the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Diplomacy

Saturday morning I woke up with a clogged milk duct in my right boob (sorry, Dad!) and spent almost the entire day hugging a damp heating pad to try and relieve the pain, hoping the situation wouldn’t turn worse and jump over into a case of mastitis. I once had a single friend ask me first, whoa whoa whoa, that can happen? And then two, can you please lie and tell me it doesn’t hurt? Because she wanted to go on thinking that babies were cute.

Oh, no, it doesn’t hurt. IT’S PARALYZING. And depending on where the duct is and just how clogged it has become, you can lose your eyesight! Not really, but almost! I’ve had worse clogged ducts than the one on Saturday, but that one was bad enough that my entire underarm was on fire and I wasn’t letting Jon look at that side of my body. I’d feel him glancing and I’d shove my hand into his face and go, STOP, DON’T, if you look at that boob it will explode. And then he’d have to explain to his mother that I was in the hospital because he couldn’t stop ogling me. AWKWARD.

Marlo and I worked as a team and got things cleared up by that evening, enough that I was comfortable driving out to my mother’s house to have dinner with them and my brother’s family. Which included his youngest child, eighteen-month-old Adam, a human wrecking ball, a kid who routinely walks around looking for things to destroy. You may be thinking, Heather, does your brother know you’re talking about his son this way? Whereas my brother is going TELL THEM, HEATHER! TELL THEM! Maybe then someone will listen and understand why he’s rocking back and forth in a corner.

You guys, I’ve never seen a kid like this, and I didn’t believe it when my mom mentioned it to me, that Adam was capable of such destructive behavior. But then I witnessed it in my own house once, watched as he silently scouted out the room for the most delicate object within reach, and then he walked over, picked up a bird figurine AND SMASHED IT! Like an angry, towering monster! WHILE LOOKING DIRECTLY AT ME. Not a big deal, I have more than enough bird figurines, I am That Bird Figurine Lady, but DUDE WAS INTENSE! Like that bird figurine and I had wronged him in some way! And I was all, is he okay? And my brother just shook his head and said that the only reason he hasn’t taken up drinking is because he still hopes to make it into heaven and there is a slight possibility that the Lord won’t let Adam in.

And things were going fine Saturday night, I saw him wandering around picking things up and throwing them and then looking around to see if there was an audience. Nothing unusual. Until his mother sat down next to me and started cooing at Marlo. You can probably see where this is going, but I guess we were all too mesmerized by The Dimples to act fast enough, and next thing you know Adam has run over, is acting very nice about the baby, is even attempting to kiss her on the cheek, and then he looks at me, turns his head and looks at his mother, and then he whacks Marlo upside the head. Like, BITCH STOLE MY ATTENTION!

(Please imagine that being said through gritted teeth with a tiny bit of a Southern accent. Because that’s what I’m doing.)

Marlo was fairly calm, a tad startled, but mainly her reaction was to turn her head toward the culprit with a huge grin. Like, excuse me, but I don’t think you’ve seen my dimples! Disciplinary action was taken, but I loved how Marlo handled the whole thing. Like, you seem to be upset! How about we take a break from that and look at how cute I am!

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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