An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Raising an addict

Monday afternoon after spending several hours with Jon’s family we drove 45-minutes to my father’s house. During the entire trip Leta whined that she wanted to watch Elmo. “Do you see a television anywhere in this car?” I asked, and she would wait a few seconds and whine again as if to say, “I don’t see how that is relevant to this conversation.”

By the time we had spent a few hours with my father, Leta had been without television for over nine hours and she couldn’t wait to go home to her shows. As we gathered our things she grabbed my hand and sang, “Go home and watch Sesame Street! Orrrrrrrrrrr Teletubbies! Orrrrrrrrrrr Boobah! Orrrrrrrrrrr News!” Each “or” was stretched like a rubber band to emphasize THE POSSIBILITIES, MY GOD.

Jon and I shook our heads at both the tone of her excitement — the options were blowing her mind — and the fact that she was so happy to be headed back to the television that it didn’t matter what she watched, she’d even settle for a little news. How desperate does a kid have to be that she’d forego Elmo for Brian Williams just so that she can warm herself by the light of a cathode ray? All her veins have collapsed, but she needs the drugs bad enough that she’s willing to inject the needle under the nail of her big toe.

As I strapped her into her seat she was still listing off shows when she looked over and saw the bag of emergency goodies we had packed for the day away from home. When she spotted a bag of M&M’s her focus shifted instantly, and she shouted, “I eat M&M’s! Orrrrrrrrrrr gummy bears! Orrrrrrrrrrr cookies!” Her brain could barely wrap itself around the opportunities.

I climbed into the seat in front of her, craned my head around the neck rest and said with a shrug, “How about nope! Orrrrrrrrrrr nuh-uh! Orrrrrrrrrrr not a chance!”

  • HAHAHA you are hilarious. What Leta was doing sounds a lot like what I do when I get home from work and am thinking about all the junk food and bad TV possibilities set before me for the rest of the evening. Funny stuff.

  • kidsmom

    Before TiVo, we had resorted to taping 6 hour tapes of Barney for my teething two year old. BK (Before kid) I despised Barney. AK, he saved my kid’s life, I’m sure.

  • What’s fucked up is that our kids will grow up in the Age of TiVo, where, when she gets home, she *will* have the option of watching Elmo! orrrrr Boohbah! orrrrrrrr Carnie Wilson’s gastric bypass, even though it was years ago because TiVo, it is forever.

    I distinctly remember my sister informing me that the Magic Garden was on, so I’d better hurry. I attacked the TV with fervor, then promptly changed my mind and said, “Hm. I’ll watch it later,” and turned off the TV. I couldn’t understand that the Magic Garden wasn’t conjured at my beck and call.

    And what’s annoying, and magical and weird all at once is that Leta will never have to learn that lesson. And people think we’ve made NO PROGRESS!

  • Heather, I see are now vocally prepped for ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’, which is September 19. AAAAAAAAARGH!

  • Wow everyone’s plugging their blog so you link to them and their stats go through the roof!!

    Ah, TV. I just finished my finals so am relishing its cathode-ray goodness. I watched the final of American Idol (i’m in UK). How fucking long can they drag the result out for? I counted an hour without commercials, including singing appearances of celebrities who I thought were dead, and performances from people WHO WERE KICKED OFF FOR A REASON.

    Yet I watched the whole thing, hm… Cocaine indeed.


  • They just want the world at that age, and they want it right now. It’s just a coincidence that their world consists entirely of four cartoon shows, six toys and a handfull of junk foods 🙂

  • wasagooze

    Heehee – it doesn’t end. My 5 year old will ask to watch The Simpsons if he knows that his father and I have gotten tired of kiddie shows, but he isn’t willing to turn it off! This is especially true whjen we are eating dinner (yes, on the couch) after he has already eaten!
    The other day he told me that we could “play Simpsons”
    I coyuld be the mom, he could be Bart, Daddy coulkd be Homer and Daisy could be Lisa. Daisy is our greyhound – who actually looks like Santa’s Little Helper, so I guess he was casting against type!

  • BrendaInToronto

    how about recording Leta the next time she makes her list?

  • Samantha Y.

    “… Orrrrrrrrrrr News!”

    A child after my own heart!

    Don’t take it as a sign of addiction; I loved watching the news as little girl and ended up getting a degree in journalism. It’s when she twitches at possessive apostrophes that make it through the AP wire or is given to yelling, “Damn privileged Anderson Cooper!” that you might want to start worrying.

  • Don’t worry. My son just started walking the other day. But he’ll only walk towards Jimmy Neutron. How fucked up is that?

  • Hey – my mom credits Sesame Street for me being able to read anything by the age of 3. And thanks to Dors & Diego, my 3 year old uses Spanish words in his daily vocab.

    He also says “Hey, Mommy! Eat Fresh!” whenever we drive by Subway.


  • That is just too incredibly cute! There are some days when I know how she feels though.

  • momma 2 angels

    Ah c’mon! Give the kid her dope. Grown-ups can be so phooey.

