An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Regional differences

Leta is looking for a tiny shoe that belongs to a particular Polly Pockets set we bought her for Easter which, first of all, is already an impossible endeavor. I don’t think the CIA could find that shoe, and I have a hard time understanding why they even create shoes for Polly Pocket figures anyway. Have you ever seen them? Imagine a miniature Barbie. Smaller. Smaller than that. So imagine the feet on that smaller than smaller than a miniature Barbie. Right. Tiny. You can’t even see the feet without a microscope. Now imagine the shoes that fit on those microscopic feet. Keeping track of those shoes is like keeping track of an individual piece of dust. EXCEPT MORE MADDENING.

She keeps asking Jon, “Did you sawl it?”

And he keeps going, “Have I SEEN it?”

Naturally, this has the exact opposite effect that he intends, and she starts screaming bad grammar even more vehemently: “DID YOU SAWL IT?”

“Leta,” he says with a calm, assertive tone that The Dog Whisperer recommends you use with disobedient dogs. Except Jon has never used this tone with Coco and instead prefers the DIE! DIE! DIE! approach to conversation. It involves a lot of tearing at his hair. And using inappropriate words in front of our impressionable four-year-old daughter who just yesterday used SHIT in proper context. I should probably add an OOPS to the end of that revelation, but I’m less embarrassed by her cussing than I am proud that she is figuring out the subtleties of language.

“SAWL is not a word,” he says to her firmly. “It’s SAW. SAWWWWWW.”

She remains unimpressed and, on the verge of emotional collapse, yells, “DID? YOU? SAWLLLLLLLL? IT?” Because she isn’t interested in this little grammar tutorial, DAD, and look! YOUR PROPER USE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE HAS DONE NOTHING TO HELP HER FIND THAT SHOE.

“Jon,” I say trying to step in and ease the tension a little bit. “I’m the English major in this house, and right now I don’t care that she’s saying SAWL. Why do you care so much?”

“Ohhhhhh noooooo, NO YOU DON’T,” he shoots back. “Have you ever listened to the way you pronounce C-R-A-Y-O-N? THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT.”

“What does that have to do with this?”

“It means that if I leave you in charge of teaching her how to speak we’ll have to hire a translator to follow her around so that she can communicate with the world.”

“But if you’re in charge of teaching her how to speak—”








Internet, I love my husband, I adore him even, but he should not be surprised this afternoon to find that all of his underwear has been put in the freezer.

  • We moved to the Gulf Coast from the midwest some years ago when my husband was in the Coast Guard. I remember how I could actually feel the locals’ drawl go into my ears, crank around, and get translated in my brain. Weirdest thing. I knew they were speaking English — somehow.

  • You should be thankful that Polly Pocket isn’t the size she used to be when I had a set. See your thumbnail? A little bit taller than that. I’m convinced that I only owned that toy one day before Polly fell into the carpet never to be seen again.

  • Lots of laughing over here! Chilly undies, frisky John I’m thinking.

    The Tart
    ; *

  • Now this is just too great!!

  • Yea for Leta using shit correctly! (that doesn’t sound right; oh, well– at least she’s not eating it).

    My father has this weird Milwaukee accent and pronounces roof “ruf”, and sorry “saury”. My parents have been together since 1970, and my mother has yet to break him of the talking weird habit.

  • About the shoe. As my dad would say, “It didn’t just get up and WALK out of the house, did it?” My daughter has those dolls and shoes. Everybody’s daughter does. If Leta has ONE of the shoes still, just shoot a pic and post it. I guarantee a reader has one from his or her kid who has outgrown Polly, or has a kid who will NEVER NOTICE that a particular shoe is missing from the collection, considering that most of the HEADS are missing from my daughter’s, and are, frankly, unnecessary for enjoyable play.

  • And here I thought this was going to end with Jon at the proctologist for removal of a very tiny shoe.

  • Dionne

    Dooce, you just made me snort from all the laughter. I want to hang out with you say the CROWN as many times as possible.

  • Kim

    I think I just died from a laughter aneurysm. (I can’t believe I spelled that correctly on the first try.)

    I’ll never forget the day my 6-year old said, “That car had better move their gas guzzling ASS!”

    I nearly drove off the road.

    WTG, Leta!

  • The English major wins!

  • You are so not kidding about those damn PP shoes. My 4yo just got her first Polly Pocket for her birthday and I am already over the shoes on/shoes off business. I can only imagine the drama if one of her rubbery green espadrilles went missing.

