the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Getting the soap ready to wash out her mouth

Our friend Cami stopped by yesterday for dinner, and we purposefully made something other than salmon for the meal. Because the last time we made salmon we neglected to look at the sell-by date on the label, and it turns out that even if you freeze fish it can go bad after two years. I still cannot get that taste out of my mouth.

While we were sitting there trying to figure out why it tasted so bad, so horrifying, Jon asked if I had looked at the date on the package. And I was all, why does it matter? It was in the freezer. WHERE IT WAS FROZEN. Isn’t that a standard in cooking? A scientific principle? Nothing can go bad in the freezer, right? There’s a reason murderers choose meat lockers to store their victims. I see it on “Law and Order” all the time!

And that’s when he rolled his eyes so hard they knocked his head backward, and he fell out of his chair. How many times do I have to remind him that I know nothing about cooking? Do not leave me in charge of food that can go bad! This was not my fault! I don’t know whose fault it was, but maybe I should sue the maker of my refrigerator FOR DEFYING SCIENCE. The nerve!

Anyway, Cami is on a kick of abbreviating almost every word that comes of out her mouth, and when Leta attacked her with requests to play she said, “Leta, give me a min.” Leta looked at me immediately for a translation, so I told her that I was pretty sure Cami needed a “minute” to set down her purse and catch her breath. Although I could have been wrong, maybe she meant something entirely different. Maybe she needed a mint. Or a mind reader. Or possibly a tiny militia of minutemen to reenact certain battles in the American Revolution: The British are coming! The British are coming!

(“One if by land, and two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore will be”— SORRY. 4-H speech contest flashback. Now I’ll be repeating that poem in my head for days. STUPID CHILDREN’S ORGANIZATIONS.)

You never know with her. I mean, she was wearing ankle boots, men’s basketball shorts, and a biker jacket. AND SHE STILL LOOKED HOT.

So we were taking a min on the couch as Leta pranced around in a giant, multi-colored tutu, and Cami out of nowhere blurts out, “Leta, is that a freakin’ tutu?!”

Right. As if she had any business being shocked at a tutu as she sat there in knee-length, opalescent blue basketball shorts. Like the fancy material you see lining high-end caskets.

A freakin’ tutu. Because she goes to BYU. I was just so glad it wasn’t “a fetchin’ tutu” or “a friggin’ tutu” which would have been unacceptable and punishable by death. Preferably by blunt force to the head with the DVD case of a rated R movie.

Leta’s response? “It’s not a freakin’ tutu, Cami. It’s just a tutu.”

Now, this is not the first time Leta has been exposed to just-touching-the-edge language. Okay, fine. Leta has been exposed to A LOT of way-over-the-edge-gone-splat-at-the-bottom-blood-and-guts-and-smashed-brain-on-the-concrete kind of language. But something about this exchange tripped her creative wires, and next thing you know she’s in the kitchen grabbing on to the knobby pole of Marlo’s bouncy contraption, pretending it’s a microphone, and she’s singing, “IT’S NOT A FREAKIN’ TUTU! IT’S NOT A FREAKIN’ TUTU!”

Over and over again, and then she starts adding verses and emphasizing certain words, like, “IT’S JUST WHAT I’M WEARING TODAAAAAAAAY! THIS NOT FREAKIN’ TUTUUUUUUUU! YOU THINK IT IS ONE! BUT IT’S JUST A TUTUUUUUU! AND NOT A FREAKIN’ ONE!”

All out of tune. All shrieking.

Jon looked at me, I looked at him, we both looked at Cami, and each one of us was trying to give the others the strength to hold in the laughter. Because five-year-olds who are just about to turn six take any and all laughing personally. Laughing at a five-year-old is not unlike punching a puppy in the face.

But none of us could handle it, and I don’t remember who did it first, but someone let out a little ripple of air through their clenched teeth, and then we all lost it. Which of course sent Leta into fits of IT’S NOT FUNNY.

And I go, Leta, you’re being really cute, why isn’t it funny? And before I could even get the question out she angrily roared, “BECAUSE IT’S NOT A FREAKIN’ TUTU.”

  • PunkinP

    2010/02/01 at 2:46 pm

    I think we need to see a photo of Miss Cami’s ensemble. Am I right? I’m just about dying to see this outfit!!!

  • adrienne jackson

    2010/02/01 at 2:52 pm

    i’m already in the it’s not funny stage with my three year old, i have to ‘not laugh’ about four times a day …..and yes, a picture of that outfit?

  • Just Jill

    2010/02/01 at 2:52 pm

    I appreciate the lesson regarding frozen fish. Thanks for that. And I have a 7 year old who sings out crazily as well. I understand you can’t laugh, but don’t even look at him – and that’s the hard part cause he’s so damn cute!

  • Cheeky Muffy

    2010/02/01 at 2:59 pm

    I think what Cami meant to say was “fucking tutu.” That is what she really means so she should just say it. I don’t buy the whole Mormon flip, fudge, fetch replacement for fuck. The intent is the same, just say fuck.