  • Pascha

    As a child that was raised by a single father that was also a Jehovah’s Witness, I was rarely allowed candy, soda, or television.

    Now I’m 27 and I have a stash of candy that fills an etire drawer in the kitchen–and I won’t share with my husband. 🙂

    I’m also a TV addict. Give Leta sugar and TV now, and maybe she’ll grow up learning to not have doritos and candy bars for dinner while watching 5 straight hours of TV. Not like I do that or anything…

  • how addictive is the talking box to a kid ? This is how addictive :
    When I was a kid, think aged 12, and my little sister and brother we were tv addicts. Our parents read the riot act and said the usual ‘ homework first then TV but only a little’ one small problem we were proper latch key kids. So parents not being home we thought screw it watch the TV. Turns out the parents were smart. When they came home they felt the TV and well golly shock and awe it was warm.

    At this point they decided no more telly and actually cut the cord !!!! we were without telly for over a year …. or so the parentals thought. Being the smart kid I was ( or just stubborn ) I went the the library got a book out on how to re-wire a tv plug . Then bought all the electrical goods required, and i re-wired that bad boy !! for a year my kid sister, brother and I watched ilict telly and they never knew !! eventually in my adulthood whilst drunk and a family bbq i let it slip … they were throroughly impressed. THAT IS CHILDHOOD ADDICTION AT ITS WORST !! 🙂
    love the writing Heather from fans in the UK

  • The other day it was 93 degrees and humid so being the good mommy that I’m trying to be, I suggested a run through the sprinkler…
    Mag says, “Outside??”
    I of course reply, “Well, duh! YES outside.”
    Mag: “I’m watching Monsters, Inc right now, maybe later”

    She’s not even 3 yet.

  • Stefanie

    My 2 year old is also generous enough to allow options. Evidently, I have the word VENDING MACHINE written somewhere on my person.

    p.s. Having advanced children sucks, doesn’t it?

  • I am sure you will be getting hate mail from all of the people that have TV’s in their cars.

    How could you not have a TV in your car. That is outrageous. You are depriving your child of entertainment and educational programing.”

  • Shubka

    Recently we (my husband and our two girls, 5 & 7) had a great family weekend – the zoo, the park, ice cream, movies. We were driving home from dinner on Sunday night, and I asked them what their favorite part of the weekend was. My older daughter said it was the zoo. The younger one said, “I don’t know, but I know that I haven’t watched ANY TV in two days. TWO DAYS!”

    We’re all raising addicts.

  • lolol at the image of leta cracking out to Brian Williams.

    Just wait til Katie comes on the evening news, its almost like Sesame Street and the news combined into one!

  • So, wait does “addict” inherently have a negative connotation? ; )

    I think my mom must have been so! happy the day we learned how to use the VCR for ourselves. Disney movies were definitely our crack. Come to think of it, not much has changed with my sister and I. We have just replaced the Disney crack with other “more sophisticated” crack. Like sex, and booze, and classic rock. KIDDING. Well, sort of.

  • Carli

    God, I am so glad I’m not the only one who mocks her children. Bless you Heather, you’re are my rock! I know that if more than one of us does it, there’s a chance I won’t end up alone on the news, and rather the story will be something like “surge of mothers” rather than “one really crappy mom”, because they always persecute the ONE. 🙂

  • Crack is, indeed, wack, but snacks, snacks are great… It’s like, enjoy them while you can, since your baby teeth will fall out soon, and then you’ll really have to whoa down on the snacks, but that’s when crack comes in really handy… Just kidding, of course…

  • I was once one of those moms who was NEVER NEVER going to let my kids watch T.V. Or play with plastic toys. Or eat sugar. But that realization that hits all parents eventually got to me: having kids is different than thinking about having kids. And sometimes, you need to shower. At least if they’re in front of the tube I know they’re not going ANYWHERE. And although my two-year-old is largely incomprehensible, I understand him perfectly when he says “Elmo” or “doobydoobydoo.”

  • Rock on, Leta! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a TV Addiction. My nieces watch TV all. the. time. And they’re turning out okay. Well, the oldest one can quote the entire informercial for The Bedazzler, but I’m not really sure that that’s a negative thing.

  • “Warm herself by the light of a cathode ray?” I LOVE IT!!

  • Bird Lover

    Sorry to break it to you but the trips don’t get any easier as they get older.

    I noticed that some of the other commenters had also thought about putting a TV/VCR in their vehicles. Not me. I figure I can use what I’ve got. Two years ago I took a seven hour car trip with my daughter. I brought along my lap top to keep her busy with computer games. Instead of “Thanks Mom” all I heard was “Mom the computer is really hot on my legs” and “Mom this is starting to burn”. Some kids are so ungrateful.

  • Jannie Funster

    Swore before Kelly was born she wouldn’t see t.v. ’til she was 7 or 8. Yeah right – at 13 months she was punching in Nick Jr. on the remote…

  • So. Cruel. No TV and no sweets? It’s like taking away her cigarettes after she’s been locked in the rehab center.

