the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Locking up the cabinets

This morning after Marlo tossed her empty bottle three feet toward the end of the bed and then clawed her way on top of me almost head first over into the floor, in what seemed like a split second, I grabbed her by the legs, TO SAVE HER, turned to Jon and was all, um, what were we thinking? Because I know going into this I didn’t think this thing would ever move.

In just the last couple of days Marlo has put it all together and is crawling intricate paths throughout the main floor. Quickly. More quickly than we can childproof everything. Because with the last kid we just sat her on the floor, surrounded her with books, and then said we’d be back in a couple of hours.

You scoff, but now she’s reading encyclopedias. And has suffered only minor injuries.

This development has raised the chaos level in the house from Scary Jon Hair to Now Jon Has None. And the reality of having two children is now The Reality of Having Two Children. Before it was one who could entertain herself plus another you could turn your back on for more than two seconds. Now, it’s one who is very upset that the other one is touching her stuff and one who is trying to put the dog’s nose in her mouth while simultaneously touching her sister’s stuff.

This sounds so stupid, but I really never considered the brain machinations required to manage two mobile children. It’s just so different and, frankly, exhausting. There is always the nagging feeling that whoever is watching Marlo is not watching Marlo, and now she’s got the poker to the fireplace halfway down her throat. Note: that feeling caused me to move the poker to the garage, a childproofing maneuver that caused Marlo to stiffen her entire body and howl as if I had just rearranged her eyeballs.

Poor baby can’t play with the fire poker! Well, poor baby shouldn’t have learned to crawl! Fair-sies!

  • Twinma

    2010/04/26 at 3:12 pm

    But look how happy she is!

  • kayakgrrl

    2010/04/26 at 3:15 pm

    We put the child locks on the cabinets last Saturday after the girl found the Cheerios. *sigh*

    (About an hour ago, I heard the dog yelp in pain because the girl was pulling his tail. *deeper sigh*)

  • HDC

    2010/04/26 at 3:03 pm

    Looks like your babyproofing needs to include speedbumps in the kitchen.

  • fidothefatcat

    2010/04/26 at 3:09 pm

    CRAP. My daughter is so close to crawling. She is on all fours rocking back and forth. Did I say CRAP already? I know lots of other first-time parents would be excited. I am not so much. I like being able to run to grab x,y,z and have her be in the same place when I return 30 seconds later. I said CRAP, right?

  • Joolsmum

    2010/04/26 at 3:16 pm

    My deepest sympathies about the oncoming ulcer you’ll bust out over this little darling being able to search and destroy. My son walked at 9 1/2 months old, skipping the crawling altogether, and it nearly did me in. What 9 1/2 month old has the judgement, let alone sense of balance, to walk around in this world full of sharp corners, river rock quartz floors (beautiful but oh-so-dangerous!), dog doors and yards with dog poo??!! I ask you! Gawd.

    Enjoy the insanity and stress. It is but a short time and then you’ll miss that all too brief adorable and gut churning era. Ah yes, memories…

  • Mrs Smith

    2010/04/26 at 3:16 pm

    My first never left my side. My second started exploring from the minute she could crawl. I knew the security procedure for a lost child at every major department and grocery store within 20 miles. That kid could get out of a stroller or grocery cart in 3 seconds flat.

    At 18 mos. she crossed a major thoroughfare following a kitten who came across our yard. We were frantically searching when luckily a woman with her own small child saw her, picked her up and drove her back home.

    So, yeah, enjoy the crawling phase.

  • dejavu2

    2010/04/26 at 3:17 pm

    I feel your pain! The second child is such a crazy, active child compared to the first or maybe it’s just because your attention is divided?! Our daughter can disappear in about five seconds flat and she can also empty our bathroom drawers (which we still haven’t baby proofed for some unknown reason!) in five seconds too.
    Fun stuff:)

  • suzanne_e

    2010/04/26 at 3:19 pm

    I watched the whole video hoping that she wasn’t going to bang her head into that table…

    I have twin boys who are now 10. Keeping track of them was a nightmare, so…yeah. You have my sympathies.

  • I Had Ice

    2010/04/26 at 3:21 pm

    That kid is freakishly flexible and alarmingly adorable at the same time. That coffee table is begging to leave a nice mark in her head. EEK!
    I’m gonna go enjoy a Diet Coke now…nice product placement!

  • freckleface

    2010/04/26 at 3:27 pm

    Ugh I have no kids, but I’m feeling the stress from just THINKING about keeping track of two little ones! But it was quickly alleviated by that ADORABLE, adorable video. Omg, when she goes from crawling to sitting up I died a little from the cuteness. Awwww!!

