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.”

  • And the conspiring starts…

  • mk

    OMG, sweet girl.

  • Gah, I’m getting frustrated just thinking of watching how long it takes my son to get dressed in the morning.

    I should write and record a song called “Get Dressed, NOW!” in the tune to his favourite song of the moment…which would be Boom, Boom, Pow by the Black Eyed Peas.

    Actually, that might have a nice ring to it…”Get Dressed NOW! You’re slackin’s jackin’ my style….”.

    Anyway, after saying that, it’s nice to know that our children do listen even when we don’t think they are. I’m sure my son would have said something about sitting in the front seat too.


  • Rebecca

    Thank you so much for that post. I will remember that next week when school starts back up and I have to remind myself each morning during that stressful get-everybody-up-and-out-of-the-house-time not to throttle my six year old who cannot complete any task without being reminded of the task at least ten times. I am learning patience. Or at least trying.

  • Nat W.

    That kid is so…precocious.

  • Diana

    Do you have a rule follower or what?

    It reminds me of when my husband and I took our 2 year old to the ER at midnight several months ago because she was having a hard time breathing. There we are on a Sunday night at midnight, stopped at the red light. I told my husband to run it as, I don’t know, our daughter wasn’t BREATHING. He said, “I can’t; we’re not supposed to run red lights”.

    She’ll be a rockstar for you in high school.

  • Anonymous

    OMFG! K*OS, if you ever, ever write that song, please post it on YouTube where the rest of us can find it. And memorize it — just so we can sing it in front of their friends and traumatize them for life.

  • Erin

    this is funny shit. that kid is an old soul.

  • Leta is so going to be mad at you in 10 years. She sounds so awesome. As does Katey.

  • Bridget

    I never comment. Sometimes read. Laugh every time. But people really will write you to tell you that your kid has ADD just from reading your blog? How strange. And you actually read all these comments sent in to you? That is a lot of work. I guess without the comments. What do you have? You just talking to yourself on the computer.

  • Daniel

    I am certainly not going to stick my nose in the wrong end of your business and tell you your daughter has ADD. I just want to clear one thing up. I have ADHD so does my wife and our son (it’s genetic). ADHD isn’t just about distraction, the other side of it is sometimes having difficulty switching concentration from one thing to another. It’s called hyperfocus. We tend to get sort of obsessed with things that interest us.

  • Kaci

    Is it terrible that I anxiously await for dooce to pop up on my Google Reader with a new post?!?! Ha ha! Your blog makes my day and this story was exactly why! LOVE IT!!
    Keep it up and tell Leta she is hilariously awesome!

  • Leta is such a sweet, awesome, intelligent kid, and I think she will always be awesome, intelligent, and insightful. 🙂

  • Sounds like Leta will be a perfect mom some day! If I stayed on task longer than 2 minutes to do anything, I’d feel like I was forgetting something. Sounds like she has an active mind – better than a dud if you ask me! Too funny ~

  • Cindy

    “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,”

    That would be ADD in me, the 38 year old. In Leta it’s being 5.

  • This story is hilarious! Leta reminds me of myself when I was younger. I was able to read from a young age, also like her, but when I found out you’re only taught to read in grade 1 I thought I wasn’t allowed to read. So from the day I started kindergarten, I would only read in secret and if my mom ever caught me reading, I’d act as if nothing happened.

    When I finally started grade 1, I had gone through all of the assigned readers in two weeks. My teacher called my mom thinking I was some sort of prodigy, and my mom was like, “SHE’S BEEN ABLE TO READ THE WHOLE TIME. SHE’S JUST NEUROTIC.”

    P.S. Are you going to do the newsletters for Marlo/Leta? I miss that format!

  • Leta is a stitch! It would love in 10 – 15 years (or maybe even now!) to read Leta’s blog about her mother… The other side of the story ;).

    On another note, I’m so happy you have a good nanny/baby sitter! Let me tell you, they are HARD to find. Ironically?, I just blogged on my own perils in this area. We are on our fourth one in three weeks and we have not fired a single one of them. Two of them quit before they started… Think we just found a good one though. Her name happens to be Katie.

