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

  • Oy, t’is the eyelash chorus…!

    Count me in as one who also did a double-take when I saw Leta’s GORGEOUSLY THICK AND LONG LASHES! I might just be a little envious of a five-year-old. Hell, who WOULDN’T be?!

    I mean, I’ve got nice longish lashes but nothing like THAT!

    I echo the sentiment for Jon to start with the shotgun polishing, stat. 😀

    Oh, and I was all ‘whoa whoa WHOA!’ when you said that al-kee-hool can’t be bought in Utah grocery stores. At first I thought, okay, I get it, there’s a majority Mormon population but STILL, what about the rest, oh THE UNFAIRNESS?!

    Until I realised (read: googled) there are special liquor stores where it CAN be sold, and I breathed a sigh of relief for all non-Mormons.

    I mean, imagine not being able to enjoy a glass of red?

    ::shudder::

  • Beautiful, I’m glad you started the newsletter again I missed it.

  • I know what you mean about “The Ruse”. My son is 15 months old, and has been what they call an “Easy Baby” but I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Either the three’s will be a nightmare, or he’ll be a difficult teenager… something like that. Or maybe hypothetical baby number two will be a hell raiser. Who knows. Parenting is such a crapshoot. Awesome, but still a crapshoot.

  • Tanna

    The way you write about motherhood is just fabulous. You can describe the exact way mothers feel so beautifully, words I could never think of myself. Reading about your journey as a mother makes me want to have more babies, just to feel all those same feelings again but with your beautiful thoughtful and funny phrases in my head! Thank you for bring laughter and light to my life.

  • They’re all looking gorgeous! And marlo looks so Leta hehe

  • Lisa

    You are such a gifted writer. That was moving and hilarious all at the same time. Much like my favorite HGTV shows….

  • I love the image of you kicking your leg while you watch HGTV. I feel the same way! Your family is beautiful. Congratulations again! You certainly deserve an “easy” baby after everything you have been through!

  • I have a degree in journalism and a Masters in Library Science – it took me 20 years to figure out how to spell beautiful, so, yep, that’s something to be proud of!

    And you’re right – it is a trade-off. I was the first born – I was the “smart one” the “talented one” the “gifted one” (in spite of the “beautiful” thing). I was also the “difficult one.” The one that NEVER slept (and, I am sorry to say, still don’t) and screamed non-stop. The one that ended up with life-long anxiety problems, the one afraid of everything, the one stuck to my mother like paste in her hair.

    My brother was the “easy” one who never fussed, the “handsome” boy without a nervous, neurotic bone in his body. As a child I was acutely aware that I was “hard” and Matthew was “easy.”

    And you know what? It’s ALL GOOD. I never felt bad, I never felt “unfavored” and I certainly never felt anything other than loved. Because let me tell you, I have always known that loving a hard kid is more taxing than loving an easy one, and my mother did nothing if not love BOTH of us fiercely.

    So, you go on and gush about the joy that is Marlo in her ease. Tell those screaming “you love her more” to suck it – those people have nothing better to do. You write beautiful letters to your children, and they will see your love – and your humor – and they will both be just fine.

  • The letters you write to the girls are wonderful. And the pictures capture the moments beautifully!

  • shawn michelle

    my heart aches with the sweetness. i know almost EXACTLY what you mean. i say this with my 10 week old in my arms. oO(sigh)

    amen

  • Catherine McP

    At 49 yrs old, I want my two twenty somthing year old baby daughters back! BUT I got a grandson and a grand-daughter on the way..Wait til THAT happens! Someone elses wonderful worrys and wonderful times with their kids..Its unbelievable.

  • Love it! Love it! Love it!

    I have missed the newsletters so much. They are my favorite posts of yours. Reading your newsletters to Leta inspired me to begin my own blog for my two girls. I couldn’t agree more with so much that you say about motherhood, having daughters and life. I can see you glowing with happiness through your writing. Two beautifl daughters will do that to you.

  • Jamie

    Don’t be fooled by the easy going 2nd child into having the 3rd. It IS a ruse. The third child will come out and be even more high maintenance than you thought was possible. (Then again, I’m pregnant with my fourth so I guess it can’t be THAT bad…lol.)

  • Yeah – the newsletters are back! I love the sisters. Raising Leta to be a reader – that will be the best gift you ever give her. Plus, she will read to Marlo and then Marlo will be reading chapter books at age four.

