Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Lil’ Donette

When we were considering names for Marlo and had nailed the list down to a solid four candidates, I always imagined that if we did name her Marlo I’d get to talk about my two kids, Lee and Lo. Maybe that’s just the liberal arts major in me, daydreaming about the alliterative qualities of my children’s names, or maybe that’s just one of my more annoying qualities. Right up there with knowing every word to every song by Milli Vanilli AND BEING DAMN PROUD OF IT.

We’ve often referred to Leta as Lee Lee, but that’s only one of several nicknames that we toss around. It’s Lee Lee, and Leta-Loo, Scooter-Boo, and Jonny Jr. Many times it is, “YOUR DAUGHTER did this.”


I’m usually standing in the kitchen, one arm perched angrily on my hip, the other pointing at an intricate mess, and Jon is just standing there shrugging, because I guess this? This mess? This is nothing. You should have seen the way he traced the lines on his mother’s faux marble countertop with a black permanent marker! Creativity is to be celebrated!

Really. Because I remember when creativity was to be smacked with a belt.

And so I thought Marlo’s nickname would instantly be Lo. But that isn’t even anywhere near the top of the list. Leta calls her Mario. Jon calls her Mar-Mar. And when I see Marlo’s face the only word I can muster is BUTTERNUT! I imagine that this is terribly confusing to her, all of us screaming different names her way. She could quite possibly grow up thinking her name is COCO!!

However, I do think she is catching on to the M sound in her name, or maybe, JUST MAYBE, she knows how to say Mama:

Message to Jon: I WIN!

  • KatieM

    Named my daughter Morgan thinking it would be nickname-proof. From the moment she was born, she was our Litte Mo.


    She is very cute – I appreciate her ability to realize what’s really important, like when she stopped talking to eat the camera. I get like that when I see a Dairy Queen.

  • jessicak

    My daughter said mama first but has recently begun adding a double pat with her hand on her chest when she says mama, as if she is calling herself mama. I think this was because I always pat my chest and say “mama” when I was trying to teach it to her. She doesn’t do it with “dada”. It has been a cruel reversal of my initial win!

  • cassidy.stockton

    Hehehe! Love it! You go, Heather!

  • kellic78

    These comments were hilarious! I lol’d several times!

  • macchelle

    Enjoy all the nicknames for her now. I had great nicknames for my son and daughter, now at ages 10 and 7 I’m lucky to remember their real names. I usually end up calling them by all the pets names (present and past) before finally stumbling upon the correct one.

    Marlo is adorable though. Almost makes me want another one. Then I take mine shopping and that urge is brutally beaten and left lying on the floor with the handsful of hair I’ve unknowingly pulled out in aggravation.

  • mybottlesup

    awww!!!! i like butternut.

  • LiLos Mom

    What’s crazy is that our kids really are Li and Lo! (Lily and Logan!) Although we actually call her Sugee and right now his nickname is Squiggy. He likes to bite the heel of his hand just like Squiggy on Lavern and Shirley! It’s pretty hilarious.

  • bambooska

    OMG, she’s incredibly cute. Can I eat her? Just the top of her head, I promise.

    I bet you’re proud she called you Mama. 😀
    I can’t wait for when I have a daughter or a son and hear it from their cute little lips.

  • Jalima

    Oh you so TOTALLY win 🙂

  • averagegirl

    I have a friend who called her daughter “Droolie” when she was teething and was a slobber fountain. She worried that her daughter would start to think her name was Julie, instead of Isabella.

  • somethingcool

    When my son was 7 months old we realized that he thought his name was Baby, so we made a concerted effort to call him by his actual name. But to this day, he is still often Baby, and his baby sister (two years old now) has never been Baby. He objected when she was born; “I Baby!!”

  • NolaMomma

    Oh the cuteness!!!! My daughters go in and out of showing how much they are in love and I always make an effort to absorb those moments as fully as possible. I cannot get enough.

    I took them to a gymnastics birthday party the other day and while my two year old was conquering the obstacle course, her 4 year old sister was cheering something fierce from the sidelines. Possessed…like, crazy loud, clapping, not caring who was watching or listening, cheering for her sister like it was nobody’s business. My heart was full.

  • HDADDiva

    Your family is just beautiful. Nicknames are not an easy thing to resolve. Oddly enough, my lil maltese is like a lil donette, too! from hostess… with the messy powdered sugar.

  • LoKi

    …we call my grandma Lee Lee. but we called our other grandma Big Mama… so at least you didn’t pick that one.

