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.

  • Amanda Heilbron

    I am not going to give you advice – as if you need any! We have three children… the youngest who is now in the process of crib to big-girl-bed transition. You are fucking hilarious. I love your blog! You give me the the wit and humor that I need to get from today to tomorrow. Thank you!!

  • paul in kirkland

    You want a sure fire way to avoid getting pregnant?

    Go to Babies R Us and force yourself to stay there for half an hour.

    The moms walking around in a daze, the kids screaming, the moms walking around in a daze trying to find their screaming kids…

    They should sell condoms at the cash register. It would be huge business. And I’m not even remotely kidding.

  • Reading your blog further cements why I’m back to an abstinence only lifestyle. I dunno if I could resist the urge to use a cardboard box for entertainment value if nothing else. I applaud you!

  • KTab

    I’m sure you’ve gotten this suggestion a million times already, and I’m far to lazy to read through all the comments, but I replaced the big puffy cute bumpers that can smother your kid with a product called Breathable Bumpers. They’re mesh bumper pads…not the cutest, but I felt better about them than the cute ones. My reasoning was to keep the binkie in rather than the kid from getting stuck, but I’m sure it would work for that problem as well. Anyway, just a thought!

  • because I care

    I was just on “Monetizing the Hate”, and had a tiny little question. Is there any way that we can all band together to shame that complete whack-job Michele Rebeiro Yoakum Mcbee to stop sending her psychotic, weird, and frankly, pathetic emails? This woman needs some serious help….Michele, step away from your delusions and leave for good…..pretty please, with sugar on top???

  • That’s hilarious! “…next to a goat puking up a hairball.” Heh.

  • Stephanie

    The perfect solution: A snuggle nest & a swaddle blanket!

  • ya know, i heard that back in tha’ day folks would put the babies in a dresser drawer. just sayin’.

    i was one of those bad mothers that realized after months of my son not sleeping on his back, i rolled him onto his stomach (after a conversation with a more experienced mom) and that kid slept just fine and didn’t even die once.

    my son had this weird noise he was making as an infant that sounded like a baby seal. i would find out later that he had the croup.

    i hope marlo gets to sleeping soon b/c seriously that is why a box sounds like a good idea when you are sleep deprived. and if anyone denies that, THEY ARE LIARS.

  • Alyssa
  • Cassie

    When I visited my grandmother who raised 9 kids, she put my newborn son in a dresser drawer that she’d pulled out and set on the floor by my bed. She swore by it, so I tried it and it worked perfectly. My son is 14 now, and very handsome. 🙂

  • Wait, what’s wrong with a box? I mean, she’d never know! I LOVED playing in boxes as a kid. I probably would have loved living in one as an infant. Mom just never gave me the chance. You have the chance, Heather. You have it.

  • stanz

    Bumpers are the answer.

    Also if you ever fly Aer Lingus they DO put your kid in a cardboard box. They have these folddown sleep trays for the tiny babes and they line the box with blankies — but essentialy we felt like we fedexed the baby to Ireland. Cool.

  • Maria

    Long time reader… first time commentator.

    Our daughter slept in a drawer the first week of her life b/c she was adopted at birth, and we had to stay in a hotel until the inter-state adoption cleared, and we didn’t have anywhere else to put her. We pulled it out of the dresser, put it on the ottoman, and there she slept perfectly happy. Course, she wasn’t moving around at the time.

  • Wendy

    If you are worried about her head getting stuck between the bumper and the crib, which a lot of sites warn about. Try weaving a thick towel between the bars of the crib. That is what I did with my two babies. We used two towels on each side of the crib to get the full length of the bed. Worked great! Cheap and no worries about baby suffocating. It’s a win win. 🙂

  • anonymous this time

    “…the living room of God and taken a poop right there on his sofa.”

    OH MY GAWD…I am on the floor laughing so hard! I live in Idaho Falls (I prefer to call it “mini-Utah” or Utah-minor) and lemme tell you, your descriptions of eternal damnation (or the fear of it) are DEAD-EFFING-ON!

  • amy

    When my mom was a kindergarten teacher, she use to hatch baby chicks and ducks in her class and then bring them home. They were always kept in a big box.

    pack-n-play = box, but the pack-n-play has a better marketing company!

  • Anonymous

    My parents used to bring a collapsed cardboard box on camping trips with me when I was a baby. They’d duct-tape it together and make me a bed in the tent. It sounds ridiculous, but I turned out OK. Box for Marlo!

  • Alissa

    I think a box is a fine idea. Why the heck not? I probably shouldn’t tell you this because it is mean, but my best friend’s daughter got her arm caught between the crib bars and broke it and had to be in a cast for 6 weeks. The doctor told her it happens fairly frequently, this broken limbs caused by crib bars thing. It just proves that you can’t win, no matter what you do. So yeah-get a box.

  • Di

    No No! Not a cardboard box!! She’ll end up like Jim Profit. LMAO…


  • I just stopped by after participating in Melissa’s Book Tour (Stirrup Queens). I loved the openness and candidness of your book and saw it again in your blog post today.

    Loved the quote above: “In my mind it was like I had broken into the living room of God and taken a poop right there on his sofa.” I laughed out loud!

    And I kinda like the idea of a box for a crib. No more limbs getting stuck!

    Thanks for sharing your story. Love it!

  • Amy

    I was going to suggest crib bumpers too but I’m certainly not the first to suggest it. 🙂 However, if Marlo finds a way to get her hand under it or over it, you’re back to square one. I kinda laughed at the box idea though. Guess I know where I’m spending eternity.

