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.

  • A friend of mine – when her daughter would receive Barbi dolls for Christmas or whenever – would immediately confiscate the shoes. She told me the other day that her daughter didn’t realize Barbis came with shoes until she was 10 years old. Very funny, Heather. Thanks.

  • Too funny! We havent had to buy Polly Pockets yet, but I assume those dreaded days are coming soon. My twins havent repeated me saying ‘shit’ yet, BUT I did say ‘Fugly’ earlier today, and my younger one proceeded to look at me and say “Fugly?” and said it over and over again. Fun times!

  • Kate

    The Masthead!!!


  • Jaxon

    You don’t escape “tiny pieces hell” if you have boys. My grandson puts together Transformers and Bionicles which have hundreds of tiny pieces that aren’t recognizable as anything whatsoever created by nature. You haven’t lived until Grandson #1 will not go to bed until he finds Piece Number 247 that I might add is about the size of a BB. These pieces also cause major eardrum damage when vacuumed up, which happens regularly. Then of course the resulting damage from flying around in the vacuum cup causes the piece not to fit correctly whereupon the whole figure collapses into a heap of tiny pieces. Causing Grandson #1 to melt down into a heap of tiny screaming pieces as well. I sometimes hope that Grandson #2 is gay and wants to play with Malibu Barbie instead of having to buy more Bionicles. Don’t tell his mother I said that.

    By the way, Leta is so amazingly beautiful. Those soulful eyes…….

  • bjk

    My boyfriend likes chilled underwear. What other forms of retaliation are there?

  • Jan

    For God’s sake woman…don’t forget to dip his undies in OJ before you toss them in the freezer. HEY…it’s not like I have ever done anything even remotely like that.

  • jadine

    Hi! 🙂 I’m a lurker, and I L.O.V.E. your blog.

    I’m a Canadian who married a guy from San Fransisco. We live in Texas with our two Texan sons (ages 11 and 8). I also happen to be a speech therapist. I used to work with kids (articulation, etc.), and I can’t even tell you how many children I made say “cray-on” instead of “crown” — until I realized (was told by a mom) that “crown” is how many people say it down here. I was mortified that I had been making my little speech-impaired victims change the pronunciation of words they’d learned that way (there were other words, too). Also? My 8 year old says “crown”…then looks at me and says it *my* way, to head me off before I correct him. Ugg. He, too, says “sawl” for “saw.” I don’t know where that one came from because we don’t say it that way, nor does anyone else I know, but maybe it’s just developmentally easier to put an “L” on the end? No, it’s not really, so I guess I can’t explain it.

    Make sure you read all this the way it was typed: with a Canadian/Texan accent.

    No idea about the Polly Pocket shoes, though.

  • Jaxon

    Speaking of swear words. My three year old grandson heard the song about Going to Funky Town and now sings it at the top of his lungs all the time. Unfortunately he can’t quite get the N enunciated properly so it sounds exactly like he is screaming Fucky Town. I know we should correct him but we are laughing too hard.

  • When I was a child I would steal the plastic shoes from my sister’s Barbies and chew on them, much like one chews on the nubbins from the ends of Bic pens (assuming others do that also). They had a real nice chewiness about them.

    All I’m saying is, do you have another slightly older male child that, I don’t know, you keep locked under the stairs and don’t ever talk about because he’s a wizard, or something? It could happen, I’ve read somewhere…

  • Lynne

    Ok, you two. Unified Front or you’re fucked. Seriously.

    Oh…and post a picture of the not missing shoe. My daughter abandoned her Pockets sometime last year. Maybe there’s a replacement to be had.

  • I swear, here in Ohio, I hear people say “sawl” all of the time. Could your daughter secretly be from Ohio?

  • Jaxon

    Two posts and I STILL forgot to mention your Rainier cherry picture. These are the best cherries in the entire world. Every June I try to eat my weight in these delicious cherries which gets really expensive because they cost about $7.00 a pound. Since the prices on everything have gone up so much no telling how much they will cost this year. (thank you George Bush) But they are so worth it. Hope you did more than take a pic of them. If you didn’t bring some home go back and get them. They are that good.

  • Oh, why was I eating tomato soup when I read that? My world is now much redder, but much funnier. I understand, and y’all are a hoot.

  • tk

    W-H-E-E-L B-A-R-R-O-W.

    pronounced least in Arkansas..

    throw that word into a sentence with crayons and his head will implode (that’s pronounced EEEMPLAWD)

    good times.

  • well, if it gets really hot tomorrow (which seems unlikely with the recent snow talk, and by recent i mean last 30 days)…he’s prepared.

  • Now, from a woman who can recite her four-year old child’s age in months (I couldn’t do that past 12 months), I expect much more creativity than underwear in the freezer. Offer your dear husband a cup of Smooth Move herbal tea disguised as some new herbal tea that’s supposed to be like Viagra any time he annoys the crap out of you, and you will have the best damn laugh that night or the next morning at his expense. Saawwl good, baby

    As far as the doll shoes go, all I can say is thank God I have a boy!!

