Heater, Mother of Lance


Yesterday was my 34th birthday, and I spent it much like we’ve been spending all of our days in the last five weeks, stumbling around in a sleep-derived haze of who are you? Where am I? What’s my name again? I mean, we’ve sort of got a rhythm going, one where the drummer and guitarist are playing two different songs, and the lead singer is just making up words as it goes along, and the sound is just awful but we’re calling it “art.”

Marlo is being fairly cooperative in the sense that she’s sleeping through the night, meaning she wakes up to eat a couple of times and goes right back to sleep after a few minutes on the boob. I know that casually saying the phrase “on the boob” may be insensitive to a certain fraction of my readers who would rather not have to hear about such details concerning life with a newborn, so to make up for that I won’t tell you about how a chunk of her neon yellow poop squirted out of her diaper onto my shirt this morning, and instead of jumping up to clean up the mess I sort of sat there admiring the shape and texture of it, wondering aloud if it was a raisin? Maybe a kernel of corn?

So you’d think we’d be getting a fair amount of sleep, except she is such a loud sleeper, just like Leta was. She grunts and moans and growls, so half the time we don’t know if she’s awake and upset or if she’s having a nightmare about that one time she came shooting out of a vagina. I mean loud. Really loud. Like we’re sleeping with our heads right next to a dryer that’s rolling around a pair of tennis shoes, a wad of coins, and a hammer.

Anyway, my birthday. Right. That’s where I was going with this. I got an early birthday present last week when it was announced that I was among the 30 honorees on the Forbes list of “The Most Influential Women In Media” for 2009. Um. Yeah. So. Soooooo. Let’s just twirl this around in our brains for a second so that you can see why BATSHIT INSANE was my first coherent response to such news.

You’ve got Oprah Winfrey at the top of the list, and then it goes on to Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and others like Ann Curry and Katie Couric and Martha Stewart and Lesley Stahl, and everything is fine until you get to number twenty-six, Heather B. Armstrong, and it’s like the list suddenly falls off the edge of the earth. Heather who? Heather what? Who is this woman? And I can just imagine the usual buttoned-up, proper reader of Forbes wandering over here, reading a couple of lines and thinking HAS FORBES LOST ITS MIND. And my every inclination is to post my father’s phone number right here so that they can call him and commiserate.

My mother, obviously, was over the moon when I told her the news, but my dad’s first response was, “Is Ann Coulter on the list? Where are the conservatives?!” and I had to spend the next hour convincing him that the list wasn’t some vast liberal conspiracy. Meaning it was exactly like every single phone call I’ve ever had with him. HA! HA! I’m only kidding. A little bit. Related: Marlo looks just like my father, and the other morning she was making this really angry face, and Jon looked at her and goes, “What’s wrong, Mike Hamilton? Are you still upset about Obama?”

So, yeah. I’m number 26. Twenty-six. Which of course blows my mind, and for a few days in my sleep-dreived haze I would look at Jon every few minutes and go twenty-six? For real? And then we’d high-five each other and go, “Twenty-six!” I mean, ridiculous. That’s exactly what it is. Absurd. But that did not stop me from reminding Marlo about it every time I changed her diaper. I was all, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, KID? YOU’VE GOT NUMBER TWENTY-SIX WIPING YOUR BUTT.

Yesterday morning I was still kind of high on the news of it, that combined with the fact that it was my birthday, so I woke up in a really great mood. Marlo slept in a little later than usual, and Leta played quietly by herself in her room until she heard us rousing. We all four then spent the next half hour in bed making faces and singing and tickling and living a page right out of Good Housekeeping, and right before we all skipped merrily upstairs to have breakfast I hopped over to let Coco out of her crate. Only to be hit in the face with a smell so nauseating that I fell over dead. I died. There was a funeral and elaborate floral displays and my mother threw herself over my casket and yelled, “Twenty-sixxxxxxxx!”

As Coco stepped out of her crate I suddenly realized that she had urinated all over herself, I guess while she was sleeping because she never whined to be let out of the crate LIKE A NORMAL DOG WOULD HAVE. Like a normal dog with a brain. And it’s not just a little bit of urine, it’s like Niagra Falls in that crate, and she is covered head to toe in it. I catch her a little too late, meaning I’m standing there debating over whether or not I care about what it would mean to grab an animal soaked in its own bladder juices or do I mind what those bladder juices are doing to the BRAND NEW CARPET on the floor, and oops, there are fifteen footprints that will remind me forever that once you adopt a Miniature Australian Shepherd you shorten your life by, oh, a good twenty years. Oh, right. I’m already dead. Because of her.

Jon swoops in, grabs her up off the BRAND NEW CARPET, have I mentioned that part? BRAND NEW. It could not be newer, it is so new, the newness is the newest of all new, The Mayor of New, and he runs to the back door, sets her down to open that door, and then realizes his fatal error. Because Coco then seizes that opportunity to shake the piss off of her body. All over the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and of course all over Jon’s body. It was like a Jackson Pollock canvas in that back hallway. If you could have seen it you would have marveled at the color, the scheme, the abstract way the piss splattered and flung through the air. A masterpiece, I tell you.

