Heater, Mother of Lance

Featured community question with accompanying sappy ending

Today’s featured question comes from user kebhome:

If ever there was a question with so many possible answers from one person depending on what stage of life she’s in.

As a kid: “How many days until Christmas?”

As a teenager: “Please let today be a good hair day, please let today be a good hair day, please let today be a good hair day…”

In college: “I cannot wait to have sex.”

Early twenties: “Should not have had that last shot of tequila.”

Late twenties: “BABIES! BABIES! BABIES!”

Early thirties: “What I would give to wake up one morning and have my biggest worry be whether or not my hair is going to look good.”

Now that Marlo is nine months old, we’ve settled into a pretty predictable routine, and at this stage in life predictable is delicious. Every morning Leta wanders into our room sometime between 5:30 and 6AM, heads over to Jon’s side of the bed and goes DAD. DAD. DAD. DAD. This goes on for about seventeen DADs until I punch him in the back and he jumps with a WHAH?! BEAVERS?! DUCKS!? TACO SALAD.

When he finally realizes what’s going on he’ll bury his head into his pillow and mumble, “Leta, go play in your room.” This is only part of the ritual, because Leta will go, “So you want me to go play in my room?” And Jon can’t respond simply YES or THAT’S WHAT I SAID. He must say the words, “Yes, I want you to go play in your room.” And if he veers at all from this script the whole scene has to start over at the beginning, except the second rendition usually involves a lot of spontaneous yelling and blaming my side of the family.

Then we try to go back to sleep until Marlo wakes up, usually between 6:30 and 7AM. I sleep with the monitor on my side of the bed, and I wait to make any move until her waking sounds have transitioned from COME. GET. ME. NOW. to okay, they are ignoring me, fine, what very cute sounds can I make to entertain myself? Baba? Dada? Deeda? MAMA! MAMA MAMA! And then I nudge Jon and go, “It’s time. She’s being adorable.”

I stumble upstairs to make the bottle (remember, our kitchen is upstairs because Utah is weird), and Jon corrals Leta and they go retrieve the baby. That’s usually when the earth splits in half because of Marlo’s delighted howling. She’s sort of happy about Jon, yes, but it’s Leta that drives her wild. Mad. INSANE. And then Jon has to wrestle Marlo like a wild badger to change her diaper successfully. Usually he walks away bleeding.

We all meet back in the bedroom for what will be the quietest ten minutes of our day, what could possibly be the best ten minutes of our day: Marlo nestled into Jon’s arm eating her breakfast, Jon reading Twitter, Leta waiting patiently until the moment she can tickle her little sister. And usually I’m lying on my side of the bed thinking, “This really is all I ever hoped it would be.”





(All these were taken on my iPhone this morning using the Hipstamatic app, pairing Kodot Verichrome film with the John S Lens.)

  • TexasKatie

    2010/03/26 at 9:36 am

    Your kitchen is UPSTAIRS? That is bizarre!

    Great pictures! 🙂

  • jon

    2010/03/26 at 9:40 am

    I need to talk to a plastic surgeon about my Nixonian level jowls.

  • dooce

    2010/03/26 at 9:41 am

    Our house is built into the side of a hill. All bedrooms downstairs, kitchen and living room upstairs on the street level. The basement is such that you can walk out of it into the backyard.

  • Shelly

    2010/03/26 at 9:42 am


  • LittleBlueWorld

    2010/03/26 at 9:46 am

    My ovaries just popped from the preciousness.

  • crazycatladyinthemaking

    2010/03/26 at 9:47 am

    First thought of most of my days?

    That’s what I get for choosing freelance writing as a way of life and then being widowed at 42 and having three kids turn into teenagers in a place where the legal drinking age is nineTEEN.

    “Fuck.” is actually an incredibly optimistic outlook under the circumstances.

  • poopinginpeace

    2010/03/26 at 9:52 am

    I wish it were that calm in my house in the morning. It used to be a little more like that until my kids got a little older. Now it consists of me dragging the 5 year old out of bed to get to school on time, getting the 3 year old dressed RIGHT NOW before her world ends, and the 20 month old yelling Mommy! until I get her out of her crib. Yeah there’s no quiet parts of my day, but I’ll be honest, it’s still everything I hoped it would be too and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 🙂

  • JaHoolia

    2010/03/26 at 9:56 am

    Those 10 minutes make every washing machine dickwad repair man worth it.

