Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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!

  • Missa

    As much as I want to give the boy five across the eyes, I know the better (more politically correct, anyway) solution is to stick him in time out and not pay a single mite of attention to him. Hopefully after a few of those, he’ll get the idea that hitting/breaking is NOT the way to get attention.

  • Most adults could probably learn something from Marlo. Actually, it almost reminds me of your Monetize the Hate—-she did exactly what you’re doing in baby terms 🙂

  • Dude, this is what deep breaths are made of. I have girls myself– and a few nephews as well. Crazy nephews that jump and climb and don’t understand english . . . but the minute they touch one of my little girls . . . I’ll be reaffirming: that’s what deep breaths are made of.

    BTW, I’ve never heard of the River Styx, but it sounds like an awesome place to send a reckless little boy. The band Styx has always sucked (heck yes, they did– and STILL DO!!) and maybe that river will teach him to straighten up or COME SAIL AWAY, COME SAIL AWAY, COME SAIL AWAY WITH ME . . .

  • What a terror how do you do it?

  • That little Adam is way too young to incur this much wrath. I know we’re all mesmerized by Marlo, but he’s practically a baby himself. He’s clearly got his R&D department working in overdrive.

    Luckily, the great thing about raising a boy is watching him change. Adam will, too. He will defy this whole pattern. It’s just what some of them do. My baby brother who was horrible as a small child is amazing amazing amazing now.

    That said, Marlo is beautiful. Totally breast-worthy. And it’s good to see that her head is as protective and strong as it is delightful.

  • Rita

    Is it wrong that I’m looking a the latest picture of Marlo (Marlene? Maria? Moby?) and thinking “The spice must flooowwwww”….

    Insane cuteness. How do you stand it? I would die a million deaths every day. :o)

  • I had mastitis…and then it turned into a staph infection and I had to get a 4cm deep hole cut out of my boob. Pray that doesn’t happen! But man, after I got out of surgery I felt soo good. I even made a lactation nurse who told me before surgery that I should still nurse…and I said “YOU THINK I CAN NURSE WITH THIS!” And flashe her my boob that had a HUGE black boil on it. Yeah she cried. And then that boob got retired…And you know what? I’m thinking if I ever have another kid, I don’t think I’m going to use that boob.
    Oh and crazy cousins. At least he didn’t do what my nephew did to his sister when she was two months old. He stomped on her face with his shoes on…
    Sorry, totally not meaning to “one-up” you on here! I second the emotion that Marlo is wonderful!

  • nyperso

    I had a friend who trained her kids to say “it doesn’t hurt” and just brush it off when they fell (small booboos, not the major stuff obviously). It felt a little weird to say “You’re OK” to them rather than “OMG, are you OK?” but it was amazing how they really did seem to just move on and made me wonder how much of our pain reaction is learned. Maybe Marlo illustrates something similar.

    On another, and silly, point. Every time I read the hate page I think: Heather, do you ever fall over in gratitude at the thought that so many people take time out of their obviously busy and highly successful lives to give you free medical advice about Leta’s “condition”? Jesus.

  • Marlo’s reaction reminds me of my 6 month old daughter. Grinning from ear to ear is how she handles everything! A wonderful quality in a person, I say.

  • Jill

    Ah, yes. My newborn just got into his first brawl, too. Today, in fact. The culprit? His 18 month old cousin Lucy. The weapon? Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton. My baby screamed but shot what can only be described as a triumphant look at Lucy when I picked him up. He wears the angry red welt on his head with pride.

    My name is Jill, but Lucy calls me Jew. For three straight hours today I had this exact conversation:

    “Jew? Jew? JEWWWW!!!!!”
    “Yes, Lucy?”
    “Hi Jew.”

    Priceless.

  • Another mundane taint licking ass kisser

    Marlo is the cutest and is going to be SO lucky to inherit Leta’s adorable clothes 😉

    Also, I love the new Hate page – I read it as often as I read Dooce.com (and Blurb – hollah Jon!)I can’t believe the things people say to/about you and your family.

