An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Wherein I return to my roots

Marlo’s favorite thing to do now, after having been taught by her evil grandmother, is to climb stairs. Great. Because this new house is basically four stories, three above and one below ground. Lots of stairs to climb! No problem for an almost thirteen-month-old who routinely dives off of our bed head-first and loves the sound her skull makes as it hits the floor!

For the first few days we were living here we didn’t have the right size of gate to install in areas where a gate might help things out. So while unpacking we would take turns grabbing her from the bottom of the staircase, returning her to a safe spot, and then grabbing her again. Over and over and over, and I finally understood why some women say they stay thin because they chase after their children. Because before, there was no chasing. It was me in one corner folding clothes while Leta sat perfectly still on the couch reading Chaucer.

One morning last week we woke up having not set up the gate the night before, and not two seconds after finishing her bottle she charged off of our bed, out of our room, and headed straight for the stairs. I looked at Jon and said, dude, it’s time. Which was code for: you get the dogs, I’ll get the one over here with rabies.

Except, when I caught up with Marlo at the top of the stairs, the smell of death smacked me right in the face, and I could see a squirrel tail of poop all the way up her back. Changing just a regular diaper these days is not unlike trying to take a sumo wrestler to the ground, so ones that are filled with that much feces require the handiwork of at least two people. One to restrain her limbs, and the other one to gag.

This was the beginning of a string of fatal errors. Because I immediately yelled for Jon who had just that second let Coco out of her crate. And Coco does not like to linger. The moment she gets out of her crate in the morning, it is high time to pee. So there had better be an open door somewhere. Where’s the open door? Where? Where? And if you’re even a second off with your timing you’ve suddenly got a shallow indoor pool.

But we weren’t thinking about this right then, no. No, there were other more fragrant matters at hand. And all over my hands, because Marlo was trying to wrestle me to the ground, whipping chunky poop into the air as she struggled. Have you guys missed the poop talk? Because I was getting used to a life where I didn’t have to write about it so much. And just that side effect alone makes Jon’s vasectomy totally worth it.

So we were getting Marlo cleaned up, and I don’t even think I could describe the process to you, because it was just a total blur: poopy limbs waving around like windmills, both of us shoving wipes at each other, that kid screeching at the top of her lungs. When suddenly I remembered Coco. No, wait: suddenly, I reeememmmmberrrreddd COOOOOH-COOOOOOH.


And we could not find her anywhere. I called and called, searched for twenty minutes. You have to understand: there are probably fifty different closets in this house, twenty-nine of them with locks. Originally they each had a different lock until we had a locksmith come and change them all to one. So that, you know, one of the kids locks herself in the closet and OOPS, WE CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT KEY OUT OF ALL TWENTY-NINE OF THEM.

I looked in every closet, every nook, under every bed. And because she wasn’t coming when called I just knew something terrible had happened. AND OH HAD THERE EVER.

Canine diarrhea in five-foot-circumference puddles in the kitchen. In the living room. In the dining room. All over the dining room wall. You guys, Coco is a small dog. I don’t think a Russian submarine is capable of holding that much liquid.

Jon was in such a place at this point that I instructed him to calm his shit down, go over to the bar in the kitchen with the girls and eat breakfast. He was doing the satan ventriloquist thing, stringing together obscenities under his breath, and I made him promise me that when I found Coco and brought her through the kitchen to the back yard that he would not fling his cereal spoon at her head.

That poor dog. She was on the top floor in our office hiding behind a filing cabinet. And I literally had to drag her by the collar to get her to come downstairs. Then I began the tedious clean up, on my hands and knees. Soaking up dog shit. Wiping away dog shit. Throwing away dog shit. And it just went on and on and on. Toward the end of it I had sweat rolling down my forehead, but I was petrified that if I dared to try and wipe it away I’d get either human or canine feces in my eyes.


It wasn’t Coco.

I mean, I KNOW!

Because later that afternoon Chuck sprayed both the living room and the kitchen again with five more gallons of diarrhea. And it was the same color, same texture, same consistency. Coco must have seen the mess Chuck made that morning and been all, SOMEONE is getting in trouble and it ain’t gonna be me!

I’m with you, Coco!