  • d3 voiceworks

    2010/04/26 at 3:28 pm

    i was looking at that diet coke thinking: at least marlo ain’t going for that. ewwwww.

    i know that dread of **hoping** another is watching your baby but **thinking** they probably are not 🙁
    at least not like YOU or I would.

  • austinmomof7

    2010/04/26 at 3:29 pm

    You would think after having seven kids, I would have my house babyproofed, but I have had to call poison control four times on my two year old. She can scale a kitchen cabinet in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter how well you Marlo proof, if she wants it, she will find a way to get it.

  • Joy777

    2010/04/26 at 3:31 pm

    when is she going to learn to grab the diet coke off the coffee table?

  • mrsschmoo

    2010/04/26 at 3:35 pm

    My son is just a bit younger than Marlo and has been full on walking for over a month now. He is my 4th baby but my first boy. I have never had to really baby proof before this. I am thinking of just mounting everything to the ceiling although I am sure that he would find his way up there too!

  • mydogwontbite

    2010/04/26 at 3:38 pm

    my ovaries and uterus are crying out for a baby right now. thanks.

    in spite of that, i demand more videos of marlo crawling and eating. love the way she pushes herself into a sitting position.

  • Bluestalking

    2010/04/26 at 3:38 pm

    We put our fireplace tools away for about five years. We totally forgot we even HAD them. Our kids are two years or less apart and we have three of them. Imagine one mom running THREE WAYS while her husband was at work.


    They’re now 12, 14 and 16. The only thing we worry about them putting in their mouths is ALL OUR FOOD.

  • mommica

    2010/04/26 at 3:40 pm

    Isn’t it crazy how you never really understand what people are going through until you go through it yourself? Ah, well. Off to make baby number two…

  • A.T.s_mama

    2010/04/26 at 3:41 pm

    Ahhh, have fun with that!
    My son is almost a year ago, and I’m fairly certain I ONLY WANT ONE!

    He’s started standing up in the blink of an eye — like, one minute he could barely crawl, and the next minute he was crawling into the dryer and chasing after ants (and most likely eating them, but I figure ants are OK, compared to some of the stuff he’s eaten.)

    Have you tried giving her a pair of scissors and a plastic bag? That oughta keep her occupied.

  • the niffer

    2010/04/26 at 3:48 pm

    Not only a great story, but love the writing. Seems to get better and better every day.

    The video is pure icing. Yummy, yummy icing.

  • ChickWhitt

    2010/04/26 at 3:56 pm

    Let her get into the liquor cabinet, then you both will get some rest!

    Oh, and for those table corners, giant maxi pads work wonders. They should use it in their ad campaigns.

  • smithie1996

    2010/04/26 at 3:59 pm

    “No no no no…this way” That sounds like my day all day every day. My deepest sympathies.

    I think I have our fireplace tools somewhere in the basement. You could have mine and Jon and Leta could have light saber wars since she likes Star Wars so much.

  • Mayor of Crazytown

    2010/04/26 at 4:02 pm

    I really never considered the brain machinations required to manage two mobile children.

    That statement right there is why we stopped at two children. We were terrified to push anything beyond the man-to-man defense (that we could barely call successful).

  • atlasmeow

    2010/04/26 at 5:12 pm

    Too funny! I had my son first, and from the beginning, he was the kind of kid I could never, EVER turn my back on. My daughter came along two years later, and was the complete opposite. Much like your Leta, she would sit and play quietly on her own, or look at books, even after she could walk well. It was the strangest thing to us. We were seriously convinced that something was wrong with her because LOOK! SHE’S SITTING QUIETLY IN ONE SPOT! WHAT IS THIS STRANGE BEHAVIOR? We just thought all kids were like my son: on the go and into things, all the time. Anyhow, it was a strange, yet refreshing, relief to be able to look away for a moment, and not fear turning back to find her chewing on broken glass and juggling kitchen knives! Remember: this too, shall pass! Just try to stay sane and injury-free in the meantime… Good luck to you!

  • Laurelee

    2010/04/26 at 4:40 pm

    Oh dear. You have my sympathies as well. My son is a month younger than Marlo and is already cruising the furniture. I was seriously surprised to see stuff on your coffee table still. Mine has only one lone coaster left. Sigh. The other day he managed to pull the kitchen trash can down onto himself and was covered in chicken grease. Hang in there! It won’t last forever…right?

  • Laureling

    2010/04/26 at 4:49 pm

    @Mayor of Crazytown – The best advice my mother ever gave me was to never be out numbered by one’s children. Man to man coverage indeed!

  • midge

    2010/04/26 at 4:56 pm

    My 25-month old has long known how to push a kitchen chair over to the counter. Where the knives are. Welcome to hell.

