the smell of my desperation has become a stench

The House of Adorable

So my assistant Katey, the one who had her baby six weeks before I had Marlo, comes into work last week and goes, dude, you are not even going to believe this. And I was all, JOHNNY DEPP TOOK OFF HIS CLOTHES AND COOKED STROGANOFF IN YOUR KITCHEN? And she goes, no, something even more shocking, and I couldn’t wrap my brain around what she was even getting at, maybe the Republicans and Democrats had all finally gotten their heads out of their asses and figured out how to get sick people the health care they need? Was that it? No? DAMMIT, KATEY, WHAT IS IT? I hired you to be precise!

Slaves these days!

So she sets her four-month-old daughter Lily down on her back on the living room rug, and goes, watch this… And at first I covered my head with my arms because ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN! Infants are totally terrifying! Have you ever lived with one? OH MY GOD! At any given moment they can turn into really angry and combative drunk hobos who shoot vomit several feet into the air. Sometimes they start to gag on their tongue or on their spit or sometimes even ON AIR, and then they stop breathing for like four seconds and everyone in the room starts screaming and flailing their arms because THERE IS NO OTHER APPROPRIATE RESPONSE.

Oh, and you want to know the worst things they do, those evil babies? They catnap. Like cats. Or maybe not like cats, I wouldn’t know, I’m allergic to them and have never lived with one, except for that one time I spent a summer in an apartment with four Korean women who would not ever stop trying to convince me that kimchi is in any way edible, and when I went out of town one weekend they locked a cat in my room and it pooped on every surface including my pillow, you know what that is, right? The place upon which I rest my delicate head to sleep, oh I am still angry about that one and often bring it up in therapy. Do cats take short naps? I DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION, but I do know how to answer the phone in Korean.

Also, once when I was living in LA, I used to get my nails done every couple of weeks at this tiny place run entirely by Koreans, and YOU KNOW they are totally ripping you apart and criticizing your choice in footwear and going NOT THIS BITCH AGAIN, but you have no idea what they’re saying because it’s all in Korean. And THEY KNOW they have the upper hand. So I’m sitting there and all the manicurists are firing off paragraphs to each other in Korean about the alarming shape of my chin, probably, and I sort of quietly look up and whisper, “Hello?” in Korean. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE PANIC IN THAT ROOM. Dude, they all stopped and froze in place, and they all slowly looked around at each other like INTRUDER! INTRUDER! And my manicurist goes, you speak Korean? And I say, well, a little bit, yes! Yes I do! And I’m not even kidding, no one in that room said a word for ten straight minutes. OH MY GOD, THE POWER!

Suddenly, I forgive that cat.

Worst advice you can give to someone with a newborn? Sleep when the baby sleeps. That is total and utter crap. Because one nap can be three hours and then the next nap is like fifteen seconds, and when that latter naps happens and you’ve just put your head down to go to sleep, oh Lord, the agony. And the pain. And the ANGER. And of course it’s never healthy to be angry at a newborn, bad things can happen, like suddenly you start drinking tequila at 10 AM and are calling your husband at work JUST SO THAT YOU CAN HANG UP ON HIM.


So Lily is lying there looking all innocent and cute and chubby, OH THE ROLLS ON THAT KID’S THIGHS. It takes an act of congress to clean the folds in and around that child’s bottom, I’ll just go ahead and say it, but the flip side to that is CHUBBY BABY! Nothing in this world better than a chubby baby, no there isn’t, except maybe affordable healthcare, BUT HEY, THAT’S NOT WHY YOU’RE HERE.

And all of a sudden that kid flips over onto her stomach. We’re talking FLIP. Like, with lightening speed. WHOOSH! And Katey picks her up, puts her on her back again, and as if it were an audition for Cirque du Soleil that kid whips her body over onto her stomach. TA DA! And then? AND THEN? You guys, her four-month-old is already starting to pull her knees up under her AS IF TO PROPEL HERSELF FORWARD. It was the scariest thing I think I’ve ever seen in my life!