  • Ugh, I have to start reading your site with a tissue box at the ready. I’m always so teary-eyed and sniffly afterward. What a pussy.

    Enjoy your familial bliss!–I have to blow my nose.

    xx

  • Simply beautiful. This gave me baby fever. But then I remember I have a 3 year old who screams bloody murder and does the whole lets slam my body onto the ground in a fit of rage because mom wont let me have one more m&m shes evil and mean and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…. that’s when I think, oh my god I spawned satans child.

    Then he smiles.

    But then I remember the fits and the head butting and the freak outs.

    I’m not falling for your cute babyness, either.

  • Angela

    Your children are beautiful. Keep up the good work! I love reading your blog.

  • Anonymous

    i read blogs. i don’t comment. i found yours through jezebel. i am the not-so-ultimate voyeur, just lazy and nosy. I don’t like kids or married people, not because i am bitter and single, just because i am me. i don’t identify with liberals or conservatives but am from Nevada-as if that can and should explain everything. BUT, i now comment (understanding it may mean nothing in the milieu of shit you find yourself surrounded in daily) to you…part of me hopes YOU read it, part of me hopes all those shitty people who take time out to call you out (when clearly that time could be well spent cleaning their own glass houses) read it, part of me doesn’t care. This is all a way to say: keep doing what you do. i hope you make money at it and lots of it. hell, I hope I see pics (amazing photo quality btw) of leta in college. you are amazing for letting anyone in your life and the fact that you have made your life a living means you should be applauded. this is the truth from a single, cynical (loves her bf) girl, who only found your blog b/c whirlpool has a lot to make up for, girl who says: thank you.

  • Magatha

    Jessica at 158 – thanks. Excellent comment. Vivid and touching. Um, thanks. I can’t think of what else to say.

  • cee

    I was an advanced reader at Leta’s age too. Just keep encouraging her. The library was my favourite place. And one day, she will sit in an advanced literature class in college, and she will be bored because she already read the books the professor is talking about.

  • Joanna

    Marlo looks so much like Leta in the picture where she’s looking at the red toy!

  • Tanya

    That last picture is adorable!

  • Barbara E.

    But is it legal to type “buffalo vagina” in utah? Beautif(u)l girls, beautif(u)l newsletter. Glad to see it again.

  • Lilliah

    @21. Melissa N.

    HILARIOUS story!

    As for YOU Heather, now I know that your haters are totally onto you. Or is it “on to you”? Never mind- the point is, you just typed Marlo’s name four times, and Leta’s? Only THREE. And then some other time you just referred to her as “the kid”.

    Despicable.

    Hee 😉

  • Jessica

    So gorgeous. And glad to see you’re back with the newsletters–I missed them too. I love, love, love the picture with Jon and Marlo. I hope someday I have a similar shot of my future husband and baby.

    On a tech note:
    I haven’t noticed a Marlo tag yet in your posts/archives.

    Related faux-snark note: I guess we really know which daughter is your favorite (rhymes with pita)

    Good job! I’m also totally amused by the Monetizing the Hate site, and think it’s rad that you’re donating the proceeds to charity. FOLLOW!

    Jessica

    Captcha: Nons Blockage

  • Anonymous

    Who is the boy in that picture with Leta?

  • Bubbles

    Good Job Mama! Loved reading this one.

  • Kat

    beautifl girls, beautifl post

  • Jan

    omgod(ess). inarticulate me. you so deserve this joy.
    hey, suggest Bryn Mawr College to Leta…

  • Betnface

    That was really sweet. I should be writing about my son like that. Your such a good mom!!!

  • Thanks once again for keeping us up on your life – we love it.

  • Rebecca, Idaho

    oh so so sweet. your girls will love those one day.

  • Um. You KNOW I totally had to go and google buffalo vagina.. OH my. Shouldn’t have done that.

    Thank goodness you shared that Leta can NOW pump her legs – I’ve been begging Malka to pump her damn legs at the swing for the entire summer, and unless I’m sitting there, showing her how, she just keeps her legs in one spot, and asks me to push. But she’s not quite 4. She knows that other kids are or are not pumping their legs, but she doesn’t always remember to do it. Glad I have two more summers of pushing her.

  • SW

    Umm, so, I’ve never commented on anything like this before, but there is a reason you have made a (pretty good) living off your writing. You are freaking great! And not just because you’re a mom/I’m a mom … Though that’s how I found you.

