the smell of my desperation has become a stench

The making of an older sister

Yesterday morning we dragged Leta out of bed very early in order to make it to my doctor’s appointment on time. We had not mentioned a word about what’s been going on, mainly to be cautious, although she’s very observant and has asked me out loud in front of strangers why my boobs are so sore. And I tell her it’s because Daddy won’t stop looking at them. That is not a lie, I can feel him thinking about them, staring at them, wondering why all of a sudden they’ve doubled in size, and when I see him walking toward me my instinct is to hide. The weight of a cotton t-shirt can be paralyzing, so you can understand that I might want to avoid the gravitational pull of two eager eyeballs.

I thought that having her in the room during my appointment would be a great way to break it to her that come June life as she knows it is going to be over, and when the doctor found the wiggly baby in my abdomen Leta shouted, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BABY FROM?” I was lying on the table naked from the waist down having just been through a pelvic exam, and was not prepared at all to talk to my four-year-old daughter about her father’s penis. So I lied.

“Magical elves,” I said.

She seemed satisfied with that answer, enough to continue with her list of questions. “HOW YOU GONNA GET THAT BABY OUT?” she said with a concern that made it sound as if she remembered the exact moment her shoulders left my womb. I assured her that such a process was something she didn’t need to worry about and was promptly interrupted as Jon pointed to a poster on the wall and told her it would come out my bunky. Awesome. Can’t wait for my four-year-old’s nightmares about spiders to be replaced with ones of menacing vaginal openings.

My doctor left the room briefly so that I could get dressed, and as I pulled on my black sweats Leta announced that she was willing to be nice to my baby. I thought that was very generous of her, and feeling safe enough to press my luck I asked her if she would feel that way even if it was a boy. “It’s not a boy,” she said confidently. “It’s a little sister, and I’m going to share my toys with her.” I certainly hope that Jon’s semen got that memo.

Both Jon and I were almost giddy with relief as we walked out of the building toward the car, and several times we silently squeezed each other’s hands. He was carrying Leta on his left hip and asked her if she was excited as we were about Mama’s baby.

“Um…” she hesitated. “I’m excited about Christmas.”

  • Anonymous

    2008/11/20 at 12:05 pm

    And come July, she’ll be asking “WHEN ARE YOU GONNA TAKE THAT BABY BACK TO THE HOSPITAL???”

    Congrats! Enjoy the enjoyable parts, and we’ll all forgive you for NOT enjoying the MANY non-enjoyable parts of pregnancy.

  • Micha

    2008/11/20 at 12:06 pm

    Congrats again! I can’t wait to read about Leta’s interaction with her new little sister. Will you wait to be surprised by the sex?

  • joey mayes

    2008/11/20 at 12:06 pm


  • Katy

    2008/11/20 at 12:07 pm


    I think she realized that she had just acquiesced to sharing her toys!

    It really is going to be fun reading about Leta Armstrong becoming an older sister.

  • Megan

    2008/11/20 at 12:08 pm

    Congratulations! So happy for you, Jon, Leta, Chuck and Coco!

  • oceanspray

    2008/11/20 at 12:08 pm

    I forgot how awesome the pregnancy posts are! How exciting, I can’t wait for more to come.

  • Susie

    2008/11/20 at 12:08 pm

    Glad to know my husband is not the only one to use the term “bunky.”

    And congratulations on baby #2!

  • jane

    2008/11/20 at 12:08 pm

    She will be a great big sister!

  • Meghan

    2008/11/20 at 12:08 pm


    How exciting for you all.

  • Kristan

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm

    Dude, you’re gonna have a hard time when they try to show her the sex ed video at school (although maybe they don’t do that in Utah…) and she says, THAT’S NOT HOW IT HAPPENS! WHERE ARE THE MAGICAL ELVES?!

  • beckyhomecky

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm

    Turns out you weren’t “totally doing it wrong” after all! Best wishes.

  • jen lovely

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm


  • Anonymous

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm


  • kristi

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm


  • pam

    2008/11/20 at 12:09 pm

    *note to self to remember “bunky” for when baby gets older*

  • Anonymous

    2008/11/20 at 12:10 pm

    Congratulations Heather! I’ve only just confirmed that I’m pregnant for the first time, so will look to you for humour and context of all the drama over the coming months!

    Here’s to a healthy and safe pregnancy 🙂

  • J

    2008/11/20 at 12:10 pm

    Yay! I’m so stoked for you & your family. I’m also happy for my own benefit (selfish, I know). I’m trying to get pregnant and hope it worked this month. I would love to read & relate to all of your great stories to come. CONGRATS!

