song already…

  • RzDrms

    i say this with all the love, but don’t you think she looks a tiny bit like laura from “little house” in the very last few seconds of the video?! (please understand that “little house” is my most favorite show of all time, and i love laura. seriously.)

  • Holy hell – that is ADORABLE. She’s getting big and starting to finally look like you! 😉

    Here’s to your aunt’s breasts staying clear of future lumps and her ass staying covered.

  • Heh. Your family sounds a lot like mine, except with Baptists in Kentucky instead of Mormons in Utah. Lots of Baptists.

    When my terrified mother was being wheeled into surgery for her mastectomy, my dad leaned down, kissed her on the cheek, and said, “Don’t worry, babe, I’ll still love you when you only got one tit.” Mom went in laughing.

  • Dude, is she wearing false eyelashes? Or did she get those naturally from the gypsy side of the Armstrong family?

  • I demand a translation of “MON O MON O MON”.

  • Pandy

    What a beautiful child!

  • goddesschristine

    *twitch*

    Damn, Heather, seriously. She rocks in an otherworldly manner.

  • Awesomely Cute!
    I thank god everyday that my parents only have photographic evidence of me as a child and have no idea what a blog is.

  • Smacky

    Oh my GOSH. She is so bloody adorable I watched that video over and over. So cutes!

  • This so reminds me of when my best friend came out form her mastectomy/reconstruction surgery. On the way to her room, my husbad picked up her hand and said “Oh,cold hand!” Her eyes never opened, but her prompt, acerbic answer was “Cold Ass!”

  • kwan

    adorable, that one is.

  • What strikes me about the screenshot is how Leta is starting to look less like a chubby-cheeked toddler and more like a little girl, do you know what I mean? And goodness, she has the most perfect eyebrows!

    She’s so cute and natural in front of the camera. I can hardly get my boys to sit still for a photo!

  • That’s hilarious. And she’s such a cutie. In the still picture, you can totally tell what she’s going to look like as a grown up. (Well, at least it seems that way.) She’ll be very pretty.

  • La Dolce Lissa

    She’s adorable!

  • anne arkham

    My family is ruthless, too.

    My younger sister was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years back, and rushed into surgery. Before wheeling her off, the surgeon explained the operation and the possible repercussions of having one’s brain cut apart. He told us that from the location of the tumor, there was a good risk that her ability to speak would be compromised, and also her ability to reason. We were all silent for a moment. Then my Dad turned to my sister and said, “Well, if you’re going to be stupid, you might as well be quiet.”

  • mmoxxie

    dammit heather, stop giving me baby fever! because the only cure is MORE COWBELL!

  • All those pop-tarts and chocolate candy are paying off, that kid is SWEET!

  • I love how generous you and your husband are with us, the “Internet”, to share these sweet moments of Leta. She’s growing up so fast and becoming cuter and cuter. Go Team Armstrong!

  • Her hair is getting so long! It’s so sweet, she’s starting to look more and more like a little mini-person and less and less like a squishy baby 🙂

    I’ve watched the clip on a loop twice, I *would* stay for a third rendition, but I’m frightened that my internal reproductive system may just combust in its entirety from the sheer strength of her cuteness.

    Can I just put in a request? Next time you do a flash movie of Leta singing, can you put the toddler-speak lyrics at the bottom, like on Kareoke, so we can all have a go?

    Cheers x

  • blimey, I been trying for the longest while to find a way of leaving a comment on the Chuck collar palaver and I just can’t. Anyhow, I wanted to say that my dog had the same problem and has finally ripped his collar to shreds to show me exactly what he thinks AND since then has been escaping on a regular basis – I get a mountain of little notes through my letter box. ‘Just found Wilbur chasing an old man’ just found wilbur going up the escalators in the local supermarket – be warned

  • Shana Banana

    tooooo cute!!

  • Duke

    I wish I could say that I was cute as a child. Alas, I looked like a grown man.

    Cute child though!

  • Heather, your story brought tears to my eyes. Yay for Leta! (way cute video, btw).

  • That video displaying her cuteness should definitely put a check mark in the “have more kids” column. If that doesn’t make you want to procreate, nothing will.

  • Oooof. That was a lot of cuteness.

    Please hug Aunt Lola for us. Sounds like she is handling things with humor and grace. (and gas)

  • That was GREAT! I can report that my own Precious Progeny stopped playing to stare at the computer and then he flashed one of his “Hey, I KNOW that!” smiles. It’s one of his favorite songs and apparently, he was impressed with Leta’s rendition.