A $200 trip to the vet and runny poop sample later, and we found out that Chuck just had an upset stomach. No parasites. Probably something he ate in the backyard. Couldn’t he have just said so? I would have gladly carried him to the back door myself. Because now there’s a giant brown stain on the wall in the dining room, and when I’m showing friends the house, I have to say, “That? Oh, that’s where we spray our dog shit.”

  • pmaha

    I’ve been wanting to ask this question for about 13 months now: What are you feeding your child that she shits like that? I breast-fed my son and this never happened. I made all his baby food and this never happened. I don’t know of one single parent who, outside of sickness, has a child who has this kind of explosive shit. I am just curious.

  • onelumen

    Hydrogen peroxide. Spray it on the “brown spot” and let it sit for a bit, then wipe it off. Repeat as necessary. A vet turned us on to this. Breaks down the proteins and, therefore, leaves no stain, no smell. Works on all bodily fluids. We use it on carpet, wood, walls (yes, I feel your pain!), clothes, etc.

  • mjryates

    I have never laughed so hard reading one of your posts.

  • Billygean

    Maybe he’s got heatstroke?!

    BG – Compulsive Reading

  • Penelope

    Sorry that shit happened, but thanks so much for sharing! This was a hilarious way to start off the day.

    Also, the video was an ovary-mover. I just got bit by the baby bug and Marlo sealed it.

  • bethysmalls

    That video is the greatest. I have a very active child myself and he was never so deliberate when climbing the stairs. It was always a haphazard mess of flailing, footie pajama’d limbs flying up the un-carpeted stairs. He’s been climbing stairs for about a year. I’m just now getting over my anxiety.

  • anya

    Well, Heather, seeing glimpses of your house I am so happy for you/jealous that it’s hard to feel sorry for you for wiping dog/baby shit off the floors/walls of your beautiful new MANSION! So boo hoo, enjoy the new digs.

  • TexasKatie

    I don’t get how you got from cute baby crawling on the stairs to dog spraying shit everywhere.

    Anyway… that is really gross. LOL.

  • Rumblelizard

    I rarely recommend products, but as a dog owner, I can’t recommend the Bissell Spotlifter 2X enough.

    I bought one for my sister, who has three dogs. She dubbed it the “Sh*tsucker 2000” after one particularly horrifying incident with her dogs much like the one you just described, and she said that she’d still be cleaning up two years later if she hadn’t had it.

    My cat-owning friends say that it works just as well for horrific hairball incidents.

    Dooce, I promise you, once you have one of these things you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

  • katliz

    I adopted my first dog last September, a gorgeous American Bulldog/Pit mix. He was just over a year old, obedience and housetrained, and I was in love.

    Until 3 weeks later when he woke me at 4 am, howling. He had Russian-submarine-quantity diarrhea in his crate, the surrounding walls, furniture, everywhere. The memory of it still makes me gag.

    The culprit? We found the remnants of a very large squash next to the garden. He ate an entire 3 lb squash.

  • hellohillary

    New house, meet the Armstrongs!

  • raspberryripple

    I read this last night on my iPod touch in bed before going to sleep…well, almost read all of it…my husband nearly kicked me out of bed because I was shaking so hard with laughter. The memories of tag teaming my daughter the pooping champion along with the Chuck disaster were enough to set our bed in motion.

    If you only knew how great it felt for me to laugh like that…thanks.

  • aussome1

    congratulations on the new house!! Can’t wait to see all the photos you upload!! Love the main and master so far how beautiful.

    Almost peed my pants reading about Chuck and Coco. What one must do when one has dogs. I think all dog/cat owners have been there just maybe not in a brand new house!! Thanks for the “poop” this week!! I needed the laugh out loud today!! It has been dreary raining and flash flooding for 2 days and it sucks and your poop brightened my day!!

    Oh and btw…Chuck looks like he has gotten over it in the photo as the sun dial!!

  • Abra Cat

    Wow. I’m grateful I only had to deal with a gallon of dog pee on my son’s bed this morning…

  • Chris2fer

    Maybe Chuck is getting used to his new house? My Westie has a nervous poopy reaction with new surroundings. It seems to fit that Chuck would have intestinal issues.

    Or maybe he had some bad Shiraz with his afternoon pipe.

  • ehorn

    Possible solution: plastic shopping bag. Put Marlo’s legs through the handles and make sure the sack part catches her poop. You can buy larger diapers so the bag full of poop doesn’t get squeezed out of the top. If you ever do this, I want pictures. And if it works, you have to name your next dog after me.

