This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

So far, so good

I’ve recently made friends with a lovely woman up the street who kindly took pity on me when she noticed that I spend my entire day with my husband. Not that Jon is difficult to live or work with. He is my soul mate and best friend. But, come on. Space in a marriage is vital to its long term survival. Almost as vital as sex. I said ALMOST. Nothing is more important than sex. Except maybe Radiohead.

Her name is Kate, and she has a gorgeous sixteen-month-old son. She’s been inviting me to play dates with her friends who have similarly-aged children, and if Marlo’s awake I’ll bring her with me. If she’s not, I’ll go anyway to sip some wine. Oh wait, did I just admit that we drink during play dates?! At least I didn’t mention the hookers! Close call!

Earlier this week they were meeting at a local park, and since they were holding the play date at the time we normally pick up Leta from school I decided to bring her instead of Marlo. It’d be some quality time between the two of us, and when I mentioned it to her before school it was like handing a habitual gambler your American Express Card.

A PARK? AFTER SCHOOL? WHERE SHE COULD PLAY?!!! I’m not gonna lie. Utah winters are good for at least one thing: giving me ample opportunity to play superhero.

I didn’t grow up in a climate where it snows this much, but I can imagine that hearing someone say, “Not until the snow melts,” every day for seven months could make you want to register for a gun.

I didn’t know if there were going to be any other kids her age at the park, but I assumed that since she’s so careful and sweet with Marlo that if pressed she’d be the same way with the younger kids. And you guys! I assumed right! THAT DOESN’T EVER HAPPEN. Hurry, Jon! While I’m on a winning streak head toward the kitchen! And then in ten minutes the dishwasher will be unloaded!

In fact, I was blown away by my kid, and it was one of those very rare moments when you take a look at yourself as a parent and can see the evidence that you’re performing this task successfully. Most of the time you just hope that you’re handling everything in a way that doesn’t produce an eventual sociopath, and you don’t ever get to see that, oh. You mean throwing that glass of water in his face when he was three caused him to stalk people when he was 30? OOPS!

She was so gentle and soft with those kids, and when we sent her running after Kate’s son who was headed toward the street she gleefully took up the challenge. She shared their soccer balls, showed them how to take turns, and always handed it back to them if one started to feel cheated. And the entire time she smiled and laughed effortlessly. I wanted to call Jon right then and go, the Internet is wrong about us! WE’RE DOING IT RIGHT! WE’RE DOING IT RIGHT!

  • William

    That pic…beautiful. My son Maxfield is a month younger than Leta. Is it too early to talk about an arranged marriage between the two?

  • amybjorge

    Today I looked out the window and dropped an F bomb.
    It’s March, Utard! Get a f***ing clue!

  • tara wanders

    leta rocks in all the right ways.

  • irritableblogsyndrome

    So sweet.

  • coreylambert

    Mmm. Wine.

  • jumpgirl411

    How beautiful!

  • bwsf

    God, what would playgroups *be* without wine?

  • carosyrup

    About a year and a half or two years ago maybe, I spotted you, Jon and Leta in Target. I didn’t approach you because I didn’t want to disturb you but I remember how soft-spoken and gentle Leta appeared to be (and how all of you were very quiet – much unlike me and my own children, LOL). Of course, I never had any doubts but I remember thinking at the time that the Armstrong’s were doing it right. 🙂

    And a playgroup with wine? That just rocks.

  • Passementerie

    Sounds wonderful – I hope my own toddler turns out to be as sweet!

    And can I just say that I sat across from Thom Yorke in a cafe here in Oxford at lunch the other day…? I get the impression that this is something which might interest you!

  • gemandnice

    Holy shit Heather.
    I think you just made my heart stop.

    I am impressed by this alone because hello! been rooting for you over here!
    My heart, literally, in my throat.

    Congratulations on so many levels.
    You have indeed earned it. No matter what the Internet says.

  • 3xx1xy

    Great Kid-o, there! You never know how they’ll perform, you just have to give them that opportunity and hope to God they don’t make you look like the worst parent ever. 🙂

  • winecat

    Of course you’re doing it right, most of us have known that all along. Look at that beautiful little face and savor every minute of joy you felt at the park.
    You and Jon rock as parents.

