the smell of my desperation has become a stench


Several weeks ago Leta’s school conducted eye examinations, and some of our concerns were were confirmed when we found out that she did poorly both times she was given a test. The teacher pulled us aside, gave us the news, and said that Leta has a hard time reading the message board from far away. So it turns out she has her father’s eyes. This is news to no one.

I’ve had great eyesight my entire life, but Jon has had glasses since he was five years old. This was one of those times when I was like, look, I don’t know anything about what this means other than that our six-year-old is now going to need glasses. A six-year-old who refused to touch grass for the first four years of her life. A six-year-old who thinks cake is gross. A six-year-old who won’t pet her own dogs because it feels weird. And now she’s going to have to wear equipment on her face all day? This isn’t going to be difficult at all!

Kind of like coaxing an alligator into your lap so that you can brush its teeth.

And this is where the band/chorus geek in her parents blossomed into true parenting genius. Because we played up glasses as if they were the second coming of Jesus Christ. Hoo boy! GLASSES! GLAHHHH-SEHHHHHS! Like, Oprah welcoming a pair of glasses onto her stage, and guess what? Everyone in the audience is going home with a set of their own!

Guess who wears glasses? Grandmommy. Grandpa Rob. Grandma Della. Actually, each one of her grandparents wears glasses. (Let’s leave out the part about how it’s because they’re all OLD.) Daddy wears glasses! She was starting to warm up to it, and then we broke out the winner: her ten-year-old cousin Rachel wears glasses. The cousin Leta wants to be when she grows up. The cousin who once told her mother after spending a day with Leta, “I’m not sure I can take much more of her bossing me around.”

Oh, Rachel. Welcome to my life.

Turns out she’s near-sighted, and when we let her pick out the frames she chose — wait for it — the pink ones. With sparkly flowers on the arms. If it’s possible, she looks even more like Jon than she did before. The only thing missing is a mangled mess of USB cables trailing behind her as she leaves the room and occasional irrational outbursts wherein she refers to conservative friends on Facebook as “total effing nutburgers.”

Which reminds me, I accidentally referred to Marlo as an “effing turd” last week when she wouldn’t take a second nap, and Leta was all, “What does effing mean, Mom?” MINUS TEN POINTS FOR ME.

I told her it was a term of endearment that we only use at home. Ahem.

So, the same week she gets glasses, she also asks to get her hair cut. I’ve let her hair grow so long because I’ve wanted her to be a part of the decision making process when it comes to what her hair looks like. And she’s always wanted it long, at least, until she realized that all her best friends at school have shorter hair. I asked if all her friends eat broccoli, too, and she was not amused.

Oh come on, Leta! It’s a peer pressure joke! GET IT?! Ok then, let’s try it this way: Knock knock. Who’s there? A best friend who eats broccoli. MOM, THAT IS SO STUPID.

So I got her an appointment with my hairstylist, and we did it. Or I guess I should say, Leta did it. She was so incredibly brave in the face of some potentially horrifying circumstances: the place swarming with people dressed in black from head to toe; someone other than a parent soaking her entire head with water; SCISSORS EVERYWHERE. It was like walking into Tim Burton’s mind.

I held her hand through most of it, and she courageously survived the almost twenty minute blow dry. Twenty minutes! That kid sat still for twenty minutes, and she wasn’t even reading a book! Okay. Full disclosure: I promised her ice cream if she cooperated. Ice cream with syrup. That’s all it took.

I think I just figured out how to get her to fix Mama a hot dog.

  • MJBUtah

    2010/04/12 at 1:38 pm

    When my son got his glasses we made them sound SO AWESOME that his little sister went in and pretended she couldn’t see and got glasses too. It was really not funny, and sort of expensive. I mean, how do you tell the optometrist that your kid is definitely faking and doesn’t need the glasses he is prescribing? It makes you sound like the worst mother ever.

    I love the new haircut, too! So much easier to take care of, I bet.

  • blue gnu

    2010/04/12 at 1:39 pm

    What a wonderful story! Your baby is growing up! Her hair looks fantastic, too.

  • grad.nauseam

    2010/04/12 at 1:40 pm

    Oh my god, she looks so grown up! I can’t take it!

  • holly8615

    2010/04/12 at 1:41 pm

    She looks so grown up! Great glasses and cute hair, what a sassy gal.

  • cantgracefullyagree

    2010/04/12 at 1:41 pm

    Um. How much cuter can she be?! The answer is none! None more cuter.

    It’s exciting to see her grow along with you guys. 🙂 Yay Leta!

  • camillaro

    2010/04/12 at 1:41 pm

    Leta looks fantastic! Very, very cute, and so grown-up!

  • lemoineau

    2010/04/12 at 1:42 pm

    holy crap, she looks all grown up! I was her age when I got glasses, too – and of course I went right for the pink ones, as well.

    p.s. beautiful hair!

  • Hagan Squared

    2010/04/12 at 1:43 pm

    Oh holy hell. If Jon were a six year old girl…

    She is so cute and grown up and just, awwww.