For the next hour I chased that dog around the backyard in an attempt to douse her with the hose, an instrument she loathes as it contains water — and I don’t know what happened to her in a previous life, maybe water stole her car or called her names or punched her in the face, but Coco reacts to water like someone would react to an intruder with a knife — and since I hadn’t had a chance to put on any clothes, there I am, number twenty-six, an Influential Woman in Media, running madly around my backyard after a dog with no brain, wearing nothing but my panties and a t-shirt covered in milk stains and dog piss. On my birthday.

I’m not going to lie, I stopped several times, hose in one hand, the other hand pointing proudly to the giant milk stain underneath my left boob, and yelled, “Twenty-six, bitches!”

  • Amy

    2009/07/20 at 2:21 pm

    Could I be first? I love your site. Thank you!!!

  • Milla

    2009/07/20 at 2:24 pm

    happy birthday, heather. cancers rawk! i should know cus i’m one, too.

  • Anne

    2009/07/20 at 2:25 pm

    That article was so amazing! Congrats dooce! 🙂 And hurrah to being number 26! 😀

    also: happy belated birthday! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/20 at 2:26 pm

    First to comment? No way! This post pretty much sums up why I tell all my friends to read this website. Congrats on being number twenty-six, you badass.

  • Nancy

    2009/07/20 at 2:26 pm

    Congratulations on being number….anything!!! Pat yourself on the back and be proud!

  • Therese

    2009/07/20 at 2:27 pm

    “Celebrities! They’re just like us!”

    I love that mental picture of Jon setting the dog down, who shakes the piss all over the place. I see it in slow motion.

  • Caitlin

    2009/07/20 at 2:27 pm

    You’ve outdone yourself with this one. Congrats–what a great month it’s been for you!

  • Michelle

    2009/07/20 at 2:27 pm

    Happy Birthday!!!!

    It’s awesome you are on the list!!!!

    I am glad you are enjoying Baby #2!!!

    Best of Luck!!

  • Sara

    2009/07/20 at 2:28 pm

    HAHA – Glad TWENTY SIX didn’t slip on the dog piss in the hallway.

    Congratulations and happy birthday!

  • Larita

    2009/07/20 at 2:28 pm

    I’m hyperventilating trying to keep from laughing out loud at work. Thank you very much. After taking about four breaks in reading this to allow myself to calm down, I have managed to refrain from rolling on the floor giggling hysterically. Oy vey. This totally made my day, and now I’m going to go read it again…

  • BCA

    2009/07/20 at 2:29 pm

    she was probably so happy for you that she wet herself with excitement.


    oh, and at least it wasn’t dog shit.

  • traci

    2009/07/20 at 2:29 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    Congrats #26!!!!!!

  • caroline

    2009/07/20 at 2:29 pm

    Congrats! Sorry your birthday started off this way but you made me snort iced coffee out of my nose, so that should make you feel better. Happy Birthday.

  • Jen

    2009/07/20 at 2:29 pm

    Happy Birthday! I enjoy your craziness so much-Congrats on 26

  • hoskas

    2009/07/20 at 2:30 pm

    Fucking priceless!

  • Amy

    2009/07/20 at 2:30 pm

    Ok, now that I’ve actually read what you wrote. Congratulations. That’s awesome. I’m not twenty-six on any list. Though I may be twenty-sixth in line for the Jordanian throne. I’ll have to check. But given I’m a WASP living in Amish country, PA… I’m probably not on that list either. So kudos to you. And Coco? Maybe she’s twenty-six on the list of most insane dogs of all time… maybe not, right? No. Definitely higher.

    Great post and great job on your recognition.

  • Betsy

    2009/07/20 at 2:30 pm

    Does nothing ever go to your head and make you smug? So stinkin’ refreshing. The action at your house is always worth reading about. What’s more, I adore the fact that Chuck and Coco have stayed so central to the family in the midst of babies. Very encouraging for all the dog owners out here!

  • Vicky @ thecitycradle

    2009/07/20 at 2:30 pm

    AWESOME. What a great birthday and congratulations.

  • Tiffany

    2009/07/20 at 2:30 pm

    Congrats and happy birthday!

  • Emmy

    2009/07/20 at 2:31 pm

    Congrats on both b-day and being number 26.

    It sounds like your enjoying life, it makes me happy.

  • Valerie W

    2009/07/20 at 2:31 pm

    That is amazing! Ahh, congratulations dude, and can I just say? I totally agree that you are one of the top 30 most influential women – you help women everywhere feel ok about who they are and whatever it is they are going through. You rock TWENTY SIXXXXXXXX!!

  • Lar

    2009/07/20 at 2:31 pm

    And that is why you’re 26–that was hilarious. Way funnier than Ann Coulter.

  • Sarah Vhay

    2009/07/20 at 2:31 pm

    I would’ve thought you were more like a 25. Congratulations and happy birthday! I’m never getting a herding dog. I have learned from your posts and will not submit to their puppy cuteness.

