An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Butt. Kicked.

sick Marlo

I’M ALIVE! ALIVE! I was doubtful that I was going to be able to say that yesterday afternoon after watching Marlo alone for four straight days, and then last night… oh god. I wouldn’t describe what I did as sobbing because that word doesn’t pack enough punch. Is there a level of crying that comes after sobbing? Howling? Waterfalling? Recreating that one scene in the bible where the bearded dude has to build the boat?

Wait. Didn’t every dude in the bible have a beard?

Marlo’s illness just got worse and worse over the weekend, to the point that this is what she was doing for hours and hours and hours (and hours, just so you get the point) (also, I don’t pick her up here because that’s the exact opposite of what she wants):

Yes, I know, it’s cruel of me to have recorded that for the sole purpose of sneaking into her room when she’s fifteen and playing it at 4:30 AM while I laugh maniacally. Because that’s what time she woke up on both Saturday and Sunday. I could have left her in her crib until a more civilized time, I suppose, but wouldn’t that have been cruel? Instead, I quietly tiptoed to her room, swung open the door and yelled BOO!

It’s October. What?

At one point I tried distracting her with some sharp tools in the mud room, and she stopped crying and became engaged enough in the danger that I was able to sit on the floor to browse the Internet on my phone. I saw her slip out of the room from the corner of my eye, and I let her wander into the living room knowing that we have removed anything potentially dangerous to a baby from every surface. No, seriously. Our living room looks like a prison cell. My mom walked in and was all, why is there a poster of Rita Hayworth on the wall?

Trust me, we hung it high enough so that Marlo couldn’t reach it, rip it off the wall and and roll it into a bat to beat Coco.

Suddenly, three silent minutes had passed, and as every parent of a mobile child knows silence is NEVER a good thing unless Benadryl is involved. So I ran into the living room to find her perched on the couch waiting for me, the TV remote in one hand, the cable remote in the other. And when she saw me she waved both remotes and snickered because she knew she was being evil.

That is some sick shit.

My child has cold sores all over her mouth, red bumps covering her face, a fever, AND RINGWORM. And still she has the energy to find something she knows she’s not supposed get into.


  • eleanorstrousers

    Poor miserable, wily little munchkin. At least her abilities to be evil while ill aren’t impacted. She’s a trooper. An evil, little trooper.

  • aslapintheface

    Oh please don’t tell me that she is one of “those kids” that Benadryl actually makes more hyper. I had one of “those”. It’s not pretty.

  • cindy gomez

    I have a boy and a girl. My son was a piece of cake compared to my little girl. As a matter of fact, she’s a lot like Marlo. She has the ability to walk into any room and find the most dangerous item in there.

  • Penelope

    I’m a single mom of a boy and it is CRAZY! Truly.

  • Penelope

    I’m a single mom of a boy and it is CRAZY! Truly.

  • HDC

    Oh hugs to you Penelope. I’ve got a four year old son but I’m not doing this single luckily. I get a taste of that hell every so often when the old man goes on business trips, as he did all of last week to Ber-effin’-lin. I don’t know how you single moms stay sane and/or out of prison. Many hugs to you all out there!

  • Missives From Suburbia

    Actually, my boy never did things like that. It’s my girl who holds all the evil genes in my offspring. It’s not really gender-specific. It’s Second Child Syndrome.

  • ErikaMSN

    I’m posting only to tell you that the ads when I read this had a big one for My American Girl–and to the right, under the Google links, there was a link to Anti Monkey-butt paste.

    You have no idea how happy that makes me.

  • fudgeit

    okay i’m *really* thinking about this. the very worst the boy is doing at the moment is learning to climb on to the kitchen worktop. sounds like you have it much more tougher right now. one of my nieces was *really* hard work as a child, but then you wrote similar stories about Leta. so you know, i guess we’ve all got our work cut out for us, innit.

  • wenhaver

    Hate to tell you, but you can’t trust the quiet ones either. My then-5 year old, who is the male Leta, decided he “wanted some air”, and opened a window. Which he promptly fell out. Did I mention he was on the 3rd floor, so he fell over 30 feet?

