the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Back to reality

Monday evening after driving back from Moab to pick up the kids, my mother who had watched both of them while we took our mini vacation pulled me aside, shook her head and said she had no idea how we did this. This day-to-day marathon with these kids. Not that they were bad, but she doesn’t remember it being so hard. I reminded her that she’s thirty years older than I am. And that since she’s Mormon she doesn’t have bourbon in her toolbox.

Or frequent four-letter shrieking. There’s that pesky sacrament thing she needs to be worthy of taking on Sunday.

Marlo is still sick with the cold that has traveled leisurely through the entire family. And so fresh from three days of childless, carefree life we were hit with three days of sleepless nights, three days of trying to rock Marlo back to sleep at two o’clock in the morning, three days of passing her off and saying, it’s your turn with Baby Rambo.

If I knew how to sew that’s exactly what she’d be for Halloween.

Since school started for Leta a couple of weeks ago she’s been appearing nightly in our bedroom. Nightmares, spiders, she fell off, didn’t you hear that loud thump? etc. We took the advice of one of the commenters here and made it a rule that if she comes to our room in the middle of the night she can’t sleep in our bed. She has to sleep on the blankets we’ve laid on the floor next to the bed. I thought I’d take it a step further and make the pile of blankets so uncomfortable that she’d want to go back to her own bed. Maybe this is why her stories always have Daddy playing the Prince and Mommy playing the Fairy God Witch.

Except I can’t make it uncomfortable enough. Two nights ago I forgot to put the blankets down, and she slept for six hours on the hardwood floor. WITHOUT A PILLOW. I woke up, saw her tiny body nestled onto that unforgiving surface and thought, I DONE RAISED SOLID SOUTHERN STOCK!

And then I covered her up with a blanket. I AM ONLY PARTIALLY HEARTLESS.

It was that night that Marlo was at her most ferocious. And after I rocked her for an hour she finally fell asleep against my chest. I knew that if I tried putting her back in her crib she’d pop wide awake, so I walked quietly into Leta’s bedroom, climbed up into her giant brass bed (the one that used to be in Marlo’s nursery), and slowly maneuvered into a position where we could both sleep soundly. That’s seems a lot easier than it really is. Imagine a scene in a movie where you mash up MacGyver, James Bond, and Jason Bourne, and they’re driving a bus that is going to explode if it ever goes below a certain MPH. Let’s just say that Marlo is the studio executive who is totally pissed that the producers have gone over budget.

That lasted a whole thirty minutes, and then suddenly she seized as if being electrocuted, threw her head backward and squealed like a pig in the mud when she saw the brass spokes of the headboard. I was seconds away from falling asleep myself when she used my knees as a diving board to thrust her body two feet into the air to grab those spokes, where have they been all her life?

That was it, I was done. So I marched back into our bedroom, stepped over Leta’s body and set a babbling Marlo onto Jon’s chest.

“She drew first blood,” I said. “She drew first blood.”

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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