An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation


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!”

  • kitt

    Happy 26! Er, birthday! Happy birthday! And 26! And 34!

  • You totally deserve #26. Finally those dicks over at Forbes got something right!

  • Much congrats! That is amazing. And happy birthday : )

  • You’re number twenty-six precisely because of posts like that one – unbefuckingleivably hilarious!

  • jen

    I usually don’t comment, but when I was reading this, I realized that there were only 26 comments, so it seemed like I should.

    Congratulations on both being 26, and also on Marlo’s birth and life!

  • At least it wasn’t poo or vomit…

  • Only you. Only you could make me laugh so hard right here in my kitchen all by myself while my own no-brained animals bounce themselves off the handle of my back door to be let in. Only you.

    Congrats and happy happy birthday you funny, funny woman. Also, influential.

  • Oh, the visuals!!! Congratulations on…ALL OF IT!! Happy birthday to you.


  • Anonymous

    You’re hysterical, I love it!! Congrats on the 26!! I read the article and the list, and I think maybe you could’ve been a little higher up! 🙂

  • And it’s this kind of post exactly that keeps me coming back for more. Which I guess means that it’s this kind of post that makes you 26, bitches!!!

  • Anonymous

    Oh my god. I have had almost the exact same morning a few months back. But mine was a dog covered in poop. Runny poop. Sadly I am number nothin’. lol

  • I’m hoping that, by waiting a few extra minutes to comment, I will be number twenty-six.

    No? Darn…

    Thanks for the awesome story. Wow. That actually kinda turned my day around.

    And made me not want to ever own a dog.

  • Jennifer

    Best. Post. EVER.

  • Meg

    You really do have a unique voice. No one does it quite like you! I’ve always enjoyed your writing style and think you do an amazing job at this thing called blogging. Congratulations and happy birthday!

  • Ange

    ha ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho ho, ha ha ha ha! I can’t stop laughing. ha ha ha ha!

    I’m both mortified and have the utmost EMPATHY for you!!

    But before all that laughter/empathy came, I wished you an awesome birthday. And for what it’s worth I think you’re WAY more influential in my life than Oprah or any other woman on that list.

    Kudos to you #26.

  • Also, am dying, DYING, for the second half of the birth story. I, who am terrified of anything having to do with Pain, childbirth much included, NEED to read the second half. When you get a chance, of course.

  • Wow! Wow! Wow! I’m headed over to the article asap!!! Congrats Heather!

    I likened myself to you….well except for the liberal nature and the decision to endure natural childbirth….So, Maybe I’ll make it to Forbes one day when I single handedly reform our nation’s health care system or maybe even for my blogging scrumptiousness or for my superwoman skills….Just take your pick 🙂


  • Jessica Hayes

    Number 26-you are f’in AWESOME! I adore you, your website and your family. I hope that you have already ordered yourself a t-shirt with a giant number 26 on it to wear around town. How do all those dooce hater jackasses feel now hmmmmm? NUMBER 26 you a**holes! Go dooce!!!

  • Anonymous

    It makes me have hope for everything that you are more influential than Ann Coulter. According to Forbes, not Utne Reader or something. That is so good.

    Your friend,

    Dewey Gigolo (my new capcha tag!)

  • Congratulations. Personally I think you deserve to be much higher on that list, but 26 is pretty awesome. Good luck with the dog pee clean up. I recall a day shortly after getting my dog that he had diarrhea in his crate overnight. It was a horror.

  • Suggestion for the Dooce gift shop:

    T-shirt reading “Twenty-six, bitches!” with a faux milk stain under the left boob.

    Congrats. You deserve all of the honours they can throw at you!

  • Helen Tarnation

    Kids and dogs always have a way of keeping you grounded and knocking you right off that high horse, don’t they??

    Congrats…and again, Marlo is a beauty!

  • Congrats. But OMG did you ever make me laugh! I had to read it again, it was that good. (Sounds almost as good as one of my birthdays.) Of course, it was Coco that tied everything together. And now I’ve let my waffles burn. Oops! =)

  • I don’t know about INFLUENTIAL, but you sure are a hell of a lot of fun to read!

  • Okay, this post is amazingly amazing. What a great way to start off 34, 26! Congratulations and Happy Birthday 😉

  • Congrats on 26. And you have always kept me way more entertained than K. Couric, so…yeah. You should be like 5.

    Oh, Happy birthday too!!!

  • Amy

    I am feeling strongly influenced by this post. So much, in fact, that I’m going to go pee all over my dog, just so she can shake it and the walls by MY back door can look just like YOURS!

    Then I’m going to try breastfeeding my kids, too, so they can make newborn poops like Marlo’s. So what if my kids are (nearly) 4 and 2.5? And weaned?

    THAT, my dear, is how influential you are, even though you won’t be my Facebook friend. Congratulations!

  • Shelly

    First of all, you rock. Second, you only rock so hard because you are so real all the time. THAT’s why you’re #26.


  • That’s AMAZING! Happy Birthday and Happy 26!!!

  • Elizabeth

    This is one of the funniest things I have ever read! And why you are on the list. Go #26! Congrats.

