Heater, Mother of Lance

Danger ahead

We have a giant range in the kitchen that we inherited from the previous owner whose controls are situated such that all Marlo would have to do is wiggle this one over here, and that one over there, and suddenly globe manufacturers are scrambling to remove Utah from their next installments.

Does that frighten you? To have your safety in the hands of a sixteen-month-old who likes to put the dog’s tail in her mouth? Because I find it kind of exhilarating. In an adolescent boy jumping off the top of the house into a shallow pool kind of way. Listen, I’m thirty-five years old. I have a mortgage to pay, kids whose college I have to save for. I’m not allowed to jump off the house into anything.

A dangerous toddler will do, is what I’m saying.

And danger is exactly what she is seeking out now, every waking moment of her life. When she walks by that range she automatically starts going NO NO NO NO in a sarcastic tone because we’re constantly repeating that when she heads for those controls. She is making fun of us. Like she’s a grown woman visiting her mother’s house and going, “Hey, Mom. When you wake up and see that giant ceramic rooster staring at you, do you run to the bathroom or just shit your pants in bed?”

I’m just using that as an example.

Because she may pass by those controls right then, but once you take that moment to sigh she’s in the pantry sticking her head in the dog’s water bowl. And then while you’re cleaning up the water that has spilled into a giant three-foot-wide puddle, she’s run into the living room, climbed on top of the sofa and is waiting for you to see her before she tries to back flip onto the coffee table. Oh, and she has your cell phone clutched between her teeth.

This is the Universe laughing and shaking its head at me because I once innocently wondered out loud, “Do you think the second one will be different from the first?”

  • Meisen

    2010/10/28 at 11:21 am

    Heeeeere’s Marlo!!!! Mwaaahahaha!!

  • ninabina

    2010/10/28 at 11:21 am

    That profile shot is adorable! I love the tongue sticking out and the tiny, tiny ponytail!

  • Marianne

    2010/10/28 at 11:30 am

    She has the most beautiful blue eyes. Full of mischief!
    I don’t know how I lived through two mischievous boys. Just wait until she’s 24, riding a motorcycle across country and talking about the next tattoo she’s getting.

  • Mama to Henry

    2010/10/28 at 11:30 am

    My son is also 16 1/2 months and he does the same “No, no, no” taunting when he knows he is not supposed to do something. Either that or you’ll tell him “no” and he’ll go “YESH.”

  • Winniegirl

    2010/10/28 at 11:31 am

    You’re right, it is just like having a boy – mine!

  • labradoris

    2010/10/28 at 11:35 am


  • Alfriston

    2010/10/28 at 11:44 am

    Marlo’s activity level and lack of fear reminds me of my son at the same age. He’s a somewhat more sensible 12-year-old now, but I literally could not let him out of my sight when he was a toddler. Had to take him into the bathroom with me when I needed to “go”. Used to drag his high chair and some toys or food into the bathroom to imprison him while I showered. Fun times.

    And, editing to add that the “NO NO NO NO” takes me back to the time we visited a home with a floor to ceiling book case, the first three or four shelves of which were accessible to my toddler son. Each shelf was covered with numerous tiny ornaments, knick-knacks and doo-hickeys. He approached the shelf as I was lunging towards him in an effort to divert his attention to something else. “No, Naughty, No.” he said. Still spent the entire visit wrestling crystal mice and fragile teacups from his sticky little hands.

    Marlo is such a beauty! Love the eyes, the smile, and the dimple.

  • jmerry

    2010/10/28 at 11:38 am

    Most stoves you can pull the knobs right off. That’s what we did to childproof. They can’t turn the knobs if they aren’t on there.
    Great pics!

  • amyptucson

    2010/10/28 at 11:50 am

    I guess duct tape and a straight jacket are out of the question, hunh?

    Oh well, only 17 more years to go…

  • ModernMamaz

    2010/10/28 at 11:57 am

    Oh Marlo, you are so much like you’re momma 🙂

  • Amanda Brumfield

    2010/10/28 at 12:01 pm

    She is a little doll. Danger is her middle name.