  • OMG!! That was hilarious!!!! I could just picture that as scene from a sitcom!!! As for the underwear in the freezer??? That’s a good one. But i think I like Lola’s idea better!

  • Did you check in Coco’s poop….. that she’s eating?

  • Sara

    I am so glad my husband and I aren’t the only ones who have silly arguments. My husband corrects me every time I say “roof”. B/c I pronounce it “ruf”. And I say “crayun”. So don’t feel bad (not that you did in the first place). 🙂
    As for the Polly Pockets…good luck with that. Hopefully by the time my daughter is 4 they will be out of vogue again. Stupid things. They irked me as a kid b/c they were SO! TINY! and would never stand up straight in their little teeny weeny houses. Always falling down, making me try in vain to stand them back up. *tic tic tic* My Little Ponies are much cooler. And easier to keep up with. And cuter. Surely you could find a princess MLP. Maybe that would lessen the obsession with the Pollies.
    Oh, and the June masthead rocks.

  • Anonymous

    So when do these people start to understand that your name is not Dooce. Or is that something to do with not actually taking any schooling that requires English comprehension in the last 30 years?

  • Rachelle

    Just yesterday I was talking to my 2 year old about the green crayon she was busy coloring with. And she looked up at me with this totally bewildered face and said “I don’t have a green crayon.” So I point it out to her. And she says, “Silly Mommy! That’s not a crown! It’s a crayon! Silly Mommy.”

  • Two things:
    1) your answer to the shoe dilemma: “yes I SAWL it! It became vacuum cleaner food.”
    2) dip the undies in meat juice and then give them to CoCo as a frozen treat.

  • Oh sweet Jeebus. That is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!

    Note to self: remember undies-in-the-freezer trick.

  • I went to a wedding this weekend, and it may very well have been the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. My favourite part (apart from the one bit where the husband was sniffling so badly he had to let go of her hands, step back, blow his nose and apologize to everyone adorably — in the middle of his bride’s vows) was that instead of reading the standard “love is kind” bible verse, the mother of the bride read a poem. That poem basically says that love is not constant. It’s like a tide, with ebb and flow, and we need that, in order to appreciate the complexity that is a person. Pretending that it is constant(which is something we all do in fear of the ebb) is not true to the nature of love. Or reality.

    I agree with the author. You love someone MOST of the time. Sometimes you want to shake him, or her, like a… well. You know. Like a Coco.

  • Gloria Chen

    Just be lucky that those polly pocket dolls aren’t Chinese with them bound feet. Imagine the size of those!

    You’ve got to admit the way you say C.R.A.Y.O.N. is whacked. And yes, you can reply with “Who asked you?” Teehee

  • Good on Leta! My daughter didn’t say ‘shit’ in proper context until she was five, and I’d given her many, many fine examples to work from.

  • stefanie

    when my brother was little he had trouble pronouncing the letter r in words. my grandfather’s favorite thing to do when we went out to dinner was to steal my brother’s fork causing him to scream out “i need a fuck!” he was an awesome dude.

    how does leta feel about barbies? i’ve got about 50 from when i was a kid with all the clothes and accesories i would be happy to send your way. at least the shoes are bigger.

  • And you should not be surprised when Jon surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, I’m not sure) then declares that he will no longer wear underwear.

  • My husband works out of the house. He has little contact with people during the day. He is starting to speak in a strange way. Yesterday we went out to eat and he ordered “Zhrings” translation, “Onion Rings”. I’m not worried yet. I love him, but sometimes he makes me crazy. When he calls me at work asking me if I “sawl” his underwear in the freezer…I’ll tell him he’s not alone.

  • How odd. I went for a walk tonight and someone had placed a lone Polly Pocket shoe on top of a mailbox. I wondered whose child was freaking out at that very moment! Sorry I’m in Vancouver and not Salt Lake….it can’t be Leta’s…

  • As always, I appreciate your whit… with an h… have you ever heard people who say why…or where and really pronounce the h… so irritating. Anyhoo…Yesterday, my two year old son grabbed one of his trains that he couldn’t get to stay on the track, threw it to the ground and yelled, F*ck! I swear the pain from the soda blasting through my nose was almost as painful as stifling my laugh. I immediately called my husband and told him he would only have supervised visits with his son and under no circumstances could they do home repairs or play video games together. My mother will kick my ass if she hears him drop the f bomb again!

  • Natasha

    To stop the Polly Pocket insanity, all you have to do is have three daughters in the span of four months– OKAY, four years– and have your family buy three identical sets of P.P. for them for Christmas. When there are three sets of shoes, your chance of finding one is incresed six times! (Um, right?)

    Love the tape dispenser. Try Googling “voodoo toothpick holder”. THAT made me think of you when I saw it in Edmonton. Also, this cute NUN chuck– a slingshot that chucks little plastic nuns. Made me very happy. Not that I’d be smiling if they were Thomas S. Monson chucks, of course. 😉

  • Interesting post!

