the smell of my desperation has become a stench

If I had hair to let down, this would be an instance of doing so

On Friday night Jon and I attended a Christmas party, meaning we actually prepared to leave the house and be away from our bed past 8PM. The magnitude of this event cannot be overstated, and to make sure that we went through with such crazy behavior I hired a babysitter. So that we couldn’t at the last minute go, but wait a minute, our bed is right there. And there are our pillows. And I don’t think my body would mind if I just fell over in these jeans and slept until February.

Here is where I tempt the Universe and tell you that Marlo is sleeping through the night. From 7PM until 7AM. In her crib. Now that I’ve put it out there she will never sleep again, but it was good while it lasted!

And before you call me a baby killer you should know that there was minimal crying involved. We just read some great advice somewhere that said to treat every kid as if they are the sixth of eighteen children. You’ll get to them sometime, but right now the fifteenth kid is burning down the kitchen, so whoever is fussing right now will have to suck it.

We eventually got to her fussing, just not as quickly as we did with Leta, when we thought fussing meant DYING. And so she learned to self-soothe pretty early on. Now we just snuggle for a few minutes, and then we put her down for the night or for a nap and she curls up with her thumb and pretty much tells us to leave her alone. Like, don’t you have seventeen other children to deal with?

And… let the accusations of neglect roll in!

Anyway, she’s been doing this for about a month, and it’s taken us just as long to retrain our bodies to sleep for more than two hours at a time. And I’m still in the habit of going to bed minutes after putting her down for the night. One night last week I made it all the way to 9:30PM, and I mean ALL THE WAY, and the physical strength it took to reach that milestone was so exhausting that I slept through the night for the first time since June. ATTENTION SEXUALLY ACTIVE SINGLES: READ THIS PARAGRAPH AND PUT ON A CONDOM.

Since the babysitter was putting aside her time for us, I felt like we couldn’t back out. We were FORCED! To be HUMAN BEINGS! And Jon had serious concerns that I might fall asleep in the car on the way to the party. However, I had a molecule of anticipation to keep me awake, excitement over the possible reaction to the white elephant gift we were bringing, a copy of Put Hemorrhoids and Constipation Behind You.

What? What did you expect? I know it’s not the best white elephant gift you’ve ever heard of, or even in the league of the guy we knew growing up who lost an eye in Vietnam and would routinely give away his fake eyes AT MORMON CHRISTMAS PARTIES. That still gives me the willies, the idea of opening up a box only to have A SINGLE HUMAN EYE looking up at you. I mean, what do you say to that other than, please call 911 because I’M HAVING A HEART ATTACK.

Unfortunately, I neglected to wrap the book in a large box, so it lingered miserably toward the end of the exchange, no one wanting something so tiny, I guess. And by that point in the party there were at least three men so wasted that they were having to prop themselves against furniture to remain upright, and what do you know, one of them was the last to grab a present. And the only thing left? A book about hemorrhoids! Funny, right? I guess not so much when you’re drunk, because when he opened it, his face contorted angrily and he yelled, “Put hemorrhoids and compensation behind you? What does that even mean?

Hemorrhoids and compensation.

Then he started running (stumbling) around with it to show people just how stupid he thought it was, and at one point a helpful woman started going CONSTIPATION. IT SAYS CONSTIPATION. And he was adamant that no, it says compensation RIGHT THERE. Stupid, stupid compensation.

And I’m not even kidding, more than one woman walked up to me and asked if there were any good tips inside.

  • Amber

    2009/12/21 at 10:38 am

    The gift of regular bowel movements is priceless and totally in the spirit of the holidays!

    Congrats on your night out… Jinxed or not by your sharing of her amazing sleep patterns, I am sure Marlo will continue to sleep well…. if she has a rough night here or there, it’s just a blip and just reflective of something specific like illness or teething. That’s been our experience. Clearly Marlo has the soothing skills required to get the rest she needs, and you helped her attain them. No way is that neglectful! Good job!

  • Laurel

    2009/12/21 at 10:38 am

    That is an outstanding white elephant gift. I usually just bring something I want, and hope nobody else picks it. But the real question is, how late did you stay out?

  • commspro

    2009/12/21 at 10:41 am

    You’re lucky you used to get the eyeball wrapped in a package, at least. In earlier years he would randomly pop the eye out onto our laps while we were waiting for church to start. Which was bad enough, but got worse because sometimes it involved actually having to touch it. Thanks for the memories…

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/12/21 at 10:41 am

    “We eventually got to her fussing, just not as quickly as we did with Leta, when we thought fussing meant DYING.”