    He’s fine. My hair, on the other hand, is turning gray.

  • Pipsqueak

    My little girl just got over Coxsackie too. It’s awful! She had it all over her tongue too. I think that’s the worse case scenario for that disease! I feel for you! Just keep the ibuprofen and ice cream rolling!(for both of you)

  • Truthful Mommy

    You poor thing. I don’t have boys but I have 2 girls who roughhouse with their boy cousins and their 6’5″ Daddy and there is nothing that can stop these 2. They may look like princesses but are more rowdy than any boy I have ever met.Doing it on your own is rough. I speak from experience. Be glad you only have to do it for a few days. I don;t know how single Mama’s do it. I do it 5 days a week and like clock work, about once every 3 months, I have one monster meltdown! IT sucks.In fact I posted about a meltdown today!
    Stay strong.Happy Mothering!

  • jess ica

    I have two boys, ages 4 and 2 who are much like Marlo. My oldest is curious and an explorer. My youngest tends to express himself through blood curdling screams.

    When my boys go to bed tonight, I’ll pour myself a large glass of wine and toast to you, Heather.

  • The Prima Momma

    Hugs and ice cream to Bobo, and hugs and WHISKY to you, Heather!

    I hope you’re both doing better soon soon soon.

  • Amy J.

    Awe…I know after hearing it for days on end it doesn’t have the same affect…but man alive her crying broke my heart. I know she must just be miserably in pain and just not know what to do with herself.

    Hand, foot and mouth BITES. I never even fucking heard of it before I had kids. And you can imagine with Sarah’s diabetes being thought to possibly be related to it, I really have a major distaste for the little bastard virus.

    I hope she gets better soon and you get some rest. Believe me Heather, I’ve had days on end just like that (as I know we all have as moms), so I feel your pain. You are so torn between exhaustion, frustration and plain worry that it just is mind bending.

    Hang in there and when you can, get out and get a drink!! Or two.

    Give Bobo a hug for me…her wandering around just not knowing what to do with herself in the video made my eyes tear up : (.

    LOVE that first photo by the way…I like how you’re playing with black and white lately!!! Nice work mama.

  • wenhaver

    Hate to tell you, but you can’t trust the quiet ones either. My then-5 year old, who is the male Leta, decided he “wanted some air”, and opened a window. Which he promptly fell out. Did I mention he was on the 3rd floor, so he fell over 30 feet?

    He’s fine. My hair, on the other hand, is turning gray.

  • Joy777

    3 month old…2 teeth…1 pissed off baby!

  • tokenblogger

    Boys? Oh, honey. That is TODDLER — DEFINED!

  • getupandplay

    Poor baby. Oh, and poor Marlo, too! You both survived the weekend and I hope this hell ends soon!

  • zanne

    i have 2 boys (now 19 & 23) and a girl (now 14). love them all thoroughly, ridiculously. but the truth is, as much trouble as the boys got into–our living room also had that spartan monk’s cell look for a while: no tables, no lamps, no picture on the wall behind the sofa; and then there was the moment when we told our 11-yr-old son he could only have ONE ER visit a year, so he better choose wisely; having a girl is harder. much, much harder. i can’t begin to tell you those horrors, you’d run away from home. have said since the start that even if she’d been my first child, she’d still be my last.


  • Mrs Jenna

    I thought you would like to know, as I watched the video of your daughter crying, my 1 year old daughter laughed at your misery.

  • Alison

    Love the Stephen King/Shawshank reference.

  • Allie

    Just FYI, I got the Shawshank reference, and I dug it.

  • euriphides

    My son was a piece of cake – it’s my daughter who does this kind of stuff. Maybe the person who said it’s second child syndrome is right – because I was nothing like this as a child, and I was first born. My brother, however…

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Sweet baby jeebus, I don’t know how you parents do it. I really and truly don’t.

  • eco

    My oldest–when he was about 8 months old–squirreled away a screwdriver he’d found (I have no idea how). He’d hidden it in his bed, one of those very small, flat-head screwdrivers. And because his bed was near a light-switch, he used the screwdriver to take off the light plate. He’d not only figured out that the screws came out (at 8 months!!), but had found the right tool. God only knows what he’d have done if I hadn’t realized it was a little too quiet.

