the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Setting me straight

I’m reading Leta a book about various animals: animals on a farm, animals in trees, animals on the plains of Africa. She points out the chickens, the cows, the zebras and lions and birds. She even recognizes the rhinoceros, although I have no idea who taught her that. Probably Elmo, because Elmo teaches her a lot of things, like how to whine in a voice that has a pitch so strident it could fry an egg.

We get to the page of furry animals, and I point to the kittens and ask, “What are these?” She plays shy like she sometimes does when she’s trying to figure out just how much I know. A few seconds of silence pass, so I say, “These are kittens.”

“No,” she says in a tone that suggests she’s giving me credit for such a good guess.

“Yes,” I say. “I’m pretty sure these are kittens. I think I might have studied them once or twice WHILE GETTING MY COLLEGE DEGREE.”

“No,” she says again, and then tries to turn the page.

“Wait,” I say. “Just what do you think these are?”

She lets out a long, exasperated breath. “Mama,” she says slowly as if to prepare me for the disappointing truth. “These are baby cats. Baby. Cats. Okay?”

Yes, Leta. We’re clear.

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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