An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Fumbling dummies

Today Marlo turns eleven months old.

eleven months

Remember when I used to write a monthly newsletter to Leta? Yeah, yeah. Good times. And when I was pregnant with Marlo I planned to continue those newsletters, except I’d be writing it to the both of them. No big deal. And then BOOM. Two kids. Like, a semi truck full of angry, bipolar chickens landed on the house, and we had to clean up the mess with our hands tied behind our backs. That.

I know that those of you who have more kids are just shaking your heads and thinking PATHETIC. And you’re right! Pathetic we are! This kid is totally kicking our ass. She is unlike the kid that came before her. In that she moves.

Just this morning as she was finishing her first bottle and getting ready to fling it across our bed against the wall, Jon asked if I remembered those quite mornings we spent with Leta nestled between us, watching the news, dozing… WE’LL NEVER HAVE THAT AGAIN, HEATHER, he said. Through gritted teeth. A tear in his eye. As he grabbed Marlo’s foot, her body dangling off the side of the bed.

Our child-proofing technique up until yesterday was to have someone watching her at all times, and that worked when she was immobile and interested in sitting on the floor with the remote in her mouth. But now that she can move — and we’re talking FLYING through the room — this technique is proving totally idiotic. Or what’s the word? Oh, right. Pathetic. We’ve had an eleven-month-old before, we should know what we’re doing! But you have to understand! It’s like this whole time we’ve been raising a turtle, and now suddenly we’ve been handed a jackal with a debilitating meth addiction. Make it work!

Why do we have ANYTHING at a height she can reach? Because she will reach it, oh yes. She will grab it, tear it apart, laugh maniacally, and then shove it into her mouth, daring us to stick our finger inside to protect her from choking. Because she bites.

OMG. I gave birth to Coco.

  • BillyZoom

    Okay. I registered to ask a question. I assure you I mean NO disrespect. You’re a great writer. I find you very funny. I wouldn’t be reading if I weren’t entertained. I wish you nothing but success. Having said all that…what about your life is so hectic? And that’s a genuine question – I’m not implying that your life isn’t hectic…I just want to know. You guys only have two kids and you don’t have “report to work” type jobs. You say you’re on the go all day and collapse into bed. The output on the website doesn’t really seem adequate to explain where you spend your time. I understand kids take a lot of time and attention, but those of us who have to be out of the home 9-11 hours of the day (both of us) and manage to raise kids can’t really relate to your lifestyle. And in these economic times I personally can’t understand why the Obama Administration (which I deeply respect) could hope to learn anything from you. I don’t begrudge you for one dollar of your income (you clearly earn it) or one minute of your blessed life. I just don’t understand (maybe through my ignorance, I admit) what is stressful about your life as compared to people who don’t get to stay home (both of you!) and make a living from a blog.

    Again, I mean no disrespect and I welcome you setting me straight.

  • wonderchris

    I didn’t expect the last line – and I proceeded to laugh out loud in a quiet office. 😀

    She is such a beauty!

  • Camille

    BUT….the most beautiful children! My GOSH…look at those eyes…and that dimple. I’m kerflempt. And Leta…gorgeous. STOP IT! I can’t take it.

  • Amity

    I love how two kids can be so different from the get go. My girls have been different since I could feel them in utero! Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you get something completely different to deal with. Good luck!

  • PaigeWAydensMama

    You know, before I had any kids, I thought I wanted 5 or 6 kids. Now I have one and I think MAYBE I want one more. lol. Hang in there! Soon she’ll be big enough to run into the street! Cherish the moment! 😀

  • mybottlesup

    but, but, but…. but…. THOSE EYES!!!!!!!!!

  • austinmomof7

    Two was way harder than seven. I swear. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m used to multi-tasking, or I totally don’t give a crap anymore. If they aren’t dead, or bleeding profusely, I’m doing it right.

  • the niffer

    God, woman, you crack me up.

  • Lori Huneke

    same thing happened to me with #2. I thought I was just this fantastic mother with my first. oh.. ha. HA! Oh, how he has humbled me.
    My hubby is getting the snippity snip. =)

  • Lori Huneke

    oh wow! i just scrolled up to read BillyZOom’s comment.
    YOu know.. I get the same thing, being a stay at home / working mom (photographer). I spend a lot of time on the computer, and people just think.. oh.. how hard can it be?, just upload some pics, and call it a day!
    UM>>> YA>> honestly . some days , I WISH i had a place of peace to call my own., away from home. A job to come home from , and BE DONE WITH at the end of the day. And, I am assuming, if your job (heather) is anything like mine… that your computer is lurking somewhere in the house, as you try to cuddle, make dinner, play a game.. etc. … just calling your name!
    Just like any working mother, its a juggling act.

