An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

I think this means that whatever we’re doing is working

In an effort to allow Jon and me the time needed to get ourselves and the baby packed for our whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, our assistant Katey asked if she could come pick up Leta on Sunday morning and take her to brunch for a couple of hours. And this is one of probably hundreds of reasons why we hired Katey, that she has the ability to sense what we’re going to need before we need it, and before I could even remind her about Leta’s picky palate, she was all, Heather, how long have I known this child? There will be plenty of brown and beige things on the menu.

And yes, she would monitor the mustard and ketchup and make sure that never the twain shall meet. And then we both simultaneously groaned.

All I had to do was get her dressed and ready for the pick-up, but I made sure that the path to that final destination was laden with metric tons of coffee. Because sometimes, you never know which morning it’s going to be, but it takes an act of congress to get that kid dressed. She just gets distracted by other things, and if I’m not on top of her she’ll wander back into the room and go, “Now, remind me… why did you have me go to my room?” OH I DON’T KNOW, SO THAT YOU COULD COME BACK IN HERE AND PHRASE THAT QUESTION LIKE A DEFENSE ATTORNEY.

Quick aside: we recently bought some furniture for our back patio for the sole purpose of spending our summer evenings out there as a family: the dogs running in the yard, Leta and Jon playing “princess and guard” around her swing set, and me in a chair feeding Marlo. One night after dinner I turned to Jon and said, “Shall we go outside and enjoy the evening?” And since then Leta has repeated some form of that question to us before we even take the first bite of dinner: are we going outside to enjoy the evening? Mom? MOM? We’re going outside to enjoy the evening, right? TELL ME WE’RE GOING OUTSIDE TO ENJOY THE EVENING?! To the point that both Jon and I are all OH MY GOD SHUT UP WE ARE GOING OUTSIDE TO ENJOY THE EVENING.

And holy grape nuts, if we don’t get out there and enjoy the shit out of the evening.

Before you send me email to alert me to the fact that “getting distracted by other things” is clearly an indication that Leta has ADD, let me assure you that you have clearly jutted your nose into the wrong end of my business. Leta sometimes concentrates too much on things, and when her friends jump from one activity to another with too much speed she has been known to stomp her foot and whine that so-and-so won’t keep to the task at hand. And we’re all, yeah, because so-and-so is five-years-old, and Leta is all, THAT IS NO EXCUSE.

It’s just, she’s so much like her father, The Absent-Minded Professor, that sometimes in the middle of basic everyday activities, like putting her clothes on, she remembers a thought she was having yesterday about something else, and that thought leads to another activity ENTIRELY UNRELATED TO PUTTING HER CLOTHES ON, and when I come into the room she’s got her shirt off, her pants on, and she’s sitting there having the blonde Barbie apologize to the brunette Barbie about some argument they were having yesterday. And when she looks up to see me there with my hand on my hip, my foot angrily tapping the floor, she’s all, I know, I know, give me one second, the brunette Barbie has to think about it.

Anyway, I finally get her dressed and she and Katey head out to brunch with Katey’s baby and boyfriend. Jon and I putter around for a couple hours until they return, and when they get back Katey pulls me aside, and has she ever got one to share with me… turns out there was a twenty-minute wait at the restaurant, so she had her boyfriend hold their place in line while she took Leta and the baby back to the car. She wanted to breastfeed during the wait, so she sat in the driver’s seat of the parked car and had Leta sit in the front-side passenger seat. She’s sitting there feeding the baby and can tell that Leta is really uncomfortable when Leta says with more than a little trepidation, “Katey… umm… I’m not allowed to sit in the front seat of the car.”

Katey assures her that it’s okay, the car is parked, they aren’t going anywhere, they’re there so that the baby can get her meal in privacy. A few silent seconds pass and Leta goes, “Promise me you won’t tell my mom I did this.”

  • Shelly

    Once I was watching my then 3 year old cousin (she’s 4 almost 5 now) and she was potty training, she said she had to go so I put her on the potty and was standing there and she said

    “Cousin Shelly..I need some privacy”

    Ok Kid, got it loud and clear I went and stood in the hall and waited for her to call for me..

    Silly kids.

  • That is awesome! So sweet.

  • Kristi

    Leta just gets more and more fun.

  • hilarious. i love how smart she is and the things she says. thanks for sharing 🙂 have fun in LA!

  • Meagan G

    #1 your children are probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.. aside from my own that is LOL..

    #2 Leta.. I just love her.. seriously.. how do you stand it!?!? She is amazing!