  • First time commenter, long time reader…

    I believe Jack Handey had something to say on the subject: “When I think of all the hours and hours of my life I have spent watching television, it makes me realize, man, I am really rich with television!”

    May all of our children be so wealthy. Yours, mine, and Madonna’s too.

  • i say, as long as she’s not yipping for that fucking purple dinosaur… let her watch! you could *also* do a lot worse that Brian Williams (Bill O’Reilly comes to mind…)!

  • Once again mom has ruined all the fun for the day. What you didn’t want to listen to her name off TV shows at 100 times the speed of light after all of that sugar? No fun, just no fun at all!!

  • kookaloo

    The hat in the photo- FABU! Where might I find one?!

  • can she work the tivo yet? she’s probably smarter than me.

  • gez

    all television in our house is referred to as “rewind” by the the three year old Pollyanna (or pollyester or polyurethene or pollycarbonate depending on what mood I’m in)….Rewind is anything that is substandard viewing as she usually has a small fit when we are adjusting the DVD or video and the news or something similiar is on…as in “darling just relax it’s rewinding.” So now we refer to all television affectionately as “rewind”. So I would say to husband..”Oh My God I am stuffed…lets go home and watch some rewind.”

  • Won’t be long before she goes all gramma on you and insists that you be home in time for her to catch her “stories.”

  • melissa

    I would like to note that we’ve been watching TV with her since we brought her home. The TV was on for 5 weeks straight..i’m not kidding. We (parents and grandparents) took shifts watching tv and cuddling her for those first 5 weeks. While i admit the huge mistake that was, her TV experience has been awesome. She’s learned her alphabet, story telling, some spanish words, plots and understands that every Tom & Jerry comes with a title screen. ‘What’s this one mommy?’ – repeat until said title appears and you can quench her curiousity.


    Sophie’s site needs a u/p for a personal reason. Email me if you want it.

  • It doesn’t get better. My 4 year old is the same way. As a matter of fact so is my 9 year old…and my 13 year old. Dear God will it ever end????

  • hey leta, want to come over for the season finale of Lost and some dirty martinis? we could share with your mom, if you like. but we won’t tell the avon world sales leader… that would get us into trouble.

  • how about I giggle a LOT, orrrrrrrrrrrr embarrass myself at work, orrrrrrrrrrrrrr picture Malka doing this in 1.5 years…

    thanks for the grin.

  • Even better would be eating the m&ms WHILE watching Sesame Street.

    Just wait til she figures that one out 🙂


  • HalfwayCrucified

    Consider yourself lucky. My kid, who is just a little older than Leta, has taken it upon himself to correct our word usage.

    Dad: Don’t write on the table with that pencil.
    Kid: It’s not a table. It’s a desk.

    Dad: Let me cook you some food.
    Kid: You are warming up the food, not cooking it.

    Dad: I’ll go whip you up a bubba (bottle).
    Kid: MAKE a bubba, not ‘whip up’ a bubba.

    Kristen in CO: Amen! to your comment regarding Teletubbies and Boobahs. Ragdoll were probably smoking doobies when they came up with the Tubbies, and no doubt dropping acid when they created Boobahs.

    My boy likes Tubbies in small doses, but he’s not into the Boobahs at all. His uncle–the bastard–gave him a Barney video which he played unceasingly for about four days and then, thank god, he decided enough was enough and hasn’t watched it since.

  • Liz

    It is time to invest in a portable DVD 🙂

  • SurprisingWoman

    The picture today is the CUTEST thing ever. I am so in love with that. I would have to have at least an 8×10 if I were her Nana. I bet the biggest and best Avon Sales Leader would also appreciate at least an 8×10.

    So damn cute.


  • Velma

    I used to hide my secret shame: we watch T.V. all the time. ALL THE TIME.

    But, as the years progressed and the kids grew more capable of entertaining themselves, guess what? They did!

    And my daughter did great in school this year, despite having an early vocablulary consisting entirely of malapropisms misheard from Scooby Doo and Thomas. And my son, who converses almost entirely in “SpongeBob” phrases? Well, we’re hoping that will stop, but honestly, I’m more concerned about poisoning them with bug spray these days than I am about poisoning their minds with evil television.

    There, I said it: I fear Lyme Disease more than Brain Rot.

  • Cyberdave

    An addict?!?! That’s it I’m calling the police! Not to mention leaving her alone in a room filled with tv, porn, vodka and the wood stove turned on I am telling The Police! Ok so I went over and spoke to them and they shrugged and said yea they know and that Homeland Security was already handling the case. Which means nothing will be done. So you’re scott free to feed her habit and handle potty training anyway you see fit! Tivo baby all the way! Nintendo and portable dvd players! Shocking.

  • perfect – glad to know my kid is nto a weirdo 🙂 i honestly could not parent without a TV.

  • Jeff, the film prof

    Addcited to the Cathode Ray? This is SO Videodrome! Long live the new flesh!!

    Does this mean, however, that Leta will grow up to be Debbie Harry? Hmmm.

  • I have a little addict of my own…my 10 month old needs to join Cheerios Anon.

  • I’m with Leta. TV + Candy = Perfection.

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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