  • twelvedaysold

    2010/04/26 at 4:56 pm

    She is ADORABLE. I started walking at 7 months. I didn’t believe my mom when she told me, then I saw the pictures.

    Could be worse!

  • semele

    2010/04/26 at 5:35 pm

    All I can think as I watch this is “TAKE THAT FRAKKIN’ SODA OFF THE COFFEE TABLE – IT’S A TICKING TIME BOMB!!!” Not that I’m scarred from own experiences or anything.

  • denice

    2010/04/26 at 5:35 pm


  • jg2010

    2010/04/26 at 5:36 pm

    Um, you know your supercute house? In a few months, it may resemble a padded cell as you learn to put everything breakable/dangerous out of her increasing reach. Our son got so he’d be showing us how to undo the childproof locks etc, and we ended up getting rid of every little knickknack and non-essential (those were up high)- we got it down around our house but taking him elsewhere was a nightmare. Did you know regular people have photo frames, with glass…they have wineglasses on the counter, they have expensive Cdplayers on the floor … what are they thinking!?

  • jg2010

    2010/04/26 at 5:37 pm

    @midge – hahahaha,exactly. Leta was a placid angel that lulled you into a false sense of security. Lockdown! Jon’s black cable collection will be getting mashed.

  • tracythompson

    2010/04/26 at 5:46 pm

    I quote from a christmas letter of several years ago:
    Sophie, meanwhile, is quietly acquiring a much longer rap sheet than Emma dreamed of at her age—wedging Tupperware into kitchen drawers so tightly the drawer cannot be opened, spilling paint and then walking through it in her sock feet and tracking it all over the house, tangling phone cords so that whoever picks up the receiver also gives himself a mild head concussion with the phone, attempting to uncork any bottle of prescription pills left out for more than 30 seconds, pouring talcum powder on the carpet, sticking a broom handle in the VCR….At this age, Emma’s idea of misbehavior was to strip naked and paint her butt orange with washable markers. Big hairy deal. Sophie is into property destruction, personal injury, attempted self-annihilation or, preferably, all three. We are hoping she will outgrow this phase before she realizes the Grand Trifecta of those ambitions, but this race is way too close to call.

    This is what you have to look forward to! Enjoy!

  • wrongweek

    2010/04/26 at 5:49 pm

    Did I hear a hint of evil laughter coming from Marlo? Almost as if she was telling the Internets, “These suckers are really in for it.”

  • mkn 2010

    2010/04/26 at 5:53 pm

    The second one is always the troublemaker!

    I see you still have a coffee table. We had to get rid of ours when our second started moving about. She’d bonked her head on it a couple times a day. Then she started climbing up on it to sit, then to stand, then to dance. We have tried to reintroduce it several times, but I guess it’s just too tempting for her. She’s four now, so maybe we can try again soon. I’m not holding my breath, though. I AM really hoping she grows out of the table dancing before the teen years!

  • Greta Koenigin

    2010/04/26 at 5:56 pm

    We nicknamed our third child Don’t Have a Third for exhibiting the behaviors you describe here.

  • JennLevy

    2010/04/26 at 6:02 pm

    That coffee table made me nervous, too.

    I adore Marlo. She may well be the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. And those dimples — yikes! Loved the video. Any chance of a picture of the Jon’s-Hair-Chaos-Level?

  • hender_sk

    2010/04/26 at 6:06 pm

    Umm, put some bumpers on that coffee table! I was sitting here on pins and needles waiting for Marlo to bump in to that thing, and start crying! I hate to hear babies cry!!

    Welcome to the world of mega-child-proofing!

  • ktcane

    2010/04/26 at 6:21 pm

    Marlo’s got some flexible (and long) limbs! Too cute for words!

  • mywholelife

    2010/04/26 at 6:22 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love how she reverses! Plunk!

  • Mrs.Mommy02

    2010/04/26 at 6:24 pm

    I lucked out, which I didn’t understand at the time. My daughter refused to crawl, even by 10 mths. I was so frustrated by this that I somehow willed her to skip the crawling and go straight to walking. Which she was a professional at by her first birthday. Thus bringing us to the phase where I lived in my own “hotel” because everything I owned had to be bolted down or removed, unless it was higher than 3 feet from the floor.
    On a side note, I showed my husband the picture of Marlo you have on the about page. He insisted, as a professional computer geek, that you must have photo-shopped her eyes. They are way too blue. I will prove him wrong tonight by showing him the video. She(and Leta)are just beautiful.