  • Niki

    2010/10/28 at 12:04 pm

    Oh dear. I had one like this. It’s like being on suicide watch.

  • Amber_D

    2010/10/28 at 12:22 pm

    I feel for you because I have a 19 month old adrenaline junkie too! This morning she learned how to turn the lock and open the front door. I found that out when I came back to our living room from the kitchen (where I had been filling up the sippy cup she shook at me and shrieked “MOOOOORE!”) and found her outside trying to push our deck furniture down the porch stairs. She had a chair right at the edge of the stairs, and like Marlo, was WAITING there for me to find her before she gave it that final shove to the concrete below while grinning. I was gone 60 seconds max.
    Pure evil.

  • lisdom

    2010/10/28 at 12:24 pm

    Oh Bobo. Good luck to you. Also: I have a friend who actually gave her son the middle name “Danger.”

  • Rosamund

    2010/10/28 at 12:25 pm

    Mine’s like this as well and about a week younger than Marlo. Her favourite games are taking the dishes out of the cupboard and swapping them for rubbish from the kitchen bin and climbing up the shelves in the living room to find nail scissors and emery boards (she likes to file her head). We put a gate across the kitchen door!

    None of that phases me but I get really irritated when she pretends she can’t hear me. She may as well be singing “la la la, I can’t hear you”.

  • Tobie

    2010/10/28 at 12:28 pm

    That’s hilarious about her mocking you with “NO NO NO” 🙂 .

  • saraminerva444

    2010/10/28 at 12:39 pm

    I SO get you. This is my life, except both my kids are like this. My days are spent averting crises.

  • austinmomof7

    2010/10/28 at 12:56 pm

    My three year old rolled her eyes and laughed at me when I told her no the other day. I not asking you, I asking my daddy. I. Am. Screwed.

  • TexasKatie

    2010/10/28 at 12:56 pm

    Too funny. So glad that Marlo has her own funny little personality. I do know one thing – she is Leta’s spitting image – except a blonde, blue eyed version.

    As for that chipped tooth – what does her dentist say about that? Just wondering. Does it have to remain that way until she is 5 and it falls out??

  • kshelton

    2010/10/28 at 12:57 pm

    Is it possible to remove the knobs when you are not using the stove so Marlo will not start WW3? She is adorable but reckless!

  • york granny

    2010/10/28 at 1:04 pm

    my granbaby is also fearless !

  • Greygirl

    2010/10/28 at 1:13 pm

    I think you’d better hope that Marlo never ever ever watches that “People are Awesome” video!

  • lorielin

    2010/10/28 at 1:15 pm

    My younger daughter was just like this when she was younger. Thankfully, at 16 she’s much more relaxed and not the wild child we thought she’d turn out to be.

  • scuppie

    2010/10/28 at 1:28 pm

    Oh my god, this is SO my child. Eliza is 15 1/2 months and insists on going to the “big kid” section of the park so she can go down the tall slides. She doesn’t have a snaggle tooth, though. Yet.

  • simpliSAHM

    2010/10/28 at 1:31 pm

    Marlo sounds so much like my “little guy”….afterall, I don’t call the blog Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem for nothing.

  • girlplease

    2010/10/28 at 1:37 pm

    Has she:

    picked up dog poo and given it to you?

    got on all 4s and drink from the water bowl? Oh and

    don’t forget drinking from a water puddle in the DRIVEWAY and gee I wonder where 104 fevers come from. Hmm.

    gnaw on the dog’s kong toy?

    try to stealth wipe you as you pee?

    No? Then stop bragging about your kid trying to blow up your neighborhood with the stove.

    *kidding* Aren’t they all little wonders (who make you take lots of meds just to get through your day? and yea I want another one)

  • Laura Jones

    2010/10/28 at 1:47 pm

    But in the pictures she’s so innocent looking and pictures don’t lie do they.