So we’re both standing there, Katey and I, and she looks at me, and I’m biting my lip. And then she knowingly nods her head, and I’m all, yup! YOU ARE TOTALLY SCREWED.

  • Kit

    2009/09/03 at 3:11 pm

    She must be part pancake!

  • Jennifer

    2009/09/03 at 3:11 pm

    Heather- I AM BEGGING YOU- what brand of camera do you use for your pictures? The lighting is always amazing! Thanks!

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/09/03 at 3:12 pm

    If there’s one thing I miss about the “baby” stage (and there isn’t much I do, believe me) … it’s that they stay where you put them down. Mobility creates problems.

    As for the “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing? Yeah, the best advise I can give new parents is: throw away all those advise books. They’re all bullshit if the person who wrote it doesn’t know you and your kid personally.

  • Aron

    2009/09/03 at 3:15 pm

    love the hair!

  • Tootsie Marie

    2009/09/03 at 3:15 pm

    My nephew was walking by 9 months, the craziest thing I have EVER seen! Good luck Katey! 🙂

  • BettyBoop

    2009/09/03 at 3:15 pm

    Now you’re going to have the Korean complainers. But simply freaking adorable!

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/09/03 at 3:16 pm

    Jesus Christ, did I just misspell “advice” TWICE in the same comment (#3)?

    Must remember to proofread … (idiot).

  • Wendi

    2009/09/03 at 3:18 pm

    LOL at BettyBoop… i thought the same thing 🙂

  • Milla

    2009/09/03 at 3:18 pm

    on a related note, did ya see this yet?

  • jaymee

    2009/09/03 at 3:19 pm

    the cuteness is killing me. yep katey, you are screwed, that is one baby intent on mobility.

    oh yeah, CATS SUCK! especially the two living in my house. those cute fuzzy things crapped on my new shoes. my $600 NEW, never been on my feet shoes!

  • karla

    2009/09/03 at 3:19 pm

    You two are KILLING me with the cute babies! I made my huz get snipped 17 yrs ago when our son was 8 weeks old just so I wouldn’t have to go thru that whole infancy thing again. But YOU TWO and your ADORABLE BABIES are making my ovaries ache. Maybe that’s just menopause. It’s almost enough to make me hide my son’s condoms so I can be a grandma.

  • Amy

    2009/09/03 at 3:19 pm

    That hair is stupendous!!!! ALMOST cuter than all those rolls. Yummy.

  • Tay Talk

    2009/09/03 at 3:19 pm

    No really, I’d be freaking out! Babies/toddlers/teenagers/young adults should all have genetic coding for when it comes to the ‘process of learning’. Wouldn’t that be nice? Mode set–age 21: begin to like boys/girls. Perfect.

  • karyn

    2009/09/03 at 3:21 pm

    What’s the normal age for kids to flip over? Is she an anomaly? I don’t know these sorts of things!

    Also, can you phonetically tell us how to say Hello in Korean? I’d love to try that at my manicurist. They would FREAK!

  • Moriah

    2009/09/03 at 3:22 pm

    Please teach me to say something in Korean. I need it for my next mani-pedi. And love that baby hair. Best thing ever!

  • Theresa

    2009/09/03 at 3:22 pm

    I started walking at eight months out of sheer rage when my mom took away a cup of milk I wanted. I stiffened my legs and stomped across the floor, screaming all the way.

    I fear for you, Katey.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/03 at 3:25 pm

    @Jennifer – I believe it’s listed in the “FAQ” section on the site.

  • Kathryn Johnson

    2009/09/03 at 3:26 pm

    Yep, I started walking at 7 months-my poor mom! At least my children were nice and didn’t walk until they were over a year.

