An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.”

  • sharken

    side note about the fish: my aunt for christmas made 13 YEAR OLD PRIME RIB. yep, it had been in their deep freeze for 13 years, or something ridiculous like that. YUCK! luckily I wasn’t present.

  • Annalisa

    OMG. I graduated from “the Y” in 1986. “Fetch” and “Fetchin'” were the lingo back then. I hated hearing the RM’s say that. It’s sooooo funny to hear Leta (yes, I can hear that resonate in my head after your wonderful description) say “IT’S NOT A FREAKIN’ TUTU”. I’m going to use that, Leta, at least once in a sentence today. Perhaps you can patent it. It’s priceless. I would say “back to my Chardonnay” but it’s 10.46 a.m. here in the Netherlands. I’ll wait until tonight. :o)

  • eleanorstrousers

    I might have made it through the first “It’s not a freakin’ tutu,” but I would have lost it at the song. This is why I hope not to have a 5, going on 6 year old for another 8, going on 9 years. Until I’m more mature.

  • WarsawMommy

    Yeah, we can’t laugh at our 3-year-old either. I swear he does adorable stuff on purpose, just to make us burst a blood vessel holding the laughter in.

    And forget the photo of Cami – I want to see the freakin’ tutu!

  • TexasKatie

    Yeah, totally not allowed to laugh at my 5 year old niece, either. She gets enraged. Which is sort of funny and makes me want to do it even MORE!

    I love the “It’s Not a Freakin’ Tutu” song. Will be as popular as “Pants on the Ground” before you know it!

  • tokenblogger

    It. Is. Not. A. Freaking. Tutu.

  • gail37

    I have to admit I laughed heartily at the Daily Chuck while saying aloud (to no one…there’s no one but me here) “That poor dog!!”

  • momdot

    The other day DH was playing video games and charlotte got up from her nap and witnessed the wrath of the xbox and yelled SHIT! just as DH was about to be shot.

    He said..what did you say? She said…I said Shoot. I AM 5 years old, daddy. I can say that.

    See how she corrected the cuss word though? I think wise beyond her years.


  • ashlafone

    Love to see Leta in that giant TUTU!! 🙂

  • Kar

    Wait, so last time Cami was over, (And you cooked!) and Cami almost set her face on fire, and Jon was at the emergency room, you also served bad fish?


  • JanetP

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love the way you tell the story; it’s almost as if I were there to witness Leta improvising her song. I love the way she incorporated Cami’s word into the song in a way that made total sense! No wonder you couldn’t hold the laughter in; Leta is adorable


    Really? I have a son almost the exact age as Leta. If we laugh at him he gets this expression on his face like “YES! SUCCESS!” and continues to do whatever it was that provoked the laughter for weeks.

  • PAdrienne

    Wow your cautionary tale of the bad frozen fish is haunting me… this is one of my worst nightmares along with accidentally getting one of my long hairs in something that I cook or bake and serving it to company!!!

    Love the story about Leta – you have 5 year olds pegged! My little guy who is also 5 years does the same thing when he thinks that anyone is laughing at him. If we are, it is only because he has said or done something adorable but he does not see it that way.

    He does the fist up and clenched teeth thing and says calmly but with a pissed off tone (think Dirty Harry) “It’s not funny!” And he glares at us (me,hubby,his older bro and sis)… it is frightening and hard not to keep laughing.

  • Suzanne

    4-H?!! Dooce, if it’s possible, I love you even more!

  • zephyr826

    I happened to read this while my students were taking a quiz, and I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Curse you and your hilarious anecdotes!

  • k8

    this reminds me of the time that my son, then 5, refused to eat his meatballs and the disagreement over said culinary torture devolved into him screaming “I DON’T LOVE YOU. EXCLAMATION POINT!”

    i’ve never heard punctuation turned into an expletive before….so of course i had to put myself into time out upstairs and laugh maniacally into a pillow.

    a few weeks ago, now 4 years that incident, he asked me about that night and looked so hurt when he told me he’d been thinking all this time that i had gone upstairs to cry. i wish i had had the line to steal that “laughing at a 5 year old is like punching a puppy in the face” as i tried to explain why i didn’t just do my laughing in the kitchen.

  • paul merrill

    Ahh… we love you Heather. Glad you are able to keep those tutus in order.

  • MommaGhil

    I also have a 5 (almost 6) year old. Laughing at the funny/cute/smart 5 (almost 6 year old) is a no no at our house too. I couldn’t control my giggles during this entry though 🙂

    Oh, and btw, fish is good in the freezer for up to 6 months (ever heard of Taku Smokeries in Juneau, Alaska? My home town AND former employer… I know fish haha)

  • sherylwx4

    Hey at least it was just freakin and not…..
    My 4 year old burst out in soap opera actress tears complete with grabbing her face and the sobbing bouncy shoulders. It is almost entertaining enough to make her do it- not that I’d ever do that ….