  • leadp32

    It’s shocking, isn’t it–the intensity? We got the meth-addicted jackal first. We called her Hurricane Ava. She’ll be six next month. People who haven’t had one of these kinds of kids just don’t get it.

    There were evenings during her toddler years when I just seriously wanted to die of the frustration and exhaustion of the day. She’s still mentally exhausting, but she’s got more control over the frenzy. Most of the time.

    But, I can see what kind of amazing adult she’s going to be. Funny, inquisitive, caring, always on, a joy to be around. The person who lights up the room. Like Leta, she’s devouring chapter books and has an incredible imagination.

    Our second daughter is 22 months and a crazy nonstop climber and taskmaster–but Ava broke my will to the extent that her sister seems easier to handle.

    Hang in there. Get Marlo outside to walk/run a LOT. I mean, a whole lot. It really helps. It’s such hard work to channel that energy…which is what it’s all about, right? First, safety…then, How do I channel all this intensity in a positive direction?

    At least, that’s what has kept me sane. And it’s worked.

    – L

  • thesugaplum32

    Aaawwww those eyes are gorgeous! She’s beautiful. My first, a three year old boy, started out like Leta, but once he became mobile, he evolved into Marlo…two in one. We not sure we want to go for #2 if #1 has us running around like headless chickens!

  • Cheryld

    She is really gorgeous though. What amazing eyes!

  • LaLaBoo

    Yeah she’s cute, but that face screams “T-R-O-U-B-L-E”!! Look at those eyes-Leta doesn’t have that, “What can I get into next” look! Good Luck to you, Heather and Jon!

  • Jennifer June

    Well… I have three. The first one was also a turtle and quite happy to raise herself really.

    The second was (and sometimes still is, even at the age of 15) the spawn of Satan, and the 3rd, well she was the universe’s way of saying shhhh… take a nap, you’ve been through enough, relax…

    And then, the day she turned 3, she joined forces with or basically morphed into child number two, just to mess with our pathetic frazzled minds.

    I think baby #2’s journal lasted about a week and a half.

  • Charmings Mama

    My seven month old was in his exersaucer yesterday and wanted to be picked up and was very loudly letting me know, when I told him he’d have to wait for a minute Mama was busy he stomped his feet. Little turd! If he weren’t so cute, why I’d . . .

  • luv and kiwi

    i am cracking up reading about the marlo adventures. popping out a clone of the first kid would have been creepy…changing stuff up keeps life interesting for sure.

    you’ll never be bored. EVER lol…for the days when the kid (aka human coco) is making you twitch in a corner i’ll babysit 🙂

  • kalieris

    When he was small, my child was essentially Coco, if she had a meth addiction, fantasies of world domination, and a megaphone surgically inserted into her larynx. He is my only child, and since I had my fallopian tubes obliterated when he was 3 (no namby pamby tying for me – those suckers were cauterized in 4 places each), he will be my only. He’s 16 now, and I still think one’s plenty, if that one is like mine.

  • unplanned momma

    Funny enough, my first born is one week younger than Marlo and they are very similar. Her favorite past time right now is to get me to pick her up while I’m at the computer then she climbs off my lap over the back of the couch, landing head-first. Oh, that and being thrown and flipped onto our bed. My husband has found his roller coaster buddy! Does this mean that I can count on a Leta type for the second one? Please?

  • Figtron


    You totally just proved my theory on sticking at one child.

    Like Leta, my first has been a wonderfully content child, who limits her range of motion to only several yards at a time, and her speed never exceeds Mach 1. I know that Karma will totally kick me square in the ass if I ever dare procreate again.

    I do love that impish glint in Marlo’s eyes though. It is saying, “I am the Overlord. Serve me.”

  • Big Gay Sam

    Your body produced a child that has the ability to deal with Coco. It was your body’s defense mechanism kicking in.

  • Dawn56

    You just described my two. The first, the text book ideal child. The second… well, we nicknamed her Demon Baby. Also, Grammy’s Revenge. I was a second child. Although, my father said I Wasn’t Like THAT, with a look of horror in his eyes at the thought, so perhaps not.

    The good news is, even Demon Babies calm down. Mine is now 21 and she’s actually a very careful and safe driver. So. Only 20 more years to go! It’ll be a snap.


