An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Now I understand why cardboard was invented

So here we were, taking it easy, watching Marlo’s cues, and feeling really lucky that at about four months of age she had basically moved into her own room and given us our king-sized bed back. Where Jon can gaze longingly from four feet across the mattress, and I can go YOU SEE THAT LINE? That line right there in the middle of the bed? You take a good, hard look at that line, buddy, because you aren’t allowed on this side of that line until you see that urologist.

Snip snip! Get to it!

I’ve never been a fan of abstinence-only education… wait, let’s step back for a second. That’s not totally true. Because that’s what I practiced until I was twenty two years old. And the only reason I never gave in to that VERY SPECIAL FEELING in that SUPER SECRET AREA was because I had been taught that my eternal salvation depended on it. Give in to that temptation and spend eternity with Hitler!

Which is really pretty crafty and effective, don’t you think? I mean, it worked for me! But I was an easy case. I thought any sin would send me to Hell, which is why I repented of my first kiss, at seventeen years of age, told my mother all about it through a dripping mess of tears, like WE TOUCHED LIPS, MOM! AND I LIKED IT! And she was all, Heather, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be okay. And I was all ARE YOU KIDDING? I SWAPPED SALIVA! WITH A BOY! In my mind it was like I had broken into the living room of God and taken a poop right there on his sofa.

Anyway, my point is, the sure fire way to avoid getting pregnant? Let someone spend a week with a four-month-old who has just figured out how to roll over. And over. And over some more. Because I assure you that anyone who walks away from that experience will take one look at a box of condoms and go YOU MUST BE OUT OF YOUR EFFING MIND.

Things with Marlo were totally fine until I went to get her for one of her 2 AM feedings last week, and there she was three feet to the east of where I had put her down for the night, her right and left arms twisted up between the bars of the crib. Stuck. Who designed these things? Cribs? I’ve never even really thought about this question until now because Leta didn’t ever get caught in the many various spaces one could get caught in a crib. Because she didn’t learn to move until, oh, last week?

Oh, wonderful, beautiful, immobile Leta!

So then the next night Marlo wakes up like, oh, every thirty minutes, because she has moved and one of her limbs is caught between the bars of the crib. First her right arm, then the left, then both legs, and then she grew an extra limb out of her head just so that it could get stuck. Just so that she could screw with me.

So I go, Jon. This isn’t working. I’m getting so anxious about not sleeping that I’m having anxiety attacks. Ones that are causing me to vomit. And that noise she’s making? That terrible, irritable noise? The one she’s making because SHE HASN’T SLEPT IN FOUR DAYS? The one that goes: miiiihhhhhaaa! Miiiihhhhhaaa! Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhhaaaaaaaa!

Is it a cat? Is is a goat? Is is a troll? Is it a cat being swung by its tail over the head of a troll next to a goat puking up a hair ball?

So I suggested we get a box. A really big box with really tall sides. And he goes, Heather, we are not going to get a box. And I was all, BUT A BOX IS THE ANSWER. And he goes, no, we are not putting her in a box. And I go, BUT NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW. And he goes, Heather, step away from that recycling bin. And I’m all YOU THINK I’M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THIS ON MY WEBSITE? HEY INTERNET, WE PUT OUR BABY IN A CARDBOARD BOX!!! HA!!! I wouldn’t ever do that, JON.

I wouldn’t. I totally wouldn’t write about it. But I would put her in a box if he’d let me.

Anyway. Point is: ABSTINENCE.

  • Breathable bumpers? I guess you could always be all Montessori-like and put her on a mattress on the floor too. Or in one of those Peapod tents, which are safe for infants and have sides (that zip–wee!).

  • Jon. Dude. Whatever. Put her in a fucking box already, and get some sleep. People have slept in worse. Hell, even baby Jesus slept in a feedbox.

  • girlplease

    Sing it:

    “You’ve got that VERY SPECIAL FEELING in that SUPER SECRET AREA. woah woah….”

    Righteous Brothers my ass.

  • colleen

    I kind of wish there was a “Like” button on your blog so I could push it when I especially like what you’ve had to say for the day.

    I especially like what you’ve had to say for the day.

  • Oh yeah, sleep sack too. Great idea. We used one for the first year anyway.

  • Corey

    When my sister and I were kids, we put our pillows in sideways cardboard boxes and slept with our heads in them. Just felt like I had to share that.

    Oh, and the plexi suggestions…I don’t know. That just doesn’t seem right to me!

    hahaha…my captcha is “sister bizarres”!

  • mattress on floor

  • katie

    boxes work well for infants. now i just put the three year old on the corner with a sign that says “free for the taking”

    somehow she always gets returned after a few hours, but let me tell you – those few hours are like heaven!

  • I’ve often thought the box might be the answer. Why not make the sides of the crib out of plexiglass or misquito net? That way they still have a good view of their surroundings without the potentiality of having their chubby little baby fat rolled up legs trapped between the bars. Seems genius enough to me.

  • Breathable crib bumper – safer than the padded ones but still keep the arms and legs inside the crib at all times. Try it and get some rest!