  • Amanda Brumfield

    She is just the most beautiful little soul.

  • Michael F.

    Of course you are raising your children right.

    It’s the loudmouthed, drooling goofballs on the Internet that were, and are, wrong.

    Great post, beautiful photo. Love what you’re doing – keep it up!

  • Dogmom

    My mother told me once that she fell in love with me all over again when, as a 12-year-old, she came over to a house where I was babysitting and saw how tender and loving I was towards my 2- and 3-year-old charges. I never really “got” what she meant by that until today, Heather, and I hadn’t thought about that statement for decades. I am 56 years old now and lost my mother many years ago. I don’t have children myself, and so I probably could not generate that feeling that she was trying to describe to me. Thank you for bringing tears to my eyes today while I’m sitting in my office. Love you.

  • Peter P

    Ooooo, that’s good, Leta

    With the ‘eyepans’ and the ‘attitude-o-the-moment,’

    Maybe she could turn out to be the proverbial ‘Queen o’ England…’ Or maybe she’s that snarky bitch that never lets you forget that you forgot to get the correct price for that eighth that y’all was scoring from Javier in the hood.

  • Peter P

    I swear…

    These may be the last pair of clean socks in my drawer… and Lloyd just called to tell me that ‘Those ‘n Them’ are meeting at the Winner’s Circle for some “drinks and such” tonite…

    I swear, I shan’t obsess about the fact that these are the LAST clean pair of socks in my drawer…

    Goddamnit.. I KNOW how to do laundry. I’ve, in fact, done it before… But ‘To–nite??.’

    MOTHER-Fucker… I just know that my feet’ll stink and that my conversation shall also.

    …Wait a minute… (a brilliant white light shines upon my brilliantly white bald forehead, then someone.. or something’s trying to communicate………..

    FRANKIE SAYS…’relax……………’

    Oh, Fuck me, ??

  • Laura Jones

    Enjoy the interlude between now and teenager years.

  • kadiprescott

    Once I had one of those moments with my son. It only lasted a second before I realized that the other six kids had set the back yard fence on fire. Unfortunately, there were potential buyers looking at our house at that moment. I’ve dared had another proud moment again. I just can’t risk it.

  • Candy

    Parenting Rule #1 – ALWAYS trust your instincts.

    Parenting Rule #2 – NEVER listen to the crazies.

  • theotherlion

    As a little sister with an amazing big sister, it makes me so happy to read these posts. =)

  • button

    Yay! Way to go. Parenting can be so rewarding!

  • seekingelevation

    This is all we ask for. The occasional sign that we are not creating the next una-bomber. Nice work. Write a manual. Please.

  • KateH

    I hope you will now believe the nice side of the interwebs (in which I include myself, because I’m an egomaniac) when we tell you you’re doing a great job.

    OK?

  • Margaret W

    3 words: Leta. is. awesome.

  • witchuponastar

    Don’t listen to the internet; we’re nuts.

  • HalfAss Krissa

    BWAHAHAHA! So what happens when the internet is telling you you’re doing it right! I can’t believe you took anything seriously some nut on here says you are doing wrong! Stop it! You are way to much in the public eye to worry about every little crackpot who comments.
    good job you guys! 😉

  • lulubelle456

    That is such a beautiful picture of her. Combined with that story I feel like I see a glimpse of her as a teenager! Leta sounds so wonderful, good job!

  • mandora

    Here’s what I’ve learned…. if you’re a bad parent, you don’t CARE if you’re doing it right. If you ask that question, then you’re doing your best, which equals a good parent.

    Congrats on raising a mindful and caring little person.

  • lovingthismomstuff

    She is a beautiful child. I can’t wait to see what she’s like as she grows older. She’ll be spectacular!!

    Liz

  • callieadams

    Leta is BEAUTIFUL. This is the real reason you blog, huh? It’s the reason I blog. I love it when people tell me how gorgeous my kids are.

  • Leslie_Yum

    IN YOUR FACE, INTERNET TROLLS!!