  • Kristy

    2008/11/20 at 12:10 pm

    ugh! hate the morning sickness and the sore boobs… but how wonderful! when I was pregnant with my daughter I had horrible morning, afternoon and evening sickness… when I was pregnant with my son… NOTHING! thought this indicated he was going to be great layed back kid… yeah right… he’s 5 and I’m pretty sure could make the grade for ADHD! so much fun! Leta will be a big help with the baby… and I wish you the very best… I wish ETSY had been around when my kids were babies!

  • Molly

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    YAY!!! I am home with my second and have been waiting for this posting! Congratulations to your family. You are giving Leta the best gift ever – even if she won’t think so until she’s 25.

  • Emily

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    Hilarious! When I told my 10-year-old niece I was going to have a baby she promptly said, “I hope you don’t get mean. All the pregnant women I know get mean!”

    Kids…love them! Congrats again!

  • french toast girl

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS! I’ll be praying for you all… and I can’t wait to hear what Leta thinks about being a big sister!

  • Tehmi

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    Can’t wait for Leta’s reaction when you find out its a boy…

  • Bumbling

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    Ah it seems that Leta has her priorities in order – Christmas first- everything else comes in second. I am sure whe will be a fantastic older sister, although I advise you to go our and buy some of those tranquilizing darts NOW, just to have them on hand for the day when your children get together and stage a full scale mutiny. It will happen, have no doubt.
    Potential future mutinies aside, congratulations to the entire Dooce household! If you would like to practice the art of rearing two kiddos at once, may I volunteer either of my two kids? Or maybe I can make a deal and I will hand over two for the price of one? No? ….please?

  • Anonymous

    2008/11/20 at 12:11 pm

    Heather she will be SUCH a great big sister! It won’t take her too long to get used to, shes at a good age for it. I had my baby boy Oliver last Feb and I have a step-son, Calvin, who was 5 when he was born. He was very gentle and happy about his baby brother…although not willing to share his toys with him. Now Oliver is crawling very fast and pulling himself up and terrorizing Calvin (he will take one of his toys he can’t have and crawl with it as fast as he can across the room, with a devilish squeal)….but he still just laughs it off…usually. It was the sweetest thing ever, Calvin has started tackling Oliver and will roll him on his side and snuggle him and yesterday he did it and whispered “I love you” to him. It was soooo cute. Leta will be great!!! Congrats again!! Last night at dinner I told my husby…”I have big news!!! Dooce is pregnant!!”

  • traacy

    2008/11/20 at 12:12 pm

    Leta’s a riot! I can’t wait till I have a 4-year-old! also, do we get the belly shots this pregnancy?

  • Ariel

    2008/11/20 at 12:13 pm

    My 4 year old asked that same question. I answered “Egg and Sperm unite forming a baby” while the almost husband yelled “A stork brings them!” in panicked tones.
    She looked at us crazy and went about her day. She hasn’t asked for more clarification yet… But I think I’d better handle it when she does…

  • Nadine

    2008/11/20 at 12:14 pm

    I’m so happy for you! I hope this pragnancy goes well for you and your family. I do love the excitement in your writng! I hope this pragnancy will be a positive, successful one!

  • Ashley H.

    2008/11/20 at 12:15 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I really look forward to seeing how Leta deals with the pregnancy and new baby!

    I love hearing about your explanations of things for her 🙂

  • Kate

    2008/11/20 at 12:15 pm

    YAY! Yayyayayayayay!

  • Alison

    2008/11/20 at 12:15 pm

    I’m psychic and I see twins in your future.
    P.S. I’m not really psychic
    P.P.S. But little Armstrong twins would be fun!

  • Elle

    2008/11/20 at 12:15 pm

    Congratulations to you all! When we told our oldest daughter, then 4, that we were having another baby, she said it had better be a girl or she was hiding under her bed forever. Unfortunately, we had another girl, that under her bed forever thing might not have been so bad.

  • Lauren

    2008/11/20 at 12:16 pm

    When she asked where you got the baby from you shoulda told her it was those damn gays. Hee hee…just kiddin’!


  • Emilou

    2008/11/20 at 12:16 pm

    Promise you’ll attempt a kitchen remodel in the third trimester? Congratulations. And Leta will be fine, after the first six months all kids stop asking you to send the baby back.

