the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Newsletter: Summer 2009

Dear Leta and Not-Maria Marlo,

Where in the world did the last three months go? I know that’s what you’re thinking, right? Because one day I’m pregnant, bloated, and really embarrassed that I have to ask someone else to tie my shoes for me, and then BOOM, I’m a mother of two beautiful girls, one who just started kindergarten and the other who burps and farts like an old man sipping scotch in a leather recliner as he watches reruns of Matlock.

Let’s start there, Marlo. Because all the rest of it is wonderfully boring: you sleep, you eat, and you smile. I had no idea babies could do these things without being bribed. I had geared myself up for an epic battle, because you never know with infants. It’s a total risk, a game of roulette, and I can’t even believe it’s legal in Utah to procreate because it is the ultimate gamble. Seriously! You can’t buy wine at the grocery store, but you can have sex, get pregnant, and potentially release a homicidal maniac into the world? Are you kidding me? UTAH IS SO CONFUSING.

Sometimes babies come out screaming and never stop, sometimes they are angry that you did this to them, gave them life and now? Now they have no choice but to live it, AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. Turns out those are the ones who can read at a third grade level when they are only five years old. I guess that’s what they call a trade-off.

You came out and were all, hey. What’s up. Yeah? Really? Because I was just going to lie down over here and look cute. And then sleep. And then maybe sleep some more. And when it’s time to eat, I will. And then I will smile. And I will make you want to have more babies.

You are what I call The Ruse. And I am not falling for it, not one bit. No way. I’m guessing your kind is evolution’s way of sustaining our species. Because you and your irresistible cuteness and mood could fool a woman into having lots and lots of babies. BUT I AM NO FOOL. You know why? Because I have already lived through the third year of someone’s life, and I know yours is coming. And when it hits, when you throw your body across the floor in a fit of rage, I’ll be all SEE! I KNEW IT! Behind all those smiles and adorable dimples lies an evil three-year-old!

Where was I? Oh right. Burping and farting. Why would I be talking about anything else? Yours are so adult. So mature in tone and vibration. We never know if it’s you or your father or me, and let’s be honest, you always get the blame no matter whose it was. Total side benefit to having an infant around that we didn’t even know about! We can fart all we want and never have to take credit! We just point to you and go, dude, that baby! WHOA! WHO KNEW?

Thank you for that. Thank you for turning our house into a freshman dorm room shared by two boys who secretly use acne cream.

Leta, it’s true. You’re reading at a level that no one is quite prepared to deal with. And your writing is quickly catching up. In fact, the other day you drew a picture of Marlo and underneath it wrote, “I love my sister. She is beautifl.” DUDE! YOU ALMOST SPELLED BEAUTIFUL CORRECTLY! I almost had a heart attack, and was all WHERE DID YOU LEARN HOW TO DO THAT? And you got this goofy look on your face, started to shrug your shoulders and said, “It’s just a word, Mom.”

EXCUSE ME FOR A SECOND. That is not just a word, young lady. That right there is brilliance, and I called everyone in the family to brag about it. That is my right as a mother. Period. I couldn’t keep it to myself, and you should have heard me when I called Grandmommy, I was all BEAUTIFUL. THE KID CAN ALMOST SPELL BEAUTIFUL. And she was all, have you gotten out of the house lately?

This summer was a total blur, lots of play dates and swimming with friends while I sat in bed watching HGTV and breastfeeding Marlo. Let me rephrase that. Lots of HGTV. So much, in fact, that I think I have seen every episode of every series on that channel, and I’m confident that I could go into any house right now and stage it so that it would be sold within hours. I could be reading literature and studying philosophy, yes, that would make me a better person, but that’s just not as satisfying as watching someone take a sledgehammer to a cracked and unstable walkway only to replace it with DELICIOUS BLUE LIMESTONE. OHHHHHHHH. Sometimes when I’m watching a kitchen remodel I feel like a dog being scratched on its belly, and my leg is involuntarily flailing up and down. OH, CARRARA MARBLE COUNTERTOPS!

Anyway, here we are a family of four headed into fall for the first time together. I’m mostly excited about the darling footed pajamas ahead for you, Marlo, and Leta, the next few months of school are going to blow your mind, I just know it. Already the teacher showed you how to pump your legs on the swing, and when you got home you were all, not only can I read, BUT I CAN SWING. BY MYSELF. CALL GRANDMOMMY NOW.

I want those conversations to continue throughout your time in school, I want to hear everything even though I know there will come a point when that will be the last thing you want to do, tell your MOTHER about your DAY, and in the meantime I will continue to cherish the way you run to me at the end of the school day, wrap your arms around my leg or my arm or my neck depending on how fast I can kneel down, and say immediately, hopefully, longingly, “Is the baby here, too?!”

Love,
Mama

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.

read more

SaveSave