Heater, Mother of Lance


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!

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:03 pm

    First! Always wanted to say that.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:06 pm

    almost first.

    i would have whacked him heather. how did you feel?

  • Kathryn

    2009/09/28 at 2:08 pm

    seems to me that are a few people who might be able to take a lesson from that

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/09/28 at 2:08 pm

    Was your brother thankful that you didn’t take his son’s life? Or maybe disappointed?

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:08 pm

    Yeah, I would have had to knock the crap out of that kid for busting my bird figurine. If I had bird figurines, of course. I think my grandmother used to have bird figurines. Back in the day when bird figurines were cool.

  • Mrs. Sitcom

    2009/09/28 at 2:08 pm

    Man, I thought I was going to be first. I’ll settle for third. Dude…clogged milk ducts and mastitis and stitches *down there*…no wonder nobody talks about this stuff… no one would want to have kids 🙂 🙁 🙂 Thanks for being honest! Glad it cleared up in time for Marlo’s first cage fight. Sounds like she’s got a good head on her shoulders!

  • ChrisV

    2009/09/28 at 2:08 pm

    Whew, I thought you were going to say he picked her up and hurled her to the ground. Not that whacking is better, but oy,

  • Britta

    2009/09/28 at 2:09 pm

    My almost 3yr old has given her 6mo old sister a few “hugs” that seemed a little too forceful – like, “hmmm…if I pretend to be loving her, maybe I can smother her and no one will notice.” This happened after I assured her that Sophie was not going back to the hospital – she lived with us now.

  • Jodie

    2009/09/28 at 2:10 pm

    OMG. I thought my little guy was trouble…

    I hope your boob feels better, I was just “there” last week and it freaking hurt to BREATHE. Ugh

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:10 pm

    Yeah, some kids are just terrors!!

    I’m not sure what’s going on, and I’m VERY confused by your Twitter feed – are you goign to update us on the seemingly intense WAR going on via twitter?? I’m so confused!!!

  • Meg

    2009/09/28 at 2:11 pm

    It’s amazing to me that kids know exactly what to break. It never fails. AND they look you right in the eye while doing it.

    I think that kid might have a future in the UFC!

  • workroom

    2009/09/28 at 2:11 pm

    Sounds like that kid needs a trip to Ceasar for some crate training… do they walk it enough?


  • Cindi

    2009/09/28 at 2:13 pm

    I’m in love with that picture of Marlo today. One of these days, when you don’t have a million other things going on, or people spewing crap at you….would you do another photoshop tutorial? I still reference the lovely glow from time to time – and would love to see how you process these days.

  • Chicagomari

    2009/09/28 at 2:13 pm

    Holy crap, I read that thinking Adam was 18 years old and wondering what was wrong with him and why everyone let him get away with it!

  • Krista

    2009/09/28 at 2:13 pm

    Sounds like a case for The Dog Wisperer. Can’t you just see him, walking next to Adam, doing his, cccha, ccccha next to him. Forget about Coco, Adam needs him far worse.

  • TamiA

    2009/09/28 at 2:14 pm

    I have a 3 year old boy. We no longer are accepted in Heaven. We have even been banned from Purgatory. Forget about the Spirit World.
    P.S. Boys are a terror.

  • Ilyssa

    2009/09/28 at 2:15 pm

    Oh my GOD. I would have smacked ADAM upside the head. I can’t believe that…

    Haha, anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling better from the terror of the clogged boob 😉

  • The Blushing Hostess

    2009/09/28 at 2:15 pm

    Perfect agony, I have been there and I am sorry it happened. My Daughters have the same effect on us, and I always glad.

  • Teresa

    2009/09/28 at 2:16 pm

    Before I forget, I would also liked to be updated on the war on Twitter.

    Anyway, my cousin has a son like this. He’s 15 but he still scares the crap out of me. When he was little he would come over looking all cute and innocent and act like he wanted to hug you and then punch you as hard as he could in your back or your gut. Other times he’d lay into you with his cowboy boots, steel toed cowboy boots, right in the shin. Fun times.

    He also liked to destroy toys that belonged to other children. For that reason I never invited them to anything at my house. Even though he’s 15 he still managed to wreck our playset last summer. He probably weighs close to 250 pounds and decided to stand on the arm of our playset, no one said a word to him. We’ve since had to purchase another one because obviously, he broke it. Wonderful.

  • CourtneyD

    2009/09/28 at 2:16 pm

    … Wow. Good for Marlo- Any interest in shipping off overseas for peace talks? I am almost convinced that Those Dimples could be the key to world peace… and at the rate she seems to be growing, perhaps also world hunger?!?!

