Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Twenty-six

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!”

  • Damn, that is amazing! Congrats! And Coco should be proud she has number 26 to chase her around with a hose. That was hilarious.

  • marsha marsha marsha

    holy crap, i just realized i’m old enough to be your mother

  • Erica

    Hilarious! Hope the day only got better from there. Would love to have been looking over the fence at the circus going on in your yard.

  • RJ

    Congrats No 26 (and please say Ann Coulter wasn’t on the list) and Happy Birthday. I needed that blog – hormonal/pregnancy tears all morning and now smiles 🙂 Thankyou!

  • motheroffive

    Congratulations on your Forbes list placement! Vis a vis the flying squirrel and Coco- we had an Australian shepherd (regular size) that would catch a frisbee until her mouth bled, and still want to keep on catching. She lived to be 17 1/2. So you have a lot to look forward to.

  • And that post right there is one of the many reasons you deserve it Twenty Six!

    GO Heather!

  • Karen

    26 – because you make the rest of us feel better about ourselves when we have days just like this. And it happens to me more often than I can count!

  • Anonymous

    i am crying i am laughing so hard as i read your blog and countdown til 5 pm and home to my 12 week old. i am relating to so many things here it’s absurd. happy birthday 26!

  • Darciek

    This entire post is hilarious. Good job. Congratulations!

  • Shannon Lee Smith

    You have helped many people by sharing your life stories! That makes you influential! You make people laugh, cry, angry and pee their pants! That makes you influential! So CONGRATS #26 and THANK YOU for living your life your own way!

    Leave it to Coco to keep you humble! 😀

  • Congratulations on your well-deserved place on the list.

    Glad to see that you are getting so much respect from those who matter 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t find any mention of you on the site. What a convoluted piece of crap Forbes.com is! No idea how you found it buried in there.

    But congratulations.

  • Lucy

    This is one of the funniest posts I’ve read on this site.
    Congrats Heather, and Happy Birthday!

  • Congratulations and happy birthday!! I don’t think there are chunks of flourescent poo in Good Housekeeping, but there should be.

  • “the other hand pointing proudly to the giant milk stain underneath my left boob, and yelled, “Twenty-six, bitches!”

    That is right… Twenty-six!

    Congratulations (and all of the above) and let me tell you I have not laughed this hard in a long time.. because the mental picture – PRICELESS!

  • Polly

    Dear Heather,

    Disheveled woman chases piss covered dog while congratulating self loudly to the skies: a funny story in itself. But in your hands, it’s absolutely charming and joyful. My dad used to warn my little sister “You can’t get through life on just cute, y’know!” He was bluffing–she could have, but instead she developed many other wonderful qualities and skills as she grew up. I bet you could have gotten through life on just charm, but we’ll never know, since you are talented in so many ways.

  • I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. And I mean that.

    Congrats on making the list…although I must say, after that story, I think you deserve to be much higher than 26.

  • God damn, woman, you are funny.

  • Congrats!

    And that counts as sleeping through the night? I’m not being bitchy, but everyone kept telling me that our baby had to go 5-6 hours without waking up to eat, so I’ve been bummed, but he regularly wakes up to eat and immediately falls back asleep…he usually even nurses while sleeping. Awesome!

  • Oh! and Happy Birthday!

  • Hilarious.

    Yep.. still laughing..

    xo

  • Congratulations! That’s so exciting! And exciting for us to get to read about it and feel vicariously more successful. So, thanks. 🙂

    Thinking of Coco, though, peeing a lot and not waking up to tell you–sounds to me like a urinary tract infection. She made a li’l visit to the vet.

  • Mary

    Awesome post.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Happy Birthday 26! And Congratulations! Awesome post, woman.

  • Happy Birthday! Also, congrats on number 26 and the set of wicked cool damp boob laps around the backyard. Women have such different lives from men sometimes…

  • Congratulations! You deserve it.

  • I thought my Aussie was the only one that hates water.

    Congrats and happy birthday! You totally deserve it. I prefer you to Oprah, personally.