    I’m so glad to add to the page views.

  • Three cheers for Marlo, so cool, so collected, so cute!
    Adam however I would be tempted to lock in a room for a few years – that little dude has some serious “lack of attention problems” as in if I’m bad then people will give me attention, it doesn’t matter that it’s good or bad it’s attention.

  • Three cheers for Marlo, so cool, so collected, so cute!
    Adam however I would be tempted to lock in a room for a few years – that little dude has some serious “lack of attention problems” as in if I’m bad then people will give me attention, it doesn’t matter that it’s good or bad it’s attention.

  • carla

    Just wanted to say both of your daughters have beautiful eyes.

  • mj

    Before becoming a mom, I never thought there was much of a difference b/n little boys and little girls (well, besides the obvious). Anywhose, THERE IS A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE, and you just described it!

  • A big “yikes!” on your nephew’s behavior toward Marlo. So glad you didn’t end up with mastitis and SHINGLES! at the same time…that would be ridiculous. (blog fodder, natch, but still ridiculous.)

  • Sarah

    I love monetizing the hate. That is a masterpiece. I laugh and laugh. You are a bigger woman than I for being able to put up with that shit and laugh at it.

  • Aidyl

    I was watching Mercy the other night and I too thought the actress, Taylor Schilling, looked like Heather.

    http://www.nbc.com/mercy/images/placeholders/headTaylor.jpg

  • Those EYES!! I love her eyes. People pay money for eyes like that. Hopefully they’ll stay like that. Marlo’s gonna be a bad ass, watch out!!

  • Abbey

    Ass-kissing commences now: First, I love your blog & I’m not even a mom. I’ve got to tell you your kids are absolutely beautiful & their eyes? OMG. Marlo’s are so bright & clear & Leta’s eyes are insanely beautiful & I was just amazed when you posted that pic with the trees behind her. & now I see your babies every day and my ovaries are going to explode wanting babies so bad.

    I started reading your blog just after you had Marlo & then I started reading your archives, especially regarding baby Leta & your depression. Your story is really inspiring. I’m 25 & I’ve suffered with depression & eating disorders since I was 10. your posts regarding depression, as well as Jon’s post about dealing with a depressed partner, really pushed me to get back on medication. & I started on an SSRI in August & I’m so totally a lot better than I was. I had to decrease, though, because I was pregnant. I just had a miscarriage so i’m going to increase the dose again soon.

    And I totally have this horrible desire to compile all of your hate mails into one giant hate mail. I find it hilarious and quite sad that people complain that you are so narcistic. Isn’t this blog about your life? That’s just so strange to me. Why don’t people just stop reading your blog if they don’t like you? I guess it’s hard to hear sarcasm & exageration in print, but, my god, you are Queen Sarcaseration & if people don’t get that they should probably just go back to reading something that isn’t so complex, like Curious George or a children’s bible.

  • Anonymous

    #155 Nicole is right – Adam’s R&D Department is working on overdrive. I’ve worked with 12-18 month olds for a while now. There are two areas of development that are particularly interesting to them: 1. Gross motor – pushing, pulling, climbing, hitting, throwing, etc. & 2. Sensorial – Hey! This thing smells! Jingles! Screams! Smashes! Bangs! Squishes! etc., if I do x to it! (And after so many experiments, even my dog would know the more delicate items will bring the more satisfying reactions, both from the sound & look of the destruction of the item, to the faces & sounds of the adults in the room.)

    Kids this age do things we consider safe & innocent AND things we know to be dangerous & destructive over & over again because they are learning things we take for granted – basic cause & effect, gravity, etc. If we’re consistent with the rules we lay out for them, they also learn social laws – what’s acceptable & what’s not. Of course they’re going to look at you for your reaction before they try something. They want to know if the results are the same as they were the last time & the time before that.