  • Brandy in Canada

    2008/11/20 at 12:16 pm

    I was around the same age as Leta when my sister was born. It was like getting my very own live doll that I could blame everything on!

    Oh and “bunky” is what we call the little sheds that are converted into sleeping areas at cottages, hopefully no one ever tells Leta she has to sleep in the bunky..nightmares for life!

    Congrats again looking forward to reading the journey!
    Just realised I started reading you just before Leta was born! wow.

  • StacieRae

    2008/11/20 at 12:16 pm

    I can’t wait to hear more about Leta’s adjustment to the new baby.

  • Joe

    2008/11/20 at 12:17 pm

    Congratulations to you and your family Heather!

  • Peapodsquadmom

    2008/11/20 at 12:18 pm

    Yay! Congrats Heather and Jon and Leta…and Chuck and Coco. Am I leaving anyone out?!?

  • jess

    2008/11/20 at 12:18 pm

    Great news! I know what a relief that wiggly ultrasound can be.
    We’ll be going back in 2 weeks for ours. My son is 2 1/2 and didn’t bust out any questions during my pelvic last week, but did manage to get out a “Mama! We do NOT TAKE OUR PANTS OFF IN HERE!”

  • Allen G.

    2008/11/20 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and all your journeys with us, particulary those of us captive in carpeted cubicles….

  • Katie

    2008/11/20 at 12:19 pm

    Congratulations to you all! That’s so sweet about you and Jon squeezing each other’s hands. I’m secretly hoping it’s a boy, but either way here’s to a happy, healthy pregnancy! Can’t wait to read all about it.


  • Marie

    2008/11/20 at 12:19 pm


  • Susan

    2008/11/20 at 12:19 pm

    Congratulations! I’m glad Leta is (sort of) looking forward to the new baby.

  • Ames

    2008/11/20 at 12:20 pm

    Yeah, just wait till Leta enlightens all the kids in her classroom at school with her newfound baby knowledge… I’m feeling a Parent Teacher conference coming on.

  • Joaaanna

    2008/11/20 at 12:20 pm

    How DARE you misinform your daughter about the miracle of life! She will now grow up to be a dumb whore who gets preggers at 14!

    You know *that* comment is coming, right?

    Congratulations Armstrong Family!!! Can’t wait to read about all the pregnancy tales!

  • Lauren

    2008/11/20 at 12:20 pm

    Awww, congratulations!

    I just shouted out “OH MY GOD DOOCE IS PREGNANT” and my non informative boyfriend (who shit himself due to the volume of my voice may I add) said “Tell your auntie congratulations!”

    Her dog is called doog…

  • J.

    2008/11/20 at 12:21 pm

    No way!! I’m excited about Christmas too!!

  • mlp

    2008/11/20 at 12:21 pm

    wow. did this come out of nowhere or did i miss something?

    … how super.cali-fragilistic/ex.pi-ali.docious and then some …how exciting…

    i’m still a bit shocked. i feel that i should know this stuff. we’re so close and yet you kept mum all this time…i guess i’m getting a sense of how the man in all this feels when the news is broken….

    do tell, do share it all.

  • Dena

    2008/11/20 at 12:22 pm

    Congratulations and can you start another page where you do a daily post with all the pictures of the stuff readers send you?
    It’s gonna be babytastic!!

  • shannon

    2008/11/20 at 12:22 pm

    YAY congrats! I’m so excited for you! Reading your post made me realize that I too might be ready for baby #2 one day…baby #1 is only 5 months old so it will be awhile…but with your post I actually accepted that it COULD happen and I would be OKAY with that! lol! I also dedicated my blog to you today! Can’t wait for all the fun preggo-adventure posts!
    <><><>< shannon

  • Erica

    2008/11/20 at 12:23 pm

    Heather, my sister was three when I was born, and while I don’t know much about how she reacted when she first learned that there was a baby on the way, her reaction on the day I was born is family legend. My mom had had to have a cesarian section, because I’ve been contrary since birth and was bent on coming out upside down. By the time my sister got to the hospital, my mom was awake and I was with her. My sister came in, chowing on a brownie someone had given her, and my parents introduced her to her new sister. She took one look at this red tiny thing in my mom’s arms and said, “Big deal.” I think probably she asked for another brownie.

    In everything she’d heard about this new sibling showing up at the house, she’d never really expected a baby. She thought she was getting a fully-grown playmate of her own age. So I was a terrible disappointment at first, but I think she’s gotten over it in the past, oh, twenty-five years or so.

    Congrats again!

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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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