An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Not necessarily a better liar, but at least she’s getting creative

Jon has been experimenting with his grilling technique this week, and Sunday night he almost set the house on fire. We bought a set of cedar planks on which to grill (free range, ethically grown, lulled to sleep every night with a gentle nursery rhyme) meat, and although I think he read the directions I believe he did so with his eyes closed. Not thirty seconds after putting a set of sirloin steaks onto those sizzling planks he lunged through the back door screaming GET ME A SPRAY BOTTLE. I quickly handed him one that I found in a dollar bin at Target which in terms of spraying water performs about as well as trying to spit out a wildfire. He swung open the door again and was all PREFERABLY A SPRAY BOTTLE THAT WORKS.

Right. This is not my problem here. Don’t you think you should have checked to see if there was a working water bottle on the premises before you decided to carve your initials on the lawn with a blow torch?

You could say the meal that night was somewhat difficult to chew.

Last night he tweaked his approach a little bit to cook a plank or two of fish, and since it was going to take so long we let Leta eat dinner before us. She’d been in a horrible mood all afternoon, and sometimes it’s not worth it to wait for the happy family dinner when we know that letting her have her chicken nuggets early will add back those two years she just stripped from our lives by screaming all sorts of preschool obscenities over the fact that Coco had looked at her toys. Hurtful obscenities like “bum-bum,” and “booger,” and my favorite, “disgusting poo-poo head.” You know, to distinguish it from the compliment “poo-poo head that is delicious enough to eat.”

She finished her meal in record time, and as I was preparing a pot of green peas she asked for a treat. I told her yes, but she’d have to wait until her father and I had finished eating, and since we’d just started cooking it would be a while. She sat there thinking this through, processing the fact that she would eventually get her prize, but not fully comprehending the time frame. That’s when she leaned over in her chair, grabbed agonizingly at her stomach and said, “Mama, my tummy hurts, and I need a chocolate treat to make it feel better.”

Right. Unless you’re on day two of your period it doesn’t work that way. So I said, “Excuse me?”

She hunched over so far that her face was almost touching her knees. “It hurts,” she moaned, her voice as raspy as a 50-year smoker who has to breathe through a tube. “It hurts so bad. A chocolate treat will fix it.”

That’s when I walked away from the stove, poked my head out the back door and said, dude, I know you need to keep an eye on that fish, but we need to have a talk with our daughter about her eternal salvation and how IT HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

  • I don’t have children but I do have young nieces… and we have wondered aloud many times if PMS can start at age 3.

    I’m thinking by four she could totally be having cramps and craving chocolate. Then you’d have something to blame the mood swings on, too. 🙂


  • Yeah, cute story and all – but are those green peas Free Range?

  • Shanna

    In our house, apparently popsicles, not chocolate, can cure all of our 3 year old drama queen’s woes and boo-boos. Last night she bumped her toe on a toy walking across the room, immediately fell to the floor holding said toe, and through her crocodile tears screamed in her screechy, only a 3 year old can make that sound voice “It hurts, Mama, I neeeed a popsicle”

  • I’m still laughing about the water bottle. But about the stomach ache, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve developed the “tummy poke” where you stick your finger into the complaining kid’s stomach and if they laugh, they’re faking. And if they scream out in horror, not so much faking.

  • Goober

    Yes, but has he lost his eyebrows yet?

    Just wait til the piezeo lighter dealamabob quits working and he resorts to matches.

  • I think Leta is on to something – EVERYTHING WOULD BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD if chocolate fixed tummy aches. I think we would have peace on earth.

  • To help Leta with her eternal salvation, just teach her what Larry the Cable Guy says, “Lord, I apologize for that right there, and please be with the starvin’ pygmies down there in New Guinea, A-men.” Seems to work.

    Jon should slick his face and hair back with that gooey stuff stuntmen use – I think it protects around flames…or maybe it ignites. I can’t remember.

    Fabulously written. As usual.

  • J.

    ALWAYS grill with an extinguisher close by!! And I do think that chocolate is the universal cure-all.

  • Alex

    I am not sure about you guys…. maybe my husband loves more than yours….

    When I say “I am sick and only chocolate will fix it” he ALWAYS finds me some…

    He is a peach (about that… I could expand on non-peachniness, but not enough time…

    Leta is on to something…

    AS for the cedar planks, I am the griller in the family and I have grilled some really amazing things… and I can NEVER get them to work either.

  • Anonymous

    Are Leta’s chicken nuggets free range, ethically grown, and lulled to sleep every night with a gentle nursery rhyme?

