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!”

  • madge

    Sadly, my daughter has figured out that we can fast forward the DVR’d Sesame Street right to Elmo. Now she’s lost all patience for all the crazy learning they make her do during Sesame proper and shrieks for ELMO! ELMO! ELMO! ELMO!

    I’ll suggest other shows, “How ’bout Koala Brothers?”

    She says, “Or Elmo.”

    “How about Maisy?”

    “Or Elmo.”

    What IS it about that guy?

  • Gummy Bears! Teletubbies! How can life be more complete? Okay, take out the teletubbies, and I am happy. They freak me the fuck out.

  • My daughter is also a TV addict. While shopping at BJ’s or Costco (can’t remember which one) she will go into her comatose state watching the infomercials. Just to mess with her, my husband will watch golf or something equally as boring and she’ll just sit there and watch.

    My son isn’t as much of a TV addict, but once he discovered candy he indeed is a sugar addict.

    Great post!

  • Nat W.

    I love it!! I grew up on TV, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that–I still got into a top 10 university and have thus far been successful in life. Yay for TV addicts! (Surprisingly, I limit myself to 5 shows now: Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, ER, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report…I actually haven’t watched TV in months now–damn Spanish television with their awful shows that don’t inspire one to sit around for hours staring at the TV.)

    Anyway. I really only commented to say that the pic of the day? Oh, dear God, does it get cuter than that? And the one of Chuck the other day was pretty good, too–the things that dog goes through! I think it’s time to call the SPCA. 😉

  • Stacitee

    Thanks for writing the “Healthy Sleep Habits, Grumpy Baby” post. My husband and I used the same method with our first daughter (who is a great sleeper, thank you very much). Now we have a second daughter who is waking up every 2 hours to eat (at 6 months! and she is a healthy chubby baby!). We are going nuts. Time to do the “cry it out” again which fills me with dread. Reading your post somehow makes it easier… knowing we aren’t alone. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story.

  • I’ve never really been huge on the idea of having kids, although I’m 27 so there’s still some time for me to change my mind I guess! However, my fiance has recently mentioned the idea of having kids in the next few years (EEK!!) to which my brain resolutely says “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WAY HOSAY!”…but then I visit this site, see cutiepie Leta and it is almost changing my mind. Do you realise what you’re doing to me woman???? Argh!!!!!! ;-p

  • meredith

    Naughty Elmo has been addicting kids for years now. About 7 years ago, my girl was hysterical with wanting something and I couldn’t figure out what it was, and the more wrong suggestions I made, the more hysterical she got.
    I finally said “Elmo” and the hysterics toned down into appeased sobs, and we all watched Elmo at 2AM.

    I cursed Elmo for lost sleep, but we had just drug our child half way around the world, so her jet lag and need for something familiar was understandable.

  • I love it.

    My little 2-year-old darling had worried me for a while that my wife had cheated on me with a luddite. She refused to sit still and watch T.V. We’d coax her to sit down for two minutes or so to watch some shows’ theme songs (She loooooooooves the Teen Titans theme song, both English and Japanese versions. She also has this weird shaking head dance for the King of the Hill theme), but that’s all she’d sit down for. She’d listen to the song and then wander off to do her own thing in her room.

    That all changed after her second birthday. Nana and Papa gave her three DVDs of old Disney cartoons. Now, whenever our little angel gets home from daycare oooorrr from the store oooorrr from anywhere else, we hear an incessant chant/scream, “DUCK! DUCK! DUUUUUUCK!” Nothing like a cigar smoking, cursing under his breath, naval water fowl to entertain our dainty little girl.

    She has also started the morning ritual of watching “Breakfast with Bear” on Disney, but again, only for the songs. The Morning Mambo is much more important than a balanced breakfast… at least if we want to get out of the house tantrum free.

  • Magellan

    My grandmother was in a nursing home with severe rheumatoid arthritis. We used to visit her a few times a week, and she would tell us what was going on in her soaps. We would sit on the edge of the bed, and she would be in her wheelchair, and we would be scandalized at the behavior of this cad or that slut or whatever crazy plot twist there was. The good twin and the bad twin, the guy with amnesia, the kidnapped baby, the long-lost sister, the woman with the crazy hair… I used to love those stories.

  • Dan

    This is the exact same way I feel when I come home at the end of the day after TiVo has recorded an array of “Cold Case Files,” “American Justice,” and “City Confidential” from daytime TV.

    “A double homicide! Orrrrrr a disappearing spouse! Orrrrrr sex crimes plaguing a small town just outside Detroit!”

  • Someday it will be cheetos during Taxi Cab Confessions.

    They grow up so fast.

  • Well, she’s got good sugar priorities if I do say so myself. But only if she like Haribo gummies.

  • the mobile dvd player is the best invention ever (next to google)… no more “are we there yet?” “Im hungry” “I have to use the bathroom” “Stop Listening to show tunes. I want to hear punk rock”

  • painterly1

    I don’t see how enjoying some TV shows is a bad thing. I believe all of history, wars, every brilliant invention, the Renaissance, and philisophical and industrial revolutions serve our basic need for seeing people talk to dogs, hand puppets in garbage cans, and desperate human beings humiliating themselves for a chance to be on TV.

  • tk

    Man, I can just hear that voice in my head… Orrrrrrrr…. too cute!

    Love the new masthead and I have to say Heather that your haircut is absolutely FABULOUS (today’s daily photo). You look stunning…


  • Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrr crack?

  • A DVD player was the only thing I was adamant about when we purchased our last vehicle. Because we live in close proximity to pretty much NOTHING, I couldn’t stand the whining whenever we drove anywhere. After I had seen a public service add where parents and their children are sitting in the same room without talking and the voice over says, “It’s never too late to talk to your children about drugs,” I did feel a little bit guilty at the lost opportunities, but then the next trip came and when I turned around to see two sets of beautiful blue eyes staring upward and the silence that comes with wireless headsets, I suddenly realized that this DVD player was the reason that I’m not on drugs.

  • I couldn’t get Connor to watch something if I wanted him to. He just doesn’t have the patience for TV and would much rather be hiding remotes & phones, and rearranging the furniture.

  • Oooooo, spiffy new masthead.

    Thumbs up!!

  • Sounds like she’s out of her “NO!” phase and into her “OR”s.

    So really, it’s like you’re showing that TV and junk food are JUST as important as reading.

    Conjunctions are very important. You should be proud.

  • Louisa, I just cried a happy little tear while reading your re-wiring story. That’s some serious dedication.

  • I’m dismayed that you have allowed your child to become addicted to television at such a tender age simply to make time for housework or hygenine.

    Honestly, isnt that that what Children’s Benedryll is for?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Good night, sleepy baby.

  • Vie

    This is completely unrelated to this post. I’ve been reading your archives and stumbled upon everyone’s FFF lists. I noticed that many of the guys listed Katie Holmes. (Now Kate Holmes, I guess.) I’m curious as to whether she would still make so many lists. I think that post was from 2002 so who knows if any of the guys that commented will see this, but if so let me know. Is Kate still on your list?

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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