the smell of my desperation has become a stench

In the scheme of things

Jon: “Leta, it’s an orange, not a poisonous snake. Just open your mouth and taste it.”


Jon: “Have you ever tried one?”


Jon: “It won’t hurt you to at least try a small bite.”


Me: “Okay, this is ridiculous. Leta, in the span of your lifetime tasting this orange is not even going to register as a blip in terms of pain. One day you’re probably going to give birth to a kid. Then you’ll know pain.”

Jon: “Why do you always go there?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Jon: “To childbirth. You could go to ‘falling off of your bike’ or ‘an appointment with the orthodontist’ but you bypass all of that and go straight to the destruction of your vagina.”

Me: “Because it trumps everything.”

Jon: “But it doesn’t.”

Me: “Yes it does.”

Jon: “What if some dude gets eaten by a shark?”

Me: “The woman still wins because the dude who got eaten by a shark didn’t live to remember the pain.”

Jon: “What if that dude just has his leg torn off by the shark? What then?”

Me: “WOMAN STILL WINS. He won’t ever have to endure that now-gone leg growing up to be a teenager who routinely screams, ‘I HATE YOU!’ while he’s still sacrificing to save for that leg’s college fund.”

Leta: “Does this mean I can go watch TV now?”

Jon and me: “NO! Taste the damn orange!”

  • ChickWhitt

    2010/12/15 at 10:46 am

    Yup, ultimate trump card. Even if you haven’t had children.

    And threaten to take Leta’s reading time away if she doesn’t try new things. It worked for my parents 😉

  • lindzut13

    2010/12/15 at 10:58 am

    I’m with Leta, oranges are gross. But then I have at least tried them.

  • Anu

    2010/12/15 at 11:02 am

    So, did she taste the damn orange 🙂

  • Kristi

    2010/12/15 at 11:20 am

    Oooo @ChickWhitt has a good idea! No books without trying new things. 🙂
    This post has “WIN” written all over it. Did she try the damn orange?
    I have to add that your latest picture of Chuck made me feel so badly for him. His eyes are BEGGING you to get that damn cord OFF him, pleeeease! *whimper*

  • dooce

    2010/12/15 at 11:30 am

    No, she did not try the damn orange.

  • cndbain

    2010/12/15 at 11:42 am

    We’ve just started a new policy at our house where our six-year-old son has to try at least two bites of whatever dinner I’ve made. He still doesn’t eat anything new, and now I get to watch him yell “Eww, disgusting!” while he spits it out.

  • The Dalai Mama

    2010/12/15 at 11:44 am

    Awesome. I had a conversation like that with my son over broccoli. But I did get him to eat it and he liked it.

    I would imagine child birth trumps everything. My kids came to me via plane but I can only imagine the pain and as Jon so eloquently put it “the destruction of your vagina”

    I laughed just typing that.

  • sleepy-beauty

    2010/12/15 at 11:46 am

    That’s so funny. You’re right childbirth always wins!!!! My picky eater just snapped out of it overnight. She loves to try new things now and will pretty much eat anything now. I think I just wore her down. I did not make it easy on her, lol.

  • chasethefirefly

    2010/12/15 at 11:48 am

    I’m picturing a holiday card with a sweet photo of your girls and over them the words, “THE DESTRUCTORS OF MY VAGINA!” oh and, “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”

  • magwilky

    2010/12/15 at 11:56 am

    We have sadly resorted to paying my daughter to try foods she thinks she will hate and will ruin her life. Apparently cash is more important than momentary discomfort, perhaps a good life lesson – or NOT.

  • megnstuff

    2010/12/15 at 12:04 pm

    If you ever figure out a way to get her to try new foods please let us know. My 4yo refuses to try new foods. All he ever wants is mac n cheese and fruit snacks!

  • glitzjeep

    2010/12/15 at 12:20 pm

    I haven’t had kids yet, but from what I know about it, childbirth trumps everything.