  • Hey! How about a pack and play? That’s what we used until about a week ago, and it worked fantastic for our little mover. No nooks and crannies to get caught in!

    Good luck,

  • Smay

    I agree with the commenters who suggested the breathable bumpers! My 8-month-old was always getting stuck in the crib slats, but i was too scared to use the padded bumpers, so the breathable mesh ones have worked great for us!

    My husband totally didn’t go for it when i wanted to put the baby in the laundry basket when we had nowhere good to set him while we ate dinner…

  • Anonymous

    When I was little I used to love playing in a cardboard box. Of course, I was much older than Marlo then. And much of the playing consisted of using the box to sled down the stairs.

    So, um, maybe that’s not such a great idea for a rapidly-ever-more-mobile infant?


  • Anonymous

    The bumber is the answer. Same problem here. 5 months old. Ikea do good reasonably priced ones.

  • Katerina

    Pack ‘n’ Plays = HIDEOUS and plastic.

    Bumper = the answer.

  • Vi

    Heather, you are my favorite! My BFF and I have definitely joked about putting babies into buckets when we just can’t change one more diaper…

  • You could use the sides of the cardboard box to weave through the bars of the crib to block her from sticking her various and sundry appendages through the implements of torture (for you) and doom (for her)!

  • duct tape?

  • donna

    Heather, I like you, I really do and this story is great and all, but could you please post some new Hate? I’m hooked. Thanks.

  • Cate

    Hey Heather?

    Have you ever thought of breathable mesh bumpers, or a baby sack?


    I <3 U !

  • If this lady can put her kid in a box. On her van. On a highway. Well, then you can do it too!

  • jwg

    No suggestions,but you have the best commenters ever!

  • Anonymous

    I once bought an inflatable plastic pool on sale and my 2 year old promptly claimed it as his “nest”-he filled it with pillows and slept in it for 6 months. He’s 19 now and relatively normal….

  • Anonymous

    Right and left arms? How many does she have?

    (Totally go for the box. Then put it in a closet. That’s what I did. The kid is now 14, and fine.)

  • Alicia

    I just wanted to concur on the breathable bumper idea. I used them with my daughter and they worked great! Until she learned to pull them down and get her leg/arm/phantom limb stuck OVER the top of it.

  • ROTOR ARMS!!!!

    GO MARLO – the next time this becomes an issue in your life will be during spring break when those arms don’t get caught so much in the bars but in someone’s eye, under their armpit, up someone’s crotch. And so on and so forth.

    So your mother’s daughter.

  • gr8lakesgrrl

    I used a laundry basket as a bassinet for my eldest, worked great!

  • My oldest refused a crib and co-slept with us until he was over a year old. So we never really dealt with the stuck limbs. My middle one refused a crib and slept in a pack-and-play until he was a year old. (Actually rather an elegant solution, and you may want to consider it. He liked to crunch himself up into the corner and the mesh made that less painful than the hard corner of a crib.) It wasn’t until my third that I dealt with the fear of the stuck limbs in the crib. I haven’t read through all the comments but saw that one mentioned bumpers. That is a whole scary debate all by itself and one that I never felt like I reached a satisfactory conclusion on. I got lots of warring answers.

    Whatever you end up doing, I hope she figures out soon how so get through the night without tangling herself up in crib–for all your sakes!

  • Rachel

    A funny commercial I saw recently. The topic of birth control made me think of it:

  • Fi

    I second the suggestion. These are used widely in New Zealand. My baby is very mobile but sleeps like an immobile angel because of the Safetsleep. Also recommended for the prevention of SIDs

  • It’s okay, you can inform Jon that the whole time I was reading this I was thinking “A box! She just needs a box! That’s a perfect solution. A box!”

  • The point is… sleep deprivation. It sucks. Our first born [now 12] was addicted to pacifiers. Good news, bad news. If he spit the pacifier out in the middle of the night he made that annoying noise until one of us replaced it. Usually a dozen times a night. I wanted to tape it to his face or tie it to his head. My husband said no too. I’m sorry. 🙁

  • You could put her in a port-a-crib. The sides are mesh. My oldest went through a stage when he was a baby where he’d flip over, which would jar him awake, and he’d cry. He did that all night long, but it passed after a while.

  • Anne

    Why not take the cardboard boxes you fished out of the recycling, cut em up into 1′ tall strips that you can then weave in and out of the bars to create more of a ‘wall’ situation?

  • Julie

    My 9 month old did the same thing. If you don’t want the risk that a padded bumper carries, I was able to find a breathable mesh bumper. It’s soft, and basically just a very lightweight netting that keeps my baby from sticking a limb through the bars.

  • Miel
  • Lilliah

    lol @ #67 (Tanya)- whatever you choose to put Marlo in DEFINITELY needs an engine!

  • Lucy

    B F Skinner was all over that:

    My parents used one for my brother and I, a fact that always gets a lot of mileage in therapy. It never really took hold as an actual parenting trend — maybe we’re ready for a new wave of parents to give it a try! (Just kidding, not really, just kidding….)

  • AmyLeymasterSmith

    We took our bumper out of our little one’s crib due to SIDS advice (we’re first-time paranoid parents). We tried the breathable bumper which apparently works for some cribs, just not ours. If I knew anything about baby sleep patterns BEFORE I had one, I would have picked a more appropriate crib. Anyway, it might work for you. Then again, it might not. Good luck!

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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