    A couple of weeks later, he figured out how to disassemble the baby-bed… while he was *still in it*. I heard a loud THUNK and some strange, muffled sounds coming from his room and when I got there, the bed was all at a slant, the sides having somehow wedged against each other with him stuck somewhere in the center. He thought it was a game and was waiting for the next thing to happen.

    When my philosophy professor (I’d gone back to school) tried to talk to me about Nietschze, I waved him off. “Nihilism is for sissies,” I told him. “Talk to me when he’s tried to convince a 9 month old that he cannot hammer a nail into my good sofa and then we’ll talk.”

    [That kid is now a SWAT police officer. Strange, but true. At least he decided to do something legal, for which I am profoundly grateful.]

  • c_kidman69

    I feel for you, my hubby is a firefighter and is gone for days in a row. I have 4 kids and it is hard. I am so happy when he gets home from his ‘stint’ in Ogden I sometimes have tears in my eyes. The coldsore thing is horriable, now for the rest of her life she will get them and you guys will figure out what triggers them. Some kids when they get stressed out get them, when they worry or things like that. Luckily there are pills that you can take when you feel them coming on and they help immensely. Unfortunatley for my son who does suffer from cold sores I can tell when school is stressing him out or he is lying, kind of like a built in detector.

    I totally get the single parenting thing. It is hard. Not a little bit hard, but like almost harder than child birth in my opinion. Hang in it will only get easier once she passes age 4, then it is easier to communicate.

    Thanks for your writings, there are days when I am being a single parent that I look forward to reading your blow.

  • kristi.demeester

    The good news about boys? They are LOUD about anything that they are doing. Usually, it involves a set of pliers and the dog/a younger brother.

    Girls on the other are sneaky little coots who will cut the short hair dog’s coat while you are in the shower and then wonder why the dog is bleeding.

  • adamsrice

    Oh dear lord. I would give you a hug right now. The video made me feel similar to that overwhelming moment when you bring a new baby into your house and have no idea what will make it shut up. So helpless.

    Also, what did you do to the universe to deserve such wrath?

  • Amanda81930

    Ok, I didn’t read all the comments to find out if someone already said this, so, sorry if I’m duplicating…

    @Dooce…I had those cold sores in my mouth as a young child, and the ONLY thing that I could drink (not only drink but actually helped them go away)…was grape juice mixed with sprite. I’m telling you…I know she’s still really little, but I’m telling you it worked!

    Just a suggestion that could potentially be helpful.
    Poor Bobo…

  • tullisjen

    I’m so sorry. There is nothing worse than a sick child that you don’t know how to help. Sending hugs and prayers for both of you. I hope she feels better soon.

  • Moomser

    Oh man, poor Marlo. My 2 year old son did the exact same – walking around crying but don’t you dare come near me, wait where are you going? don’t leave me – thing last april when he was sick with (I kid you not) scarlet fever and impetigo AT THE SAME TIME. I had just come home from a week in the hospital with my 4 month old girl… Oh, the joys of parenthood. At least now we can start a cache of video evidence to take out and show them when we’re old and codgery and they dare to complain.

  • subjectivitis

    Oh, poor baby! She just sounds miserable. I hope she feels better soon.

  • speakno

    This is the reason the phrase “Bless Her Heart” was coined. Tugging at my heart strings. Hope she feels better soon. Good luck.

  • amberdawn

    My son has always had the same sort of relentless energy. Before he could crawl he expressed it by complaining about not being able to crawl. After he could crawl he constantly pulled apart and ate his play mat and anything else he could get his hands on. He started running almost immediately after walking and learned how to jump at 18 months. He jumps on books, off the furniture, stands on top of everything, and bellyflops on the couch, no matter how much we tell him not to. He’s not quite two yet. Last week he jumped off of a ledge about two feet high into a sand pit (and totally landed it but scared the crap out of me). He thinks that running around the house as fast as possible with his eyes closed is funny. Today he climbed up on top of an teeny end table and then stood up and was like – LOOK AT ME I AM AWESOME!!!