    Oh, if only we knew with the first what we know with the second. My son thought he should be cradled in our arms and not only rocked to sleep, but held throughout the night while we sat bolt upright in a rocking chair, and would somehow know if we had closed our eyes, for it would be at that point that he would wake and demand our attention.

    My daughter, from the time she was capable of making a clearly understandable gesture, insisted we put her down in her crib and LEAVE … because we had had the good sense to hesitate for three seconds before snatching her up like she was having a cerebral hemorrhage every time she cried and fussed when we put her down to sleep.

    Glad you’re getting an easier ride this time around, and hope you enjoyed the night out. Rumor has it we’re going to have one soon, ourselves. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  • Tangerine

    2009/12/21 at 10:43 am

    It is 0% wrong to have a baby that sleeps through the night in her own crib. You should enjoy your extra rest guilt-free!

  • ttwiix

    2009/12/21 at 10:49 am

    We have a white elephant party with the youth kids at church every year (and a tacky christmas sweater party, but I digress). With bacon scented bandaids and singing stuffed squirrels galore….its always fun. One of my favorite white elephant gifts that I ever gave was a framed picture of myself giving 2 thumbs up and a half eaten box of chocolate. Good times =)

  • Soapourri

    2009/12/21 at 11:05 am

    Jinx, jinx, jinx! You are truly fortunate – and speaking of EYEBALLS, my googly eyeball soap is actually my best selling soap – really! Must be a lot of weirdos out there!


    2009/12/21 at 11:08 am

    Bossy recently brought an ornament so lame to An Ornament Exchange Party that when it was opened, she tucked herself completely behind the person in front of her, like you do in school when you don’t want the teacher to call on you.

    Later, the unfortunate gentleman who ended up with the ornament tried to strike up a conversation with Bossy about it — as he held the ornament at arm’s length as though it smelled — and Bossy was all, “I know, can you Bah-lieve?”

  • bearing

    2009/12/21 at 11:34 am

    We just read some great advice somewhere that said to treat every kid as if they are the sixth of eighteen children.

    Oh, I loved, loved, loved this. And I am a bonafide crunchy/granola/co-sleeping/ babywearing/SAHM/continuum-concept/nurse them till they’re 3 or 4 type of person. But I wound up quitting a lot of the list-servs for crunchy granola co-sleeping babywearing type of people eventually because so few of the participants had any realistic idea that applying those principles still works in larger families, but it is going to look different from a one-child family. (“You mean I have to BALANCE the needs of my CHILD with the needs of someone ELSE? Like, ANOTHER CHILD?”)

    And what’s so great about it is that even if you do plan on having 18 children, it’s never too early to start treating them like they already have 17 siblings.

  • JuliaDil

    2009/12/21 at 11:36 am

    That’s it. You’re doomed to eternal hemorrhoids as a result of your cruelty to innocent children. I hope you sleep well at night! 😉 😉 😉

  • Crazy Card Lady

    2009/12/21 at 11:41 am

    I will invite you to our next white elephant exchange. Your book would have been the life of the party….maybe because we are old and understand that sort of subject. What cool youngsters you are!

  • josephine

    2009/12/21 at 11:44 am

    It must be rough to have people assume you’re an expert on EVERYTHING (I’m being serious!). I, personally, wouldn’t want to give multiple people advice on “Hemorrhoids and compensation” all night on my one night out. 🙂 Kudos to you for making it out so late and for bringing such a great conversation starter of a gift! LOL….

  • aslapintheface

    2009/12/21 at 11:59 am

    I hope that you are spitting on some black cats and throwing wood over your shoulder while you knock on some salt (or something like that). As soon as I started telling people that my twins were sleeping through the night, they had a secret meeting and decided never to sleep through the night or let me sleep late EVER again.

  • William

    2009/12/21 at 12:06 pm

    Hemmorrhoids and compensation behind me…sounds likemy 401k plan from this past year.

  • Tricia

    2009/12/21 at 12:14 pm

    Hmmm, yes. Being a stay-at-home mom who, once upon a time, pulled in a ridiculous paycheck as an attorney, I can truthfully state that both hemmorhoids and compensation are behind me. Or, one is behind me and one is my behind?