  • Christine

    2009/09/28 at 2:17 pm

    I give you props for not smacking that child back! It’s not that I condone child abuse or anything like that but my 14 month old son came home from daycare the other day with full set of teeth imprints on his little chubby arm from where some brute bit him and I wanted to bite the kid back myself! It hurts me to see him hurt!

    Marlo is adorable with her super dimples and I hope she continues to take the “blows” that life hands her as well as she did this time around!

  • Cas

    2009/09/28 at 2:17 pm

    Ahh boys (*sighs*) they truly are a different breed! I didn’t sit down much between 18m and 2 1/2, but he is totally gorgeous (and easy) now at 5. Still glad I had him before my daughter though…

  • Sue

    2009/09/28 at 2:18 pm

    Oh great. Now you’re gonna upset the crazy bird ladies of the world AND some crazy support group for people with some weird attention-sucking disorder. Is there nobody you won’t offend in the name of child expoitation? Geesh.

  • Sera @ Laughing Through the Chaos

    2009/09/28 at 2:19 pm

    I love her reaction – that’s just classic!

    And holy moly, woman – there is NO pain like a clogged milk duct. I’d almost rather give birth again. I eventually quit nursing because of chronic clogged ducts.

    Hope they get better soon – so sorry!!!

  • Melissa S

    2009/09/28 at 2:19 pm

    I have two boys…5 year old and a 9 month old…they are both evil…

  • rbiggs

    2009/09/28 at 2:20 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how different siblings can be? I’m not only referring to you and your brother, but Leta and Marlo.

  • Callista

    2009/09/28 at 2:20 pm

    My younger cousin had a big red spot on the tip of her nose for the first 6 mos of her life, that was so permanent that we thought it was a birthmark. Not the case. My aunt discovered one morning that every time her 4 year-old brother would walk by he would flick her IN THE NOSE! you never know with toddler terrors…

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:21 pm

    seriously, i think i would have hung that little boy by his ankles from the next best tree. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SOMETHING LIKE THAT!? its not acceptable, it can’t be allowed to progress…. but well, killing a child is not ok either. aren’t any of you fellow readers psychologists!? are some kids just evil, and others (like dear marlo) pure unicorn-y goodness??

  • Kristen

    2009/09/28 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve got my very own destructo-boy. You can tell your brother there is hope. Mine is three and a half now, and he still destroys things just for the heck of it (not to take them apart or see how they work, just to break them) BUT the hitting stopped before he turned two. In other areas of his personality, he’s sweet, cuddly, and very very smart, but damn, he just loves destroying things. It doesn’t even bother him to have his broken toys thrown away. I’m hoping… I’m hoping it stops. But I’ve gotten used to it :/

  • Helen

    2009/09/28 at 2:22 pm

    My precious grandson is a little like Adam, he gives me loves and strokes my face until I believe he loves me and then he WHACKS me into next week. He is 15 months. HE also loves to destroy laptops, he is wise enough to look at his Papa’s computer with his hands behind his back and says ” ooooh” and the minute Papa leaves the room, he punches that screen with a joyful guffaw.
    I suspect Marlo looked at Adam so as to imprint his visage into her memory, the moment she can walk, she’ll get him back, whilst smiling and showing dimples and everyone will call Adam a big old mean liar for even suggesting that Marlo with the dimples could ever pinch him hard while no one was looking, Girls are smart like that.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:22 pm

    When I worked in an infant daycare room we used to have things like this happen every day. Biting, pushing, slapping despite our best efforts and without warning. Put 8 babies 8 weeks to a year and a half in one room and you will find babies are violent. We used to have one baby who would fall over and cry before another particularly aggressive child would get a chance to push her over. He would get near her and she would just drop to the floor.

    Our pastor used to say, you don’t have to teach children to be bad, you have to teach them to behave.

  • MoxieCrimefighter

    2009/09/28 at 2:22 pm

    OW! Just had my first plugged duct a few weeks ago…was sure I was dying of exploding boob syndrome. The breast pump is my BFF. 🙂

  • Michelle

    2009/09/28 at 2:22 pm

    WOW!!! She didn’t even cry???

    WTG Marlo! Show HIM who’s BOSS!!!!

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/28 at 2:23 pm

    I’m with Kathryn… There is a lesson to be learned here. Does anybody see it?

  • Emily

    2009/09/28 at 2:23 pm

    She’s an ace, that Marlo!