  • Lori L

    I can so relate to you in so many ways, my son is 4 ½ and I have an 8 week old son.
    I found your blog after watching Oprah in early August, it came at a good time because I was feeling the postpartum depression, was not feeling human, dreading my anticipated return to work in 2 weeks, my Boobs were throbbing and I needed a laugh. You have provided me that; I have since ordered both of your books… Guess what? I read them while I’m pumping milk at work in the men’s bathroom because there is no other place for privacy during my 30 minute lunch break. So your humor in your books has helped me get through the day. Thanks for your posts, Congrats on Marlo! Good Luck on Dr. Phil.

  • Robin

    I was at the Dr. Phil taping yesterday! My 19 year old daughter (who loves reading and turned me on to it years ago) is the one who got us the tickets and we brought my mother along too. I got to sit “in the pit” on the Working Moms side. It was a blast! We met Heather at her book signing in Hollywood several months ago. We were looking forward to meeting Jon and Marlo this time too but we had to leave right after the taping. Too bad, so sad 🙁

  • Anonymous

    My own rule following story….my little guy didn’t know he could get out of his bed for about four months. He was so used to someone getting him out of his crib, that he didn’t know it was up to him to get out himself. Those were the best four months EVER. When he woke up from sleeping, he would lay there and call for us, but never got up, until the one day we didn’t want to get up to get him, so my husband hollered “come on out here buddy.” It was like a whole new world opened up.

    And about the ADD–your daughter sounds like most 3-6 year olds I know. So if she has ADD, all kids do. Wait, that’s what the pharmaceutical industry thinks also….hmm….

  • My sister’s kids used to tell me secrets, the deal was that I would listen to the secret and then if I thought it had to be told I would back them up. Of course, they were a bit older then, when they were little, I always told. Now we’re at the cottage with the kids of those kids … it’s wonderful!

  • Anonymous

    And then Mom tells the world that Leta sat in the front seat…I hope she doesn’t read this blog!

  • Sarah Pond


    Why did Katey have to breastfeed her baby in a parked car? In Canada, where I live, it is the law that a mother may feed her baby (by boob or bottle) anywhere and can ask for support i.e. a chair a quiet corner, etc.

    Humans eat in restaurants; babies are human, therefore….

    Of course, if Katey WANTED to nurse in her car, that’s her business 🙂

  • Denise

    I love it! She’s so funny! Promise me you won’t tell my mom! So cute!! You are doing something right! That’s for sure! I had my son at age 21, which should be illegal as I can confirm it is way to young to care for a newborn. Now at 35 I have a 14 year old and I’m constantly like “I am way too young to be dealing with this shit!”. Actually, I guess I have been saying that for 14 years now. Anyway – that’s my sidenote…
    When my eldest was 7 1/2 he’d set his alarm at night, get up on his own, make his breakfast, eat it, dress himself and get ready for school. He’d tiptoe into my room where I was sleeping next to my newborn and say “I am sorry to wake you. I know you were up all night. I heard the baby a bunch of times. I wanted to say goodbye. I am going to the bus stop now.”. That was when I was sure – I am a great mom. Sounds like you have your confirmation – she’s reading at what a 5th grade level at this point and she’s a rule follower! That’s awesome! Way to go Mama!

  • Sharon Simpson

    It sounds like your household is becoming adjusted so well to the new baby. I love hearing how both girls are doing. I don’t comment much, but I read you every day and LOVE your blog!

    I’m a retired elementary teacher, our two kids are all grown up, and I really miss those ‘baby days.’

    All the best to you and your family!

  • Margie

    What a great story, thanks for the morning laugh Heather.

  • shara

    oh man…i am noticing all of the comments assuring (who? dooce? the general public?) that leta does NOT have ADD and i am surprised at how many of y’all are doctors! the internet! it’s so full of surprises!

  • Anonymous

    …was just informed hyper-focus is a symptom of ADD. New symptom to push more pills perhaps?

  • beauxbeaux

    If you were my mom, you’d wait until you figured I had forgotten about sitting in the front seat, then randomly ask me if I’ve ever sat in the front seat of a car. And if I asked, “Did Katy tell you that?”, you’d be all, “No. I’m your mother and I can tell that you’ve disobeyed me.” You’d let me believe that for a while (or hey, maybe forever), then you’d laugh your ass off.

    p.s. The Bubbles pic of Marlo is out of control! Sweet Jeebus. The cute. It is keeeeling me.

  • CJK

    Totally with you on the distractions…my daughter is 4 1/2 and does the exact same thing. It can be maddening but I kinda get it. Just have to work a bit to keep her on track. I had a relative suggest ADD, too. Didn’t jump down her throat too badly, just told her I’m not into labeling my PRESCHOOLER. Jeesh, why can’t some people just let kids be kids, and be who they are!? Just because they aren’t what we think they should be or are different perhaps than what we expected, love and accept them anyway, people! They’re not little robots.