  • I’m so happy for you I nearly shed a tear. Congrats! Well deserved. Bravo! High five! 🙂

  • Alyxherself

    How long have I been reading this site? 6 years? 7? and this here is the funniest post you have ever written. You are the female equiv of David Sedaris. Funny, self-depreciating, and always wtht a gentle life lesson tossed in like vitamins in fudge. The perfect mom.

  • Bridget

    The Ann Coulter comment sounds like it came from my hubby and my dad!!

    Laughed and laughed. Thanks for being number 26 and giving us a hilarious description of the special events surrounding this honor.

  • I’m stoked for you and yours! You deserve to be 26. I’ll even go so far as to say in this household you are far above a 26. You are right in our top ten. Okay I’m trying to not scare you because really you are our one and only influential woman in media around here. We adore you. And I adore (and yet feel slightly guilty) that I chuckled through the entire coco half of your entry.

  • Jessica

    It does not escape me that Soledad O’brien is after you. I remember when you were interviewed by her and how impressed (intimidated?) you were, and now according to Forbes you are three places on the list higher than her. That is amazing, Heather.

    Thanks for the daily dose of body fluids! Love Dooce dot com!

  • Alexandra R

    I’ve been visiting your site for years, but never commented. I was just reading this entry while nursing our firstborn, and I really had to try and contain myself so as to not spaz out the baby. I’m mainly writing because out of all the things I’ve read, it’s so good to know that your baby makes all those noises while they sleep too, because it was really freaking us out… Love the photos, and all the stories about you, Jon, your kids, and the dogs (among other things). Keep it up, #26! (And while I was preoccupied typing this, our baby was quietly losing her lunch all over me… unbelievable. So not making that up.)

  • Remember when Soledad O’brien interviewed you and you wrote about her awesomeness? And her skin and her even more awesomeness?

    And remember when you BEAT HER ON THE LIST? Sweet bitches.

  • Eloise

    Funniest post ever.
    Happy birthday.

  • Anony-mouse

    Can I just tell you that your being number 26th on this list makes me more happy than is reasonable considering you are technically a stranger to me? I feel vindicated in loving you so much by you getting this recognition!

    I am SO tired of these assholes who blog and are CONSTANTLY congratulating themselves on being blogluxe’s doosh bag of the year or mommydumbfuck’s most hialrious blog. THEY ACTUALLY BEG THEIR READERS FOR VOTES AND ENTICE THEM WITH GIVEAWAYS. Their blogs are horseshit and their posts are forced attemps at hilarity and irony that I’m convinced are mostly made up or at least the sarcasm is so poorly done that you think the idiot is making it up. I know I shouldn’t be reading their blogs, but I’ve had friends who recommended them to me and now that I’ve read the shit they post I can’t stop checking to see how bad it gets and how long it’ll go on. This is the truth, one such asswipe recently wrote that she is a “literary blogger” not one of thos “mommy bloggers” because she is a “professional.”

    Now on to the ass kissing part – if you even read this far in my rant. :0) Your writing is amazing; it is a perfect blend of sarcasm and truth and heart that makes every post a freaking unbelievable joy to read. I have laughed out loud at your posts and I have cried my eyes out at your posts. I have re-read some 10-15 times because some of them are truly beautiful. I am not even kidding, that is the truth. And I recently went back on anti-depressants (this is me, feeling better, scary right) because of what you’ve written about your stuggles.

    In closing, will you please make a stupid ass bright pink BUTTON for your sidebar declaring your numberhood? Make it flash and beep and morph into a photo of you in your milk stained shirt. Please?

  • Brooke

    Dude, that was as fucked up as a football bat!! You will seriously never forget this birthday. Hope the rest of your special day was awesome, and congratulations number 26!!!

  • avis

    Hurray! And Happy Birthday. You rock!

  • I turned 34 on Saturday. Happy birthday to you!

  • First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Second, I died laughing at this post lmao. You definitely are number twenty-six!

  • Wow–congrats! Did the Avon World Sales Leader raise her forefinger admonishingly and say “Next year, it’ll be number 19?” That’s how I imagine her.

    As to the Jackson-Pollock-piss-art on your walls: You could sell that to the Utah Museum of Art as a poop-and-performance installation; you know, like the famous chair with grease on it. For that, you’d have to encourage Coco to expel a little more of her bodily, ahem, “juices.” Or include her in the exhibit. Because, after all, you’re number twenty-six.

  • joy

    congrats on 26! and 34 and everything else.

    can’t wait to read the birth story part dooce.

  • Heather, congratulations. And that sucks – all at the same time. And I know, because I spent a good part of my last birthday cleaning human poo stains out of the carpet (they were the work of my toddler).

  • lol bloody awesome.. after that you should be at 25 at least..

    Happy birthday!

    PS one of my recaptcha validation words is “bitchier”

  • KJ

    I can’t f’ing believe that Oprah beat you out for the #1! Seriously…she has nothing on Dooce! Congrats and Happy Birthday.

  • bonnie

    a fucking hilarious post. go #26!

  • Mander

    It was the best of birthdays, it was the worst of birthdays.”

    So wonderful to see that you can keep your sense of humor about things happening unexpectedly.

    (PS: has a filter in place specifically to avoid the “OMG I’m first post!” routine. It might be worth looking into so that folks stay focused on the task at hand.)

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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