    And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

  • pinkbrain

    2010/02/01 at 2:57 pm

    Cursing my mother for calling my girl parts “tutu”.
    Freakin tutu making me blush…

  • AndreaP

    2010/02/01 at 3:00 pm

    Haha. I love it when kids swear! Well almost swear. And being that I am known for my foul language, it’s usually me that causes it.


  • medwards

    2010/02/01 at 2:59 pm

    out of the mouth of babes…. I got a freakin really good laugh at that, thanks.

  • smithie1996

    2010/02/01 at 3:07 pm

    …ready to ride and spread the alarm
    to every Middlesex village and farm…”

    Thanks a lot.

  • hegwer

    2010/02/01 at 3:13 pm

    I hate to break this to you, but Betsy Ross would look HOT in ankle boots, men’s basketball shorts, and a biker jacket.

  • hoosiergirl1962

    2010/02/01 at 3:39 pm

    One day Leta will be a famous Speed Metal Diva and you will be singing along with “Its Not A Freaking Tutu”..

  • MissCaron

    2010/02/01 at 3:14 pm

    Oh. My. God. I FREAKIN’ love it! That’s definitely one you wish you had on video to play at her wedding some day!

  • Shana in Texas

    2010/02/01 at 3:16 pm

    Yeah, why are 5 year olds so freakin’ sensitive about laughter when THEY are being funny (and know it!)? They’re so damn sensitive and won’t acknowledge the difference between “laughing at the cute thing you are doing” vs. “laughing at you”. Gah! So many freakin’ fun moments have been ruined as we reassure Her Highness that we weren’t intending to be MEAN.

  • susanruffin

    2010/02/01 at 3:17 pm

    The child has lawyer written all over her. Priceless!

  • agablack

    2010/02/01 at 3:18 pm

    I probably should not be saying this in public, but I would have most likely peed myself if in Heather’s place. As it had happened once, or twice, before when LOL was highly inappropriate and I was forcing it back inside.

    Yes to the photo of Cami! For inspiration… not?

  • mommica

    2010/02/01 at 3:21 pm

    My daughter is only two and she doesn’t think anything is funny. Except when I am sternly telling her not to spit/throw food on the floor/pull the dog’s tail. Then she grins and says “funny” over and over again. She gets it from her father, I’m sure.

  • Megan Ellen

    2010/02/01 at 3:22 pm

    That would have been one to have on film…in case she does go rogue someday and become a Mormon.

  • Dbbdnns

    2010/02/01 at 3:24 pm

    LOL. Brought back a memory from the late 90’s – trying not to laugh while my then five-year-old niece sang Spice Girls – highly inappropriate AND she kept messing up the lyrics. But if we laughed she was so distraught she did look like a puppy who had been punched in the face.

  • Soapourri

    2010/02/01 at 3:27 pm

    I really related to the “looked at me for translation”. This happens constantly in our house, even with teenagers. Their dad will say something, and they’ll look at me. I guess the reason is, “everything starts and ends with Mom!!”

  • itcouldbelove

    2010/02/01 at 3:28 pm

    I seriously wish you had a video of all of this. That would be golden.

    I third/fourth/fifth/sixteenth the notion that we want a picture of Cami’s outfit.

  • SerenityNOW

    2010/02/01 at 3:33 pm

    But I have salmon in my freezer that says “January 10, 2009.” So, what you’re saying is that I shouldn’t use it? Un-freakin’-believable.

  • liefie

    2010/02/01 at 3:47 pm

    how is there no video of this?! i thought you had a camera attached to your head specifically for this reason?
    on a completely unrelated note: the spam filter is asking me for the word “quinones”? really? good thing i’m a science geek…

  • Absent Minded Housewife

    2010/02/01 at 4:00 pm

    “Freakin’ tutu”? What an ignert thing to say about a perfectly acceptable article of clothing to wear in your own home.

  • Absent Minded Housewife

    2010/02/01 at 4:01 pm

    I keep my tutus in chester draws.

  • brandyn

    2010/02/01 at 4:14 pm

    Your world makes my world a better place.

  • josephine

    2010/02/01 at 4:18 pm

    @#5 pinkbrain – I just about died laughing reading your comment. I will never think about tutus the same way. 🙂

    Love this post Heather – I agree with many others – accompanying pictures are desired! (though not technically needed, thanks to your mad story telling skillz)

    yikes, did I just write skillZ with a Z? i meant it though, i really did!

  • Vander

    2010/02/01 at 4:29 pm

    Can you PLEASE tell us how you got that Rubik’s Cube attached to Chuck’s head? PLEASE?

    Also, one of these days, I am going to remember my log-on info. I swear.

  • Vander

    2010/02/01 at 4:31 pm

    Whew. Found the answer in Community. Thanks.

  • Andie10

    2010/02/01 at 4:35 pm

    That was freakin’ funny! 🙂

  • Mandy

    2010/02/01 at 4:41 pm

    God that’s funny and so cute. It’s sooo hard to not laugh when they swear! Considering we aren’t adverse to a bit of swearing in our house, it’s surprising how long it took for my five year old to spice his language up a bit.