  • Ray

    2009/09/03 at 3:27 pm

    Wow, Lily is ahead of the game and so ADORABLE! Question: Please do tell, what camera do you use? Those bright colors in these photos are AMAZING and I want a camera that can do that!

  • The Prima Momma

    2009/09/03 at 3:28 pm

    Careful Katey – you may have gotten one of those models that can FLY! They make those, you know.

  • Jennifer

    2009/09/03 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks Heather! Forgiven.

    Lily B is just like Katey was and is………..



    Katey’s mom 🙂

  • Denise

    2009/09/03 at 3:28 pm

    You sure do have a house full of adorable kidlets! Whats a girl to do??? DIP IN BBQ AND EAT ‘EM UP!!

    P.S. Cousin Robert looks so much like Cousin George that before I read the summary of the photo? I was all OMG! WHAT HAPPENED TO COUSIN GEORGE!!

    Ok. I’m through yelling at you!

    Keep doing what you do, please! It gets me through my day sometimes!

  • Heather's Garden

    2009/09/03 at 3:28 pm

    OMG, the hair on the baby’s head. Too cute! But yes, she is screwed. Wait until they start driving.

  • workroom

    2009/09/03 at 3:29 pm

    The tangential nature of this story made me really feel for jon and his day to day life. Oh the humanity.

  • Elizabeth_K

    2009/09/03 at 3:30 pm

    It’s ridiculous when people brag about their children crawling/walking early — I’m with you and Katey — the earlier they start THE WORSE IT IS!! Moving babies are crazy (and awesome entry, wide ranging and funny, by the way).

  • Julie

    2009/09/03 at 3:31 pm

    That is one cute baby. <3

  • Layne

    2009/09/03 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve never had a baby. Can’t you just put them in playpens or cages or something when they start being mobile? Hah

    Anyway. How do you not die from the amount of adorableness in your household everyday?? And did you see Lily’s hair? Because that is some fucking cute hair!

  • Denise

    2009/09/03 at 3:31 pm

    Karla! BITE your tongue, woman! I have a 17 year old and if I could figure out how, I would sew it shut so NOTHING could shoot out of there for a good long time!

  • Passementerie

    2009/09/03 at 3:32 pm

    My unfortunate little infant is SEVEN months old and can’t do that yet. Poor little slow baby.

    And I agree – sleep when the baby sleeps is complete hogwash.

  • Nicole S.

    2009/09/03 at 3:34 pm

    Love, love, LOVE CHUBBY BABIES!!! My third just turned 4 months, and is the only one I have that has rolls on his thighs. I want to eat them! And he also rolls over, tho from the belly to back….i am a bad mommy who lets my kids sleep on their tummies! He is trying to go the other way, and once he does I am screwed!

    Thanks for keeping on keepin’ on. I love reading your work, it makes me laugh every day.

  • BobbieLee

    2009/09/03 at 3:35 pm

    My oldest baby rolled over when he was ONE DAY OLD! This is true. The doctor was examining him and the doctor almost flipped when he rolled over…again, and again, and again. Then my youngest son, who has a twin sister…’Hi, Nichole!’…walked for the first time when he was five months old. He walked toward the ornaments on the Christmas tree. (I have this one documented in a photo) My youngest sister walked when she was five months old, too. She walked toward my Uncle’s glass of Jack Daniels…

  • Dale

    2009/09/03 at 3:36 pm

    You totally made me pee myself with this post.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/03 at 3:37 pm

    Jesus, you weren’t kidding when you said CHUBBY BABY! Wow!

    Adorable BTW. And yup, Katey is totally s.c.r.e.w.e.d.

  • Nicole

    2009/09/03 at 3:38 pm

    dude, sometimes your writing gives me whiplash! Johnny Depp, infants, Koreans, cats, postpartum, tequila, AND THEN the story . . . are you POSITIVE you don’t have adult attention deficit????

  • Charity

    2009/09/03 at 3:40 pm

    I know how you feel, my oldest son stood up and ran across the room at 9 months, do you hear me 9 months??? It was just down hill from there. He skipped crawling completely and went straight to running.