    In our classrooms, we try to look at what developmental need the child is trying to meet with their destructive behavior & offer them a safe alternative. The vast majority of the time, it works like a charm, even with the “beastly” ones.

    Please reassure your brother that Adam is a perfectly normal 18 month old little boy. He is not a bad kid. On the contrary, he is aggressively exploring the world around him. If he were at any other age & hitting the appropriate developmental milestones in the same way, people would talk about how smart he was. So unfair that this particular age often goes misunderstood.

  • Holly

    So sorry about the ouchie ta-ta’s…the newest picture or Marlo is absolutely gorgeous, by the way.

  • All of those who are ready to “smack” Adam and think there is something wrong with him…you do realize he is 18 months old, right? He’s a baby. Pretty sure his folks don’t need to look into military boarding school just yet.

    Absolutely love your blog!

  • Anonymous

    Clogged ducts are the WORST. The Thermacare heating pads that stick to your skin are great for those, at the first sign; and also a lactation consultant advised me to take Lecithin supplements–and I have had zero clogged ducts since then. Gotta take care of those girls!

  • Good girl… she’s learning early to kill ’em with kindness. Revenge will come later.

  • Shona

    Just finished reading ‘Monetizing the Hate’. Cannot believe people say such horrible horrible things about your kids. I’m mean, saying it about you is bad enough, but you’re an adult and realize what risks you put yourself out there to. Your children are beautiful and precious. How can people be so cruel? How can you handle it? It’s a truly sick and miserable person that can actually write and send comments like that about a little girl–even if they’re just doing it to hurt you (which is whole ‘nother level of disturbed).

  • residualliquor

    Oh man… not even going to comment on the blocked boob thing. I have not had children but have seen enough evidence from sisters and friends to know how horrible this is. I can only imagine what that pain feels like.

    On to said sister’s kids though… there is something about boys. They can be so aggressive (yes, girls can be too) but boys? Wow, that was something I was not prepared for. I came from a family of three sedate girls… we were polite, wore dresses, had our hair in french braids, and rarely saw any sort of physical force, unless one of us stole the other’s jeans or sweater and tried to return it without notice, except that it was doused in the undeniable evidence of cigarette smoke (sorry Christine). The random acts of violence that are perhaps just natural in people were so foreign to me until my nephew came along. For the longest time I thought there was something innately wrong with him, until I saw other boys doing the same. Only then did I realize why our world is ruled by men 🙂

    Kudos to Marlo for sticking it to him.

  • Dee

    Heather, there is something increasingly real and grounding about you, and as much as I hate admitting this, I’m really getting what you’re about. I’ve definitely hit some walls in my years of following your blog, but . . . your honesty reaches people, and all the tough stuff you’ve shared about Leta that has often left me feeling very badly for her . . . although I have disagreed with making that so public, your posts have no doubt helped countless parents who are dealing with the shame and challenge of similar experiences. I’m not sure you can do wrong in my eyes anymore, because you’re writing about your life. How can I question your life, your family, your experiences? That you bacon-wrap what you share in humor deflates some of the celebrity and makes you accessible and (there’s that word again) . . . real. Thanks for the consistency. I don’t think you’ve ever waivered off that course. This here blog, it’s good stuff, and on days like today (rough, rough, rough), I appreciate the raw honesty. Makes me feel human and unashamed of my own stuff.

  • I’m always just happy when it isn’t my child doing the hitting 🙂

    And my third (age 1) has a very similar temperament, with the smiling at being smacked. It’s glorious, especially in a third child who will obviously be attacked numerous times a day by this brother (age 2).

  • that sounds like a very difficult situation that Miss Marlo handled with total aplomb.
    I love how your brother realizes the humor of the human wrecking ball & is willing to share the story. I can see your humor runs in the family.
    Glad you are feeling better too.

  • Jamie

    I am laughing so hard!