  • I certainly hope you’re not talking smack about Target’s $1 bins. That’s even worse than lying.

  • If you had told me I had to wait that long for my dessert, I would’ve begged God for a weeping womb, pronto.

  • Your Daily Chuck is so cute! My dogs will hardly sit still long enough for me to get a decent pic of them…dumb dogs!

  • I just had a terrifying thought… what if you’re not blogging when Leta’s 16? I mean, did we even have blogs 12 years ago? Who knows whether we’ll still be blogging in 12 years’ time?

    I may have to go through life never knowing if the 16-year old Leta claims jello shots cure 2nd day cramps…


  • eve

    Me: No you can’t have a treat you didn’t eat your meal.

    #4: I’m full up with dinner but my treat tummy is empty.

  • I just wanted to say that when I saw today’s Daily Photo, I was struck by the similar view we had last week here in Texas:

    Gotta love the pollution!

    I met you at your SxSW meet-n-greet last March, but I have to say I am haunted by how dorky and nervous I was to speak with you and Jon. I promise, I’m not usually that socially-maimed.

  • I’m not exactly sure how, but I know the iPhone 3G could have prevented Jon’s grilling problem… now let’s see, where’s that App Store button…

  • I love hearing Leta’s answers to things…so funny! Darling.

  • Leta is a genius.

    When I tell my husband that I have my period and it HUUURTS, he will do anything for me. ANYTHING. Even when I’m on the third week of “period.”

    I’m guessing he missed that day in sex-ed class. I see no reason to enlighten him.

  • Your daughter is really so cute. I think I was that way about chocolate when I was little. Wait, I’m still that way about chocolate. Maybe she’ll never grow out of it.

  • Liz W-G

    My normally delightful 17 year old (no really–no teenage angst here) daughter turns into a disgusting, bum-bum, booger, poo-poo head once a month. I keep a stash of the good stuff on hand for the occasions. Lindt chocolates perform miracles….trust me you will thank me for this advice in the future.

  • Nhiro

    In reference to your daily photo, I have to agree with your hubby about the fridge in the garage. You can’t have enough, I’m serious. You need one in your backyard, one in your basement, one in your bedroom. All full of booze. My aunt had at least four in her house, filled with all kinds of delightful alcoholic beverages and let me tell you: BEST VACAY EVER.

  • Wow! What a little actress. She’s going to have some man bending to her every whim in a few years. Come to think of it, she probably already has her dad doing everything she wants already, so…

  • Katie

    That sounds so much like something my three-year old would say!

  • Regarding your lovely quilt in today’s Daily Style, you might try using Effordent to clean it. Let a bunch of Effordent tablets fizz up in a few inches of tepid water in your tub, swish it around, and drop in the quilt. I’ve done the same many times with vintage table linens, and gotten all sorts of mysterious brown spots out.

  • LOL! I love it! She is so smart. Chocolate fixes everything.

  • Nothing to do with this post, but I have a suggestion for your beloved quilt. Some churches have quilting circles that would rehabilitate it for you. My grandma belongs to one and they fix up old quilts all the time.

  • e

    AHA! a place i can comment! about the quilt: no drycleaning, what you want is colgate octagon soap. it will take anything out and not hurt the thing. you can use it on your face, on all delicates. really, all you have to do is wet the spot and rub the bar on it till it’s soapy. let it sit a minute and then smoosh it up with your fingers some. rinse it off and see if it’s still there: if so, do it again but let it sit for awhile, making sure it’s wet. it will be gone, no matter what it is. great for sheets, too, and kids? australian dogs? nuff said. it wasn’t always colgate’s, it’s been around 100 years or so, but there still isn’t anything better and colgate has it now, but it’s hard to find in stores. you can google it and order it online, though.

  • It’s actually cute knowing Leta may be a lying liar who lies, in training.
    She is really smart!

  • Love seeing little kids generalize like that. When my nephew was about 4, he wanted to go to to the local swim club, but his Mom (my sister) said he couldn’t because his grandfather was visiting them for the afternoon.

    So my nephew turned to his grandfather and said: “Grandpa, can you go home, now?”

    My sister, flabbergasted, sputtered to my nephew, “That’s not very polite!”

    So my nephew turned and politely clarified, “Grandpa, will you PLEASE go home, now?”

  • So does Jon roll his eyes and say, “She’s so your kid” ? Because that’s what Mr. Clairol does and I’m wondering how long the welt will last when I do finally smack him silly.