  • angelynn

    That is so adorable. And it rocks she said mama first. Your girls have such cute names and nicknames. Our boys are Mateus and Xavian. They go by Tay, Taylicious, Tay-Rock-Ribble, Zay, Zavie, Zay-Dawg, and Crazy Bocephus. Luckily Crazy Bocephus can refer to either one so we only have to shout it once. I once called our 4yo Crazy Pants and he actually corrected me. “I’m Crazy Bocephus MOM.” [The little ones in action]

  • kir

    awww, gosh. i’d love to know what the other names in the running were!

  • WarsawMommy

    Oh, lovely!! I’m still waiting for my youngest to say ‘Mama’. Though he does say ‘mop’. Whilst holding the mop and running it back and forth over the floor. He drags that thing from room to room, drooling and grinning and saying ‘mopmopmopmopmop.’

    Cute, no?

  • blueyesncali

    My daughter’s name is Amber and she was known to me as Amberino jellybeano which eventually got shortened to Beano. .but I am the only one who can call her that (she is now 30 yrs old and no she does not have a gas problem!) . My niece Elena was known as Sprout to her parents and my best friend’s daugther Jessica is known as ‘Ica or Icky.

  • rinny627

    I think I need to stop stalking you and the fam. This has nothing to do with what you just posted… But I just had a dream about you and Jon and Leta and Marlo. There was some crazy hurricane like weather. And we were chilling in your house.
    Don’t ask. I don’t know.

  • lissak

    My daughter’s nickname was given in the womb – and still is – Princess Littletush — because she stuck it out under my ribs so much… I figure she’ll like it when she’s ooooohhhh around 12-13. She’s got a few others, but that one always seems to stick.

  • relisabeth

    The youngest one of us was named Emily Victoria, which was apparently too pedestrian.

    Emmie, Emma, Emmatoria, Millie, Mollie, Lollie, Lolliepooza, Pooza.

    She’s now 20, and we still call her Pooza. Most of the reason for that nickname comes from the fact that even at 2, you could come out of a conversation with her not sure where you were or what had just happened, slightly like being at a music festival after partaking in some of the good stu -er, highly illegal substances.

  • Jeneric

    Congratulations on winning! I never won and I’m still bitter. Both girls said Dada first. Plus, Mama for the youngest? Means more.

    We have no nicknames. I think this means there is not enough love and/or God in our family. Or we are lazy.

  • tracythompson

    Are lots of nicknames a Southern thing? Because I’m from the South, too, and I can’t imagine not calling my oldest Pumpkin, or her little sister Bunny. Both my kids also answer to Sweetpea. My husband, who is not from the South, calls them by the names on their birth certificates. Perhaps because he is nickname-impaired, it took him years to figure out who was who in my family. My nickname was Bug, Taterbug, Curly or (when my mom thought I was putting on airs) Princess Anne (a play on my middle name). My father was named Eldon Andre, but his friends all called him Tommy and his family all called him Eddie or Ed; my cousin Butch said he was 16 before he figured out that my dad’s name was not Unca Led. Butch, by the way, is really named David, but not even his wife calls him that. My sister’s name is Ellen, but we all call her Nonny. My mother’s given name was Enley, but everybody called her Ruth. My paternal grandmother was “mom” and my maternal grandfather was “papa.” To Southerners, calling a person by his given name is a sign that a) they are in a shitload of trouble or b) they are dead. Keep up the good work.

  • MsKathleen

    This is so cute. I have four kids and I think Dad won all all accounts. I wanted to say I saw you on Dr. Phil and I thought you were “right on”. As a woman who raised four children and has one grandchild and suffered for years with depression, I’d say my children turned out to be wonderful, kind, creative and intelligent adults — Well, one is a senior in high school and I must say right now he is “basketball brained”, but there is still hope. I do greatly enjoy your blog.

  • sweetpotatopie

    My daughter has so many nicknames that once, when she was 4, she asked “Mommy, why do you only call me Anna when I’m in trouble??” ha! I’ve since made a real effort to yell “That’s IT, Snickle-fritz-pickle-pants! To your room, NOW.” But it just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

  • reelmomof4

    That is fantastic! And it is all as it should be since you did birth her 🙂

  • nicholasen

    Permanent marker on a new countertop, just the best. My kids draw in the most unacceptable places. The latest is at Look at the August 2008 post to see what they did to OUR TOILET SEAT.

  • Sassy Britches

    I’m not about to read every last 78 comment above me but I did notice this when I heard what you did name Lil Donette: both of your daughters have initials that also spell girl names. LEA and MIA. Admit it, that was totally planned!