  • susnot

    this is probably the most hilarious and disgusting story i have ever read. i love it.

  • Nytro21

    This sounds soooo familiar. Our dog used to get into the grapes hanging on the fence in the backyard. Pools of poop. And paw prints of poop. All through the house. AND SHE NEVER LEARNED cuz she got into the grapes at least once a year for five years. Or rather, I NEVER LEARNED.

  • MustangSally

    Are you all philosophically opposed to doggy doors or something? Or are you not installing one because you are paranoid the aliens would lure Marlo to crawl out through there (or would come in through there….)

    All I’m saying is… there’s a reason God invented Doggy Doors.

  • jupiterangel

    Don’t get me wrong – I love most everything you post – but posts about poop are my favorite. Laughed out loud through the whole story!

  • d3 voiceworks

    i hope when jon had breakfast with the kids as instructed — at the bar — he enjoyed a bloody mary ?

  • screwdestiny

    And this is why I don’t have dogs. Having to clean up dog shit/diarrhea and piss like, once a week or more, especially in an amazing new house, is just not something I EVER want to have to do. I’ll stick with my low-maintenance cat. 🙂

  • curlsz

    I have to say – lately every picture and story of Marlo has had my uterus jumping all over town – AND NOW OH GOD NOW!!! The uterus laid back down, hit the snooze button, pulled the blankets up and spit obscenities at me for waking her up. Oh and I remember why I don’t have a dog.

  • JennfromCanada

    Oh I feel your pain. We have two dogs, both of them are crated. Our little dog is crated on top of our big dog.

    Anyway, I came home from work one day and when I walked into the house I could smell it. My poor little Charlotte had diarrhea so bad that she had flipped her crate off of the big dog’s crate and there was poop everywhere. I had to bath her, wash the floor, the wall, the big dog’s crate.

    But I still keep her crated on top of his crate and I should know better but that’s the way it is at our house.

    I wanted to LOL at your post but I’m at work and couldn’t. Just know that I was laughing inside at your poop story.


  • Anxious Annie

    Everything you show of that house gets more and MORE fabulous! Where’s your latest post/review of Design Star???

  • midge

    I have to comment here about your hallway, which just brought me to orgasm. So, so jealous.

  • ChickWhitt

    And even after that, I am still insanely jealous of your house and would steal it from you, given the opportunity.

    I would want Marlo too.

  • tdotjen

    wow, I think you outdid even yourself from the baby Leta days with poop talk.

  • Mrs. Q.

    Way to ruin a perfectly good new house, guys! I’d say, Pull-ups all around.

  • freckleface

    Oh my gosh… this reminds me of about 8 months ago when my dalmatian was a puppy – granted, a 45 lbs puppy – and I was taking him somewhere in the backseat of my car. Everything was fine until he started having horrible diarrhea EVERYWHERE. Inside the holes the seatbelts come out of, inside the seatbelts themselves, in the cracks of the seats, on the floor, all over my fabric interior… EVERYWHERE. Then, of course, he proceeded to pace around in it and spread it further and really mash it in… I freaked out, turned around and sped home (luckily I was only 2 minutes away), rushed him into the bathroom to be cleaned up later, and then proceeded to spend an hour trying to clean up my car. Meanwhile I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t breathe, and in between gasps I was repeating “It’s everywhere… it’s everywhere” over and over. That is, until I switched to a more desperate “it’ll never come out! It’ll NEVER come OUT!!”. Just be glad you have hardwood floors and not carpet! Although that is a shame about your wall… poor Chuck.

    As an aside, I laughed so hard at comment #2 by Emmy, and think that it sounds like a book review. “Poop’s never been so funny!” That should probably be your masthead next month.

  • freckleface

    Oh! And that video of Marlo is SO cute, I almost died!

  • francond

    Please help me understand: You claim not to be able to afford health care benefits for the “right arm” employees who make your business possible. You just bought a four-story house for two adults and two children less than three feet tall. Wow.

  • Star

    Dude, upside-down swaddling. We have a SwaddleMe wrap I use. Just turn it upside down, swaddle arms with elbows bent. A little tricky but not as much as cleaning poop off a one-year-old’s hands. At first my son hated it, but now he just chills. (I’m afraid I might be giving him some weird fetish though.)

  • SusanCharmain

    Laughed until I cried!

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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