the smell of my desperation has become a stench

The older child

So Bobo has the chicken pox. It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, meaning it’s only a very mild case, a side effect from the chicken pox vaccine that only five percent of kids suffer from. Both of my kids were in that five percent. But, OF COURSE THEY WERE. What would this blog be without a week uninterrupted by death, wild animals, missing teeth, or a contagious disease?

(Universe, that was not me poking you in the shoulder. In fact, here. Let me pour you a beer. Also, I’ve got a prescription for Valium, and I could accidentally drop one into your salad. Wait! I’m not implying you need to go on a diet! I was just noticing how awesome your butt looks in those jeans!)

That on top of the fact that two of her top teeth are coming in and the already day-to-day crankiness from wanting to be able to walk but lacking the ability to walk, and we’ve got Daisy Hamilton on our hands. She was my father’s mother. Used to throw rocks at cars parked in front of her house. Because she could. Oh, and that one time she broke a plate over my dad’s head. He was three.

We were gathering up our things yesterday morning to head downstairs for breakfast when she crawled into Coco’s crate and tried to lock herself inside. But when she realized she didn’t actually know how to operate the lock she started screaming and beating the side of the crate with her fists. I looked over at Jon and said, “She’s got the Daisy in her.” That was his cue to call either an exorcist or a kennel.

Now, many of you have expressed concern that I don’t talk much about Leta anymore, she who used to be one of the main subjects of my writing. Where is she? What is she doing? Has she successfully negotiated the release of any hostages yet?

I think it’s a combination of reasons why I’ve started writing less about her. One, she expressed displeasure at having her picture taken several months ago, and now she actually runs out of the room when I break out a camera. Two, I didn’t expect our relationship to become so complicated so early in her life. In fact, I thought that some of what is going on in our house wasn’t going to happen for another ten years. But here it is, and the level of complexity is not really something I want to talk about publicly.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had some friends talk to me about going through the same thing with their own children, and I could not be more thankful. Because I thought I was alone in this. I know, after all these years of keeping this website that this is the last thought I should ever have about anything. But there I was feeling it. And while there is a part of me that wishes I could talk about it here to help others who might be going through the same thing, I don’t think it’s fair to Leta, not at this age. Maybe one day when we’re on the other side of this I’ll ask her for permission. But right now our family needs to work through it privately.

I’ve also felt a protectiveness growing about her as she’s gotten older and knew that I’d be writing less as that feeling continued. I’ve said before that the story of most babies is pretty much just like the story of all the other babies who have ever lived in the world: pooping, crying, screaming, sleeping (and a lot of not sleeping), and then more pooping. I really feel like the Internet has given us back the village we lost so that in those early days we can help each other through the madness of it. That’s why I feel like it’s okay to write so much about Marlo, because it’s the same story of a million other babies hopefully told in a way that we can all laugh about it enough to want to wake up tomorrow morning.

For the last several months if I have mentioned Leta here I have most likely asked her if I could do so, even if it has been something totally innocuous. I intend to practice this going forward, so I guess maybe I am censored to some extent. Ha! Look, Leta! You’re more powerful than Verizon!

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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