An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

From Rambo to Rocky

It started when, one night after an exhausting day of having other people satisfy her every need, Marlo was told no, she could not play with my phone. And since she’s such a reasonable human being, she fell to the ground and began hitting the floor with her face. I was just about to tell her that she might want to be careful, our faces were not intended for these kinds of activities, but I didn’t have to. She busted her bottom lip open, and just like that she stopped!

The following afternoon I was sitting at my desk when I heard a huge THAWUMP! followed immediately by deafening cries. I knew McKenzie was watching Marlo and could handle whatever had caused that sequence of noises, so I waited a few minutes before running downstairs to check on things. Marlo had stopped crying, was standing behind the coffee table, and before I could even ask, “What happened?” she had fallen again, her legs flipped like a fish into the air. She wasn’t even walking anywhere.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I held it together, because that shit was hilarious.

Yes, there was comforting, and I even tenderly whispered in her ear that everything was going to be okay, but damn, she’s going to be good at physical comedy one day. The scene just kept repeating itself in my brain, except this time it was in slow motion and was accompanied by the sound of a limp horn:


Two hours later while attempting to jump, she tripped over the imaginary air under her feet and then stumbled halfway across the room where she landed head-first into the coffee table, at just the right angle. Because you know the excruciating silence that happens when a kid is hurt, the one between the gasp for air and the first roaring wail? That’s how long it took for her right eye to turn black.

So, let’s take a tally here… busted lip, black eye, inability to stand for an extended length of time without falling over. That should be enough right? Except the following morning I leaned down to pick her up when she suddenly jerked her body in such a way that my thumb caught the side of her face and scraped a three-inch gash out of her cheek.

Jon was like, dude! What are you doing? And I was all, dude? It’s obvious that the Universe is attacking Marlo through her face, and now it’s using me as a weapon! This shit needs a priesthood blessing!

So to answer your question… the reason I haven’t posted a recent picture of Marlo in almost two weeks? We’d like to retain custody.

  • ashleyg314

    Holy cow … that is weird sequence of events … hope she’s okay

  • ChickWhitt

    I wonder where she gets this from?

    BTW, how are the toes you broke while you were pregnant with her?


  • bubbytoots

    She is just at that age… the few months after learning to walk I swear they fall, hit and bust into everything leaving the battle scars on their face! Even if they hit their knee or elbow. Only the face gets the bruise. Every Monday when I took my sons back to daycare, I felt like someone would be calling CPS.

    You are not alone and we know you are not hurting her!

  • SuzRocks

    If it makes you feel any better, my mom let me walk on a broken foot for 8 days when I was in 3rd grade before taking me to the hospital.

    She never lost custody.

  • sarahem321

    As a person who was obviously cut of the same cloth as Marlo, I’d recommend become good friends with your pediatrician…and see if you can get Marlo to perform some of her death-defying physical feats IN the physician’s office. If the legends in my family are true, it’s the only way my parents avoided having weekly visits from CPS. First year injury tally: Cracked open skull by RUNNING head first at a brick wall, stitches in scalp, 3 rounds of multiple stitches dangerously close to both right and left eyes, multiple bruises so sever they became infected… Heck. I’m a functioning professional, a responsible member of society and I hardly have any scars. 😉

  • leafgirl

    Add those to the chipped tooth, and that is one redneck child you have. Doubt anyone will ask you if she’s a girly girl.

  • arishell

    The hospital almost called CPS on my folks after I threw myself from a bunk bed onto a radiator. But it was 40+ years ago, they weren’t so quick to do so back then.

    You cannot help but laugh when a kid falls, even if it is horrendous and even if it is your own.

  • romesick

    Oh, yes. I remember when my now-eleven year old daughter was a toddler, and she attempted to scale the desk in our kitchen nook. She fell (apparently headfirst) onto our ceramic tile floor. The goosebump in the middle of her forehead stuck out at least 4 inches, turned an alarming shade of purple-green, and caused both her eyes to black as a bonus.

    I actually *saw* people giving me the stinkeye at the grocery store.

  • kymmi

    While my 6 year old is a tad more delicate, that girl cannot be in a room without running into/tripping over/falling on something. It could be anything. The girl tripped on a rug before. While standing on it.

    What I love best is her over-the-top dramatic wail as it happens. Like it’s the FIRST TIME she has ever tripped/fallen/stubbed her toe etc. COMPLETE surprise, and if the world wouldn’t mind, could it please STOP and pay attention to the non-existent bruise that must be so bad it can’t be seen?

    Not that I know where she got that from. You should see my paper cut. It REALLY hurts, y’all.