  • Savanah

    HA! 🙂

  • Agreeing with #47. As a kid I was put in “gifted programs” and later in life my oscillation between being engrossed in something (where time stands still) and hopping around from one project to the next made me consider adult ADD as a possibility. But the more I looked at the “symptoms” of being right-brained, the more I thought, this isn’t a so-called disorder, it’s a strength. Good luck to you guys and Leta, she sounds like an amazingly gifted (and hilarious) kid.

  • Holy grape nuts! Great post!

  • Kim

    Hilarious. Absolutely perfect.

  • Just too damned precious!

  • No, it’s not ADD. It’s year you have to slog through. We who are on the other side of the vague year commend ourselves for never saying to our children what was the only thing we could think. Namely, “Dude, are you high?” Because this much distractedness is usually preceded by the wet sound of a bong in action.

  • At first, I thought Katey went back to the car with Leta to breastfeed Marlo… and I thought “damn, that IS a great sitter.” Hahahaha.

  • Hahaha. That’s so cute.

  • Leta is a smart cookie, she knows that the front seat is off limits. My kids are the SAME way about the front seat when they could be in it. Of course when I don’t want them anywhere near it, like when I’m trying to get everyone in the van & we are already an hour behind schedule, then they ALL want to check it out. I can also relate to the no touching thing & the absent minded professor thing. I was that kid, I am still in a lot of ways like that as an adult. Sometimes you just don’t want things all mixed up. Although I must admit the “absented minded” thing got easier when I entered academia & started writing more; being in academia or being “creative” (whatever that means) makes it easier to pull off the whole “absented minded” thing. No one thinks twice about it. Plus, when your 5 having Barbie say sorry really matters.

  • Lee

    I absolutely, positively do not want to diagnose your child with anything, I think that people jump to premature conclusions about that kind of thing way too quickly.

    But just as a point of information for anyone else reading this blog, people with ADD actually have the ability to hyperfocus under pressure, which is often why they leave things to the last minute. Or to focus intensely on one thing to the exclusion of all other things, which is why I was able to read a book on a bus full of noisy kids, but frequently missed my bus stop because I didn’t notice we’d stopped at my house. “Driven to Distraction” is a good book on the topic.

    Again, it’s ludacrious for people to diagnose 5-year-olds with ADD based on blog entries, and in no way is my comment supposed to imply that Leta has ADD.

  • That is awesome! I can’t stop laughing. I can only imagine the completely serious look she probably had on her little face when she said it.

  • Sara

    I love it. My mom says I used to do the same thing when she sent me anywhere in the house to do anything. I would be gone a few minutes, only to come back and have to ask what I was sent off to do. It’s obviously an early sign of her genius.

  • Cassie

    My boss just asked me why i was smiling. I was tempted to tell him the truth…

  • Sue

    now THAT is funny. “promise you won’t tell” ~ made me laugh and I hope it is not portend of things to come… 😉

  • Anonymous

    We had a very small kitchen in the house where I grew up. As I sat directly in front of the fridge, I’d have to get up every now and then during a meal to get something out. From the time that the request left my mom’s or dad’s lips to the time when I opened the fridge door, I’d forget what they had wanted. Like, every single time.

    Ooh, shiny things…

  • Enjoy it while it lasts, probably not the last time she’ll use that phrase!

  • That is too hilarious. 🙂 Leta is seriously one of the most serious and funny five year olds I have read about. 🙂 My nephew is about to turn four years old and I can get out of him rambling about Star Wars or seriously Auntie Anne, stop calling me a baby since I’m not a baby.

    Ahhh kids. 🙂

  • HEATHER – I know you closed comments on the Daily Chuck – but Marlo is still in NB?? My son was born days after her and he’s currently sporting a 3-6 month onesie! I have a freakishly large child. And I’m jealous that she’s still so little! And Leta, as always, totally adorable and wonderful.

  • Anonymous

    Judging by the way you structured this blog post, I’m pretty sure Leta gets it from you, Heather. 😉

  • I cannot believe Katey broke Leta’s confidence like that.

  • I wish Leta had a camera following her around all the time so we could see all the moments of Absent-Minded Professor.

  • Ha ha ha! That made my day!

  • Leta’s good shit.

  • Oh my gosh – I LOOOOOOVE how literal kids are. Of course I can’t think of any right now but I used to have tons of stories like that from babysitting. Hilarious.

  • Can you not wait until Marlo and Leta can entertain one another??