  • justdom

    2009/12/21 at 12:25 pm

    “And… let the accusations of neglect roll in!”

    Neglect?? That’s just some good old-fashioned child rearing.

  • jdkjd529

    2009/12/21 at 12:28 pm

    Man, and I thought “The Quoteable Douchbag” was a shoo-in for funniest white elephant book – of course it sound like it would have been more appropriate for the gift recipient (although less helpful.)

  • playrawkstar

    2009/12/21 at 12:31 pm

    that would really go well with “what’s your poo telling you?”!!!

  • KatherinetheGreat

    2009/12/21 at 12:44 pm

    I’d love to get THAT at a White Elephant party. I’ll just tuck it here among my other books, and wait for the stammering to begin when I host my next guest! Plus it’s practical should the day come I ever need it.

    Not that I wouldn’t love to display an eyeball in a box. I would! But I’d rather not be the first suspect on an episode of Law and Order, ya’know? 🙂

  • Tara Newhole

    2009/12/21 at 12:48 pm

    Why can’t I ever get cool gifts like that book?
    That ungrateful drunk thang! That book has a million practical uses. For one, it would be perfect for keeping people from talking to you on an airplane. The copy of “Lesbian Nuns” I usually use is just about worn out.

  • Tara Newhole

    2009/12/21 at 12:48 pm

    Why can’t I ever get cool gifts like that book?
    That ungrateful drunk thang! That book has a million practical uses. For one, it would be perfect for keeping people from talking to you on an airplane. The copy of “Lesbian Nuns” I usually use is just about worn out.

  • dmknight

    2009/12/21 at 1:19 pm

    Love the gift. My husband’s work did a white elephant gift and someone put in a pregnancy test. No one stole that gift!

  • Selena

    2009/12/21 at 1:31 pm

    Following your link to the “Hemorrhoids and Compensation” book led me to find this priceless gem:

    I laughed so hard reading the comments on this book that I had tears running down my face.

  • ryanrageous

    2009/12/21 at 1:32 pm

    Seriously, Love you.
    Fantastic gift and story.

  • geelizzie

    2009/12/21 at 1:34 pm

    Damn, I could totally use that book.

  • dooce

    2009/12/21 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you so much Selena for that link. I’m not going to get anything done ever again.

  • Leslie_Yum

    2009/12/21 at 1:43 pm

    With annual performance reviews going on at work, I’ve had a tough time putting compensation behind me. Perhaps I should buy that book?

    I have decided to start treating EVERYONE as if they are the sixth of eighteen. Nice!

  • WendyWoo

    2009/12/21 at 1:46 pm

    What a great idea – sixth of eighteen! That would be a great name for a book on child-rearing! So jealous that that cutie Marlo is sleeping through the night! Yeah for you! My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was two years old!

  • suesheeme

    2009/12/21 at 2:03 pm

    I am happy that you know the true meaning of a White Elephant gift.

    Thanks for the tip on sixth of 18. I am expecting my first in two weeks and will try to adapt to that mindset as best I can.

  • MJBUtah

    2009/12/21 at 2:11 pm

    The most popular white elephant gift at our party was the book “Creative Cursing” from my boss. It was a helpful flip book that allowed you to combine ususual terms together and come up with whole new swear words. My favorite? Bonerhole!

    The people that got the biggest kick out of it were the meek little mormon newlyweds, who were blushing furiously.

  • kpstan1

    2009/12/21 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks so much for the laugh! I needed it!

  • Greta Koenigin

    2009/12/21 at 2:27 pm

    That poor fella. Had his drunk eyes told him that only his hemorrhoids were to be behind him, he would have appreciated the pun, but putting his compensation behind him seemed too exciting a topic for a book from a stranger at a Christmas party.

  • dkmissie

    2009/12/21 at 3:17 pm


  • Passementerie

    2009/12/21 at 3:31 pm

    For MONTHS John and I were asleep by 7.30pm at the latest. When my father and uncle came to visit and we made it to 8pm before passing out at the dinner table they were a little unimpressed, but after a few months of 9pm, I now regularly make it to 10.30pm! Can you imagine? And Beatrice doesn’t sleep though the night either, alas.

    And I completely appreciate the excitement of your first night out. Our first night out was for an Oxford ball, from which I returned at 10.30pm to feed B. (not to put too fine a point upon it, I leak when I don’t feed her regularly and ballgowns are expensive to dryclean) and then went back out until 2am, which was pretty exciting stuff.