  • mommaruthsays

    2009/07/20 at 2:32 pm

    Well hell – there goes all your other birthdays. How can any of them ever top this one?

    P.S. happy birthday 🙂

  • armchairdesign

    2009/07/20 at 2:32 pm

    Awesome. Happy birthday, man!

  • Jenny

    2009/07/20 at 2:32 pm

    “Twenty-six, bitches!”

    …ahh, that is exactly what I love about you. Happy Birthday, Heather.

  • Candice

    2009/07/20 at 2:33 pm

    Congratulations! I think the trail you are blazing is phenomenal!

  • Susan

    2009/07/20 at 2:33 pm

    Well deserved, twenty-six!!!! Well deserved! I need reassurance that Ann Coulter is NOT on that list…

  • Parsing Nonsense

    2009/07/20 at 2:33 pm

    I’m in stitches from the picture you just painted there at the end. I think you need to get that last line printed on a shirt so you can wear it everywhere and point to it whenever necessary.

    A very happy birthday to you, and congrats! I know your urine-loving dog and bodily-fluids soaked attire won’t let your fame go to your head.

  • Mandi

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    All parents (and likely all pet owners) have those moments but only you could make us laugh this hard.

    Thank you dooce!

  • TinaNicole

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    Happy Birthday, Heather. I hope that pee mess wasn’t too hard to clean up… And also, maybe you should mension to coco’s vet that she peed all over herself in the night without waking up. That can’t be normal.

  • Mariselle

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm


  • Hayley

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    I am so sad that no one at work reads your site because I cannot explain properly why I find it so funny that your husband called your newborn “Mike Hamilton”.

    Thanks for the laughs! Here’s to many many more years of it.

    Happy birthday. Hope there will be less pee in the comming year. At least on your walls/carpet/family. 🙂

  • kate forte

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    hahaha! best. post. EVER! you deserve it number 26!!!

  • Meagan

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    Have you noticed how the grass in your yard is green? GREEN? Because I have.

  • Sarah

    2009/07/20 at 2:34 pm

    I am DYING from laughing!! That was priceless.

    Happy Birthday to you, #26 (and congratulations…that totally kicks ass).

  • shriek house

    2009/07/20 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t know why I enjoy reading about the bodily effluvia – dog or human – in your household so much, but I do.

    Happy Birthday 26!

  • Carynski

    2009/07/20 at 2:35 pm

    TWENTY-SIX!!!!!! yeeeeah, baby!! Congratulations, and happy birthday! That’s fantastic news. Great post – laughed me arse off.

  • Cathy

    2009/07/20 at 2:35 pm

    This is why I love your blog. You’re never going to see Oprah in underwear with a hose screaming, “Number one, bitches.”

    Happy birthday.

  • Golden

    2009/07/20 at 2:35 pm

    Nice to know your homeboys(and girls!) are keeping it real for ya!
    Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/20 at 2:35 pm

    Soledad is 29!

  • lindsaywillman

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    I’m not gonna lie, 26 is pretty badass. Congratulations Heather.

  • Lesa

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    Happy Birthday! 26 rocks!!!

  • Brandy

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    Happy Birthday Heather!!

    I’m sorry you were covered in dog pee for it!

  • Brad

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    Holy crap, woman. You’re doing your mid-30s up right!

    Thanks for the laugh. Perspective is everything and it’s good that you can laugh at the bat shit insanity that is life. Love it.

  • Lisa S-H

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    See, I knew you were special. And I mean that in a very smart nice way, not the “other” way. I’ve been reading your blog for about 4-5 years now. You always crack me up. You have a NorCal kind of sense of humor, just like me and all my friends in SF. And it’s nice that the rest of America recognizes it too, especially Forbes, which is not liberal at all. See, your Blog really means something to many people! I’m happy for you and Congrats!

  • Jessica

    2009/07/20 at 2:36 pm

    Omigosh……crying hysterically right now. I thought I was having the best day ever, and this new edition has seled the deal for me. I don’t know you, but I love you and you bring me so much freaking joy. Happy Birthday…..

  • Ev

    2009/07/20 at 2:37 pm

    Okay, so now my boss comes over and wants to know what I’m laughing so LOUDLY about…thanks, Heather!

  • mo'brien mommy

    2009/07/20 at 2:37 pm

    Congrats Heather! You are deserving of the Forbes list honor.

    So…when you’re done cleaning up Coco’s piss off the walls/floor, could ya let us know more about your birth story? I’m so intrigued to read about it, especially since I’m a gal who loved my c-section and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Scott

    2009/07/20 at 2:37 pm

    You have the patience of a saint, Heather. I would’ve gotten rid of Coco months ago. Maybe there’s a local sheep farm that would take her. I’m not being a jerk; I’m seriously thinking of Coco. She’s a working dog, not a pet. Her brain (such as it is) is telling her to herd things and she’s got little to herd, so naturally she’s going to endlessly do things like piss all over herself, etc.

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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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