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?!”

Love,
Mama

  • AprilMay

    Oh, I am so jealous of Leta’s teacher! I would love to have such a smart little firecracker in my class! Your girls are both just gorgeous.

  • So glad things are going much better this time around.

    It’s such a special time in their lives. Cherish it. Especially the farts – cherish those the most. And then tell future boyfriends who come to the house.

  • Anonymous

    who are you kidding woman? you cannot possibly be a fit mother when you let caterpillars crawl RIGHT ON YOUR DAUGHTER’S EYES like that! even the little one sees them and she’s TERRIFI…what? oh.

    never mind.

  • Vanessa

    Your whimsical descriptions of motherhood make me miss my own dearly.

  • Krystl

    My heart snapped right in two when I read about Leta’s little “I love my sister.” I don’t have any children, but I’m so looking forward to coming across something like that and wondering how I’ll survive the unbearable tenderness.

    Also, as a career writer/editor and insufferable smartypants, I cannot even describe how mind-blowing and impressive it is to almost spell BEAUTIFUL at five. Five! And it was only the U at the end! The E-A-U was perfect! Unbelievable. Grammar nerd here is geeking out.

    Thank you so much for sharing these things.

  • Cate

    Beautiful!! My boys are only 22 months apart so my first born didn’t really appreciate his younger brother AT ALL! I used to think people were nuts to have kids so far apart in age but I can see the attraction now.
    You have a beautiful family and the love you feel for those girls just leapt off the page and smacked me in the face. Thank you for that 🙂

  • Jennifer

    Man, stop making me cry. And wanting another baby. I’ve already got 3 kids. All girls. Including twins. And I don’t think I could do it again. But you make me strongly reconsider it!

  • Buffalo vaginas.
    Reblogged.
    🙂

  • Cris

    Ah, yes, we can all see it. The body language from the eyes and the hand, that extended index finger, so apparently casual, tells it all. She’s just waiting, plotting for the moment she has enough muscle strength and motor coordination to grab the hanging thingy and be righteous evil on it.

    And that’s when the older one comes in, whispering in her ear, “Say Coco did it”. And then they’ll both bat their eyelashes at you.

    You’re doomed. But it’s a beautifl ride 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Completely beautiful. I’ve missed your blog. If you ever want to quit writing, you could totally make and offer babies for large sums of money. Yes, they are that cute. And clearly the gifted gene would be a bonus. Maybe this would be the end of the economic downturn!

  • Melissa

    Well I must say…Heather, all previous haters were wrong…you don’t love Marlo the most…OBVIOUSLY you love Leta the most, she got a letter every single month…LOL

    Those sweet, sweet girls…I was concerned about Leta’s response to a bump in her routine with the name of Marlo…and look what a wonderful addition she has been to all your lives.

    A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.
    Carl Sandburg

  • Anonymous

    So glad you have an easy, joyful baby this time. You deserve her!

  • Anonymous

    I so wonder how many people googled “buffalo vagina” after reading this… I’m sure going to. I’m blaming you for inciting this curiosity. BLAME!!

  • Salome

    I think Lotta and Marie (lol) are just gorgeous, and also? I hope the Hatemail Lady has an aneurism when she counts how many of us think you are AWESOME. Go, dooce!
    xoxo

  • They are such pretty girls! Love these newsletters!

  • Denise Laborde

    Beautifl.

  • We too welcomed a baby girl into our house this summer. It’s so neat to see that bond between children grow. I thought this newsletter was sweet, thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa

    Your girls are gorgeous!! You’re so lucky! It’s nice to see someone taking the time and enjoying what they got instead of always running after what they don’t have. Yes, every baby is different. My experience was opposite of yours, my first is easy going, my second is much more temperamental. My second one is also VERY gassy, I thought it was because he’s a boy but it must a second child thing!

  • Anonymous

    So completely heartwarming.

  • kr

    Oh, how I enjoy these newsletters! Thanks for the pick-me-up Dooce.

  • Sabrina

    I so enjoy your blog, it makes me feel normal…lol Your children are adorable and I look forward to be a dedicated reader.

    Sabrina

  • Sara

    That was beautiful!

  • Charity

    Oh my gosh! Lotta and Maria are so beautifl!!

    See, Leta wasn’t a cranky baby, it’s hard to deal with simple mortals when your so gifted! Hah!

    Ya’ll are so great!

  • As always, pure beauty. Both your family and your words.

    All of the hating psychotics who spend a disturbing amount of their lives writing shit about you and how you “clearly” hate Leta – obviously have never read a single newsletter you have ever written. Your love for your girls is incredibly clear.

  • OK, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it and I SWEAR I don’t THINK it can jinx anything. I have an 18 and 19 year old, both girls a year and half apart. Now, right there you have immense respect for me, huh? Yes, you do…
    What I was gonna say was there is a very good chance you won’t see the terrible two’s or three’s from Marlo, simply because I never got them from mine. I am telling you they both had, very much, her disposition from the beginning and never gave me lick of trouble.
    UNTIL
    The Dreaded Teenage Years. But, even then they just gave me lip, got incredibly sullen and lazy, and muttered how much they hated me behind my back.
    They’re past it now and are all human again and it’s like we never went through those dark days.
    Anyway, just keep in mind if you don’t look for it too hard, you might not find it! I’d wish you good luck, but I don’t think you’re needing it. It’s great to see you so on top of the world and your babies are beautiful!

