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.

  • My friends and I created a whole line of ‘Ghetto Baby’ products in our minds while sitting around the campfire drinking beer.

    Then we put it into action the next morning while cleaning up camp. One cardboard box. 2 crawling not yet walking babies. Together in a box. Hilarity ensues. Safe hilarity. Plus it’s cheap and portable! Brilliant.

  • Karen

    This entry made me laugh out loud in a very quiet library. I am still having a hard time keeping it in…

    Thanks Heather, you are the greatest at making me laugh from simply reading something on the internet!

  • alex, i’ll take pack-n-play or mesh crib bumpers for a thousand, please.


  • Apparently, I slept in a cardboard box until I was several months old and my parents visited my uncle for a few days. He was so horrified at the idea of putting a baby in a box that he went out and bought my parents a Moses basket. My parents thought he was overreacting, but they must have liked it, because they kept the basket and gave it to me when I had my first child. But they still reminisce dreamily about that cardboard box, which, by the way, was also my “car seat” in those early days. THAT, btw, was the only part of the story that horrified me a little.

  • Dee

    I’d go with the pack and play suggestion if she’ll sleep in it. I bought a mesh crib bumper but the pediatrician told me to get rid of it (and being a paranoid first time mom, I did). So then we put her in a Halo sleep sack which helped a little although she still occasionally gets her legs and arms caught in the bars. And of course now that she’s mastered crawling, she wanders all over her crib and often wakes us up at night because she has her head mashed into the corner. I miss the good old immobile days.

  • I am pro-box babies.

    My ex once put my dog in a garbage can to keep him out of the way. I got upset and said, “How dare you put the dog in a garbage can!”

    His answer: “Just think of it as a cylindrical carrying device.”

    So, think of a cardboard box for sweet Marlo as a recyclable bassenet. You are doing your part to be green!

    Oh, and if you keep the lid, you can use it to darken to box for mid-day naps. Just poke holes in the top for air flow!

  • Melinda

    Pack n’ Play = Mesh sides = no need for the cardboard box. Also, as I skimmed the comments someone else noted the mesh bumpers…those rock too and don’t ruin the whole nursery decor.

  • Clare

    I didn’t read through all the comments above, and am sure someone suggested this already, but try a breathable bumper. You can find them at Babies-R-Us and Target.

    We went through the same thing, at 4 months, with my son. He was getting caught up in his bumper and I couldn’t sleep so I took the bumper off and then he got caught in the crib. I LUVVVVV the breathable bumper. We all got more sleep after it was installed.

  • I’ll refer my husband back to this post once we’re done having kids! Adding it to my favorites right. now.

  • Breathable mesh bumpers?

  • stringbean

    i’ve got a son, milo, who was born on the very same day as marlo, and he just started rolling all over the place as well… YIKES!

    my husband went the urologist two weeks ago just to TALK about having a vasectomy. the doc started to explain the procedure and got to the part where he makes two teeny tiny cuts in the, um, man-bag, and my husband passed out. yep, out cold. woke up on the floor. just from TALKING about it. and he’s all, wow, this is SURGERY, you know, and i’m all dude, i just had your baby though this big giant SCAR on my belly! big ol’ baby. my husband, not milo!

  • Lori

    Ah, babies. I don’t usually share tips, but this one might actually be useful. Crib bumpers. I know they’re not safe, blah blah blah. But When my kids did this, I put one in, but instead of leaving it all loose and floppy, I wove it VERY tightly between the crib bars. No room for a kid to get in there. This goes around three sides of the crib. I can’t remember what I did on the fourth side (maybe one of those foot pianos (turned OFF, of course), but it worked. Good luck!

  • I don’t have kids, but my family has about a million of them.

    And they swear by these:

  • LizAndrsn

    You would have made a terrific Catholic. Guilt and all.

    You’ve heard about that crazy lady who’s about to give birth to her *second set of twins in a year” right? She already had 2 kids before the first set of twins were born, and both parents are on Public Assistance because they have to be home to take care of so many children. If that isn’t Birth Control I don’t know what is.

    Oh, and the lady? She’s a “professional daycare” lady. Sure she is.

  • Sparkless

    Try one of those playpen things. They have mesh sides.

  • boulderbee

    PACK-n-PLAY. That’s all I can say… It has no bars or spaces, and Child Protective Services won’t come for you. My youngest (Mar-got) is 6 mo, and I don’t know what we would have done. It’s a total work around for a busy, active baby.


    p.s. – I remember the sleep anxiety. It’s worse than the sleep dep, isn’t it?

  • The imagery of her noise nearly made me laugh while sitting here at my desk. That’s right up there with the moose with its head in a wood chipper comment. Now to stifle my laughter so as not to look like a dork at work.

  • Miranda

    Dunno if you can get them in the US but here in Australia you can buy an ‘airweave’ bumper. It’s just a thin sheet of fabric that you weave around the cot. Prevents limbs from getting stuck and it’s breathable, so if child chooses to sleep with face smooshed up against bumper it doesn’t die.

    It’s worse when they learn to stand up in the cot. Gah.