    I write professionally, kinda’, but these are full on word pictures. I had the demon spawn firstborn (love ’em, wouldn’t trade ’em, have no idea how I lived through his first scream-filled year) and this column even made me want to procreate again. And I don’t think I have to tell you, non-sleeping, non-happy, constantly nursing child=AWESOME birth control. Unleash a couple of those on a high school and teen pregnancy would be vanquished in days. Truly. If we had five baby-free minutes, sex was not what we had in mind. Those women who get pregnant again, “accidentally,” when their kid is like eight weeks old? I’m all, how did you find the time? My husband would have had to literally trip and fall on me while our son nursed–cause he was ALWAYS nursing–to even achieve physical contact at that point, let alone anything more interesting.

    Where was I again? Oh yeah. YOU ROCK!

  • Shannon

    Love these! I love how you cherish the everyday moments. Everyone should take time to write these letters to their children!

  • Lisa

    hmmm. When you started writing these letters, bet you didn’t think Leta would be able to read them by herself by the time she was in kingergarten. Very awesome, that.

  • Cate

    Totally googled ‘buffalo vagina’. Totally disappointed with results.

  • Natalie

    LOVE the newsletters, glad they are making a comeback 🙂
    Your daughters are so lovely, and I can’t believe how much Leta (aka Lotta, hehe) has grown! She is spelling! and reading! It makes me so happy to see a young child enjoying these things, as Im constantly encouraging my boyfriend to get his nephew OFF the video games and into a book. Yet, reading, to him, is a “chore”. (he just turned 6) ugh. Depressing!

    Also, since being unemployed now for the first time in who-knows-how long, all I have been watching is HGTV and Food Network and I feel as though I can stage a home and cook you dinner all in about an hour! ha.

    Great entry, thanks so much for sharing, as usual!

  • Erica

    Your girls are so beautiful- Leta’s hair is so long and so pretty, too! Loved this post- I think the newsletters are always my favorite posts! Thanks for sharing, again.

  • Rollie

    You brought tears to my eyes yet again.

  • Karen

    This entry is absolutely lovely. What you say is fantastic, but the pictures put it over the top. I am beyond jealous of Leta’s mile-long eyelashes and Marlo’s big blue eyes..

    And just for the record I actually really LOVE when people use capitals to express things. That whole shouting things is like something they teach you in school about the Internet which is totally lame and untrue in actual practice.

    Keep us posted on Leta’s reading.. gotta love how the nerd-child doing so well already (I was one too)! I missed the newsletters, so I’m glad to see one again.

    Thanks Heather for making my day a little brighter!

  • Susan

    Have six more and Leta and Marlo and I will have the same number of sibling. Cool. Can you stand one more comment on Leta’s eyelashes? And I vote we permanently change the spelling of beautifl. Thanks for sharing the photos of your wonderful family.

  • Josey

    I’ve already commented once earlier today, but I find myself endlessly checking your site for updates…and I just wanted to say that I really love that you are who you are and I love reading about your life…and my husband and I are “working” on our first child right now – and reading your site make me (terrified) excited about the whole deal. 🙂 Thank you!!

  • Anonymous

    thank you for sharing them with all of us.

  • Sure, you write beautifully, but it is the pictures that get me. I just want to whip up a batch of my mayonnaise and dip those cheeks in it – such sweeties!

    Remember this moment. And be happy.

    Cheers!

  • This is so sweet. This post is what we lovingly call “Bad Birth Control” because it makes me want to have another baby!

  • Thanks for making me cry for the FIFTIETH time today Heather! I just found out today my husband and I are expecting our first baby, and I CANNOT WAIT to write letters to him/her!

  • Anonymous

    U are so lame and UGLY!!!

  • Melany

    aw, this was so sweet! i’ve read your blog for only a few months now and i’m a first time mom of a one year old girl…and this post is kinda making me baby hungry! (don’t tell my husband). i think the baby’s # 1 weapon to sucker you into reproducing again is their wonderful heavenly baby smell (when they’re clean and not covered in their own poop, that is).

  • Anonymous

    Why do u always brag about yourself (number 26 and how much power your tweets have = WTF???) and your kids??? Do u really think you’re all that? Have you looked in a mirror? I feel sorry for you because clearly, u live in a fantasy world! All those people who follow you are just as pathetic as you!!!

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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