    I was so impressed by his awesomeness that I burnt his quesadilla and filled the kitchen with smoke while I was rescuing him from it.

    Red wine. A big glass of it. And a bath. And crying.

  • jlhjla

    Your writing makes me laugh so hard sometimes that my husband asks me “Are you laughing or crying?” And between gasps of air, I’ll manage to say “Dooce!”, and he asks no more… I hope Marlo is feeling better ~ it’s so hard when there’s NOTHING you can do that will make them happy.

  • Lene

    You have my sympathy. You really, really do (as does Marlo, the poor kid). Still, I couldn’t help but laugh as she hands you her toy with an air of “here. Hold my stuffie while I kvetch.”

    does the fact that Marlo had the wherewithal to do something she’s not supposed to mean that maybe she’s getting better?

  • EricaRMcR

    My daughter had the same cold sore/fever virus. It was by far the sickest I had ever seen her. It is awful. Good luck!

  • sparkyd

    Oh my. That video broke my heart. I’d be sobbing too listening to that all day and not being able to make it better. I want to sob for both of you right now.

  • abi

    I feel your pain. Last fall my husband had to travel out of the country for two weeks, leaving me alone with our three boys (then aged 6, 4, and 16 months). I made it through the first week; but by Day 6, the youngest had developed an ear infection and was howling like Marlo in your video, and then my mother-in-law who was supposed to be relieving me for a couple days bailed on me, and…I completely lost it. I got the call from my MIL that she “wasn’t going to make it” while the boys were finishing up dinner, and I threw some diapers in a suitcase, sent the older two to go potty, put all three boys in their pajamas, and then loaded them all three in our minivan and DROVE ALL NIGHT to my parents’ house, 600 miles away. So yeah, I get the single-mom desperation. I totally can’t imagine having to deal with it every day.

  • workroom

    maybe this will teach you not to throw her into a lawn caked full of dog feces to play all day while you drink bourbon and eat cheez its and browse with Tyrant…

  • heinze58

    Whoever said it was because she’s a second child was right. Second children are possessed of the devil. But they do grow up to be the nicest to their moms.

    Just ask my mom. And my daughter.


  • Aunt Baaa

    My oldest is a boy. His younger sister is evil incarnate. She gets into more trouble, finds worse stuff to get into, you name it. She gets up between 2:30 am and 5 am. EVERY DAMN DAY!!!

    I feel your pain.

  • PaigeWAydensMama

    I have one 2 year old boy and one baby boy on the way. Day at a time. Day at a time.

  • Lizzy

    Poor Marlo!
    Poor you!

    That video reminds me of the sheer hell of having a sick baby. And I did it THREE F*CKING times. I’m just drunk a lot now…

    Hang in there, guys. This too shall pass.

  • bloggras

    How about three boys(and a girl), all of whom had the most violent stomach flu i have ever seen this week? Literal shitstorm. Like it was literally raining shit. Sorry if my sympathy levels are hella low right now, but i am about to go on a crime spree,with the man who keeps impregnating me as my first victim. Just be glad we aren’t next door neighbors (yet…it may be in the works again!). See ya soon, hopefully over a new fence.

  • cherechere

    possibly chicken pox? her symptoms sure sound like something I have experienced with a toddler.

  • austinmomof7

    My post today involved taking a machete away from my kids and making them use their toy vehicles to perform manual labor. I’m not the one you need to look to for parenting advice.

  • HalalaMama

    As I read these posts about Marlo I am certain that if my son ever met her, they would fall instantly in love and they would become the next Bonnie and Clyde. I never knew that being the mother of a boy was going to be like this because my friends? All of them? Gave birth to nerds. My son? While we were putting together his birthday tricycle,he had gotten a screw driver and was industriously working at unscrewing the back of his refrigerator letter sounds thingie. Probably to get the batteries out. To eat them. Because he refused to eat his cake. And he’s just now two.

    I need a nap.

  • ewatts

    My mom-of-a-boy moment this week: Death of a laptop by beating. Why couldn’t he have bitten it instead?
    So this is what they call the terrible two’s!

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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