  • deborahjmum

    2010/03/26 at 9:57 am

    Okay, Jon, please help me and I promise I won’t comment on your jo…(see?) The thing is, I can’t see them! Above, I can see the second and fourth photos, and the first and third are blank (with a little x in the top left corner.) This has been happening to me on dooce.com for a while, and I’ve tried to get help but didn’t know where to ask. The daily photo etc. is always visible, but the flickr photos show up for me on a random basis, sometimes yes sometimes no. Please help me — I don’t want to miss any dooce deliciousness. And Heather, you are absolutely right — this is the greatest time. Enjoy it to its fullest. My “baby” is now 16 and a very sweet guy but just won’t snuggle anymore.

  • MissMegs

    2010/03/26 at 10:02 am


    I think its just a bad position. As long as you don’t have a jiggling double chin when you are sitting up straight looking ahead… you are okay.

    My boss’ double (triple?) chin jiggles when he talks. I stare at it.

  • Christabellyo

    2010/03/26 at 10:08 am

    I have this same routine with my cats and my girlfriend.

    Yay for happy families!

  • WideAwakeWife

    2010/03/26 at 10:09 am

    I love mornings where we can all crawl into bed together! They don’t happen nearly often enough for us, but they’re magically when they do!!

  • luv and kiwi

    2010/03/26 at 10:15 am

    i’m glad i’m not the only one in my late 20s thinking “babies! babies!”

    i think i’m totally gonna turn into that sad mama penguin that tries to steal another penguins kid if i don’t pop out one of my own soon…

    note to self: must find a mate.

  • Fish 2.0

    2010/03/26 at 10:15 am

    I feel your pain on the slightly-too-early wakeup call. After a month of sleeping until 6:00, our seven-month-old has now taken to waking up at 4:30 and making ridiculously cute anger-melting cooing noises–early enough that it’s still classified as “night time,” but late enough that it really doesn’t pay to try to go back asleep when you have to get up at 5:30, anyway. She’s not hungry or angry, and she doesn’t have a dirty diaper. She just wants to play! At 4:30! In the a.m.!

  • Trish has 3 girls

    2010/03/26 at 10:30 am

    I absolutely love it! Our 2 big girls get in bed with us early in the morning and we all go back to sleep. Then when the 19 month old monkey wakes, we put her in bed with us and all snuggle up and love until there is just too much jumping on the bed. It goes from delighted, domestic bliss to annoyance too quickly. But it is all I ever dreamed it would be.

  • Ex Files Chick

    2010/03/26 at 10:38 am

    Enjoy it while it lasts!

    In the blink of an eye you’ll be laying in bed listening to the sound of hands running along the wall trying to remain verticle, and the stifled giggle of a sixteen year old who has had too many Tequila shots. If you listen very carefully, you’ll hear a ‘tap tap tap’ on her bedroom window.

    Leprechaun? Nope. Boyfriend? YEP.

    At which point Jon will get up, and you’ll hear the “click, click” of gun being loaded…

  • TexasKatie

    2010/03/26 at 10:38 am

    @Dooce, my parents house is like that. It is built into a the side of a hill, also. When you walk in the front door, you have the first level – which has the kitchen and dining rooms, a couple bedrooms and a family room, and then downstairs is the basement, which also has several rooms but they don’t use them as bedrooms. They are more like extra office space and living space. When you walk out the basement sliding glass door, you are in the backyard. They have a second floor (or third floor, however you want to look at it), too, with a couple bedrooms up there and an attic.

    I have a better picture in my head of what your house is like. That is neat, actually – I always loved the setup of my parents house!

  • Figtron

    2010/03/26 at 10:42 am

    Cling, cling, cling to these very moments…they are the sweetest, tiniest, most fleeting divisions of our lives and must not be overlooked. The will be gone almost instantly.

    Jon: Dude…hush about your jowls. At least your neck and chin don’t diverge into one solid, indivisible mass like mine does.

  • KatieMama

    2010/03/26 at 10:46 am

    That is saptastic, love it.