  • Amy J

    2009/12/21 at 4:03 pm

    I’m a firm believer in sleep training. If we hadn’t sleep trained our third there would have been serious wrist slitting.

  • Laura B

    2009/12/21 at 4:18 pm

    The way to put them behind you is to not get pregnant!

  • gail37

    2009/12/21 at 4:43 pm

    The best advice I got with my first child was…”you (the parents)were here first. The baby has to adapt to your schedule.” Worked when she decided to give up one of her night feedings..and it wasn’t the 2 ayem one! So we’d wake her at 10 or so, feed her and then she’d sleep thru til the morning. She was happy, mom was happy and dad was happy since mom was no longer sleep deprived.

  • d3 voiceworks

    2009/12/21 at 4:59 pm

    apparently, true happiness lies in piles and poverty:)

  • barbara

    2009/12/21 at 5:20 pm

    Haha, this post is hilarious! Glad you guys managed to have an adult night out! I kind of what to read that book. Have a Merry Christmas!

  • Chloe

    2009/12/21 at 5:30 pm

    The best is “How to Regain your Virginity”, usually given to the sweetest, nicest person (a woman) present at any event. A surefire way to guarantee laffs and blushes.

  • I3ecky75

    2009/12/21 at 5:42 pm

    I’m proud of you for sleep training Marlo now. I waited until my son was 15 months. He cried for a total of 20 mins the first night and has been an angelic sleeper ever since. I got up with him up to 5 times a night prior to sleep training. Somewhere I got it in my head that making a child cry it out was bad parenting…I now think torturing them for 15 months because they can’t get to sleep on their own is a lot closer to bad parenting than having him cry for 20 minutes. Someday I’ll start sleeping again too.

  • wafaa

    2009/12/21 at 5:54 pm

    If I had an extra $135.00 I would for SURE get the *Birth Control is Sinful* book that @finslippy RT’d earlier. YOU KNOW, FOR THE WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT. HELP ME I CAN’T TURN OFF THE CAPS! WTF!!!!1!

  • ilovelucy1976

    2009/12/21 at 6:05 pm

    Great ideas. :O) I have been to two white elephants this year and didn’t think of any of these. I was very traditional. I will have to remember for next year. All’s I can say is it reminds me of an ex LOL

  • WindyLou

    2009/12/21 at 6:45 pm

    After all these years having forgotten Bro M’s glass eye “pranks”, you just HAD to dredge that one up in time for Christmas nightmares!

  • funkyvalentine

    2009/12/21 at 7:35 pm

    I’m going to give a book like that at my next white elephant gift exchange. And, of course the women asked – it’s because we women are smarter. We have to know how to fix our men so they stop complaining.

  • filmlady

    2009/12/21 at 8:58 pm

    No white elephant selections are complete without first taking a trip to the Weird Book Room at AbeBooks:

    …where you can find such great offerings as “The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories,” “Dead Pet: Send Your Best Little Buddy Off in Style,” “Why do I vomit?” and “The Beverly Hillbillies Bible Study.”


    2009/12/21 at 9:02 pm

    I agree with #1 Amber, the gift of regular bowel movements is priceless and totally in the spirit of the holidays!

    I want to have a white elephant party now! Maybe next year.

  • MeMyselfandMommy

    2009/12/21 at 9:23 pm

    Does it talk about toddler constipation?

    Or how about what to do when your child uses poop as an art medium?

    And no, it’s not just a phase!!!!

    What about what to do when your toddler has BRIGHT grass green poop?

    I need answers!!! My life is controlled by my daughter’s poop!!!

  • Andrea.

    2009/12/21 at 9:29 pm

    1. Nothing wrong with having a baby that sleeps 12 hours. Except for possibly being locked in a death stare with other mothers who wish you dead because they can only dream of 12 hours of sweet, glorious shut eye.

    2. If you’re looking for more nothing to do after reading the reviews on THE ALL CAPS BOOK, I introduce to you, the reviews for the ever so clever Laptop Steering Wheel Desk. Hours upon hours of entertainment!

  • Thrift Store Mama

    2009/12/21 at 10:09 pm

    Happy for you on the sleep front – it makes all the difference, doesn’t it? There’s always a chance that the sleep gods won’t hear about this entry and therefore you will not be punished for speaking out loud of good baby sleeping.

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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