  • Nat Huck

    My first word was jump. Reportedly, that was my favourite thing to do.
    My nick name is…. interesting. “Gnatstalie” Pronouned; Guh-nats-stuh-lee. With a nick name like Nat its only a matter of time till someone associates that with the insect, Gnat, and then starts pronouncing the ‘G’ so everyone else knows what they’re doing. Sigh… I don’t really mind tho 😉

  • CrashTestMommy

    I remember those days so well, how sweet it was for that smooshy little baby face to call me by name.

    These days, I mostly hear it yelled full volume from the bathroom when someone needs me to WIPE! HER! BOTTOM! which is slightly less heartwarming.

  • d3 voiceworks

    she sounds just like lee lees, our 10.5 month old, emilio (lio). also call him scoonge, short for scungilli.

    when logging in, i always get “requested page could not be found” then have to click on the masthead, then “back to dooce”

    whattup with dat?

  • AmyMusings

    Get her a job doing etrade commercials! She’s ready!!

    (I’m a little bit sensitive that my captcha is “frumpy”. How does it know I didn’t take a shower today??? ‘s creepy.)

  • ZenScout

    Good Mama-ing! Lily’s mostly, at 8 months old, into yelling, “BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!” at the top of her lungs. A tiny part of me wonders if she’s actually making a commentary on the things her dad and I talk about.

    As for nicknames, when I texted the Mr. from the hospital the night after she was born (I let him go home to sleep. Because I am selfless and giving like that. While I stayed in the stupid hospital with a crazy woman in the next bed. Yippee!), I referred to her as the Lilliputian and that’s stuck a bit. As has the Lilster.

  • Sillymomma

    We call our 3 year old, Stella, many different names- Boo, Muffin, Babushka, Stella No-Nap, Sweetie, Sweetheart, Sweetpea, etc. The jury is still out on Hazel, who turns 4 weeks old today- Stella calls her Sweetie in her best Mama voice, and I seem to be calling her “Little Buddy” a lot, which is something Stella calls all small cute animals.

    Incidentally, Heather, Marlo’s birth story inspired me to go natural with Hazel. I was all about the epidural for Stella’s birth, but what you wrote really touched me. I ended up using the Hypnobabies home study program, and thankfully was only in the hospital for two hours before she was born. But you were right, about feeling like you could do anything afterwards! And recovery was so much easier. So, thank you!

  • imaynotremember

    🙂 That’s so cute. I love it when a baby starts saying words.

  • Do You Come with the Car

    She and Leta look so much alike!

  • strawberrygoldie

    Just read this in USA Today.

    And may I say? YUM.

    Change of subject.

    My oldest, Seth, was nicknamed Chibbie.
    My youngest, Jackson, well…we call him Squeeb.

  • table4five

    She totally said Mama! What a precious pumpkin.

    My oldest, who is 13, will always be Pumpkin to me. My middle son is 11, his name is Nathan but when he was learning to say his name he said Nay Nay, so we all still call him Nay. Kaitlyn had an adorable ladybug onesie as a baby, so she became Katiebug Ladybug, then Buggie Boo, then Boo Bear.

    My parents called me Boo Boo and my sister Lynn-Bin (Lynn is her middle name)until we were way into our teens.

    What is your parents’ nickname for you??

  • Mama M.


    I love your “YEEE-AH!” in the background!

    I have a SIL, she herself is kinda, well…”meh”…but, she teaches her kids to say “da-da” first…’cuz then, when they wake up at night and are all “da-da-da-da”…she says, “Honey, he wants you”.


    But, that’s all she’s got. 😉

    Mama M.

  • Hot December

    OMG, Dooce, she said ‘mama’! I saw you @ SXSW when you were pg with Marlo, and I was about a month behind you, so always look to Marlo for “what’s next” with the babe. Our little butternut (more of a pecan, but whatever) just started with the da-da-a-ba this week, so I can’t wait to make this exact same video 🙂

    We also never, ever call her by her name, and wonder how she’ll ever learn it. Glad to hear babies everywhere have this issue.

  • MeMyselfandMommy

    We call Moanna Mo and Mimo (like Little Nemo)

    The old folks hate it! Then again, they didn’t like the name Moanna to begin with

  • Bella Puzzles

    She said Mama. It’s indisputable. You win.

  • mariebeth

    She said mama – no questions about it!

    But Heather, these videos of Marlo – they have to stop! My boyfriend is getting very worried about the time I spend on dooce, looking at the videos and making broody, clucking noises as though I want to procreate…!

  • slynns

    My daughter will turn three in April, and I can’t help but feel, hhmm, um, well, superior isn’t quite the word, but maybe fulfilled? when she says, “No, I want Momma!” Even when it’s a poopy diaper she needs changed because, god forbid, the Elmo potty doesn’t quite inspire her (yet).

    Your girls are beautiful!

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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