  • Dawn56

    2010/04/26 at 6:29 pm

    Yeah, God always gets you on the last one. You could have 10 Letas and if you decided number 11 would be your last child, it would be your demon baby. My #1 daughter popped out of the womb 35 years old. Never had to put a thing out of her way. #2? A one-baby wrecking crew.

    Word verification is “spatters continuing.” How apropos!

  • jaclarke21

    2010/04/26 at 6:41 pm

    Am I the only one who thought of puppy training after listening to the “No, no, this way” and then seeing the spoonful of something at the end? Good girl Marlo! 🙂

  • settembre

    2010/04/26 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve got 3 kids. My youngest is 9. My two oldest kids were like Marlo when they were little. My youngest was like Leta when she was little. For me, saying, “no no no no this way” worked on my two oldest kids until they hit about 15 months old. Then it got very interesting. My unsolicited advice of the day? Rest up now. 🙂

    In my household, the “she’s touching my stuff… no she’s touching MY stuff…” thing is still ongoing. I just got finished giving a 10 minute lecture on why 12yo shouldn’t touch 14yo’s bluetooth without asking. And the 14yo was told by the 12yo to stop touching his iPod Touch without asking. The 9yo was waiting for me to tuck her into bed. Never at any one moment are all 3 of my kids content (with the exception of sleeping and eating). When they are? OMG they want something. And it’s more than likely something expensive. Or they broke something expensive.

    I won’t share with you stories about how one kid would divert my attention so the other kid could get something. Or do something. They would whisper to each other little plans… plans to get things they wanted… and how they would carry them out. I’m thinking that Leta might be your thinker of said plans and Marlo might be quick enough to get the job done. 🙂 But you’re fortunate; you have Jon and others to help.

    Glad to hear Marlo is keeping it real. And lively. Your blog is still great! I cannot wait to read more. 🙂

  • ddicorcia

    2010/04/26 at 7:03 pm

    Maybe should not have had so many hostess donuts when you were pregnant. All that sugar in Marlo’s blood makes her so mobile! She is too cute. Best of luck. I remember those days fondly!

  • BuffytheBitchSlayer

    2010/04/26 at 7:28 pm

    Ahhhh! You’re scaring me! My second one is almost 8 months and going to crawl any second. Add to that my other daughter being 5 going on 15….I’ma gonna be screwed, huh?

  • geekybookworm

    2010/04/26 at 7:34 pm

    This is precisely why my parents only had me. I was the quiet, won’t get into things, content with a book child. I think my dad wasn’t that type and they didn’t want to push their luck on another kid.

    Marlo is adorable though. I pity Leta. She’ll probably be yelling that Marlo is touching her stuff for another, oh, 13 years at least.

  • WonderFriend

    2010/04/26 at 7:39 pm

    I feel your pain! My youngest is a terror. An adorable, sweet-cheeked terror. We are in the same boat – did not baby proof anything with our first and this time… oh, this time. He crawls away, breaking land speed records, laughing like a little maniac as he heads directly for the heaviest, sharpest, most-likely-to-kill-the-baby item he can find.

    I am tired.

  • gretchens

    2010/04/26 at 7:41 pm

    You wrote: This morning after Marlo tossed her empty bottle three feet toward the end of the bed and then clawed her way on top of me almost head first over into the floor, in what seemed like a split second, I grabbed her by the legs, TO SAVE HER,

    My son (the younger of two boys) did the same thing. I missed, and had the pleasure of watching his feet sail into the air and then disappear like the Titanic going under. And then heard two leisurely thuds as his head and then the rest of his body hit the floor. Did I mention we have a very high mattress and hardwood floors?

    He lived to wail the tale, didn’t even get much of a bump. He did learn to go feet first off the bed from that adventure. (Proof that there was no brain damage I guess). And now it just seems comic compared to his current acrobatics attempts. Enjoy – they’re not as breakable as we all think they are. Though I do *try* to save him from himself, some days it’s just not in the cards.

  • parkingathome

    2010/04/26 at 7:42 pm

    I KNOW this will sound like shameless self-promotion as I’m generally a lurker instead of a commenter to such a faaamous person, but I know you like etsy, and I’ve created these. Since I live in Salt Lake as well, you could pick up or I could drop off, and I can waive shipping for you. Have a look if you like (and sorry sorry sorry if this seems like spam, it really is just a “hey she has a cute house and probably wants to keep it that way while babyproofing” thing)


    2010/04/26 at 8:12 pm

    I feel your pain! I spend all evening and weekends chasing after my 10-month old. His newest trick is grabbing the dog’s toys, one-by-one, putting them in his mouth after taunting the dog, clearing all of the books off of the coffee table(which is all we keep there), and then heading to the cords and such on the PS3 and TV area…. He is ON THE MOVE!

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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