    Oh but if you have a solution to the binky falling out of the babies mouth that doesn’t include duct taping it in because I have been assured that would make me a horrible mom – please blog about that!!

  • I agree!! SNIP SNIP!!!!

    I have tried to talk Superdad into the big V but he’s not having it!!!!


    Anyway, sorry about the crib! Dammit, it’s always something to stress over.

    Since HE says no to the box what about a laundry basket?????


    Good Luck!

  • My husband slept in a pulled out dresser drawer as a baby and now he totally won’t anymore. They wrecked him. Be careful…

  • I had more of an inchworm than a roller, but bumpers worked great once I got over the SIDS paranoia. By the way, your “Monetizing The Hate” site is great! And also disturbing/depressing that people are SO outlandishly vicious. Who peed in their Wheaties? Love your blog! 😀

  • Pam

    Plexiglass. It worked for my newborn hamsters when they started walking through the bars of their cage when I was 12.
    Get the crib bumpers.

    They ought to make plexiglass cribs now that I think about it.

  • nikki from across the pond

    I totally recommend baby sleeping bags, you can get them in all tog values so she wont over heat. Mia was exactly the same as Marlo and we found them the best thing for a whole nights sleep. In fact, i wish they made adult sizes coz they look sooooooo comfy.

    good luck xx

  • Tanya

    how about a laundry basket? that way you can take her wherever, and have a little nest of laundry (dirty or clean, whichever is available…) on the bottom? Tuck in some detergent, a bottle of water, you’re good to go! Then you could put wheels on it. And an engine!

  • Michele D

    We adopted our daughter from Kazakhstan (it’s OK no one knows where it is). The lovely establishment we stayed at did not have a crib. I emptied out our HUGE suitcase, stuffed it with blankets and jeans and that was her bed. We considered a drawer like in the pioneer days, but the drawers did not come out of the bureau, so that did not work for us. I totally would have used a box. My daughter (now 8) thinks the photos of her in our suitcase are just the funniest thing ever. Warped, just like her mama.

  • Oh, come ON. Put that baby in a box.

    Don’t let the internet dictate how you parent! Or that pesky husband!

  • susie

    Why can’t you let her sleep in a box? If you put one of the dog beds in the bottom of the box it would be really cozy.

    I distinctly remember loving big cardboard boxes when I was a very small child and could still fit in them.

  • A recycling bin, I need one of those! I’ve resorted to a well-lined bathtub. I slept right next to it and now I’m confessing to the public. Same problem here, my first would get his arms jacked-up and then start screaming bloody murder. I couldn’t sleep, until the bathtub.

  • Crystal

    That was great! I love your stories!!!

  • i had a “crib tent” for my second. it lined the crib, went under the mattress, and formed a ‘tent’ above the mattress. it had a zippered opening and was made of mesh. it’s made to keep cats out of cribs, i used it to keep my 2 year old out. there were no stuck limbs. but my mother did think it bordered on abuse.

  • Anonymous

    In case no one above has suggested, a Pack n Play is a good place for Marlo to sleep.

  • This post is exactly why I am afraid to have a second baby. My first was/is pretty darn easy. I know that the odds having having one who is the exact opposite are just too high. My guy was a chunker who didn’t roll over until, hmm, 9 months. I can’t imagine a rolling 4 month old.

    I totally wouldn’t judge you for using a box.

  • Anonymous

    great post…
    but all the hoopla about BREATHABLE crib bumpers- like if the sides aren’t breathable mesh the air cannot get in..not that we are SURROUNDED by AIR or anything
    LMAO~really world…
    and as for the safety…I know so bumpers aren’t safe… I heard…but nor are getting your limbs stuck…

    do what ya gotta…all the hoopla is half the fun!

  • Haha…I see no problem with a box. But, then again, I don’t have any children.

  • Jen

    I’ve got 2 solutions for you:
    1) a port-a-crib, it’s got mesh sides instead of slats or bars like a full-size crib.
    2) Padding for the inside of the crib. It’s about 6″ tall and aside from making the sides soft also keeps them from getting their limbs stuck. Unfortunately, you have to take this out of the crib when she learns to stand up because she could figure out how to use it as a step to topple herself out of the crib.

    Of course, you could also get some cotton mesh from the fabric store and fasten it to the inside of Marlo’s crib, would serve mostly the same purpose as the padding but you wouldn’t have to remove it when she learns to stand up.

  • ash

    Hey Heather,

    My friends Dennis and Jana were so broke when they had their first baby that Dennis made a crib/bassinet from a cardboard box that he bolted to a TV tray from KMart. Dennis says he lined it with some baby wrapping paper to make it nice.

    Baby Dennise is all grown up with two babies of her own and quite well adjusted.

    hugs, ash.

  • Sheryl

    Oliver used to get his arms and legs wedged between his crib rails all the time. I bought one of those ‘breathable crib bumpers’ and we’ve not had a problem since. Approved by the SIDS people, nice color, washable, and it even retains pacifiers…

  • I know your pain. My daughter liked to sleep sitting up. All night.

    Perhaps this is your answer?