  • barara, jessicas mom

    I saw a couple walking a dog in NYC. When asked the breed, the man, w/o missing a beat, said Mexican Brainless. I wonder what stories they could share.
    Congratulations on everything. Barbara

  • Congrats 26! As usual, reading Dooce makes me feel totally inadequate but you do rock baby poop and dog pee like nobody’s business!

  • Debbie in Memphis

    Happy late birthday! Hope you have a wonderful year!

  • LMAO. You are hilarious!

    Congrats and Happy Birthday, #26!

  • OMFG that is the funniest thing you’ve written in a long time. I really needed that laugh in the midst of editing a very boring scientific paper about DNA and cancer. So thank you, thank you very much.

    And happy birthday.

  • Katie

    holy shit…i’m dying of laughter.
    thank you for that, Ms. Twenty-six!!!

  • Nastiness on the piss – but I guess the carpet had to get broken in somehow! It was only a matter of time before the kids beat the dog to it! ;o)

    Happy belated birthday and Congrats on twenty-six!

  • the wit, the charm, the humour – and that is why… you are number twenty f*&#ing six my friend!!!

    happy birthday.

  • Annie

    Congrats Forbes #26 and living one more year. My mom still tries to sing the primary birthday song to me – so sad. I feel the need to tell you how happy I was to read this particular post. This past weekend my friend and I had a (drunken) debate with our husbands about you. I vaguely recall using the phrase “well we love Dooce so suck it!” Quite eloquent I know. Now your #26 in Forbes just rests our point! I am getting ready to email the losers of the Dooce debate the article in the Tribune. I hope you are getting all geared up for another crazy Utah holiday. Pie and beer day – I mean Pioneer Day.
    We love Dooce so suck it #27.

  • Trish

    Oh for the lova….as if you weren’t funny enough! That was awesome! Congrats, #26! You deserve it!!! (Not the pissfest, the recognition!)

    Happy birthday!

  • Anonymous

    Ah, but surely the true measure of your influence will be known by how fast the name Marlo rises to #26 on the baby name lists.

    Congrats and Happy Birthday!

  • Can you believe that someone from BARTLETT was Number Twenty-SIX???

    Even harder to believe: Kathie Lee Gifford was AHEAD of you on the list.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and may Year Thirty-Four be better than Number Twenty-Six.

    And OHMYGOD…visions of Coco are dancing in my head. You are some kind of funny, Heather. Between the pee and the Marlo poo, you totally made my day! 🙂

  • Jonathan

    I imagine this has been said to you before, but Coco would be perfect for dog agility contests.

  • stephanie

    That is TOO funny…
    Happy Belated Birthday…
    and Congratulations on 26…
    not to shabby…

  • Maggie

    They don’t call it a “birthday suit” for nothing…you were so close!

    Thanks for the serious LOL at work! Happy Birthday & congrats on 26! 🙂

  • 26 bitches!! That is so funny! Congratulations:)!

  • lynnhowell

    Congrats on 26 and 34!

  • Happy Birthday! Twenty six! The piss part? Washes off. Hope you found a willing cleaner. Such excellent news. Thanks for making me laugh consistently.

  • Twenty six is the #1 of the 2nd quarter. Q2 #1 if you will. And, that’s exactly where you’d want to be because as soon as you crack the top 25, then you have “people” to clean up after your poop shootin’ babe and pee sprinkler dog instead of relishing in the experience of actually, like, living the dream and keepin’ it real and all that shit and then what would you blog about?

  • Lisa Gallien

    Quite possibly your best post ever. I am still laughing.

  • I don’t know how, but something happened when you were creating little Marlo in your loins. You’re writing is so much more “visual” now. You have always been fabulous, mind you, but you’ve really kicked it up big time!

  • Amy

    Ah, new carpet. Ours was begging for neon pink marker the day of installation and then dog barf a few days later.

    Happy, happy birthday! You rock #26!

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t laughed that hard in so long. I think you cured me of the anxiety I’ve been suffering from.