  • SeattleMama

    Just beware about vasectomies. I thought they were no big deal too until my husband got one. He was 25. They snipped slightly in the wrong place, he has permanent nerve damage that cannot be fixed by any of the various “vasectomy fix” surgeries, which include reversal, cryogenically freezing them (every 6 weeks!), nerve blockers (every 3 days, a needle up through the you know what), etc etc. And insurance won’t cover a penny of any possible fixes, even though they do cover the vasectomy itself. We’ve seen heads of urology, professors, etc etc etc and there’s nothing they can do. So now my husband’s balls hurt 24/7 for the last 3 1/2 years without any sign of getting even a little bit better.

    It’s called “Post Vasectomy Pain Disorder” and effects up to 2% of all men. Please research it and make sure you have a very very well qualified doctor before deciding.

    🙁 I know it’s depressing, but I wish we had known about the risks.

  • has anyone suggested a pack-n-play? or mesh bumpers?

    ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  • BUMPERS! As SIDS paranoid as I am, we still have the padded bumpers in her crib and they are fantastic.

  • Caryn

    I think the mesh bumpers are a good idea. You might also try a sleep sack. It won’t help with the arms so much, but it will help with the legs. You can get some in the US at BabysRUs but if you are so inclined, they are much more popular in the UK. They come in much better fabrics, sizes, etc. Try or try these, which are THE best! I’m getting them for my 18 month old and my 3 year old.

  • YAH! Seriously…never even thought about that whole crib/bars thing. How did we survive?

    I don’t really think you can blame Marlo, though. I seem to remember you posting a video of you dancing? And if I remember correctly, your arms smacked God’s left foot all the way in heaven.

    It’ll just be the first of many “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT MOTHER” moments.

  • Britney

    I never have time to comment but MUST HAVE my daily Dooce. Like coffee…or air. There are a few things that I want to comment on and I will take the liberty of doing it all here, now.

    First of all and most importantly:
    MEAN PEOPLE SUCK. Mean is one thing but saying mean things about someone’s children (that are TOTALLY BEAUTIFUL BY THE WAY)is in no way ever ok. There should be a special place in hell for anyone that can hate a child!!!! Your daughter’s are gorgeous and you ARE IN NO WAY a bad parent for blogging about them. If anything, it’s evidence of how much you love them.

    Second and totally important:
    Girl your haircut is HOT!!! And you are beautiful inside and out. You are funny, smart and kind. The people that hate on your website are none of those things and are jealous. Your website’s so popular beacuse you’re so awesome. I also follow you on twiiter. Stalkeriffic??? If they didn’t like you they wouldn’t stalk you 😉 LOVE YOUR HATERS, THEY’RE YOUR BIGGEST FANS. They wish that they could have your life, and spend all their time with their loving family instead of working their shit-hole jobs.

    And last but still important:
    Your husband is not a dork. I’ve read some things he’s written about our nation and it’s problems and he seems very smart. Doesn’t he also do tons of tech stuff for your site? And I thought his Peter Frampton video was awesome. My hubby is like that, and they make the ‘funnest’ dads. I’m sure you’re proud of him, people who say mean things about him just wish they had such a nice husband.

    Keep your lovely chin up, smile, you are FABULOUS!!! And keep doing your thing, YOU ROCK! I would love for you to follow me on twitter,I’m nobody but I blog alot and am a tad funny 😛 I’m @naughtyperfect, you’re the reason I joined now I’m addicted. All my best!!!


  • HA! my VERY first thought when i read that she’d gotten herself stuck was “don’t they have cribs with solid sides?” HA! why yes, they do! they are called cardboard boxes!!!!! one of my dogs slept in one for a few days when she was a puppy….until she learned how to jump out of it….then i had to buy a crate. hey wait – how about a crate?? the spaces on those are smaller than cribs….

  • I see nothing wrong with a cardboard box crib. Seems logical to me.

    However, don’t end up like this woman and put the cardboard box ON TOP OF YOUR CAR with Marlo in it. Bad idea:

  • The Cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame a few years back. So it’s a toy. Do not fear the box.

  • There is an episode of Seinfeld where Fraser lets the Asian businessmen sleep in a chest of Drawers. I think this would work for you.

  • Eternity with Hitler, eh? I’m in trouble.

    By the way, back in the old country? Infants in boxes, infants in drawers… it’s all good.

  • I HIGHLY recommend abstinence. I got pregnant with my 3rd baby, when my 2nd was 6 months old. Let me repeat that, SIX MONTHS OLD!! We weren’t even sure we wanted a 3rd, but there she was. So yeah. That whole not being able to get pregnant while breastfeeding is a bunch of crap. Although we were using condoms, most of the time. I have an IUD now and it’s the best thing besides the “snip, snip” which may be coming soon.

  • steph

    Put her in the damn box!

  • I noticed others on here said it and I’ll agree…Breathable Bumper. We got ours at Babies R Us. I was so fearful of the kid smooshing there head against the bumper and suffocating thing but then like you I became fearful of her getting caught. This bumper is the best of both worlds…it let me sleep a bit easier.