  • Libby

    They have these little sleep sacks for babies. Probably cheaper than a bumper, but you do have to wrangle them into the sack. Also, swaddling, but the same issue.

  • Kim, NC

    The breathable bumpers are the BEST!!!! Used them with my oldest (2 1/2) & now with my little one (6 mo). Try Babies R Us.

  • Karen

    Hi Heather,

    I have read you forever but hardly ever comment. I found your blog way after my daughter was grown. I always wish there were mothers like you being vocal about motherhood while I was knee deep in it. The people I knew while I was “mothering” would have cringed if I ever joked about putting my kid in a box. The thought crossed my mind more than once. I hope my daughter reads you and understands motherhood in not black and white, I guess her “bad” mother probably taught her that.

    I want you to know that you do help others through the tough times, knowing they are not the only ones. I hope the majority of your commenters help you too. The other perfect mothers can just suck it.

    You have two beautiful daughters. You are doing great raising a strong, indenpendent, self knowing child with Leta. Marlo is beautiful.

    We need more mothers to admit they are not June Cleaver and there is nothing wrong with that, we will all be the better for it.

    I do want you to know I enjoy the hate mail. I suppose there is something wrong with me, but I do. I laugh my ass off. I do enjoy the perfect people who are so loving, caring, concerned, and judgemental with their advice. If you don’t think the way they do you are a bad mother and wrong.

    Have a good one, hugs and kisses to your girls and family

  • I don’t see what’s wrong with the box idea. It seems quite practical to me. 🙂

    Although, I’m not yet a mom, and my parenting ways will by highly influential by what I read here, so if my mom finds me w/ a cardboard crib and peter frampton posters on the wall a few years from now, I will not hesitate to blame you, the lady with shingles.

    Just kidding… but kind of serious. 🙂

  • lolismum

    A mesh crib bumper to that “lets the air through”. Ha ha, are you people kidding? The top of the crib is open, no? How is that not enough air? Or do you people put a lid on the crib? And crib bumpers being used as step? What? It is fabric, folds over and yields under pressure. If your kid is old enough and determined enough to scale his/her crib, then he/she will not need the crib bumper as a step.
    For the love of god, just get a cheap crib bumper, pad the crib, problem solved. Not exactly rocket science.

  • Use a damn box! A box, a basket? What’s the difference!

    Boxes and baskets were around long before cribs — and then there is also the really deep dresser drawer, too!

  • The_Mrs

    The Mr. and I tried the ‘abstinence’ thing once. We lasted a whole seven days!

    This is the reason we now use birth control: We love each other way too much to not touch each other like that.

  • –>I know you’re joking (sort of) about the cardboard box but the image of Marlo in a recycled beer box makes me kind of chuckle. Maybe you could put Chuck in one? 😉

    (Sounds like a mesh bumper is worth exploring.)

  • Kara

    My daughter did the same thing at 4 months and that is when we started swaddling her. Except we didnt call it swaddling, we called it “arm jail.” It only worked for about a month when she got strong enough to pull her arms out, but by then she didn’t roll around or get stuck in the crib slats as much.

  • Anonymous

    get a pack-n-play. they can roll everywhere and nothing to get caught up on/in.

  • Have you tried the SwaddleMe? (By kiddopotamus, I think–you can get them at Babies-R-Us.) I call them my miracle blankets–it’s like a swaddle, but they can’t wiggle out. It was an absolute LIFESAVER when my then 4-month old was having the same problem as Marlo. We went from no sleep at all, to completely sleeping through the night, like, instantly.

    Ok, enough unsolicited advice for one day. Good luck!

  • Hannah

    I am with you all the way. My solution to the rolling over repeatedly stage was DUCT TAPE. Ha! Just kidding.

    We just rolled up blankets and tucked them next to her on both sides. Easy to do and you don’t have to buy anything new!

  • Darci

    I have no words for the visuals that have come from this posting. The cardboard title works for either the crib or the bed. You could also institute the Hollywood rule of one foot on the floor at all times.

    Thanks for the chuckle, gauf and snorke all in one morning.

  • Margaux

    Unsolicited baby advice: Mesh crib bumper + Angelcare baby monitor

  • Pat

    Sleep sacks worked well for my girls, but not the boy. He managed to climb out of the crib IN THE SACK at about 8 months. Had he been the first, he’d have been an only child.

  • Cindy

    Use firm bumpers and if they don’t work let her sleep in her playpen. My kids slept great in their’s.

  • DawnE


  • I hope it’s not too late to tell you that she will suck on the sides of the box until they get soggy enough to poke a limb through, and then you’re right back where you started.

    Don’t ask me how I know this.

  • David M

    Not to be alarmist, but when our oldest daughter was a year old, I walked into her bedroom and she had grabbed hold of the top rail of her crib and, while I watched, she vaulted out of the crib and onto the floor. It was like watching a gymnastics exhibition, only with more screaming and fear of someone breaking her back and leaving you bankrupt because you only have student health insurance.

    I wasn’t able to find baby handcuffs and leg irons back then, but surely in a more enlightened era they’re readily available.

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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