  • katliz

    My pediatrician called in a social worker on several occasions when I was taken to see him. Bruises, scrapes, everywhere and I wasn’t even an active kid, I was a bookworm.

    And an unparalleled clutz, which I remain 30 some odd years later.

  • tobysensei

    Yes, my 18 month old will bang his head on any hard surface when he doesn’t get his way. There seems to be a permanent red mark on his forehead, but perhaps it will change to a lurid purple just in time for our pediatrician visit later this week. He gave himself a black eye 2 weeks ago that has finally gone away. I am so ready for him to get over this stage!

  • abi

    My son is the same way, and somehow he’s survived to age two and a half. I don’t think I’ve taken a picture of him since he became mobile that didn’t feature some sort of giant bruise or gash on his adorable face. I’ve pretty much started preemptorily saying “Oh that – he’s fiiine!” whenever anyone looks at him.

  • Wallydraigle

    I am pretty sure we gave birth to the same child, only mine is a year or so behind yours. Girl started crawling a few days before her six-month birthday. She first attempted suicide three days later and hasn’t stopped since.

    She’s ten month old, and she has a fresh new face-bruise every single day. I sometimes wonder if she’ll make it to a year.

  • abdanne

    Oh my god, I am thinking more and more that Marlo and my son (15 months) are soul mates. He has, at the moment: ringworm on his right cheek, a bruise in the shape of a corner of a building block on his left cheek, and a giant goose egg with a red stripe down the middle on his forehead from the bookcase. And the “the screaming like Bobcat Goldthwait underneath the heaviness of existing.” Yup. It could be meant to be.

  • Desi Valentine

    My son does the same thing. Often. I haven’t taken his Christmas photo yet because he is constantly switching between State of Misery and State of Injury, and sometimes into State of Constant Motion just to spice things up. Also? He bruised a tooth this summer, which has since turned black and died, then became infected, etc, etc. Maybe if I stage the shot with a hill out M & M’s between my kids? That might guarantee a clean photo and closed mouths, at the same time.

  • Twinkie

    Meh. Tell the universe to bring it – it builds character, right?

  • PocoLocoCoco

    “This shit needs a priesthood blessing!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Best. Line. Ever. That totally made my day

  • slappyintheface

    It happens. I have one kid who is the queen of head injuries …. jumped off of the kitchen cabinet and took a chunk out of her chin …. ran full force into the top bunk of the bunk beds and took a chunk out of her forehead …. was jumping from bed to bed (before we got the bunkbeds), didn’t clear the bed and took a chunk out of the back of her head (from the corner of the metal bed frame). Unless you wrap your kid in bubble wrap and duct tape them in a chair, they are going to get hurt.

  • BellyGirl

    Three words: Future stunt woman

  • AussieMel

    Tell me about it!! My son finds the only sharp bit in a room and trips over nothing to fall into it! The ensuing scar still annoys my husband because it “happened on my watch”.

  • OmahaMom2Three

    My mom wanted to get my oldest son a bicycle helmet — like to wear every day — when he was 18 months old and his head was like an injury magnet. I cringe at his Christmas photo that year. He had a yellowish goose egg right in the center of his big, bald head. 😀

  • ORKMommy

    My favorite are the injuries that are actually caused by us, accidentally of course. Like the scratch on Marlo’s cheek. When my daughter was a year old she was standing at the screen door, holding onto it, when I opened it. We had one of those black plastic thingies on it to keep the dogs from scratching at the screen and I could see her. She fell head first onto the concrete stoop and took the skin completely off of her nose. When it scabbed up she looked like a scarecrow, with the red triangle nose. I got looks from strangers for a good two weeks!

  • ljnelson

    The pause between a thump and bawling is known as a criatus.

  • tallnoe

    Birth control in the form of a blog is fabulous!

  • lolab9442

    I almost had a heart attack the first time I seen my son bang his head on the floor when he didnt get his way…then my nephew did it… and another nephew did it…and so did my second son. I remember standing there thinking….FREAK!

  • missusclark

    They all do it. One of my twins fell down a flight of (carpeted, thank god) stairs at 8 months. Both girls were/are climbers, but not *good* climbers. They ate it all the time. Claire (same twin who snow-balled down the stairs) swan-dived out of her crib at about 15 months. And Claire still trips over her own feet, and she’s five now! I’m proud to say we’ve only been to the ER twice in five years!

    Must be quite a rude shock, after Leta, but I’m sorry Heather. It’s completely normal. The doctors understand.

  • LifesBeenGood

    My mother would understand your pain well.