  • ame_me

    2010/03/26 at 10:56 am

    Comment 5 & 13 stole my thoughts.

  • sarahfromthenorth

    2010/03/26 at 11:47 am

    My one and only baby boy turns 9 today!!

    Awww .. I just love this post it brings back such wonderful memories of that precious time when he was a baby.

    Then I slapped myself and said hey lady .. I’ve got it good, now my son gets himself up and goes and plays computer on a saturday morning while my husband and I sleep, ahhhh bliss!

    It’s a beautiful image you portray for us though, beautiful!

  • linuxchik

    2010/03/26 at 11:58 am

    hmmm, i really liked this post for some reason. i think the pictures remind me of hogwart’s.

  • spokeit

    2010/03/26 at 12:02 pm

    I love those pictures, and this image- the four of you snuggling and having quiet times…and I love that Leta loves Marlo.

    BUT, why is it that I’m most baffled that I’ve finally seen the other side of your bedroom? I had no idea that’s where that other fireplace resided. We’ve only ever seen it from the other angle.

  • snapshotmemoirs

    2010/03/26 at 12:15 pm

    OK lady, I’m sitting here at Little Monkey Biz and have had people looking at me like I’m nuts as I burst into laughter! I especially relate to the difference between how you and your husband wake up. It’s as if they have no ears when it comes to children! I can hear my child through a tornado, I swear! But I have to do the same thing with Dan…I give him a chance each morning (God knows why because he never wakes up on his own) and then end up kicking him out of sheer jealousy/hate/annoyance. How the heck is he sleeping when our 3 year old has slammed open the door (I say that because it makes the same sound as if he slammed it shut), stomped his little self over to the bed, and finished a whole dissertation on how hungry he is and how he absolutely NEEDS food RIGHT NOW!?? I’m always threatening to take a mommy weekend away, but I don’t because I know my husband would sleep through the whole thing while my kids destroy the house and attempt to feed themselves cereal for 3 days straight.Oh the joy!

    I’m only saddened to say that my first thought every morning these days is “ugh!” simply because I am weaning myself off of Cymbalta (the satan of all drugs) and find that I could use a hibernation before anyone should have to deal with me. Anyhoo…thanks for continuing to give me perspective and some dang good laughs! You’re a gem!

  • carolinamarie

    2010/03/26 at 12:53 pm

    that I now have to go back and rethink the draft on my blog, which is, too, about the start of our day that takes place in our bed with our girls. Damn. It just wasn’t a topic meant to be. Anyway, I thoroughly loved this entry. The simple things in life are what hold so much beauty. I get it. 🙂

  • dominiquewynand

    2010/03/26 at 1:03 pm

    Posts like these make me breathe a little slower and just bask in the warm fuzziness of it all…

  • shazzanorth

    2010/03/26 at 1:08 pm

    But where are the dogs during all this peace and quiet?

  • kristanhoffman

    2010/03/26 at 1:08 pm

    Beyond awesome. This is just what I needed to read at the end of a week of CHAOS. (Yes, it warrants all caps. I learned that from you. :P)

  • d3 voiceworks

    2010/03/26 at 1:14 pm

    i am somehow … dubious.

    all that peace and love in the morning?
    marlo in a routine?
    you in bed taking it all in,
    doing nothing but taking it all in?

    i have no choice but to believe you. 🙂

    it is much diff in our morning household with 6 year old and 12 month old.

    i remain,
    jealous in salt lake, just west of all a y’alls.

  • parentcoachsusan

    2010/03/26 at 1:17 pm

    I love the quiet perfect moments. I think that there are many of these during the day as well. Sometimes we just get too busy to notice. Try making eye contact with your kids at least 5 times a day. This will force you to slow down and notice the calm even in the wake of chaos.

  • aslapintheface

    2010/03/26 at 1:31 pm

    I have five teenagers. Then NEVER come and wake me up in the morning. I set the alarm. I wake up early and I go through the routine of walking to their bedrooms, opening the doors, announcing the morning, telling them to get up. Then I go to the bathroom and go back to tell them again to get up. The girls are well … girls and they require more time to “get ready” so they actually get up 30 minutes earlier than the boys, but when it is time to get the boys up I literally have to turn on the lights, take away their covers, douse them with ice water and use an air horn to get them out of bed. Oh how I miss the days of “momma momma momma … can I get up now”.

