the smell of my desperation has become a stench

When goodnight hugs go horribly wrong

Saturday night before Leta headed up to bed I asked her to come give me a hug. I was walking toward her to meet her halfway, and right when I leaned down she jumped up, accidentally headbutting me and busting my lower lip open. Blood immediately started gushing, and according to Leta’s reaction I was about to die.

I can see the reaction to the obituary now: her mother was a mommyblogger, you know, so who knows if it was an accident!

She was hysterical, inconsolable. I ran to the bathroom to plug the bleeding while Jon grabbed an ice cube. Leta sobbed during these frenzied moments, and so once I had regained the tiniest bit of feeling in my lip I knelt down, the ice cube pressed firmly to my mouth, and said, “Snoh yeh sahl! Snoh yeh sahl”

WHAT?!” she screamed, as if I weren’t making any sense.

“SNAH YEH SAHL. SEE?” I explained, and then I repeated the motion I had made when I tried to lean down to hug her. “SNIH MAH SAHL!”

“You’re creeping me out!” she said. She had to have picked this up at school because this is not a phrase used in our household. Not that we morally object to this phrase. It’s just if we were trying to convey this feeling we’d probably go with, “You’re being really effing weird.”

First time she used it we were coming out of her piano lesson and headed toward the car. I was walking slowly on the sidewalk trying to finish putting her next appointment on the calendar on my phone when she goes, “MOM! You’re really creeping me out right now!”

What?” I asked.

“You’re, like, walking all crazy. Like a horror movie.”

I wish I had free time like that. To have an opinion about the way my mother walks. Next time she complains about being bored I’ll just walk around the room and ask for an editorial.

SNAH YEH SAHL was supposed to come out of my mouth sounding like NOT YOUR FAULT. But, busted lip plus ice cube equals a whole new language. So not only did she think I was going to die, but I was also creeping her out with my mad language skills. So I nodded to Jon and then back to her to indicate that he should translate.

“It’s not your fault, Leta,” he explained. “Mom is going to be fine.”

“Okay,” Leta said hesitantly. “I’m really sorry. Really, really sorry.”

I could tell she felt horrible, so I continued to try to comfort her. “Sine. Sine! HO HORRIES! SEE?” And then I pulled the ice away to show her that the gash wasn’t life threatening. Except I guess it looked a lot worse than I imagined. And she started hyperventilating again.

You know how we joke about the fact that there’s no manual for parenthood, and sometimes we have to just feel our way along this journey? I can guarantee you that if such a manual existed, it wouldn’t address about 98% of the shit we encounter with our children.

  • Anxious Annie

    2011/07/12 at 12:58 pm

    Ouch! Sounds like the black eye my boyfriend got when his greyhound jumped up to say hello. Hope you don’t have any photo shoots soon!

  • sp3cialk4y

    2011/07/12 at 1:10 pm

    I really don’t know how I haven’t had a broken nose on multiple occasions from my son. I have been head-butted, punched, kicked, etc. No bruises and no broken bones (YET)! That manual would have to be pretty huge if it did exist!

  • Wombat Central

    2011/07/12 at 1:31 pm

    Ow! Yow poow wip! Hoewup it’s bettew now. 🙂

    Anyone else having a Jan Brady flashback where the football hit her in the nose? “OH MY NOSE!” [slo-mo replay immediately follows: “oooohhh myyyyyyy noooooose!”]

    Just me then? Alrighty. Feel better, Heather!

  • EliBailey

    2011/07/12 at 1:43 pm

    I think that’s one of those things that has to happen to every parent, along with your kid throwing up and/or having a massive poopy accident in a store or restaurant. My kids did all of those things. 🙂

    I know Leta feels bad now, poor thing, but later in life you can use this event to your advantage (I learned this from my mother). Once when I was a teenager we were playing around and my mother chased me into my room. When I opened the door she was sitting in a chair facing backwards in front of my door, and had a pillow ready to swing at me. As she swung the pillow over her head the chair tipped over and she fell, and that would have been bad enough, but I had been using the iron and had left it on the floor to cool, and that’s right where her right eye landed – on the pointy iron (it wasn’t hot, thank God). She had a horrible black eye and I felt absolutely terrible. She assured me it was ok and it wasn’t my fault, but then everywhere we went she proceeded to tell people that I THREW the iron at her – haha, what a funny joke, right? But I think some people thought she was serious. Over the years I kept telling her she better get that story right or she’d forget what really happened, and I was right – a while back we were telling someone about it and she actually thought I’d thrown it at her!

  • BrittanyHerself

    2011/07/12 at 1:45 pm

    How about less of a manual and more of one of those hallowed out books they used to hide stuff in old timey movies, only this would be full of surgical glue, BOGO co-pay coupons and those tiny bottles of liquor they serve on airplanes.

  • Not Persephone

    2011/07/12 at 1:47 pm

    My son broke my nose a few weeks back when we collided trying to hug out a nightmare. I’m surprised we made it to 3.5 before it happened… kid has a hard head!

  • lisalisa

    2011/07/12 at 1:48 pm

    I got a black eye in a similar scenario with my niece. I assumed the collision stemmed from the fact that I am just an unexperienced aunt and not a mother, so its good to know that it happens to all of us!

  • HowToBeADad

    2011/07/12 at 1:49 pm

    My son likes to give me the Scottish handshake almost every day. But the bummer part is when I say, “Hey, Finnegan, that really hurt” his 20 month old reply is to start crying.