  • Darleya

    Your last comment about Coco cracked me right up. At least your new little munch-kin keeps life interesting!

  • HDC

    Baby gates. Look in to them! I know that likely offends your artistic sensibilities, but what do you value more? Your sanity or your decor? Well, actually I think they’ll save both! Yeah, baby gates.

  • designerlc

    Reading your post made me chuckle, we have experienced similar challenges and differences with our second son. My boys are only 17 months apart, so I can’t feel too sorry for you…at least you have one that is old enough to follow direction while the little one is a whirling dervish. Imagine having an 18 mos old and a 3 year old at the same time!

    By the time Marlo is 3 or 4 it will get a teensy eensy bit better. But no, it is not silly to think this is tough…IT IS! But the gift of a sister for Leta is lifelong and worth making it through the crazy baby/toddler days.

  • DomesticatedGal

    THIS? Is why my Little Man may NEVER have a sibling. At 5mo, he’s already learned to scoot himself around. Not to mention throw his pacifier half way across the room. Don’t ask me where he got his pitcher’s arm – neither his father or I can throw worth a dime.

    And while I’m sure, if the second one is …peaceful… (like every other baby we personally know) we could handle it.

    But what if Little Man ends up being the quiet one?? I don’t think I’m ready to be put in an asylum. Not yet…

  • Lizzy

    Would you believe me if I told you it was harder to go from 1 kid to 2, then it was to go from 2 kids to 3? By that time, you’re numb to pain, everything is already broken in your house, and you’ve had time to stock up on alcohol.
    Good times.

  • BunnyJames

    Heather, I am living exactly what you are going through…5 years later.

    My oldest was 8 when his baby bro was born. What did he want for Xmas? A baby brother. Santa delivered (why am I giving that jolly old fatso the credit–I delivered!)

    My oldest was the calmest, sweetest, easiest baby on the planet. You could leave him with a pile of books and tickle-me-elmo in the middle of the living room and then go take your nap/shower/shots whatever–he’d still be there hours later when you came back (you know I’m exaggerating, but bear with me. My mind is frazzled by the devil that now inhabits our home).

    When his brother was born, all was sweet and well…until he started moving. He is three months younger than Leta, and I would follow her progress and think–wow! I know what to look forward to!

    And then he began moving. And talking. And he has not stopped either in 5 and 3/4 years. He wakes up talking, he goes to sleep with words slipping out of his lips. He talks in his sleep. He talks to strangers. Once, he asked an Asian man w/ a camera at the state park: “Are you from Chinese?” And when the man said yes, he looked at us smugly, crossed his arms over his chest, cocked his hip, and said “I knew he was from Chinese.”

    Humiliating non-stop talking aside: (“After I go to bed my mom and dad sleep naked! And they are NOISY!” in the frozen food asile), the moving is like living with a whirling dervish. I would love to have whatever he is on, because i could rule the planet. When we was 18 months old, I woke up to find he had crawled out of his crib. I frantically searched the house–no baby. I found him: in a diaper, at the top of our very steep 40 yard driveway (that led to a busy street) ON HIS BROTHER’S RAZOR SCOOTER, ready to take off. Once my brain reentered my body some weeks later, we installed high locks on every single door of the house. Since then:

    He has crawled under the Do Not Cross fence at some extremely high cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and was an inch away from falling in.

    Gone to the Aquarium with his grandparents. I get a call from security (I am an hour away), “we have your son here, he seems to have lost his family…but he sure is funny!” Luckily he knew my # and where to go…but the scary thing was he wasn’t scared at all.

    Tried to jump out of Pirates of the Carribbean at Disneyland to “play with Johnny Depp.”

    My husband was waiting for a co-worker to pick him up, early in the morning. I went to send him off, and realized my son was not in his bed. I found him outside, in the co-worker’s (who he did not know)car, talking to him like old pals.

    My parents live on a ranch. My dad once left his keys in the truck and my son, who was 4.5 at the time, went for a joy ride. Luckily, he couldn’t reach the peddles, so he was only rolling.

    I can’t believe I am admitting all this; I consider myself a decent parent: it is just that he is so fast, so clever, and he has absolutely no fear. I did not want to have to explain what a pedophile was to him, but I am constantly terrified that his talking to strangers and fast manuevers are going to get him stolen. We watch him like a hawk, but it is never quite enough.

    He has calmed a little with school, and being able to communicate the dangers of his behaivor have slowed him down a little.