  • Ashleigh

    2010/10/28 at 1:53 pm

    Wow it sounds like you just wrote about my 17 month old. Except instead of “NO No No No” I hear HOT HOT HOT.

  • hmccreary

    2010/10/28 at 1:59 pm

    I have a 19 month old daughter and I am RIGHT. THERE. WITH. YOU.

  • KatieKat484

    2010/10/28 at 2:14 pm

    This makes me afraid to have babies. But if they’re as cute as Bobo, I might have too…

    I used to babysit a little girl like her. She ran away from me right after she learned to walk, and when I caught her (like 10 seconds later) she was taking a BATH in the dog bowl. Gross.

  • maarte stewart

    2010/10/28 at 2:35 pm

    My 19-month old niece, Ava, is just like Marlo, except her middle name is Mischievous and her nick name is Boo-boo. I call her Boo-boo as she always has one from some dangerous stunt she pulls on a daily basis, may it be jumping from the sofa to ottoman, falling off of a chair, or magically squeezing her head between stairway railings. She too has an older sister who was easy and mild-manner as a toddler while Ava is the complete opposite. She mocks us by inserting “no” into every nursery song she knows.

    Does Marlo have a fascination with remote controls, like my niece? Ava has managed to break 2 cable remote controls and “hide” a few others. If anyone tries to take away her “toys” she turns into the Incredible Hulk (trembles furiously while trying to rip off her clothes).

  • Anndruh

    2010/10/28 at 2:38 pm

    My kid is not quite 7 months. The worst thing he’s ever done is wiggle out of his bouncy seat and roll across the living room to gnaw on a dog toy. Now I understand what those silly straps are for. Ahem.

  • americanmom8

    2010/10/28 at 4:40 pm

    @girlplease- “try to stealth wipe you as you pee” Oh my gosh I am laughing so hard there are tears!!!

    By the way, in the second picture is that dog hair on Marlo’s tongue from sticking the tail in her mouth??

    Sorry, none of my kids were like this!! Thank goodness!!! Kids like this make good birth control. I didn’t have one of these that is why I have 6 kids!!!

  • Zhoen

    2010/10/28 at 5:51 pm

    You had Chuck, then got Coco.

    You started with Lela, now you have Marlo.

    And you are still surprized?

  • bditty

    2010/10/28 at 7:37 pm

    I am laughing with you here. I’ve got one of those cute little devils of my own. I lost the last of the baby weight in the past few months from chasing her EVERYWHERE…the only peace I have is when she is sleeping…until I hear the pitter patter of running feet because she can GET OUT.

  • MonicaH

    2010/10/28 at 8:07 pm

    I have one of those at home too! My son was (and still is) crazy! One time when he was about 18 months old, I was playing in his room with him. I left his room for 5 minutes to turn the oven off when I hear a HUGE crash! I ran into the room and in the 5 minuts that I was gone, he had climbed onto hid bed (he was out of a crib at 12 months old because he learned how to climb out), emptied the clothes from the top drawer of his dresser and JUMPED THROUGH the drawer! Luckily we had attatched all large furniture to wall and so the bottom of the drawer fell out instead of the dresser falling over on top of him. The crash was him falling through the drawer and onto the floor. I was SO freaked out and he thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened!

  • Laura B

    2010/10/28 at 8:24 pm

    I was in a Home Depot a few years ago that had a stove, either Siemens or Bosch, I think, that had a magnetic knob that you had to slap somewhere on the console to be able to operate the controls.

    On the one hand, that would be a great safety feather for all kitchen appliances in households with children.

    On the other hand, they’d charge an arm and a leg for spare knobs because you just know they’d go walkabout at least weekly!

  • aliagirl

    2010/10/28 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the laugh, I needed it. My 21 month old son is the same way. His current favorite activity is diving head first off the couch onto the floor. He hits the ground says ouch, laughs, and climbs back up for more.