    As I tend to use it in the car, ‘Fucken Hell’ is Pascal’s favourite. I tell him that I shouldn’t really say it and it’s just wrong coming from a five year old so he’ll do the singing thing. He’ll be playing and murmuring/singing a little ditty about transformers or ben 10 and slip in a sly ‘faaakeeeen hi-ell’ and I’ll look at him and he’ll say ‘what?’ and I’ll keep looking at him and he’ll roll his eyes and say ‘muum, I said faaar’ or sometimes it’s ‘bucken’ or ‘ducken’…now he’s got ‘friggin’ from somewhere which he says when he’s angry (which is when I find it the hardest not the laugh). He’ll go ‘You’re such a friggin!’

    The other night he couldn’t sleep and came up into the loungeroom where we were watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. No sooner as he sat down, Larry David dropped the F bomb and Pascal looked at me half smiling half pretend shock and said ‘He said the F word’ then he shook his head and said ‘I don’t like how this show is designed’ and told us he wasn’t going to say it again. And actually, he hasn’t..

  • table4five

    2010/02/01 at 4:43 pm

    That’s hilarious! It’s not a FREAKIN’ tutu, it’s just a tutu!

    I love this month’s banner!

  • Rena Gray

    2010/02/01 at 4:51 pm

    I really think you should skip HGTV and go straight to a reality show about your life.

  • Bree

    2010/02/01 at 4:59 pm

    LOLOL Ahhhh that just made Monday all worth it. 🙂

  • JoeKableauex

    2010/02/01 at 5:26 pm

    Happy 6th birthday to the multicolored tutu wearin’ Leta!

  • girlvaughn

    2010/02/01 at 5:35 pm

    so funny.

    of course, I am trying to hold in the laughter while reading this, like she can see me or something…

  • shereen

    2010/02/01 at 5:36 pm

    laughing at a five year old is like punching a puppy in the face…best comparison ever!

  • MelissaJ

    2010/02/01 at 5:45 pm

    watching Leta grow up…so fun.


    love that kid.

  • coolcatana

    2010/02/01 at 6:03 pm

    I love Leta, she is awesome. How you managed to hold it in even for a moment, I’ll never know.

  • coolcatana

    2010/02/01 at 6:17 pm

    I love Leta, she is awesome. How you managed to hold it in even for a moment, I’ll never know.

  • Honest2Betsy

    2010/02/01 at 6:20 pm

    I was so shocked the other day when my 4-year old suddenly belted “Get me my fucking spoon, Mom!”

    Like, mouth agape.

    “What did you say?”

    “I said, please.”

    “Please what?”

    “Please get me a fork n’ spoon!”


  • pooberrymama

    2010/02/01 at 7:01 pm

    Hey Heather….just so you know 4-H is still alive and kicking! And I was nerd enough to make it my career! I was also nerd enought to get super excited when you mentioned it! Love your blog…can’t live without it! PS I would TIVO the HECK out of a reality show about your life!

  • proudmary

    2010/02/01 at 7:57 pm

    I’m sorry to say, that pic of Jon in the header makes him look like a serial-killer lounge singer. creeeeepy.

  • KateHouse

    2010/02/01 at 8:15 pm

    Huh. They just don’t make Mormons like they used to.

  • whatwasithinking

    2010/02/01 at 8:22 pm

    My son is only 15 months but he HATES to be laughed at and has hated it for a few months now! He bursts into tears anytime we laugh at him. How does he already know to be offended?

  • doublebuttons

    2010/02/01 at 8:44 pm

    That entire exchange with Leta was priceless.

  • Meredith

    2010/02/01 at 8:57 pm

    Oh freakin’ hell that is the funniest thing I’ve heard in weeks. It’s my new mantra. When I’m stressed out I will now close my eyes and repeat, “it’s not a freakin’ tutuuuuuu.” Thank you Leta.

  • BigMamaCass

    2010/02/01 at 9:26 pm

    I am with PunkinP on this one. Where’s the picture of Cami?? 🙂

  • Heather Alexander

    2010/02/01 at 9:39 pm

    I see Leta as a punk rocker when she hits 16 years old. “Not a freakin’ tutu” will be a smash hit.

  • Maureen Y

    2010/02/01 at 9:54 pm

    Ohhh, my boyfriend’s parents have 3 year old salmon in their freezer and they eat it and it smells GROSS!

    Anywho, this was a funny post. I laughed.

  • Leball

    2010/02/01 at 11:30 pm

    That was Freakin’ funny! I would love to see you do stand up.

  • Bubbinga

    2010/02/01 at 11:44 pm

    If I had been drinking milk, it would’ve shot out of my nose just now, except that I’m enjoying a martini and, as much as I lurve you, I’m not willing to waste good vodka.

    Ooh! Excellent reCAPTCHA! “yummier ballistic”

    I feel like I just won a Grammy®!

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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