    My daughter, too, gets equally frustrated when she has to switch gears against her will. Holy hell, the passion behind her screeching!

    Keep up the good work!

  • love love love the way you tell Leta stories! so cute and funny!

  • Marina

    I’m a long-time lurker, first time commenter. I just wanted to say:

    Goddamn, Heather, I love your writing so much, it boggles the mind. Please never stop updating.

  • Lizzy

    Wait… could Leta and my daughter Grace be the same person? Granted, Grace is 10, but holy socks! they sound like the same hot air. Exhausting, but so worth it.

  • –>I love Leta for wanting to follow the rules of the car and trying to recruit Katey into not telling you she was sitting up front.

  • Leta and my 6 year old Ari sound so much alike She always takes forever to get dressed and turns our conversations around on us as well! She is so cute and frustrating at the same time.

  • Karl

    I never read Leta as ADD. Asperger syndrome, maybe, since she sounds a lot like me (and my brother) and we’re both borderline Asperger.

  • I laughed so hard! I cried at the ending – it was so touching for me. Leta is so hilariously & adorably cute 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Re: “The many, many, many more milestones to come!”

    Chuck’s thought bubble: “Dear GOD, I BEG YOU: please let me be dead and long buried before either Leta or Marlo are ready for tampons…”

  • Jennifer

    I ditto Lee @#65. On all points.

  • Kelsey

    Ohmygosh I love hearing about Leta! She’s so precious. And I, like most of the other commenters, was just like that when I was little. To this day I cannot be in a public place without losing track of a conversation because I’m too busy trying to see what everyone else is doing. My boyfriend says I look like a meerkat–head spinning in all directions looking for danger. I tell him its not danger I’m looking for, just shiny things!

    And, please, keep up the writing. It’s the best part of my workday!

  • That totally made me laugh out loud. SO STINKIN’ CUTE! My daughter is the same way with her concentration…and with the emphasis she puts on getting things finished properly, even when pretending. I’ve definitely had to wait for imaginary characters or baby dolls to finish what they are doing before we can put our shoes on and exit the house on more than one occasion. Great story.

  • Lynn

    Heather and Margaret #73

    My grandson was also born at the same time. He’s almost outgrown the 0-3 onesies.

    I found these great extenders with snaps. Gives them an extra inch or so to get more wear out of those onesies that you’re so sad to part with.

  • Whoa. You had me right up until the point where you said, “Boyfriend” and “Baby”. So who is the father? The boyfriend? Or was there someone else 9+ months ago? What a Flooze and you let Leta go to brunch with her.

    I wonder how many people will read this and think I am being serious?

  • Yeah, but are you going outside to enjoy the evening? How about now? Now? NOW?

  • Child lives in fear of you? CHECK.

    Just kidding. 🙂

    Leta is a rockstar. If you ever get tired of her, give her to me.

  • Kris

    Nope, not ADD. Asperger’s kid. I have me one of those. highly intelligent, low social skills with kids her own age, and totally unable to bend to societal demands like wearing clothes, eating things of color (other than goldfish crackers), getting hands dirty (for some – mine, not so much), and totally into their own OCD stuff. Yep, yep, yep. There’s all kinds of different flavors, but they’re all on the spectrum.

    And mine’s going into 4th grade this year. I’m about ready to bust out the vodka again. I am actually going to let her wear her school clothes to bed so she’s already dressed when I drag her out of her bed and down the stairs to get ready for school.

  • Gabip

    My 5 yr old, Alex, is the same way about getting dressed. He will add a butt shaking routine to the program before putting his boxer briefs on; it’s ever so much fun, especially when pressed for time. He too is not afflicted with ADD or ADHD or AHD etc., just a typical wiggly five year old who thinks shaking his bare butt and being nude is way more fun then getting dressed.

  • May that be the worst of many things that Leta asks someone not to tell on her for. Priceless…

    The look on Chuck’s face in that onsie screams “OMFG… Seriously?” I think I see tears in his eyes!

  • Anonymous

    I think I just thew up in my mouth a little.

  • Leta in no way sounds like she has ADD. Quite the opposite. She sounds brilliant. The term “old soul” definitely comes to mind.

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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