  • Anonymouse

    Danielle writes, in part, “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.”

    People who keep their exceptionally difficult children home are saints and Danielle, while I’m sorry you had to restrict your life to rear him, I thank you for doing it. You saved any number of patrons at grocery stores, restaurants, and other public venues from yet another experience ruined by someone else’s child.

    To Adam’s dad: good luck!

  • Alyssa

    are you people serious? ive read some of heathers hate mail and its ridiculous. You are all grown adults and have nothing better to do with your time or what? Heather, i strongly disagree with more than half of the stuff you write, but i still read your blog because you are a good writer. No one asked any of you to come to this site and read it, no one asked you to support her. You tell her to get a job, This is her job, you are GIVING HER her job. This is basically a public journal so of course sh’d write aboout shingles, and how her baby got clocked upside the head. AND OF COURSE SHE’D SAY WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT HER CHILD.. ITS HER BLOG. idiots. Heather, you are a wonderful writer and contunue what you do! Its pretty sad that im 19 yrs young and telling grown adults to grow up! ha!

  • Genie

    My 16 month old girl routinely gets smacked and pushed down by a little boy in her play group who is a couple of months older. My girl is a sweet girl with a sensitive personality – it doesn’t take much to make her cry. Had she been Marlo, she’d still be crying over the smack. I’m sure that some sort of discipline ensued because I really can’t see you just sitting there being all happy about it.

    My issue with my daughters play mate is that the mom doesn’t do much in the way of discipline… she takes him away and tells him to be nice but… One year olds can and do learn consequences and are actively seeking boundaries. If my daughters bully would be placed in time out or SOMETHING I would be more OK with it (kids will be kids) but it is frustrating that the mom doesn’t think that there is anything that she can do.

    I could be more sensitive because I was the victim to very cruel teasing and taunting all through school, in the days before Columbine back when schools didn’t realize that they should do anything. I won’t stand idly by and watch my daughter be tormented, at any age, like I was.

  • parenting! here i come.

  • Marcheline

    What you described isn’t cute, it isn’t “boy” behavior – there’s an anger problem there, which if it isn’t dealt with, is going to turn into beaten classmates, girlfriends, and wives on down the road.

    The fact that he would hurt a baby – you need to keep a serious eye on this kid, especially at family get-togethers where people might not always have their eyes open. He’s doing it in front of people now, but stuff like this goes underground and gets worse. Don’t ever take your eyes off Marlo if he’s around! Better yet, don’t let him near Marlo again until she’s big enough to deliver a right hook.

    This post gave me the weebers – ever see that movie “The Good Son”? Maybe you oughta check it out sometime. Seriously.

  • Jessie

    Oh Heather… first you’re not grateful at all for your life and you’re so spoiled, why don’t you try showing some appreciate for the life you lead… and now? Now everything in your life is perfect, including the SHINGLES! and the DUCT ISSUES!!!! and NONE OF US want to hear about how wonderful your life is… wow.

    My cousin was like Adam from day one. Now we’re 23 and a few years ago he was still sitting on me to “teach me a lesson” (he’s like.. 250/300 lbs.). Some of them definitely don’t grow out of it..

    Your kids are adorable, and as someone firmly in the “I will never have children. Ever.” camp, your website is the best form of birth control; thanks for telling it as it is!

  • Jessie

    Oh Heather… first you’re not grateful at all for your life and you’re so spoiled, why don’t you try showing some appreciation for the life you lead… and now? Now everything in your life is perfect, including the SHINGLES! and the DUCT ISSUES!!!! and NONE OF US want to hear about how wonderful your life is… wow.

    My cousin was like Adam from day one. Now we’re 23 and a few years ago he was still sitting on me to “teach me a lesson” (he’s like.. 250/300 lbs.). Some of them definitely don’t grow out of it..

    Your kids are adorable, and as someone firmly in the “I will never have children. Ever.” camp, your website is the best form of birth control; thanks for telling it as it is!