  • Kylie

    2009/09/03 at 3:41 pm

    Oh poor Katey, she should talk to my Mum. Apparently I crawled at 3 months and was walking at 6 months. Ek. And this is why I hold my newborn all day long, so he doesn’t get the chance lol.

  • JENNY TALIA from Australia

    2009/09/03 at 3:41 pm

    Yep – you got it right the first time
    Katey is going to be screwed, glued and tattooed with that kid right there
    My advice?
    Put her up for adoption before she gets too attached


  • Sarah

    2009/09/03 at 3:41 pm

    I had a similar reaction as a gangly redhead in Xi’an. 阨呀!

  • Belle

    2009/09/03 at 3:42 pm

    I can’t believe the HAIR wasn’t mentioned anywhere in this post. That almost deserved as much attention as CHUBBY. What an edible baby.

  • Gillian

    2009/09/03 at 3:42 pm

    In all of these posts here lately where you’ve spoken of Katey and Lily, you have failed to mention the delightful soft serve swoop of hair on that kid’s head. It’s delightful. Did I mention?

    Don’t worry, I won’t unfollow you for it.

  • Stephanie

    2009/09/03 at 3:42 pm

    I LOVE YOU and all of the bits about health care. You are a goddess, and quite witty to boot.

  • tanya

    2009/09/03 at 3:43 pm

    Yes, I agree with all the other comments, but really want to thank you for finally breaking the silence on the complete bs of “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice. It’s always just when you fall asleep the baby wakes up with a piercing scream that makes you jump out of your skin in panic mode. That kind of repeated shock can’t be good for my health. 🙂

    Love love love this site and I recommend it to all my new mother friends/family so I can scare them sh**less for how their lives are going to change after baby! LOL.

  • Michelle

    2009/09/03 at 3:43 pm

    What a cutie! I love the patch of hair on top of her head 🙂 So the kid can flip. Does she burp like Marlo? Maybe the two of them can get together and start an act or something…

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/03 at 3:43 pm

    Fewer cheetos, more tummy time! Poor kid.

  • thelibrarianne

    2009/09/03 at 3:44 pm

    Oh my god, that baby! She looks like a Kewpie doll! I can’t deal with it.

  • CJ

    2009/09/03 at 3:44 pm

    1. That hair is awesome. I’m going straight to my stylist and requesting “The Lily.”

    2. Please, PLEASE, tell us the Korean for “Hello.” I just know my lady is criticising my freakishly small, impossible to paint pinky toe.

    3. I think we need a picture of Marlo’s chubby thighs as well. Maybe a Lily/Marlo duo?

  • Lissa Lander

    2009/09/03 at 3:45 pm

    I feel like I just took a dip in your stream of consciousness.

    I thought it was funny when other mothers told me not to let my baby crawl early, as if I had any say in the matter.

    On a side note… I worked in a tutoring center in San Jose, and EVERYONE in there spoke Vietnamese (loudly) but me. To this day I have a little panic attack because I’m convinced that everyone’s yelling about the dumb white girl when I hear a gaggle Vietnamese speakers.

  • terry

    2009/09/03 at 3:47 pm

    Yup, a mobile baby is a dangerous baby. Normally there’d be a few more months before proofing the house, but it looks like it won’t be long before Lily is opening the fridge door and complaining that there’s never anything to eat in this house.

  • Laura

    2009/09/03 at 3:48 pm


    That’s not why I’m here… I just came for the chubby baby thighs! Nom, nom, nom.

  • Brooke

    2009/09/03 at 3:48 pm

    Lily is beautiful! I also love the nail salon story. I’m currently in Europe, and my fiance’s family doesn’t quite grasp that, while I don’t speak the language, I certainly understand it. I like it this way. I know when they’re talking about me, and I get all the inside scoop.

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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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