  • spedrson

    2010/03/26 at 1:33 pm

    A big thumbs up on waiting for Marlo to get to her happy place before you go in to get her. We’ve done this with both of our kids! We still do this with our 2-1/2 year old. If I get her too soon she’s even more irritable.

  • linda_keddie

    2010/03/26 at 1:34 pm

    What a great post. Your girls sound like such special little people, and you should be very proud of your gorgeous little family 🙂

  • William

    2010/03/26 at 1:53 pm

    It looks like Ben Folds reading twitter in bead next to you.

  • mywholelife

    2010/03/26 at 2:04 pm

    Wow. You know what? I really needed that this morning. Thank you.

  • Curiosity

    2010/03/26 at 2:05 pm

    That’s beautiful.

    I usually wake up with one cat contentedly snuggled against me and the other wedging her head into my back like a fiend on cue once the alarm goes off. Sometimes it is not just my back. That cat is too smart for her own good.

  • cdanojohnson

    2010/03/26 at 2:38 pm

    In Alaska a lot of the homes have the same damn layout, bedrooms downstairs in the dank and dark where the bears can eat you, and the kitchen upstairs to run to quickly to get a steak to bait them away.

  • minxlj

    2010/03/26 at 3:23 pm

    That’s so beautiful 🙂 Really made me smile after an awful few weeks. Lots of love to you all x

  • alexandrahlw

    2010/03/26 at 3:29 pm

    Your morning sounds equal parts hilarious and cozy. Those pictures of all of you hanging out in bed make me want to crawl in them they’re so sweet. Ok, that’s awkward. Let me be clear- I don’t want to hop in YOUR bed. I just love this image. I’m glad it’s all you hoped it would be. It’s certainly what I hope it will be. 🙂

  • Mara T.

    2010/03/26 at 3:45 pm

    Sounds like a perfect morning. Awww. Great pictures, too!

  • MichelleBarra

    2010/03/26 at 5:01 pm

    What? A new iPhone app? I’m still having so much fun with TiltShift Generator thanks to you. Loving it sick!! Of course, will immediately download Hipstamatic now too. There goes my Saturday 🙂

    And warm snuggles in bed with all of that impossibly smooth child skin and soft warm neck nuzzles – there’s nothing better.

  • Thais Csik

    2010/03/26 at 6:32 pm

    You made me laugh and you made me cry! Can’t wait to have ten minutes like this.


  • BirdyMama

    2010/03/26 at 6:59 pm

    Make a bottle? What’s Marlo drinking these days?

  • susanruffin

    2010/03/26 at 8:58 pm

    You really want to know my first thoughts? My 56 year old self wants to know if I’ll be able to poop this morning. Regularity is a bonus these days. And will the metatarsals and trick right knee work all day or do I need my man servant? And why did I mow the whole front yard with the mowing deck on 6 (as in wheat field) yesterday? Life’s possibilities have narrowed a bit.

  • vent

    2010/03/26 at 9:29 pm

    Beautiful post, Heather.

    Thank you.

  • Ray1987

    2010/03/26 at 10:52 pm

    Big LOL at all your early morning thoughts as you went from child to woman. Crazy how life changes so much. You have a beautiful family. Bless you all.

  • Googooboyy

    2010/03/27 at 1:01 am

    Is the ambience purposely greenish? Or is it St Patricks too long?

  • christophernaze

    2010/03/27 at 1:52 am

    I grew up in a house where the bedrooms were on the 2nd and 3rd floor down from the main floor. (Ah, the glories of the ’70’s sunken living room…)

    Try the incantations of Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t”. It worked for my cholic-y 2nd child.

  • DomesticatedGal

    2010/03/27 at 8:21 am

    First Thought of the Day:

    Where the hell is the Snooze button on this monitor??b

  • manitobamama

    2010/03/27 at 10:52 am

    @ dooce, maybe try this with Leta in the morning: set an alarm clock in her room (for 6:30am) and tell her she’s to play in her room until the music comes on? It worked for my sis.
    We love mornings here too.

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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