  • Kristan

    2009/09/28 at 2:23 pm

    LOL. Are you sure you were in the room when Marlo was conceived, then? Because that is so NOT how you would have handled someone smacking you upside the head!

  • Lorena

    2009/09/28 at 2:24 pm

    Heather, I love that you are That Bird Figurine Lady.

    But I wonder…would it have been a different story if he’d tried to injure one of your HIPPOS? 🙂

  • Erica

    2009/09/28 at 2:25 pm

    between the boob and the family dinner, the kid hitting Marlo would have been the thing to push me over the edge. He would of learned real quick what a “Whoopin” is. Good for Marlo to be so cute and take it so nicely. I’m sure she is planning her payback.

  • Lorena

    2009/09/28 at 2:26 pm

    Gosh dang it. I was going to be comment number 17 but I took too long thinking about it and BOOM. Downsized to number 37. Please stop being so popular so that I can one day be in your top 20 without having to resort to just typing a punctuation mark and then hitting publish before I lose my spot.

  • Danielle

    2009/09/28 at 2:26 pm

    I’m cringing at the comments about how people want to handle Adam. I always knew people judged me for my kid when he was that age and it still smarts to see it confirmed. Luckily Marc is 8 now and no longer goes on “seek and destroy” missions (mostly doesn’t anyway) but when he was 12 months until about 4 I could barely leave the house. I love how they think I didn’t discipline him too. The only thing that would have worked at that age is duct tape and a padded room. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I truly ENJOYED motherhood (much like you are experiencing with Marlo) and people stopped thinking I was a bad mother.

    My heart goes out to your brother. I hope he lives through it.

  • Ania

    2009/09/28 at 2:28 pm

    I also had experienced another toddler biting mine like #21 did. It happened 3 times before I told the preschool administrator that I was going to hunt that kid down and teach him a lesson myself. Well, that didn’t go over to well, so we actually had to find another preschool. Yeah, I really didn’t want to go to jail for biting a 2 year old.

  • Lauren From Texas

    2009/09/28 at 2:28 pm

    There are few things in life that terrify me more than a clogged boob.

  • Penelope

    2009/09/28 at 2:29 pm

    Perfect timing! I think all the Armstrongs are pretty tough 🙂

  • Liz

    2009/09/28 at 2:32 pm

    possibly my favorite marlo story yet, heather. too funny.

  • Marie

    2009/09/28 at 2:33 pm

    My girlfriend’s 3 year old boy bit my youngest daughter’s finger when she was just two weeks old. I would have gone through the roof if I wasn’t in such a newborn fog of exhaustion. As it was, I asked her to leave with her boy so that we could all nap and recover – and I never saw her again 🙁

  • Mumologic

    2009/09/28 at 2:34 pm

    Dear Adam, Babies are surprisingly resilient and tend to bounce back. However, they fit nicely in roasting pans.

  • Devon

    2009/09/28 at 2:34 pm

    Dimples could very well be the thing that ends the war in the Middle East and solves health care. Maybe you should start prepping her for a life of politics.

    You know, just make sure she knows how to hunt Caribus and she’ll do fine! Maybe she’ll even be offered a spread in Playboy! WooHoo!!!

    She’s a cuite Heather. You’re a lucky woman with 2 beautiful girls.

  • Erika

    2009/09/28 at 2:35 pm

    Hey, commenters–don’t be so mean to Adam! He’s 18 months old and still learning how to communicate. My goodness. Heather said he was disciplined. Maybe it just hits a nerve because my little guy is one who communicates with his entire body (isn’t that a nice way to put it =)).

    My son once did the same thing, only it was a rather delayed reaction with a same-aged peer at school. They were sitting on the carpet at school and he just up and smacked her because she had been stealing time from a preferred adult earlier.

    My son’s been both the perpetrator and the victim of this sort of thing, and if it’s handled correctly they usually grow out of it as they learn how to communicate more effectively.

    Anyway, very funny story, Heather, and Marlo’s reaction was perfect.

  • Mary Dawn

    2009/09/28 at 2:35 pm

    my daughter and adam should meet…ok, maybe not

  • My Baby Sweetness

    2009/09/28 at 2:36 pm

    Selfish as I am, I have to admit – I actually thought you were going to say that he somehow *knew* and hit your sore, aggravated, it hurts when you even LOOK at it milk duct, rather than that he hit the baby.

    I get those as well and know what you’re refering to. Is it lump in my boob? Is it cancer? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think cancer is this painful…

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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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