    I don’t care to eat oranges but I love sucking the juice.

    I will probably try to bribe my future children with m&m’s or something tasty if they try foods they think they will eat.

  • Mama M.

    2010/12/15 at 12:34 pm

    That may possibly be the most hilarious conversation I’ve ever heard. I wish my teenager was a girl…’cuz then I could use this on him.

    Guess I’ll just use the shark vs. leg theory on him.

  • mommica

    2010/12/15 at 12:57 pm

    Also, it probably wouldn’t take the shark 11 hours (or more) to tear the leg off. I’m just sayin’…

  • Wombat Central

    2010/12/15 at 1:11 pm

    I had a similar exchange with my son over the weekend (minus the hoo hoo chat). Took TWO HOURS for him to ingest two teaspoons of liquid Tylenol. I was all, “It’s not like I’m asking you to drink bug guts here. It’s yummy grape medicine.” The drama was exhausting.

    Maybe if they serve oranges at school Leta will try on there.

  • HelluvaMormonFan

    2010/12/15 at 1:26 pm

    I still remember an orange juice incident with my son. He is almost 8 now, but when he was 5, he had a cold. My husband is convinced that orange juice is a cure-all. That’s a whole other post. But he wanted our son to drink a small cup of oj. Son was in tears over not wanting to even taste it.

    He did end up tasting a small amount, but gagged on it.

    Never again has he tasted it. *sigh*

  • tallnoe

    2010/12/15 at 2:01 pm

    I just hope my future kids don’t have the same issues with tasting food. Although, it would be payback b/c I ate everything. Still do…

  • Jennyville

    2010/12/15 at 2:08 pm

    I have a 10yr old that won’t eat anything. I tire of making him a special version of our meals so I’m considering letting him starve.

  • tallhottie

    2010/12/15 at 2:24 pm

    For those of you with boys, what I found works well is if someone says… “that’s disgusting! I am not eating that!!” then the boy will try it for the gross out factor.

    With girls, I found the “stop complaining and try it” method ends up winning out over anything else. Or at least with my girl that’s what works. Even bribing with candy, I get “well I don’t really want [name of candy] right now, so I won’t try that food.”

  • bethmann15

    2010/12/15 at 3:17 pm

    Trying to get your kid to try new things whilst simultaneously providing THE BEST BIRTH CONTROL method ever: FEAR! Bravo! 🙂

  • Juliekaye

    2010/12/15 at 3:17 pm

    My kids are 13 and 12 now and still have never eaten a sandwich, soup, or just about any other normal item. They lived in Thailand for 3 years without ever eating Thai food. After a week-long class trip to the hill tribe country in northern Thailand, my daughter came home and told me she’d tried something new. What was it? An orange. She didn’t like it.

  • susanruffin

    2010/12/15 at 3:32 pm

    The pictures of Marlo and Chuck below this post are fantastic (except for the black eye.) Just because you didn’t ask.

  • bluetick39

    2010/12/15 at 6:20 pm

    I’m probably very late to suggest this, but when I was a kid, my mother read a book to me called BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCES. It was about this little bear who would eat nothing but bread and jam, all the time, for every meal. Finally, she decided to try spaghetti, and she loved it, and the book ends with her having a healthful lunch filled with many different things. It doesn’t sound as good as it was! It was one of my favorite books, esp. since I identified with Frances. It did inspire me to be more adventurous with my eating. I know that Leta is WAAAY too old for that book now, but maybe . . . . Maybe. Get it under the pretense of its being for Marlo, and have Leta read it to her.

