the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A rambling Sunday evening

Leta had a playdate yesterday afternoon, and in the hour leading up to our departure her head detached from her body and spun sixty feet into the air more than just a handful of times. It was as if we had injected pure adrenaline into her arm, and the speed with which words and sentences were shooting from her mouth reminded me of someone who is auctioning off a prized cow to a flurry of eager bidders. At one point Jon interrupted her verbal diarrhea to ask her to quantify her excitement: was she this excited, with her arms stretched wide? Or was she this excited, with her index finger and thumb an inch apart? She pointed to his thumb and forefinger and said that much, which means if she were ever to experience excitement comparable to the magnitude of space between her outstretched arms, they’d have to make a new model of the globe and put a giant hole where Utah used to be.

My instructions to her on the drive over were to behave and clean up after herself, and that should she throw a fit when it was time to come home I would be forced to dismember her Barbies and feed them to Coco. I didn’t want any crying or pouting when we came to pick her up, and when the time came she did remarkably well. She thanked the parents and waved goodbye, and the stability of the world remained intact until we got to the car. That’s when she started rattling off Things We Never Let Her Do, a rambling, incoherent monologue based on complete fantasy that serves no purpose other than to communicate her frustration: we never let her stay a long time, we never let her sleep over, we never let her play with all of the toys. And yes, it’s our fault, too, that play dates don’t last forever and Travis had to shoot Old Yeller.

We let her wallow in this monologue for several minutes if only to let her articulate her emotion, and then I changed the subject to what we needed to pick up at the grocery store. She immediately protested and announced she would be staying in the car while we ran inside and shopped. Right. Has she not ever seen an episode of Dateline? Even if there weren’t some psycho roaming the parking lot looking for kids left in cars, Murphy’s Law dictates that the car would somehow shift into gear and back up over an old lady in a wheelchair. Next thing you know our five-year-old is doing three-to-five for vehicular manslaughter. And something tells me Leta wouldn’t particularly like prison.

Plus, this wasn’t going to be some quick trip to the store, not when in the five years since I last had a baby they’ve started making more than one type of hemorrhoid treatment. Seriously. Come on. Who is asking for this choice? Because I do not want to have to spend a single second of my life deciding which treatment is the most effective one for my butt. You can just stop right there. How was your day? Oh, I don’t know, there was that one hour I spent agonizing over whether or not the instant cooling cream or the gel fortified with vitamin E and aloe would serve my butt better. THANK GOD MY BUTT HAS CHOICES! Because I have no idea how else I would have spent that hour.

Unfortunately none of us had eaten a full meal yesterday, just snacks and handfuls of breakfast cereal, and I don’t think there is a worse condition to find yourself in when confronted with aisles and aisles of pre-packaged food. Because oh my god I totally forgot about Hostess Zingers! Remember those things? Turns out you can buy them in packages of twelve! Also! Entenmann’s Coffee Cake! And Soft Batch Cookies! Did you know that Bugles now come in six different flavors? INCLUDING NACHO CHEESE? Why did no one tell me about this two trimesters ago?

And no, this isn’t product placement. None of these brands have paid me to mention them here, I AM OVER EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Women in my condition daydream about giving oral sex to powdered doughnuts, I cannot help it if someone says NABISCO and automatically I think about foreplay.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one mesmerized by the promise of artificial flavoring. While unpacking the bags at home I pulled out a giant box of Crunch ‘n Munch that I had not known was in our cart. Do what? Who snuck this box of Crunch ‘n Munch, JON? Apparently, “we” are all doing hard work to get this baby here, and “we” need to be rewarded from time to time. Isn’t that cute? How instead of admitting to a moment of weakness he tried to take credit for the baby? So cute, in fact, that for a moment I considered changing my last name back to Hamilton.

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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