    When my siblings and I were little, my brother used to hurt himself all the time, requiring stitches. Never any busted limbs but let’s just say that he’ll never be able to shave his head without people asking him why his head looks like a carving board. I can’t even tell you how many times he received stitches on his face and head. Once he even ran through a barbed wire fence and sliced open his eye lid. Nice, right?

    When my mom would take him to the emergency room for stitches, they would separate the two of them and question them separately to ensure their stories matched and that my mother wasn’t whittling his head with her paring knife.

  • jysteele

    I can’t count the times my kids have impaled themselves on my fingernails. Bonking their heads while putting them in their carseats at least 3 times a week? Well, I guess I’ll have to take some of the blame on that one.

  • newbuffalomom

    I watched my oldest son trip on sunlight. It was a strip of light coming in the window and it knocked him right down. And he could never catch himself falling, he ALWAYS smacked his face.

    He’s 6 foot now and is a lineman on the football team. 🙂

  • naysway

    YES! I thought I was the only one who a) had a toddler who was determine to kill herself, and b) laughed at her when she tried. I don’t care how cruel it seems, it cannot be helped. Hilariousness every time.

  • strawberrygoldie

    Dear Marlo,

    I feel you.

    At five, I stood behind my friend as he showed me what a golf club was made for. I was too close. My chin paid for that one.

    At six, I ran through the front door. Handles are for wimps. Thirty stiches and an incredible scar later, I still have to explain to people that no, I did not try to slit my wrist.

    At twelve, my bicycle fell apart while I was riding it. Front wheel and handlebars decided it was time to part ways. Faceplant in the street.

    Add to that all the times I have whacked my head on things (open lockers, cars, my own child), tripped on nothing (stranger says as I wait tables, “You walk like a ballerina.” I thank them, and fall on my ass, with tray). Hail Heather, full of grace.

    Marlo, it will give you character, I promise. And your parents will be all the stronger for it. I have my parents as proof of that. My dad stood by my side as I gave birth to my first child. He can do that, he has the strength to do that, because of my lack of grace.


  • Amy K

    I too have an 18 month daughter. We have a sunken family room (you can see where this is going). My favorite is when she forgets and just walks right off the edge. It’s a surprise to her each time it happens. Poor baby, lol.

  • Granny Tammy

    Tip: Start scoping various ER’s, and Urgent Care. Because when the stitches start coming too many visits to the same place start raising eyebrows. Sounds like you have a tomboy on your hands 🙂

  • kacyd

    I think you guys should have another baby just to see how it would turn out….lol. Loved yesterday’s post about Marlo, it cracked me up.

  • kidsmom

    I’m dyin’ here. SOOOO needed that laugh.

    Is it okay that it is at the expense of a defenseless child?

  • Erin47

    Laughing… tooo hard… to type… Poooooor baby :o(

  • Just Jill

    Ahhhh… Baby Grace. It’s possibly time for a name change.

    I’m thinking this is the child who will need therapy as an adult, not Leta. Mainly because you laugh at her – but I know I would too!

    And I love the priesthood blessing reference. Hilarious.

  • glittermom

    Every single thing my beautiful child (who is now 14.5) has done has been to her face, The only time she fell when learning to walk, hit the edge of a stair, cut lip, blood all over. Stitches in her head TWICE, once from contact with the heel of a dress shoe (don’t ask, lets just say I have not let my husband forget that one for the last 12.5 years) and once from a wagon handle. Staple on back of couch, cheek gouge, fell on ice skiing, scrape on whole side of face. Probably more I have forgotten about, but she is still beautiful, and it doesn’t seem to happen as much any more.
    OH, wait I forgot the getting her eyebrow pinched in the glider rocker the day before a photo session, we waited two weeks and you can still see the bruise in the picture. I don’t even know how she did that one.

    You will get through it just fine, they all do. And you will have stories for when they are older!!

  • cnico

    Heather…. It seems to me that Marlo may have suffered a concussion when she was hitting her head on the floor…

    She wasn’t able to stand afterwards, right? Brain injuries can cause those kind of symptoms…

    Read the book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life… where it talks about brain injuries in children in detail in the beginning chapters.

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting things, but seems like it would be good to get her checked out…

  • Plano Mom

    Been there, got the photos. My best friend took them as evidence. Would have worked had I not had at least a couple of her kid.

  • apostate

    I’ve requested a new password today for probably the 15th time just so I could tell you that the priesthood blessing comment is probably the funniest thing I’ve read here. Seriously, be careful what you kid about. They might show up later today while you’re taking out the garbage.