  • Sara E

    This is one of those stories that makes me think maybe I do want children after all. Hilarious!

  • uthostage

    I could just imagine all of you trying SO hard NOT to laugh. Which made me laugh even harder cuz I totally knew it was a lost cause. I also imagine that Leta getting angry would just make it worse.

    Loved this!

  • Nora_L

    The only thing that would have made this post funnier is if there had been a video of Leta singing the Freakin’ Tutu song. Much better than “pants on the ground,” I’m sure.

    I was literally laughing the entire time I read this post. Great end of work day pick me up!

  • Surviving Lotus Land

    Too funny! The “It’s Not a Freakin’ Tutu” song could be the next “Pants on the Ground”!

    Reminds me of when my youngest was dancing up a storm one day and hubby and I laughed.

    Her: Stop laughing at me
    Us: We’re not laughing AT you. We’re laughing WITH you.
    Her: No you’re not, because I’M not laughing!

    Score one for her.

  • Mama Kat

    I love it when my 6 year old tries out new words. “Oh my GOSH mom it’s freakeeng me OUT!”, but I have to say I’m far more entertained by my two year old not being able to pronounce words correctly. He walks around the house looking for “a titty” all day long. “Where titty mama? where titty?” “Wanna titty Mom…” It never gets old. God forbid the day he learns how to say KITTY.

    It sounds like Leta really looks up to Ms. Cami. Maybe that’s why her words impacted her the way they did.

  • allegrapostsforrose


    You always make me laugh and I probably say that every time I post a comment.

    Anyway, my 5 year old – Madeleine is also sooooo sensitive to ANYONE laughing when SHE is doing SOMETHING. She is so incredibly adorable when she is doing something and one can’t help but have their heart melt and laughter to follow.

    I love Leta’s attitude!! Go Leta. 🙂

  • kacyd

    Leta and my son act so much alike it is too funny. He will be 6 on the 12th of February so they are very close in age. He absolutely hates it when anyone laughs at him too. That just makes you want to laugh even more. Happy Birthday to Leta!!

  • babyblues

    I say at least she’s saying “freakin'”… my son had just turned two when I placed him at the table and upon seeing his breakfast he covered his mouth and laughed “what the fuck. what the fuck.”

    As I’ve been told it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid comment or draw any attention to foul language.

    It was the third, “what the fuck.” when I broke that rule and asked him to stop.

    what the fuck.

  • MsKathleen

    That was so cute and yes, you should post pics.

    For future info on fish – Which I love and eat a lot of —

    Never freeze fish longer than 6 months. After that, you will notice a serious decline in quality. Fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, go down hill even faster: Don’t freeze them longer than 3 months.

    And some fish should never be frozen. These are the fattiest ones, the bluefish, herring, mackerel and sardines. You can glaze them (freeze them in water), but they still decline in quality a lot. It is the air in the freezer which hurts the fish and many other types of meats. So make sure your product is vacuum sealed if possible.

  • OriHoffer

    I so want to see/hear the remix of this. I’m thinking something similar to the Christian Bale rant… NSFW link –

  • stelle

    “On the eighteenth of April, Seventy-five, hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year”

    Now just add beatboxing after every sentence and you will get an idea of what a nerd I was when two of my friends and I performed “The Midnight Ride” in front of not one, not two, but every history class my teacher had that day.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one that has that FREAKIN poem ingrained in my head for the rest of my life!

  • Kim

    I’m so excited that you’re getting into cooking! I’m eagerly awaiting your food blog … if your kickass gingerbread feature was any indication, you’ve got more talent for cooking than you give yourself credit for! It’s been my greatest anti-anxiety therapy – I love the whole process – it makes me happy and calms me down!

  • CrashTestMommy

    That’s a seriously funny story, but we still all want to know what you fed Cami for freakin dinner.

  • Ellen Crimi-Trent

    since I am the queen gutter mouth because I grew up in a household full of gutter mouths I am amazed that my kids do not swear as much as they could!
    We have taught them that they might hear the words but do not use them because they are adult words! So far so good and when I say them I get that
    gasp!! and they say “mom you said the bad word”! to which I reply “yes your right sorry so don’t say it!

  • PinayLA

    I love to laugh and I’m the type who won’t be able to hold a good laugh. I imagine how funny that scenario was especially trying sooo hard not to laugh and I can imagine how that got Leta so upset.

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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