  • jessiCat

    2010/12/15 at 6:21 pm

    why oh WHY do our children insist on acting like new foods are the devil? the devil who will most definitely chew off their ears and thumbs and pull out their nose hair one by one. and inevitably give them a fatal std? my son used to be a great eater! GREAT eater! then he turned 7, and found friends at school (you know, those little booger eating, kick you in the shin buddies) and for GOD’S SAKE, MOM!, their mom doesn’t make them eat ANYTHING like you make me!?! Ya know what son? Good. Eat your fingernails and boogers and shoe strings til you are hungry enough to come down and eat the fantastic food that we prepared. You are killin me, kid. 🙂

  • Cynsfamily

    2010/12/15 at 6:48 pm

    Your conversation with Leta reminded me of Calvin of the Calvin & Hobbes Comics. I loved how he would discribe his food and how disgusting it was, especially if it was good for him.

    I completely agree with child birth trumps everything. I never knew such a pain and then it comes back once they become teenagers, but the pain is in your head instead of literal.

  • mafic

    2010/12/15 at 8:55 pm

    I used to think giving birth was the ultimate pain trump card, until a month or so ago I was talking to a friend who broke a vertebra and fractured her skull in a car crash – which is a rather interesting story in and of itself – and then gave birth a couple years later. Her words on the subject were along the lines of “Oh yeah, giving birth is scary, and it hurts, but man it wasn’t even close to the car crash.”

    but then most people will also never have a horrific car crash to compare it to.

  • lolab9442

    2010/12/16 at 1:37 am

    Hands down the funniest &^%$ I’ve ever read! Seriously!

  • KristaK

    2010/12/16 at 5:04 am

    I HOPE you did not make her taste that orange. I still remember the day my grandmother forced me to eat an orange, it was the most traumatic day in my 8 year old life. TO THIS DAY I will not even touch them. yuk.

  • NYCdragonfly21

    2010/12/16 at 5:44 am

    I teach preschool and whenever confronted with a child that refuses to try something we remind them, “your tastebuds are in your mouth, not your brain”. That always gets them (SO FAR!!) 🙂

  • NYCJessa

    2010/12/16 at 6:51 am
  • Ralemap

    2010/12/16 at 7:10 am

    I am amazed at your ability to think of a logical retort that totally proves your opinion on the fly. If my husband and I had been having this conversation, I would have just been saying “Because it does. That’s why!” Bravo, Heather!

  • NolaMomma

    2010/12/16 at 8:04 am

    Having been through child birth twice, I’d prefer my bitchy teens than losing one of my legs to a shark. I’m gonna have to side with Jon on this one.

    And oranges are delicious!!!

  • marnilla

    2010/12/16 at 8:32 am

    There were two things that used to work on my kids when they were little and picky eaters. I could
    a} put it in a tortilla

    b} cover it with chocolate.

    Actually there was a

    c) Process it until unrecognizable and lie about what’s in it. This worked for mushroom soup with eggplant in it. The older one ate this for years without complaint, even while refusing to touch either mushrooms or eggplant in recognizable forms. She’s 27 now and I am considering telling her. Soon.

  • Twinpossible

    2010/12/16 at 8:52 am

    Can one hit the nail any squarer on the head then this? You struck this one spot on. Or does their crying during a quick needle in the arm, gain them any Hierarchy here…NOT!

    I think squeezing something the size of a watermelon, out of something the size of a raisin, and multiple times no less, and listening to them whine about that time in 5th grade where hey got hit in the balls, just doesn’t compare to this, and then some.

    Us women are always taking the brunt of it, whether men like to admit to it or not, and not just in the physical pain side of things, but in ALL OF IT!

    The human race would surely die off without us, so the next time they think about saying, ‘What did you get done today?’, tell them to bend over, squat down, and take it like a man. Show them what that watermelon feels like, up a tiny little hole. LOL.

    xoxo Shelly

  • mlouprice

    2010/12/16 at 12:11 pm

    Speaking as a reformed picky eater, I am going to have to side with Leta. Oranges are gross. It’s a texture issue for me. God help me if I ever have kids that are as picky as I was. My main source of nutrition as a child was Sunbeam rolls.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2010/12/16 at 4:52 pm

    Okay, where did you put the hidden camera in my kitchen?! Because my husband and I have the exact same conversation with our four year old daughter, except we’re saying, “It’s a *pea*. You used to LOVE peas” or “Just take one bite. One bite *won’t* kill you.”