  • You wish you’d had my brother and I as kids, oh wait no, because we would have races to see who could put their clothes on the fastest. Not correct-est, the fastest. We always looked like we’d been thrown into (or out of, really) our closets during a tornado, not to mention all the ripped off buttons and seams or snagged zippers, etc. All Kriss-krossed out, yo! Only we always wore velcro shoes, because tying shoelaces took too long. And I then I go and wonder why 7th grade was the hardest year of my life.

  • That is so sweet! What a cutie!

  • Marissa

    Of course Leta doesn’t have ADD, it’s called being a kid!! I send my 8 yr old son into his room to get dressed with specific instructions about what to wear and to put his dirty clothes/PJs into the hamper and about half the time he still comes out without his socks or leaves the dirty clothes in a pile on the floor.

    The best was last week when he took a shower after baseball practice and put his dirty clothes back on!!! I thought my head was going to explode.

    On the other hand he is very excited for the arrival of his baby sister (expected next week) and says he is going to love her and treat her with respect and make sure everyone else does too, because he’s her big brother and that’s his job. I think we’ll keep him.

  • DeAnna

    Don’t let Leta fool you Katey! My niece used to do that to me. I’d keep her ‘chocolate’ secret then she’d throw me under the bus when she was having quiet time with her mom.

    Yeah, ADD my ass – she’s completely normal.

  • Pantraya

    I knew I liked your blog for a reason!!! Today I read it at work and was holding in my laughter, as to not seem like I was reading a blog when I should be working. And teardrops rolled down my cheeks because I was laughing so hard on the inside. The blonde barbie and the brunette barbie? Whooo! That’s so funny!

  • I’d just like to reiterate #26. Can Leta PLEASE get her own blog?

    Captcha: wanton Rico…MEOW!

  • Christina

    Leta is too funny for words!!!! Childrens honesty is the best thing ever.

  • Leigh Anne

    i totally LOLed!

  • Josh

    Mom tells me stories about being petrified of going to daycare and was afraid of sending me there due to my near violent reactions of not wanting to go.
    She finally tracked it down to arts and crafts and their use of scissors. I ‘forbidden’ to use scissors at home and I was afraid i would get in BIG trouble if I was caught.
    My mom got a chuckle and we had a long discussion about good scissors and bad scissors – which ones were hers and which ones were mine.

  • It’s one thing when they obey you when you’re there. It’s a completely more awesome different thing when they do what you say when you’re NOT there! Good job training that one!

  • Heather…you kill me…I love your posts…Leta and Marlo are so lucky to have you as a mom…can I move out and live next to you and John…we have two great dogs and my hubby is a web designer…let me know!!! LOL

  • Leta is a sharp little cookie. Obviously–no matter what she’s focused on here and there–she’s listening!

  • That is so awesome. Leta sounds like my daughter in a lot of ways – she gets completely distracted by other things and I have to constantly remind her of what she was supposed to do – but also not at all ADD-like. She’s also all about the rules. Except when she’s with my mother.

  • I love how kids take rules, like no front seat. I remember when I thought my dad was “drinking and driving” when he would drink iced tea while driving….

  • That is such a cute story. I love it!

  • Anonymous

    My Husband is like a total genius- an engineer and the smartest man I’ve ever known…but if I ask him to take out the kitchen trash, I usually just shout to him from th other room a few seconds later “You were taking out the trash,” because I know he will have forgotten what he went in there for by the time he gets there…and he usually responds “oh yeah, Thanks!”
    This is a guy who once actually got in the car without shoes when we were leaving the house…I looked down and then up at his face with a puzzled look on my face thinking “Is he kidding? Is he playing a trick on me? Oh…no, when I pointed it out he just quickly say “Oh, yeah, thanks” and runs back in the house as if I had just pointed out that he’d forgotten his keys or tickets to the show, not HIS SHOES!!!!
    It’s frustrating at times – but I just think he is busy solving pi and his brain can’t be bothered with the trivial realities of life.

  • just another thing to add to the talk-to-dr-phil-about-this list

    our 5 yo is the same way, so sending her to parochial school is really all about the uniform, god be damned. oh, that didn’t sound nice.

  • elismsue

    LOL reminds me of the old Art Linkletter show…”Kids Say The Darnest Things” segment. Out of the mouths of babes!

    Yes, I am old enough to remember that show and also old enough to have difficulty controlling my bladder when I laugh! Darn you!


  • red

    Leta is so perfectly hilarious. I would love to take her to brunch.

  • Tanya

    LMAO!! I love Leta, she truly is the greatest example of childhood reality. Everything is literal, and her sense of humor is so fun. She is the best, great job Heather!

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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