    And regarding this password business: It has to be said that the software you use demands a password so “secure” that I have no hope in hell of ever filing it away in my not-so-sharp mommy brain.
    The last time I had to change my password because I forgot it, it took me probably 7 attempts to come up with one that would be accepted and then I actually had to write the thing down on a piece of paper (which I believe makes it less secure). But alas, I lost the paper. I really thought that would be the last time I would have to change my password until today.
    My new dooce community password has 11 characters. It has an expletive (because that’s how I feel about this password business) followed by an exclamation point and then my childhood phone number with no hyphen. This revelation is my attempt both to rebel against the security police and to remember. Maybe it’s a little more ingrained in my brain now.
    I really hope this will be the last time.
    Dooce community is the only place where password security causes me such angst. Is it just me?

  • CourtneySue

    I can’t even count how many times one of my sisters or I damaged ourselves permanently. I have a scar on my chin, 30+ years later, from taking a corner wrong and gashing my chin open on the sharp edge of a nightstand. My sister has a scarred lip from attempting to climb on a piano (the keyboard!) and slipping. And, of course, there were the “Black-eye Christmases.” For several years in a row, at least one of us girls had a black eye in the annual family Christmas photo, for various reasons. This distressed my mother to no end.

    I think girls actually get messed up more than the boys, or maybe it just seems that way because you don’t expect it.

  • chickahgogirl

    Heather, I think this is the REAL reason Kat Von D
    made some Tattoo Concealer Makeup for us. To go out
    in public with tiny black and blue kids and not get
    dirty looks from other mommies. Really.

    My younger brother had a scar in his eyebrow due to his tantrums when he was little. He would get mad,
    run, and just fling himself into the air. He thought he was Superman! Instead he landed on the corner of the coffee table. I have a scar in my hairline due to my older brother taking my dad’s iron golf club to practice swinging in our back yard. I was walking behind him. Need I say more?
    It was the first time I had a vision…..of an angel. I didn’t know if she was there to help me or “take me home!”

  • lbnassar

    What we learned when our girls were little (I know, some people are going to say no way!) is that when they started falling down, they were on the verge of a growth spurt and we would take them for a chiropractic adjustment (had been taking them since 2 days old). Of course they are all out of whack, they are growing! Their bones are not all the same. It worked! They would stop falling down and get on with running. Also, arnica for those bruises… BTW, they are now 15 adn 18 and the most beautiful, graceful young women.

  • sweetpotatopie

    Ooh. Poor Bobo!!

  • hoofhearted

    Wow. Poor kid. My daughter is 4 and though she’s a little clutzy, I don’t think I would laugh if she fell face first onto a coffee table. Yep kids are clumsy, but maybe Marlo had a concussion and thats why she fell again. Maybe you should invest in some bumper pads or cushy rugs.

  • tallhottie

    My stepson broke both of his arms within weeks of each other. Talk about getting looks… try having a kid that can’t drink out of a cup by himself because he’s all casted up.

    Broke one arm with his Mom on the swingset, ok, no biggie right? Broke the other arm at school, running around and tripped… save the casted arm, so fall onto the other one… BAM! Two casts!


    It doesn’t get any easier Heather!

  • zuwkeeper

    I have two sons, and then I had my daughter. My only child to ever bust a lip or her chin on a stair. The only child I rushed to the hospital with a severe concussion. At Marlo’s age, I am fairly sure she always had a black eye.

    And now at 8, she isn’t clumsy- she is still working on making me an alcoholic. 😀 Don’t let her fool you, looking all sweet with her hair up in a bun ready for ballet- she is too smart for my good!

  • brandychome

    Clearly you are not alone as the comments show. Just before Thanksgiving my 5 year old son got a black eye during PE when someone kicked him in the eye while dangling from the monkey bars, that night his loving father played football with him and popped him dead in the other eye – yes two black eyes in the SAME DAY!

    I just used your post to remind my 10 year old daughter of when she DRUG her little brother off of my bed by his feet which caused him to split his head open on the metal bed frame.

    Do you know how much a scalp bleeds?

    Not yet?

    Well … I’m sure you will eventually, it’s a lot and it leaves scars!

    I’m sure you’ll have a chance to guilt Marlo when needed about the torture she provided so willing to Leta.

    Yes – I’m a member of the Mom of the Year club too.

  • imani66

    My oldest daughter was the same way as a toddler – just when she seemed to be getting steadier on her feet and more daring, blam! It’s crazy to see a little girl all in pink and pigtails bite the dust,but I admit to chuckling a few times…bad, bad!

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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