the smell of my desperation has become a stench

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.”

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

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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