  • Jane Kathryn

    Just a note about ‘regular’ crib bumpers vs. mesh bumpers… the reason they help reduce the risk of SIDS is not because “there isn’t air in the crib,” as some have commented here– SIDS risk reduction focuses on getting as much airflow as possible.

    For a healthy child/adult, if we fall asleep in a position or environment that is too stuffy (i.e. we pull a sheet over our head), our brain tells us: “too much CO2, you need to move,” and we roll over in our sleep to solve the problem. SIDS, on the other hand, occurs when a baby isn’t getting enough oxygen, and an immaturity/flaw in the baby’s developing brain simply doesn’t send an alarm to the baby that says “you need to move, your brain needs more oxygen!”

    Risk reduction focuses on removing puffy blankets, stuffed animals, and stuffed bumpers from the baby’s sleep environment and putting babies to sleep on their backs to allow the maximum amount of fresh air in and CO2 OUT, and to keep the baby’s face unobstructed from mattresses, etc. The theory is that you just want to lean on the side of more airflow to be safe, so keeping thick fabrics out, maybe adding a little fan when reasonable, adding a humidifier to the room, and making sure the baby doesn’t get overheated are the major risk reductions. Personally, I think it seems well-worth airing (no pun intended!) on the side of caution when small changes can be life-saving.

    Having studied SIDS for several years, I just wanted to add that note for anyone who’s deliberating between the two types of bumpers in case that helps explain the reasoning behind the mesh fabric. I know how confusing this topic can be!
    I hope everyone with rolling kiddos out there gets a good sleep tonight 🙂

  • Hope

    I think a box is a grand idea. Maybe that’s why people used to have their baby sleep in a dresser drawer?

    I remember my little brother always having a leg stuck in the bars. He’d get jammed in up to his thigh and it would be so tight we’d wonder if we’d have to butter him up to get him out.

    Good luck with that one 🙂

  • Ashley

    We have a 3 year old and a 3 month old. Hubby got snipped. Took the sample in and had it confirmed that there are not any stay ‘boys’ swimming around. LIFE IS GOOD. Baby is finally sleeping at night and no worries about making another one that will keep up awake for hours and hours. BEST. THING. EVER.

  • Maybe it’s because I’m in my 50s and all grown up and way past the having babies stage, but Jon is all wrong here. A box sounds perfectly fine to me; in fact, it sounds like a wonderful [temporary] solution to a problem.

    Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

    [Think of a box as sort of a temporary cradle.]

    Or maybe, if he doesn’t like the idea of cardboard, how about a dresser drawer? Don’t leave it in the dresser though.

  • KatieB

    Velcro pajamas. Whatever position you put them down in, is the same position you’ll find them in the morning.

  • Box it up! How ’bout a dresser drawer – stronger sides. Makes perfect sense, yet society would probably have you arrested. Why the bars really? I may even research on this.

  • Box is the answer! You really should, you know? Even if you don’t tell us in order to avoid backlash from the crazies.

  • Cat

    Isn’t a crib basically a big box anyway? So what is the harm in putting the baby in a smaller box lovingly placed inside the larger box just so they can rest and not get themselves stuck? Sounds like perfect reasoning to me.

  • What? It’s not like you wouldn’t put holes in it. We’re not talking Schroedinger’s cat here, right? Wait – right? Seriously – this is important.

  • Lori

    Super funny.
    Had the same problem with my son. A breathable crib bumper did the trick. We used it until he was old enough to climb on it but by then he didn’t get stuck anymore.

  • Amy Bjorge

    Thanks for the memories, Heather.
    Your post took me back to a very chaste (mostly) engagement period in which only the fear of eternal damnation could keep me from committing “the sin next to murder”(TM)
    Oh, if this exmo apostate had a time machine, she would go back and shag her fiancee’s brains out. (Gee, I hope that was not too much info.)

    I have 2 kids too and I am done being fruitful. I <3 s me Mirena and I just have to mention that aunt Flo hasn't visited in 8 months (again, hope not TMI.)

  • M

    My third child constantly got her limbs stuck in the crib bars. Somehow in middle of the night (always in middle of the night) she would wedge her foot between the bars and start howling. It never happened with my other 2 children.

  • Allison

    Pack n play. You just need to put her in a Pack n play. My twins slept in them until they were 2 years old.

  • Rachele

    Mesh baby bumpers. Won’t suffocate her and also wont let her limbs through.

    Or… use a pack n play instead of a crib.


  • KJ

    I have horrified all my friends with my stories…and then I loan them your book. Its certain that we together will stop the breeding.

  • My four-month-old is a mover and a shaker in his crib. He can move around all over that thing. We had those bumper things up, but he kept getting stuck in those, too. I don’t know what the solution is, but a box sounds pretty good to me!

  • Bossy used to dream she kept a baby in a drawer. Hmm. Just remembered that. Still, safer than the bars of a crib, probably.

  • Lori W.

    Snip Snip did wonders for our sex life and now at age 42 we have a 22 year old and a 20 year old and VERY thankful we are not like our friends who are almost our age with kids almost our kid’s ages but now have a ONE YEAR OLD.

    Life is too short to spend it all just raising kids…

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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