  • Jacquie

    2010/04/12 at 1:43 pm

    My daughter prays for glasses. Prays to Jesus, on bended knee. I have often walked into her room to find that she has stolen mine, and is ruining her poor brain by squinting through them to decode the words in her book. Thus far, she has maintained perfect vision, much to her chagrin. I try to reassure her that her eyesight will deteriorate when she is an old lady, but somehow that does not make her feel much better. It’s a cruel, cruel world. Leta looks awesome, good luck keeping Marlo and Coco from chewing those delicious pink frames to bits.

  • Tootyjane

    2010/04/12 at 1:44 pm

    She looks great. You’re all going to enjoy the shorter hair.

  • Honey

    2010/04/12 at 1:45 pm

    As smart as Leta is, she really looks the part now! Have fun with your new look, Leta!

  • Amanda Patchin

    2010/04/12 at 1:46 pm

    Gorgeous and smart!

  • ATXGirl

    2010/04/12 at 1:46 pm

    I’ve worn glasses since I was 2. More because of muscle issues, but still I had them…. The first time she is called 4-eyes check the toilet for her glasses.. or under Jon’s car… It’s not easy being a kid with them – at least not for me.

    Good luck 🙂 She picked out a cute pair!

  • ktcane

    2010/04/12 at 1:47 pm

    Wow! Leta looks so sophisticated! Could she be any cuter than in that last pic?? I too, had glasses at 6, and let me tell you, my oval (almost circular) frames plus my frizzy/wavy hair and buck teeth we’re not a good match. Thankfully for Leta she has great taste, and 20 years of fashion advancement on her side.

  • annahj

    2010/04/12 at 1:49 pm

    My best friend Mike wears glasses with plain glass in them (no prescription) because he thinks it’s cool. He’s weird. But Leta looks so cute! Like she might be going to prep school or something…

  • blackpanther

    2010/04/12 at 1:51 pm

    Jon’s twin for sure!

  • tanya

    2010/04/12 at 1:56 pm

    She really does look grown up with that haircut and glasses. Both look perfect for her, hope she’s happy with her choices!

  • HDC

    2010/04/12 at 1:56 pm

    Too damned cute!

    At the risk of being boo’d, I have to honestly say that there is a future Young Republican if I ever saw one. Life has a nice way of getting back at us parents this way.

  • Dharma

    2010/04/12 at 1:56 pm

    All the cool girls wear glasses. I said so. She looks RAD in them, you may tell her I also said so. Nice hairdo too, who is getting to be a very young LADY?

  • Leball

    2010/04/12 at 1:57 pm

    WOW, it’s amazing how much you can say, “Yeah, that’s Jon’s daughter.”!!!! So cute. Love her hair cut and glasses! Go Leta!

  • Doghouse Mama

    2010/04/12 at 1:58 pm

    Oh my! She is beautiful!

  • Mary_Lynn

    2010/04/12 at 1:58 pm

    I think she looks awesome in those glasses!

    I SO desperately wanted glasses when I was a kid because I was the only one in our family who didn’t have them. I needn’t have feared…I got my wish. Like there was any chance I wouldn’t, with my genes.

  • BunchOfMalarkey

    2010/04/12 at 1:59 pm

    Oh my god, there is nothing cuter than a little kid with glasses. AND THE HAIR! She looks so gorgeous 🙂

  • spokeit

    2010/04/12 at 1:59 pm

    Why did she have to go and get all OLD? and GORGEOUS?

    well done Heather and Jon.

  • magwilky

    2010/04/12 at 2:01 pm

    She looks adorable and that she is ready to go away to college! What a difference some glasses and a cut can make, so grown up.

  • owithrow

    2010/04/12 at 2:01 pm

    How cute is she?
    She looks so grown up! LOVE glasses on her. It’s so great that the big cousin works. Why is it that big cousins are always our hero? Mine was, and my daughters are to her.

    Love her cut too.

    Now, get working on her to fix the hotdog, that would be SUH-WEET!

  • kristanhoffman

    2010/04/12 at 2:03 pm

    Oh Heather, she looks so beautiful!! Yes, quite a bit like Jon with the glasses, but I see a lot of her in you too.

    You know, if the opinion of a total stranger on the internet means anything to you. 😛

  • Big Gay Sam

    2010/04/12 at 2:03 pm

    Next she’ll be asking for the car keys. 😛

  • wenhaver

    2010/04/12 at 2:03 pm

    Holy cow! My 5 year old son was told by the eye doctor that he needed glasses (but his teeth are fine… he looks just like his dad by has my eyes/teeth/reflexes, the poor thing. My daughter is the exact opposite – looks like MiniMe but has her dad’s eyes/teeth/reflexes). Evan got glasses a couple weeks ago. He looks like a blond Harry Potter. He thinks the Transitions lenses we had put in them are the Coolest Thing Evar!!! Convincing he needs to wear them when he’s not at school is an ongoing challenge. I found them lenses-down under the loveseat this morning.