  • Oh my gosh this is one of the funniest posts ever. True dat.

  • I think we need to see a video of Leta pronouncing “sawl” and you saying “crayon.” Looking forward to it!

  • April

    Just last week I pulled a booger-y PP shoe out of my 4 y.o.’s nose.

  • I agree — VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Well since we wear garments I could put them in the freezer, do you thing that is sacreligious? I know he would probably just laugh and laugh. I can just see it now.

  • okay, so comments were closed on your last entry, but i wanted to say something because i know you’ve spent a lot of time defending yourself against people’s negative comments about “mommy-bloggers.” not only is your blog completely entertaining, i think it is also really helpful to other moms. and your last entry was just phenomenal. i think that leta will read this in the future and see what a beautiful love letter this blog is to her.

  • This is truly one of the funniest posts I have read all year. The bit about talking to a child calmly because Caeser Milan says to do it to dogs made me nearly wet myself!

    Good job on the freezer – I wish I had the guts to do something like that. You have to let us know whether he finds it funny or not.

    Facebook Addict

  • Alison from comment 117 it totally right and I wanted to back her up on this one – you are a big help to a lot of moms out there who do a fantastic job with their kids and their lifes but need a little break and a little laugh. I always feel kind of happy when I see my wife checking this blog because I know she’ll get a good laugh and a good read.

    And Alison is right about Leta – it’s going to amaze her one day.

  • Coco most likely ate the shoes! Poor Leta 🙂

  • Trying to find one of those Polly Pocket shoes is as useless as trying to steal blocked internet. If by chance you do complete ‘said’ impossible task, the odds of you keeping it your possession is pretty much slim to none. Why do they make things that small? That item is just begging to be removed from a nostril.

  • Matty

    So glad my daughter outgrew her Polly Pockets. Now they are happily breeding at her cousin’s house.

  • CJ

    Gotta say I loved the reference to using an obscenity in proper context.

    My family was visiting my sister’s family last year, and between the two of us talking, we had slipped into some bad habits while catching up, lots of f*** in the conversation.

    After we had all gone out to eat, I took my daughter (then 4 1/2) out for some fresh air. I was teasing her a little with nonsense talk (stuff like “Maybe we should order a baked volkswagon for dinner?”) and she laughed, looked me right in the eye, and said “Mom, quit f*cking with me.”

    Whoops! I managed not to laught out loud… just barely.

    And we really reigned in the language after that… once I was realized kindergarten was 6 months away and the teachers weren’t going to find it nearly as funny as I did!

  • OMG. First laugh of the day and fell apart, uncontrollably while watching election returns on CNN. Husband presently staring in that husband way when I’m laughing uncontrollably.

    Thank you, I needed that.

    Also, I have to agree with #4 Anonymous: glueing Polly’s shoes to her feet sounds like a good idea. Probably less for Coco to eat.

  • Oh.Now.Come.OYN. Grammar is important! LOL
    I am the mom of a daughter who has TOO MANY Polly pocket dolls! *cries*

  • Amy

    #81, you guys sound like a real hoot. And when your son is 30 and on Oprah (cuz God knows she’ll still be doing her thing) they can both agree that you two are the reason for his nervous tic and his inability to get laid.

    I heart Dooce and all the doociness that makes Dooce Dooce.
    Rock on, Heather.

    And my human tests are “January” “regretted”… which just sounds like an intriguing book title to me.

  • Candycorn

    I saw someone say crown intead of crayon on tv the other day, and it wasn’t even you! Imagine the horror! 😀

  • Actually, the CIA has their own PPSD. Polly Pocket Shoe Division. They rank with SWAT.

    The agents are reeeeeally small.

  • Karen

    Undies in the freezer! Love it!

    My five year old son has the “cursing in context” thing down just fine. Last summer he and I were riding in a car with my mother when she hit the brakes suddenly, causing his toys to slide off his lap. He, very appropriately, said “Well, dammit!” just as he has hear me do pretty much every day of his life. Mom didn’t even bother to correct him; she just reached over and popped ME on the back of the head.

  • I really hope those were wet underwear you put in the freezer.

  • sevanetta

    Commenter Sarah, who commented about telling Leta that Polly was ditching shoes – OMG I lolled all over the place at that one.

    Heather, the Month 52 newsletter was great. I hope I remember it if I have kids and they turn out to be like that, and me, because I can be like that too. Just listen… whinge and cry it out… then face it.