    Don’t feel bad that it is overwhelming, Heather. Just be prepared that it never ends; and the larger her world gets, the scarier your life becomes. Sorry, that probably isn’t very helpful, but take it from someone whose been there.

    And least she has a great big sister to watch over Her Sweetness. Marlo is truly the most beautiful baby.



  • lisherk

    I understand completely… Marlo & my son are only a few days apart… I found the 11 month mark a sudden leap forward, my son really was listening when I tried to teach him things! Now hes just a little to quick and smart for his own good…ah, if only I could leave the remote out in the open and not have it hiding under a cushion, oh… oops, there goes the cushion….

    Heather, you are a true inspiration for all of us ‘mommy wanna be bloggers’ 🙂

    I just started a few months back, check it out:

  • modchik

    the jackal on meth comment put me over the edge…

    yea that’s what my daughter is like… I had no idea. but then again if I had an inkling she’d be like this I would have kept my legs shut. forever. seriously.

  • jg2010

    Yeah, I had a mover who was into everything and that is truly why he is an only child. There is no way I could have kept him alive whilst pregnant with a second. I was just playing defense all day long.
    He’s about the same age as Leta, and I used to read dooce and be all “She has glass? Glass things?” and “There are tchotchkes in that house? little ornaments? pictures on the nursery walls?”…our house resembled a padded cell. He used to show US how to undo the childproof stuff. When he wasn’t trying to climb up the inside of the chimney or squeeze himself out the catflap…

  • mncz

    Ah, Heather, remember the good times when you felt awkward that Leta did not crawl or walk? I bet you want to go back to those days now! 😀

    I only have one kid, but she is well on her way to be exactly like Marlo. Every day now she will start crawling and then I am completely doomed.

  • Monkey

    That’s how life works. My first kid was calm, serious, no problem at all. Never had much of a tantrum stage; was very independent early. It was almost like not having a kid, THAT’S how easy it was.
    Enter child 2 – a hurricane of energy and destruction. Always on the move. Could break child-safety locks — and when he did, he would head to the fridge and raid it. Drew on walls, even threw diaper contents if we didn’t catch the mess fast enough. He gave me my first gray hairs before I turned 30.
    He’s calmed down at 5 significantly. But every now and then, I still get one of those “Do you know what he did at school today” calls that make me respond with “Oh God! What now??”
    Never a dull moment.

  • numbmum

    I spent the first 8 or so months of my second daughter’s life wondering what all the hoopla was about “one being one and two being twelve.” I daily slapped myself on the back and said, “We’re doing this thing.”
    Then, one day, said second-born child no longer stayed where I put her. That’s right, she moved. And, at that moment, smugness turned to panic. She’s four now. I still haven’t recovered.

  • SandraDee

    My 11.5 year old yellow lab and my 8.5 year old son LITERALLY have the same personality. You can use them interchangeably in conversations regarding food and behavior.

  • dtelisman

    Thank you, thank you for writing this. My wife has fever for baby #2, and I can’t seem to deter her. Now I can. I’m forwarding this immediately.

  • 6Everetts

    This is probably terrible for my karma, but I am hoping like crazy that my neighbor who has the most mellow first has an active second! *evil laugh*

    I have three (one + twins, ages 3 and 1) and all three were walking at 9.5 months and ALL THREE are insanely active. Seriously, I think they’re insane.

    Welcome to the club Heather. Just wait till you have to potty train her.

  • kirst

    “OMG. I gave birth to Coco.”


    You owe me a new screen.

  • eclectica

    You know, jackyls with meth addictions are nothing like small children you know, they are not cute and they eat their own feces!…not something to joke about. ;-D

    LOL that was funny to read, I’m a long time reader so I remember the days of Leta’s mobility stuff, so to read about the contrast with Marlo is so fun.

  • Bryony Boxer

    It’s true, you’ll never have that again – you’ll also never again have your pre-kids lives – and we all sorely miss those sometimes, but also can’t imagine giving up on the wild ride of raising kids.

  • Bluestalking

    When my daughter was around 18 months I managed to lock myself out of the house. I could see her toddling around the family room, happily drooling and putting things in her mouth, but I couldn’t get to her. Luckily I had a phone in the garage. I called the fire department who broke in through my bathroom window. Wanna talk freaked out? Imagine an 18 month old in the arms of a guy who just crawled through a window.

    Ah, good times. Almost as good as the time my son – aged around 2 – called 911 and we had police peeking at us through our living room windows.

    Is it me, or is there a window theme here?

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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