  • This makes me feel good, you know, knowing that other people have the same issues we do… like finding a FREAKIN’ polly pocket shoe! I absolutely despise those things. My husband just throws them away any chance he gets, which always causes me more grief. And your grammar arguments just crack me up. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for that slice o’ genius. I needed it today!

    By the way….I think Chuck is the Most Awesome Dog Ever. I have to constantly stop myself before reaching out and actually petting my computer screen, scratching it under its chin, and calling it “a cute widdle boy.”

    These recent pictures of Leta–who, by the way, is wonderfully photogenic!!–caused a similar reaction! I ask you: is it hard to live in a house with so much cuteness? How do you get anything done???

    I’m still sending happy healing thoughts to your stepfather.

  • Setting the underwear on fire would have more of a lasting impression. Where impression is pronounced “fear”.

  • The word sawl makes my ears bleed. I would much rather have her say ‘crown,’ which also drives me up the wall. Or worsh. Or crick for creek. SAWL is EEVIL, I don’t blame Jon. And through my scrolling, I didn’t see much Jon support so I thought I’d post lol.

    Congrats on shit in the proper context! LOL!

  • I didn’t think Polly Pocket had shoes. Mine always had these circular bottoms that attached the little Polly to the floor of her house… and as I recall, Polly is about the size of a Barbie shoe to begin with. She’s easy enough to lose without having accessories that are even SMALLER. But the companies probably design these things to be as easily lost as possible just so you have to go out and buy more crap for them when your daughter spends the whole day harassing you about it. Smart planning on their part.

    And I mispronounce “crayon” as well. And I’m an English major. So, we win.

  • Heather

    My daughter also went through the Polly “hell” Pocket phase at about the same age…still have “all” of the little boogers…minus some shoes. I will gladly send them all to you since this “phase” will only last about one more year when she decides she likes “brats”. And then I have a bunch of that crap I can send you too! Because not only do they have regular “brats” they have ultra smaller than Polly Pocket “brats” (minus some shoes of course)!

  • Liv

    In my experience, it’s never too early to try to train your kids to speak properly, but associating proper pronunciation and grammar with a soul-shattering crisis like the loss of a Polly Pocket shoe might have the opposite effect. I know I was never the same after my mother reminded me that it was “the IRON fell on Barbie’s head!” not “the ARN.”

  • Oh, you warm my heart! Wonderful post, Heather.

  • Anonymous

    I, too, am a stickler for proper English usage.


    When a 4-year-old is SOO very focused on the fact that Polly’s shoe has disappeared, which is a tragedy of the 1st magnitude in her world, trying to correct her pronunciation and/or grammar will only serve to further piss her off, because to her, YOU’RE TALKING, BUT YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO HELP HER FIND THAT FUCKING SHOE.

    It’s not wrong to correct her — but it’s wrong to correct her in the middle of a crisis. We love you Jon, but your wonderful intentions just didn’t help much this time.

    Were you using a standard household freezer, or did you go straight to dry ice?

  • Polly Pockets should be outlawed…
    Have you ever accidentally stepped on one of those teeny-tiny little shoes?
    The pain can only be compared to stepping on a nail… or a lego (which should also be on the banned toy list)
    And the next words you blurt out whilst jumping around, might not be on the approved G-Rated list, but MAY include “Did you sawl what just happened?!!!”


    PS – Frozen underwear….BRILLIANT!

  • Abra Cat

    Polly Pockets clothes are one of my cat’s favorite snacks. I think those shoes are loooong gone…

  • That so completely hit the spot!!

  • Alyson

    All y’all (that’s the plural, y’all is singular) are very white. #99 on is Grammar. Plus, all of the unique pronunciations of words are legitimate dialects and no one can agree on a standard definition of English. We all basically speak a bastardization of the Queen’s English but we’re not going around trying to get people to say al-ooh-min-ie-um instead of al-um-in-um, are we? Nopers. What makes that okay (because if anyone can speak English, it should be the English) but axe and sawl not ok? Although I will admit, my mother, from Long Island, for no actual reason WHATSOEVER says warsh and Warshington….I don’t say it, her family doesn’t say it, where the hell did she pick it up? I’ve no idea.

  • Guess what? I throw away the shoes immediately. I don’t even take them out of the packaging. All 3 of my girls think Polly Pocket just comes barefoot.

  • Humorous and enjoyable post.

    I graduated from high school and college without acquiring suitable language skills. This was totally my fault. The good natured bantering in your home will create awareness.

  • I vividly remember the debate bewteen my Tennessee-raised mom and British dad about whether one walks up a “heel” or a “hill”. They raised us in Georgia, so “heel” it was.

    Now my fiance’ is from Pittsburgh and I giggle everytime he says he says to “Cut it aaaahhht!” or that he’s going “dahntahn.” So what if I color with “crowns” and am “fixin’ to” do something.

  • A

    Did you wet them first?
    That always gets the point across a little more…agressively.

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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