    PS Is your human visitor checker some kind of weird universe divining instrument? It always seems to pick up on my day in a weird way. This time it’s ‘overseas off’… I handed in an application for a job overseas yesterday… stop it, freaky human visitor checker!

  • Our nearly 4 year old insists it’s MEED instead of NEED and when we correct him, same thing – I MEEEEEED dat Wii game!

  • well, it DOES get hot in slc around this time of year.

    i’ll take brisk balls over a box of “crowns” any day.

    jon, i’m with you brother! long live the cray-on!

  • Annie

    Thank you for the manties in the freezer reminder. I’d forgotten that tactic in domestic warfare.

  • Polly Pockets are so… pizzazzy.

  • #63 Mariam,

    What a cunning linguist you have married!

  • Candis

    I sawl the new masthead. I LOVE IT!!!

  • First time commenting, but have been visiting for a while. Just wanted to chime in and say I’m for the Coco explanation of the missing shoe. Did you know Leta was psychic? She just predicted Coco would eat her toooooyyyyyysssss!!!!! Um hum. She knew.

  • Jennifer

    When our four-year-old daughter was about 18 months, she started saying “Oh, crap,” in a really sad tone, mimicking what I would say every time I was annoyed or upset about something. I just ignored it and quickly stopped saying it in front of her. After a couple of weeks, she stopped saying saying it as well. Then about six months later, we were at the supermarket and as I was lifting her out of the cart, the cart almost hit our car. I muttered “shit!’ under my breath (and then thought ‘oh shit, here we go.’). But Norah didn’t say anything until I strapped her into her seat. When I was about to shut the door and get in the car, she looked at me and said, “Mom?” When I looked at her and said yes, she replied, “oh crap!” I howled all the way home!

    Another related story: Norah used to pronounce “because”, “but-o-cause.” I too was an English major, but I never corrected it because I loved that she made that word her own. Once she started preschool, she quickly learned the correct pronunciation and it made me sad that she no longer said it her way. She still pronounces “except”, “buh-sept” and I have no intention of correcting her. She will learn the “right” way soon enough and I know I will miss it when she no longer pronounces words that are uniquely hers!

    Heather, I am a first time poster, but I have loved your blog for years. You always manage to make me smile, if not laugh out loud.

  • Pam

    Stupid Polly Pocket shoes….the first time we brought them into the house I told my girls very seriously, “We will lose these shoes, it is inevitable, and that is just how it will be, we can’t do anything about it. We can’t have the Polly Pockets in the house unless you know that we WILL lose the shoes, and we can’t cry about it!”

  • My oldest daughter used to say that and I gave up trying to correct her. It’s totally pointless – and besides, once she grew out of it, I found myself missing her little mispronunciations.

  • Sandee

    From one English major to another:

    When you speak, you “say”, not “go.”

    “And he keeps going, “Have I SEEN it?”

  • I LOVE your blog and you’re doing an awesome job. But I am with Jon on this one, especially since Crayon is pronounced CRAYON..not crown. But each to his own, right? So, did Leta end up finding the shoes? :o)

  • SoCalGal

    I currently speak with a very neutral “news speak” accent. At one point in my adult life I came across a little piece of literature I created in elementary school.

    My Cat
    My cat’s name is Einchamima.
    She is a black cat.
    The End.

    I pronounced it EINCH – a – my – ma. Yes, she was a black cat. My mom named her. It took me until my adulthood and acquisition of my news speak accent to realize her name was Aunt Jemima.


  • lol. too funny.
    kids *want* to get their words right. that is ofcourse, when they *want* to. and this does not sound like one of those times.

  • Day-umm. They say not to let the sun go down on your disagreements with the spouse but nothin’ bout’ freezing the shorts! That is excellent.

  • 1) My 6 year old still says SAWL. I still correct her – so don’t give up hope.

    2) For those who don’t know, a Polly shoe will, without harm, pass through the entire digestive system and come out unchanged. What you do with it then is up to you. I leave it to your imagination as to how I know this…


  • Tell Jon he has to stop lording the crayon over you. At our house it’s my pronunciation of the word “naked.”

    Me: Nekkid.
    Steve: Nay-ked. Nay-ked.
    Me: Nekkid. Not getting.

    Dammit I should have named my blog Nekkid Mommy, that woulda been good.

  • Last summer my almost 2-year-old niece ate one of her almost 4-year-old sister’s Polly Pocket skirts (it was pink) and we had no choice but to sit and wait for it to reappear. Needless to say, Polly never wore that skirt again.

  • my question is what was she doing out of the (austrian) basement?

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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