  • my baby cousin did nearly the same thing. only 2 years old, not literate, yet we’re in the car, driving past the comforting pink and orange glow of a dunkin donuts, and she says ” beena! beena, my tummy hurts!” “oh no!” “uh, huh, i think it needs donuts.”

  • My two year old son won’t even touch a bite of his supper if anybody so much as mouths the words ‘ice cream’. It’s as if he says “What!? There’s ice cream? Well, why should I eat this shit if there’s ice cream to be had??? Bring it on!”

    Kids – they are crafty.

  • Chocolate makes me feel better. I understand her urgency:-)
    Sometimes only an entire bag of Mint Milano cookies will fix it.

  • Hehe, she’s a clever one.

    Next time tell her Coco LOOKED at all the chocolate treats. See if she still wants one then. 😉

  • Dee

    Wow! Way to go Miss Leta! Chocolate is the utmost cure for all this wrong with this world. I bet if you told grandma that chocolate would fix global warming she would get on board with the rest of us liberals. By the way my new name is Aunt DoDeePooPooHead by way of my 5 year old niece!

  • Oh how chocolate does seem to fix everything. She’s caught on early 🙂

  • Kristine

    Heather, please promise the internet that you will still be blogging when Leta is 16. I can’t WAIT to hear of the excuses/reasoning she comes up with when you find the bourbon bottle under her bed. Absolutely hilarious. Kids say the damnedest things.

  • sarah

    My twin four year old boys call each other ‘dumb-dumb stinky.’ It is my absolute favorite insult to hurl as of late. It is slightly less satisfying than my prior favorite: motherfucker. ‘Dumb-dumb stinky’ goes over much better at work.

  • OMG, that child is too funny!

    About your blue flower quilt, it IS beautiful! The stains only add to its loveliness, which means it was used and loved. Maybe you should see about having it professionally repaired, then find a nice place to display it, either on a stand or on a wall.

    And then, make up a really good story about it, like how your forebears worked on it at nights around the fire in the cave. Because that’s what I would do.

    And because that kind of shit is fun to do.

  • Around Leta’s age, I started squeezing toothpaste into the toilet in the mornings. Then, I’d call my father in and say, “Daaaaadddddyyy, I threw up. I can’t go to school today.” Because, you know, Aquafresh and kid vomit look so much alike.

    When he was feeling generous, he’d let me stay home. Why not? It meant he got to call in to work with the excuse, “My kid is sick. Can’t come in today.”

  • The little boy I used to baby-sit did something similar, only it involved hacking as if his lungs had suddenly grown astro turf and then saying ‘my throat hurts, can I have a popsicle to make it better? PLEASE?!’ And then he would hack and hack and hack until I decided that a ruined dinner was better than my ruined sanity.

  • OMG that is sooo funny! I don’t know what I would have done in that situation…

    Probably laugh uncontrollably.

    You’ll have to let us know what you do to fix the lying problem!

  • Perhaps in some cultures “poo poo head” is a label of respect. Okay, so I’m reaching here. And, by the way, my son’s favorite epithet is also a derivative of the same—are they handing out handbooks of the cool toddler curse words at preschool these days? Because I’m pretty sure the term “poo poo head” did not exist in either hubby’s or my own vocabulary prior to our son’s uttering it over the dinner table one day. We prefer the much more sophisticated words like “jackass” and “butt munch”, thank you very much.

    And as far as lying goes, here is our first experience with that involving peanut butter cups:

    But if they’re gonna lie, at least it’s for a good cause.

  • Lori W

    Jon must have the same problem as Wayne (my DH) and he watches too much Alton Brown too. Just wait until he tries the steak receipe in the oven and sets off all of the smoke alarms in the neighborhood. Seriously good eats but you will die from lung cancer…

    Tell Leta if she keeps it up she can be president of the USA! :p

  • Traci

    It’s so refreshing to know that my 4 year old is not the only overly-dramatic preschooler out there.

    I am beginning to wonder what exactly they teach these kids at “preschool”.

  • When Spouse calls on his way home and I say, “Bring chocolate” he generally arrives with an assortment. She’s just ahead of the curve. 😉

  • did you give her the chocolate or not?

    don’t you think she deserves it with that performance?

  • Being a dessert junkie, I’d have to agree with Leta when she says a dessert will fix her tummy ache. But of course we all know the tummy ache is imaginary. Feigned illnesses sometimes get the desserts coming and, true enough, they almost always do. 🙂

  • I understand Leta’s point. Chocolate is not good for dogs, so it is BETTER for Leta.

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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