  • Angela

    thank you <3

  • Mo

    She looks so TINY on Jon’s chest…like a little baby fairy flitted down to fart rainbows and burp unicorn breath…

    Totally a Ruse Baby. THEY plant them here on purpose.

  • Renee

    Wow – look at Leta’s eyelashes! She’s going to be a stunner someday.

  • Lauren Ursillo

    I know I should cherish every second with my 4 month old baby boy, but reading about your life with Leta makes me wish for him to be a little bigger, a little more able to hug back, a little more talkative. You have a beautiful family, bless you all! And thank you for sharing it all with us. I look forward to all the awesomeness that Leta will undoubtedly bring back from school this fall!

  • Carly

    Heather, Leta’s eyelashes are INSANELY GORGEOUS.

    Those girls are too pretty. Jon, get a shotgun.

  • Jons going to need more than a shotgun, tell him to get a bulldozer.

    Maybe Marlo isn’t a ruse, but a fairytale come true?!

  • Daisy

    I missed the newsletters so so much. Thank you for making a newsletter 🙂
    Your girls are stunning, Leta is more an more beautifl (glee) with every day that passes and Marlo is going to be a stunner!
    I’m currently re-reading the archives on my long commutes to and from work, Leta is still an infant until I get to work and read the new entries. Who’d have thought that such a screamer could turn into such a lovely and intelligent child! Well done to the Armstrong’s for raising such an amazing child

  • Seriously, when are you going to let her start a blog, cause I’M IN! Totally going to get the all the dirt on there lol!

    You guys are doing a great job.

    xo

  • Your daughters are lovely and Leta is brilliant and Marlo is lovely and a TERRIFIC farter …

  • Alyxherself

    Yeah.

  • Such a sweet letter to the girls and Leta is a smart patootie! I so know what you mean about turning 3, though it was 18 months for us the first time and it was a good thing at the height of the terrible two’s I was already pregnant because THAT I can’t imagine doing more than the two times I am going to do it now (baby is 18 months now)! That, and, if I could survive more sleep deprivation…I’m already too obsessed with it as it is. If I had another “bad” sleeper, I don’t know what I’d do! Good thing we’re done now. Are you? Or, do you think you could have another? 🙂

  • Magatha

    Never stop asking your girls about their day, even when they’re old enough to make faces at you and look bored. You’re their mom: you get a lifetime Dork Pass. Keep on talking.

    Hey! Remember that great photo of you and the World Avon Overlord Mom-Person? Where you are wearing that frosted pink lipstick and a lot of hair flung over one shoulder, and a pissed off expression, standing next to your bright-eyed, cheerful mom?

    And it’s okay. Plus, your girls might not even be as bizarre as you were.

    I love your family of six. (Coco and Chuck made me write that.)

  • What a sweet letter. And your girls are just beautifl (she’s going to cure cancer or something someday!). 🙂

    PS Leta’s eyelashes are incredible! Grown women pay for eyelashes like those to be stuck to their eyelids.

  • Those eyelashes. Good lord.

  • Your ladies are fabulous and TOTALLY identical!
    So sweet!

  • I still remember when my first born (now fourteen, god help me) read he word ‘neighbor’, without help, in a Harry Potter book while in elementary school. What memories your girls will have thanks to this site, Heather. Good and bad, but all worthwhile and meaningful.

  • Erika

    So, yeah, I read it. And then my very patient 12 year old son let me read it out loud to him because I was laughing and giggling to myself and he wanted to know what that was about. And now…now I am crying. Quietly, happily, crying for joy.

    Life is good.

  • I like how you are including both of them in one newsletter. The last picture is adorable.

  • I missed the newsletters, too. And this is a brilliant return. And quite beautiful.

  • First of all, the picture of Leta and Marlo made me ever so slightly misty in the eyes.

    Second of all, I think that Marlo and my son Marley may be destined to be friends someday. Marley is almost 4 months old and also burps and farts like a grown man. And (AND!) he is also a Ruse baby. He is so happy and full of smiles. I will not be tricked, and you have confirmed my thoughts!

  • Anonymous

    awwww – that picture of Jon and Marlo?? well, it made me tear up — i miss those days — my baby is 27 and I would give just about anything to have that time back — to do it again — better this time. Heather– enjoy it – for me.

  • Utah is so confusing, but, you have fry sauce.

  • Yay for your sweet little family. Ah yes we have one of those readers. By 2nd grade he was reading 6/7th level. Now he edits my blog, when appropriate. So you have some help coming your way

  • Heather you make me cry and have hope that all this morning sickness is for a good cause. Thank you

  • Dang.

    I had my second daughter 11 days ago and there’s nothing like a good newsletter (well, and a mix of post partum hormones) to turn the water works on full bore… 🙂 Thank you for this!

    erin

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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