  • Mom of JandC

    2010/12/17 at 11:48 am

    First-yes it always trumps everything.

    Two-I have twice tricked my kids into eating something new.

    Method one- when they are hungry. Make the new food for yourself. then sit sort of near them and start eating it. Do not offer them any, make a yummy sound, still don’t offer them any. When they ask for it say “this is mommy’s special treat.” But let them have a bite anyway.

    Method two- I had a fruit salad and suggested we play a game where she closed her eyes and I gave her a bite and she had to guess what fruit it was. She didn’t like pineapple then, she had never tried it, so I slipped the pineapple in her mouth. She knew the taste and texture was new, so she spit it out but then she had to admit that it was a really good tasting fruit.

  • alcmena924

    2010/12/18 at 2:15 am

    Woman STILL wins, because a woman had to give birth in order for that man to exist to be eaten by the shark in the first place. Plus, don’t sharks have live babies? Not only did a human woman go through pain for the man to exist, a female shark went through pain for her baby to grow up and eat that man.

    Also? CRAMPS. In order for our bodies to be able to give birth, we have to spend about 36 days a year for 40 years (or about 4 total years, if you’re nerdy like me and do the math) in severe pain.

  • RealFitMama

    2010/12/18 at 11:28 am

    And see – I thought conversations like this only happened in MY house!!!

  • greeblemonkey

    2010/12/18 at 1:49 pm

    Where does an emergency c-section come in? Cause I was low on the pain scale but high on the trauma. AND I was rolled down the hall with my naked ass in the air. That HAS to count for something.

  • AussieMel

    2010/12/18 at 4:05 pm

    That is so funny Heather and Jon!! My two year old will eat stuff if I tell him I dropped it on the ground! This is thanks to Yo Gabba Gabba doing a whole song about “tiny ugly germs” being on food that has been on the ground. My kid WANTS to eat the cute “tiny ugly germs” that he saw in that song!

  • suburbanmummyuk

    2010/12/21 at 1:56 pm

    What is with kids and getting them to eat things? My middle child eats anything he’s a like a garbage bin.

  • pools

    2011/01/02 at 11:24 pm

    I still remember cutting myself from improperly opening some can of tuna or noodles, and my mother said, “You think that hurts? OH WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE CHILDREN.”

    I was sad, because I was 9, my finger hurt, and my mom was talking about childbirth.

  • misguidedmommy

    2011/01/16 at 11:05 am

    I don’t generally comment here because I’m convinced that some one who gets about 41,0958niner comments a day probably doesn’t have time to read them all. Either way I am going through this shit with my three year old. He only eats chicken nuggets, pancakes (only the small frozen Knutzen Brand) Cheetos, anything chocolate, once a month maybe a gogurt and if I’m lucky an apple with all traces of skin pealed off.

    His pediatrician suggested speech therapy, not because he can’t talk, because the little fucker won’t shut up, but because he said a huge part of it is mouth aversion or touch or some crap. Took him there and she was like, ehhh he’s smart he put the peg in the hole and he said a bunch of words so peace out. Then they suggested a nutritionist which DID NOTHING and now I am at the maybe if I dunk it in chocolate he will eat it phase. I just give up. If he wants to eat chicken nuggets every night fine. I put a piece of macaroni in his mouth one night and he started gagging and throwing up and crying and wiping his tongue like it was poison AND I GIVE UP.

    I have to pack chicken nuggets if we go out to eat as a family. Pack him a special Codi proof lunch for school that has no dangers of coming in contact with anything that isn’t processed meat in the shape of a weird circle square. I have to beg people to please stop “trying to break the habit” or tell me that I’m just letting him get away with it and I need to force him to eat or starve him and he will get hungry enough.

    Guess what? He won’t three days later he would still rather starve then eat cheetos.

    Kids are such a pain in the fucking ass.

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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