Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

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?!”


  • Katherine

    I live in Cleveland, and it wasn’t until I visited a friend in Colorado that I found out you can’t buy alcohol in grocery stores in some states. Considering the Rite Aid down the street from me is also a state liquor store, it was a real culture shock. “Yes, I buy my bourbon and smokes at a drug store… SO WHAT??”

  • I don’t know if its ’cause my three best friends (including my sister) just left my house yesterday after filling it for 5 days with kids and chaos and love.

    I don’t know if its ’cause I am coming down with a serious head cold, and severely over-tired and have to pack today to go away…

    I don’t know if its ’cause we are recovering from a two-day duststorm…

    Or if its just that you write so bloody well…

    But that made me cry. Wonderful. Now I cannot breathe at all.

    PS You cannot buy wine in Utah? Are you serious?

  • Erika

    I just have to say that 3 just about killed us. Terrible Twos? No problem! But 3-yr-olds…they have MEMORIES. You can’t distract them! But they have no impulse control!

    It was then that I read “Raising Your Spirited Child.” Six is giving me reason for a refresher…

  • Leta’s eyelashes are crazy long! So pretty. You got two girls with beautifl eyes ;o)

  • Really. I don’t understand why people hate you so much. You’re aces in my book. And not just because you @replied to my tweet this week, but because you totally rock as a mom.

    hugs ~

    ps loving that my name, e-mail & webpage was saved on the comments; is that a new thing?

  • Savanah


  • you have v nice children…

    wish i was YOU !

  • That was lovely…thanks for sharing your moments of family with us. 🙂

  • I understand you have been through a lot and shared a lot, but right now in this moment of time you are a blessed woman. And your family is luck to have you too.

  • what a beautiful beautiful ode to your family, farts and all!

  • I wish I had these letters to read from my mom. Of course, she’s an aging hippy so most of them would have been written while she was stoned, but still. I love it.
    ps- my captcha word is 136,090. Damn you Dooce! I didn’t come here for MATH!!!!

  • You are such a “beautifl” writer 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Melissa

    Simply lovely! Gooey, sweet, yummy, lovely! I missed the newsletters, too.

  • Divya

    Beautifully written! I wondered just the other day about your newsletters.. 🙂

  • Tasha

    I’m happy your newsletters are back and that you can address them to Not Maria’s real name now. I love it. I wish I had something to read that my mom wrote like you do to Leta and Marlo. They’re lucky girls. Beautiful words and pictures! Sniff.

  • Erin

    Can I just say how refreshing it is to hear that someone else’s three year old threw themselves on the floor in fits of rage?? We’re in the midst of that right now and it’s nice to know there are better days on the horizon. What a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  • As the younger sister, I can vouch that Marlo is in for a treat.
    Older sisters inspire maturity, justify bad decision making, compel you to love and grow, and make the hard, not so hard.

    I love my older sister, and seeing your daughters makes me happy to see sister legacies living on.


    also, I’m not proud of it, but I googled “buffalo vagina.”

    Nor am I proud of the fact that I was disappointed in the boring links that showed up as a result. Eeek.

  • Teresa

    I hadn’t made the connection with the screaming baby and advanced reading, but my first grader is doing things I never thought possible for a first grader and she too, was a screamer who aided in my PPD. She will sit for HOURS and read books, I LOVE it!

    Also, couldn’t help but notice Leta’s eyelashes in the last picture. Good Lord! You know the commercial with Brooke Shields and the medicine you can take for eyelashes (because you can’t buy false ones at the store that are way healthier for your body)? Leta would make the users of that medication scream in anguish. I’m just saying.

  • What precious, precious girls. Sweet, sleepy, smiley babies are the best, aren’t they?!

  • What precious, precious girls. Sweet, sleepy, smiley babies are the best, aren’t they?!

  • Okay dooce, you gotta stop it with the precious pictures! You’re making my maternal instinct kick in and I’m SO not ready to go there!

    Seriously, cute kids and I love this entry. I’m going to go eat some chocolate to calm down this urge to procreate right now. There’s no way my kids could eve be that freaking cute.

  • Heh. That’s one of the reasons it’s great to have a dog around too. Even though his smell WAY WORSE than any human’s ever could, our dog takes the blame for every fart that gets emitted in our house.

    Which are all Wes’, by the way, because I would never.