  • Truthful Mommy

    2010/10/28 at 9:14 pm

    She is so cute and let me tell you what, this doesn’t scare me one bit. My second is exactly like Marlo, crazy little daredevil.Your post makes me miss when mine was smaller (she is3 now) maybe I need another one to keep me on my toes. Maybe a right sweet little boy, to jump off sofas and back flip off walls ( you know like my girls did:)Happy mothering!.The only thing that frightens me about this scenario is that lil Marlo is going to bite her lip off w/ her lil chipped tooth and then hell will certainly bust loose. its all fun and games until someone bites their own face off:)

  • Anu

    2010/10/28 at 10:59 pm

    I’m sorry, what were you saying? All that cuteness left me unable to process anything else 🙂

  • marnilla

    2010/10/28 at 11:17 pm

    Oh, Honey (s)

    You’ll be okay.

    Just breathe,


    (Or however you spell it)

    Calm down.


    I promise.

    My babies are adults now, so I know what I’m talking about.



  • Lucy_Luck

    2010/10/29 at 5:42 am

    There is some serious cuteness going on in this post. I also agree with KatieKat84 and I’m in awe of mothers in general! Now back to going gah-gah over the cutie pie Marlo! x

  • jennisdrinking

    2010/10/29 at 7:16 am

    Is it time to start taking bets on what you’re dressing the girls up as for Mormon Halloween???

  • ninesandquines

    2010/10/29 at 7:30 am

    zhoen hit the nail on the head….chuck/leta, coco/marlo. i think instead of calling her “bobo” you should call her “mini-terrorist”….and how does leta DEAL with it? does marlo terrorize her too or just you guys? i just love her ponytail and tooth 🙂

    having just found out i’m pregnant, after MANY years trying and MANY dollars spent on treatments/ivf, etc. so it was DEFINITELY planned and is a very happy time, i am really hoping there isn’t karma surrounding laughing at your stories about marlo’s craziness…i really hope God doesn’t say “oh yeah, you think THAT’S funny? watch what i have in store for YOU!”

  • Ommax3

    2010/10/29 at 8:16 am

    LOL…I believe that ninesandquines and “zhoen hit the nail on the head….chuck/leta, coco/marlo”…

    that is exactly what I was thinking…along with…if you had had Marlo first, she would be a glorious only child…that is the way it happens…

    Never would have had another had we had our 2nd child first…and for the third…well, she wasn’t exactly a plan…but more of a surprise(the first 2 are adopted…so really, she was a surprise!)
    Good luck there…will be laughing with you!

  • bawb23

    2010/10/29 at 11:51 am

    Best pics yet!

  • trixienmojosmamma

    2010/10/29 at 12:18 pm

    when our youngest was just going mobile he used to beeline for the stereo system. we would say loudly, “no no no mojo!” and after a while he would say, “no no no mojo!” with just the same intonation that we used.

    it took us a while, but eventually we figured out that he thought that was what it was called, the no-no-no-mojo. we were chastising his behavior, but he was just naming it!

    and so proud he was, too.

  • Caro

    2010/10/29 at 12:28 pm

    May I borrow her? Just for a day or two?. Mine are big now and I miss having little ones around the house. I would give anything just to see my girls move their asses away from the computer for just oh, two minutes. Just so I know their bodies are capable of movement…

    But Marlo? A heart breaker in the making if I ever saw one.

  • bawb23

    2010/10/29 at 1:22 pm

    Two quick stories of my granddaughter:
    She’s standing at the top of the ladder in the playhouse (about 6 feet up), and throws herself unannounced at my wife who is walking up to say hi. Just barely caught her.

    Best one – woke her daddy up calmly calling “Help me. Help me.” (note lack of exclamations) She’d climbed to the top of the TV, on it’s cabinet, and couldn’t figure out how to get down.

  • PunkinP

    2010/10/29 at 1:42 pm

    When talking with my husband about whether to have another baby, he says, “But what if HE’S the easy one?” That pretty much shuts down all talk of a second. You should know that my son(15 months) is JUST LIKE Marlo.

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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