  • Anonymous

    Hey I would love some photo editing tips too sometime!!!

    Love the picture of little miss. In no time she will be telling the boys to settle down, read a book and behave! :p

    Speaking of boobs… those little gums on Marlo just made me twinge… just remembering the pain in the early days and the jaws/gums of life. Owwww. Now you could drop a anvil on them and they would be fine… but maybe that was too much info…

  • Best attitude ever. We all need to learn from Marlo. She is a keeper.

  • Katherine

    And this is what assures me that Marlo and Leta are, indeed, two of the coolest kids EVER.

  • Anonymous

    Ps. I hate the hate page! Take it down! lol Does this qualify as hate mail? Will I end up there!? lol I just don’t like it… I like to just read the blog and that’s that. I never knew there was so much drama going on and I kinda liked being in the dark.

  • Thank God little Marlo wasn’t hurt! That little monster…I’m sure he’ll grow out of it. I can’t get over your two daughters eyes. They have such big expressive eyes. So beautiful.

    All the best, and I hope your misfortunes have ceased 😉

  • Keldex

    I have a son the exact age as Marlo and I somehow am able to temper my need to gush. You? Not so much. Is it your right to do so, especially on your own blog? You bet. But I think it needs to be said that not everyone who finds the whole “Marlo’s dimples shall bring world peace” thing to be cringe-worthy is a “hater.” I come here for the writing – and for the gritty reality of what you brought to the page. Now I feel like it is all sunshine and lollipops and, lest we forget, DIMPLES. And maybe that is the reality of your life at the moment. But it is becoming a bit too sugary for my taste – and I have quite the sweet tooth. But I am a big girl – I will just look for the posts that don’t contain the word “DIMPLES.” Not sure I will find any for a very long time.

  • Jean

    Lets not be mean to Adam, little guy is just a little guy. Lets be mean to the grown up people that say mean things about Heather’s kids, which is out of bounds. If you don’t like Heather, fine, but leave the kids out of it.

  • I felt my face turn red when you said it. I would have lost my shit right there.

    Heather, regarding #194, people said the same thing when you had Leta, that you’d gone soft.

    If Dooce uses the words “buffalo vagina” in a post, a letter to her daughters, no less, then I don’t see that the grit is gone. I’m not a mommy-mobster or worshipper or whatever they’re calling regular readers these days. No attacks here, I’m not down with all that stuff. Just my opinion, humble though it be.

  • armonia ( Harmony)

    I am a fan ! but I have to tell you your hate page scares me to bits.. they are full of nutsos!!

  • Kate

    LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL @ “AND SMASHED IT!” love it!

  • armonia ( Harmony)

    something else.. I wonder why people only were happy to read your blog when things were hard and dark, I’m very happy to read your happy blogs too! it also gives me plenty of hope because my baby girl (now 7 months) is somewhat similar as Leta was as a baby, your life now and the thought of a second child to me is now a happy posibility, when 3 months ago was a definite NEVER. I now have hope for what a second child may be,, I thank you for that.
    no matter what the haters say, go eat cake!!

  • Has your brother ever considered putting his son in a structured sport like karate? You said that his behavior was dealt with when you were there but is it dealt with at home? If he’s so destructive does mom or dad deal with it when he goes on a rampage or do the just say o there he goes again and cleans up the mess once he’s finished? I know that the instructor would teach that hitting outside of the mat is a big no no and they would work on having a good/positive attitude. When my brother played football in school he was terrified when he was told that whatever bad thing he had done was going to be told to the coach. He knew that the coach would be disappointed in him and he would make him work harder and longer as punishment. He was so exhausted afterwards that he could not think of doing anything wrong and he was begging for bed. A blessing for me since he tormented me constantly. All of the kindergardeners that were in karate when I was teaching looked up to and loved their instructors. Those same children were rarely called on for hitting/pinching/tantrums. Something to consider.