  • Anonymous

    All day long I’ve been irrationally and annoyingly irritated with my two littles (who have been locked up in my house for 5 days with some kind of pig flu and are currently taking turns using the pencil sharpener as a form of entertainment). This letter to your girls made me cry. Thank you. I needed to put things in perspective.
    another mama

  • Anonymous

    Such gorgeous girls. And Leta’s hit that amazing stage where suddenly she lost the baby fat and her arms and legs got really long and it’s like, dude, where’d this KID come from? Where’d the preschooler go?

  • Josey

    Beautifl writing, beautifl children, and a beautifl Mommy… I hope you’re having a beautifl day! Thanks for making mine. 🙂

  • Cindy

    Aren’t kids great? Beautiful girls; awesome pics.

  • Awww, sisterly love.

    I am enjoying my first’s third year right now. Year four is different, right? RIGHT?!

    I love it when my babies (3yrs and 1yr) hold hands. Cutest thing in the world!

  • Sometimes I think that my maternal instinct has all but died…30 has come and gone and my plate is so full there doesn’t seem to be room for another human being on it…ever…and then I read your blog. Thank you for reminding me why that instinct is beautiful and maybe I shouldn’t smother it…yet 😉

  • Teresa

    Um, I googled buffalo vagina and I’m still as a loss as to what this is. The search results didn’t help. Please, fill me in. I can’t just ask random people what it is because I don’t know what it is and I may be asking something terrible. I would much rather ask on here where I’m simply known as ‘Teresa’ and you can’t look at me like I’m crazy when I ask what buffalo vagina is. Someone, please help!

  • “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.”

    And then i realized who you were actually referring to.

    Warning: We grow up knowing just how smart we are and JUST who’s fault it is we have to keep putting up with all these idiots in the world. Be prepared. My mom wasn’t.

  • S

    Leta’s eyelashes are AMAZING.

    And I had something else to add, but those eyelashes made me forget all about it.

  • S

    Oh! I remember now! I was going to say that perhaps “Beautifl” is just the way the youngins are going to be spelling it, what with lolspeak and texting and all that. Maybe she’s such a genius that she’s linguistically years ahead of the rest of us. We all know that second “u” is unnecessary, anyway.

  • Lindsay

    Your girls are beautiful! I hope your family will always be as happy as you are now!!

  • What a great summer for those gorgeous girls!

    The pictures are to die for.

    And go Leta! But please don’t be like this mom I met today who had let her NINE YEAR OLD read all of the Twilight books. Even the SPOILER violent vamp sex and the demon baby spine-breaking home caesarian section.

    Sorry, that comment got kind of dark.

  • Meagan

    I am so jealous of Leta’s eyelashes. Just sayin’.

  • Dilyara

    “I can’t even believe it’s legal in Utah to procreate because it is the ultimate gamble… ” Oh, boy! I am your fan for life after that line. You can crush on my couch anytime and I will get you minty drinks and make sure the dust particles don’t land on you. 🙂

  • Oh, the lovely love-e-ness!

    The coolest part – is the mad-libs-fill-in-the-blank [verb] [noun] [adjective] of what they do to make you mommy swoon will change — but the swoon never goes away.

  • Meg

    This is when I love you best. Very lovely writing on a very lovely subject.

  • along with the other readers, i missed the newsletters too. so glad to have them back. and congratulations again on your amazing children.

    (p.s. my captcha is “really bhutto”. i don’t know if the captcha is coming on to me or not.)

  • Aw, so sweet. Beautiful is a hard word to spell, yo. Leta should be proud!

  • well done as always. Sweet-sweet-sweet! 🙂

  • That’s super cute! Love the pictures! :o) And, I think it’s awesome that she can almost spell beautiful, that’s definitely something to be proud about.

  • tiffne

    i just have to tell you that i LOVE the Monetizing the Hate site!!! your responses to the haters are priceless. lovesit! xoxo

  • So glad you’re enjoying motherhood, what a sweet post.

  • Seriously? SERIOUSLY? You just make me so happy Al Gore invented the Internet. Love you and your blog and your family!

  • Lynne

    Oh, Dooce, I have missed the newsletters! Thanks so much….just fabulous. I am so happy to know how well Leta is doing and how much she loves her sister.

    How could anyone write such horrible things about you? Don’t get it. You guys rock….what an awesome family.

  • Pretty sure this is true for kids as well as partners:

  • Laurie

    Your post is so beautiful, it makes me regret not having had children.

  • This is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL.

    I hope that Marlo surprises you and is the perfect baby/toddler/kid/tween/teen. I think you might just deserve it! 🙂

  • JanaLea

    What an amazingly beautiful post 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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