    Sophie, the 4 year old, demanded short hair when I took her in for a trim this past weekend. 7″ later, and she has a slightly shorter version of Leta’s hair, with bangs. I almost cried when it was being cut, but I’ll admit it looks pretty cute now.

  • debramac

    2010/04/12 at 2:05 pm

    She is so effing cute!

    Nice job mom and dad for making that happen for Leta with such class!

    When I was 10 my two best friends got glasses…and they were the same style frames…So OF COURSE, I pretended to need glasses. Hmm, the doctor could tell the difference!

    40 years later my father still blames me because he ignored my sister’s teachers when they said she needed glasses.

    As if my early acting debut and flair for drama had anything to do with my sister’s ability to see, right!

  • Greysmom

    2010/04/12 at 2:05 pm

    cutie patutie!

  • laynemarie

    2010/04/12 at 2:06 pm

    OH MY. Transformations is right! I’m speechless. Just can’t believe not only how different she looks, but also how open to all that change she was! So adorable. Maybe next she’ll eat cake!

  • Karen Chatters

    2010/04/12 at 2:06 pm

    Holy crap, the girl looks old enough to go to college in the fall!! You’re so doomed…

  • Ariel

    2010/04/12 at 2:06 pm

    When my sister got glasses she said “There are LEAVES on that tree!”
    My parents didn’t realize how BAD her eyes were….
    Leta looks lovely:) She is super cute:)

  • sassypriscilla

    2010/04/12 at 2:08 pm

    Holy crap does she look cute.


    2010/04/12 at 2:08 pm

    She looks so beautiful! And erudite! What a kid!

  • smithie1996

    2010/04/12 at 2:09 pm

    She is so damned cute I want to cry.

    I am just waiting for my kiddo to inherit his father’s hideous vision because he stands about two inches away from the television but he is also able to spot miniscule pieces of food on the floor and eat them so maybe his eyes are just fine.

  • BargainBex

    2010/04/12 at 2:12 pm

    i’m gonna go ahead and channel chandler bing at the moment: could she BE any cuter? i think not.

  • Candy

    2010/04/12 at 2:13 pm

    My son got his first glasses at age 4. On his way home from the store, he looked out the window and exclaimed “Look Mom! There are cows over there!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him those cows had been there his whole life.

    This will open up all kinds of new adventures for her. And she is adorable!

  • elosquirrel

    2010/04/12 at 2:14 pm

    Ohmigosh. She looks so GROWN UP. I know my poor kid will inherit my eyes. The eyes that were so bad that a laser ALMOST couldn’t fix them. Thankfully now I don’t have to wear glasses or contacts, so I’m not sure how to explain it when/if (it’s almost certain) she has to.

  • abvint

    2010/04/12 at 2:16 pm

    oh Leta GLASSES RULE!! have been wearing mine since I was 2 and have decided at the ripe old age of 33 that getting laser eye surgery would just be too weird…i wear glasses! it’s who I am 🙂 welcome to the cool club … and your new hairdo rocks too 🙂 … only ONE more thing would make you cooler than you are right now … a big bowl of broccoli …seriously, go with me here…

  • zanie

    2010/04/12 at 2:17 pm

    Oh sweet baby Jesus! Where did your baby girl go? All I see now is an adorable gradeschooler! Please tell her how very beautiful she is and how wonderful her hair looks!

  • amandajkr

    2010/04/12 at 2:21 pm

    Oh my word, that child is PRECIOUS.

  • TropicalPopsicle

    2010/04/12 at 2:22 pm

    Oh, Leta! ((sniff)) Our Internet baby is a precious little girl.

    I got glasses in junior high school and was shocked to discover that I could see the individual bricks on brick houses ALL THE WAY from the street.

  • Bryony Boxer

    2010/04/12 at 2:23 pm

    Did she have that amazing experience that all near-sighted people talk about, of suddenly seeing DETAIL? You know – after months of blurry sight you put those glasses on and you suddenly see details of leaves instead of just green blur, etc. I had that as a child – it was amazing.

  • momozima

    2010/04/12 at 2:23 pm

    the cuteness is overwhelming!!

  • Friday

    2010/04/12 at 2:23 pm

    I didn’t think it would be possible, but your daughter has just won a platinum medal at the Effing Adorable Olympics with those new specs of hers. Do you know Tavi? Mascot of the fashion world? I think Tavi wishes she could be Leta.

  • linda_keddie

    2010/04/12 at 2:23 pm

    She’s so big!!!!!!!

    She looks like a totally different girl now, but still so, so gorgeous 🙂

  • Krysta B

    2010/04/12 at 2:24 pm

    The new hair and glasses are SO CUTE!

  • Squeetthang

    2010/04/12 at 2:25 pm

    One thing is for sure, she has got good taste! The glasses and the hair are AWESOME!

    I wanted glasses so bad when I was a kid! I can’t express how fortunate I am to have 20/20 vision. For now. Glasses are fucking expensive as shit! And as someone who refuses to pay more than $10 for a pair of sunglasses, I consider it to be a blessing.

    I hope the eyeballs hold out until I am at LEAST 40. Or have vision insurance.

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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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