    Aren’t I the one who gets to cry and pout?


  • preppypitbull

    2011/07/12 at 1:49 pm

    I completely agree with Brittany. Only, it better be a big book because you would need LOTS of bottles of liquor to get through it all! My daughter is now 14 months, and since she started moving around (around 6 months when she could get up on her hands and knees) I have been getting pummeled on a weekly basis. It’s always completely accidental, but the one time she swiped my face and all 5 of her finger nails dug in just so is definitely my favorite. I walked around for the next few days looking like I had gotten into it with Wolverine. Good times.

  • waitimaprincess

    2011/07/12 at 1:58 pm

    I’m w/sp3cialk4y — the manual would be humongous. It’d still not cover a mere third of some of the insane stupidness we encounter as parents.

  • charrisv83

    2011/07/12 at 2:02 pm

    I had an incident where the doorbell rang and I got up too fast after waking up my a nap and fell face first on my tile floor. I tried to get up but I guess my muscles weren’t awake yet so my arms gave out and I smacked my mouth on the floor again. My daughter freaked out after she saw my face that I had to call my husband while he was at work so he could talk to her on the phone and tell her I was fine. I was in college at the time and my professors became concerned that my husband was beating me. I assured them that he was not and that I was just a clutz.

  • Meranath

    2011/07/12 at 2:51 pm

    “If you think that’s bad, you should have seen what you did to my vagina.”

  • empiricist

    2011/07/12 at 2:52 pm

    Take a picture, for use in the future guilt-tripping of that child. You poor things. 🙂

  • poopinginpeace

    2011/07/12 at 2:54 pm

    My oldest daughter used to headbutt my husband in the nose often when she was a baby. She would be in bed with us in the morning, sit up for a minute then turn and slam her head back down toward the pillow, but usually landing on his nose. He did not find this funny. I however… Then I had an incident a few months ago where I gave myself a black eye, when going to my daughter’s room in the middle of the night. Good times! So yeah, a parent manual would never cover everything.

  • JaHoolia

    2011/07/12 at 3:16 pm

    I have a 3 y.o. whose response to any injury she causes me is: “Mommy, it’s ok, it was just an accident.” She doesn’t like it when I tell her the same thing if I accidentially injure her. HYPOCRISY.

  • JuliaA

    2011/07/12 at 4:16 pm

    i did the exact same thing to my mom when i was in 4th grade. ‘cept i broke her nose.

  • Diary of Secrets

    2011/07/12 at 4:30 pm

    Uuuugh!!! Glad you are OK! Reminds me of when my little one opened her arms as wide as she could and ran over to give me a big hug and all she got in return was my thumb in her eye!

    She looked at me so stunned.

    I still hurt to this day thinking about it!

    Mommy Fail!

  • emptynesster

    2011/07/12 at 4:35 pm

    After learning about you and then spending the past 2 weeks reading every post and catching on 10 years, I just want to say Thank You. You put in all out there many, many times and do an amazing job at writing – letting us feel like we know all about you when, in fact, I’m sure we don’t. Then bringing up reminders later about events which makes us feel like real friends – remember that time when…IT’S GENIUS!!

    And thanks for sharing your beautiful, delightful children(when they let you). Never let the nay-sayers get you down – most of the time, they just don’t get it.

    I feel like I just read a long mini-series fast and furious and now the remainder of the story will dibble out in bits and pieces. You couldn’t post fast enough.

    And PS – I had a stubborn child as well. Maybe not as stubborn as yours, but stubborn all the same. It DOES GET BETTER. He’s grown, independent and successful. You are doing it right. Keep up the good work!!

  • musickatt

    2011/07/12 at 4:39 pm

    My daughter is ALL about the “You’re creeping me out.” She is going into fourth grade and you would not believe the number of things that “creep her out.”

  • BellyGirl

    2011/07/12 at 4:46 pm

    No worries…it’s just more fodder for her eventual book that you know she’s already keeping notes for. “Things my mom did that put me in therapy.”

  • whomajigi

    2011/07/12 at 5:44 pm

    I said that line repeatedly to make sense of it and before I read what you were ACTUALLY saying, I guessed it was “Swallow your soul” and you were chasing after her quoting Evil Dead. What a perfect opportunity lost. 😉

    …My captcha has an n with the squiggly on top of it.

  • SixUntilMe

    2011/07/12 at 5:57 pm

    I’ll see your busted lip and raise you the part of my cornea that my 13 month old ripped off with her fingernail.

    OH the violence of kids! 🙂

  • CalypsoRodeo

    2011/07/12 at 8:15 pm

    OMG!!! Poor Leta!!

  • edenland

    2011/07/12 at 9:15 pm

    This morning, my three-year old woke up crying. “Mum! I just don’t like Lady Gaga’s armpit!” Took me ten minutes to calm him down. Pretty sure there’d be no manual addressing THAT.

  • benderhill

    2011/07/12 at 9:30 pm

    A few years ago, we were vacationing in London with our son, who was 2 at the time. I was tickling him on the bed and he flung his head back into my mouth. The damn bathroom looked like a crime scene, and I spent four hours in an ER in a hospital just south of the Thames.

    This other time, that same son just pooped on the floor. Just pulled down his pants and pooped. WTF?

    Oh, and the other day I thought my 15-month old daughter broke my nose. With her head. She laughed at me while I bled and cried.

    I’m fairly certain that when I was spending all that time in high school visioning what my life would look like with the two children I dreamed of having (the boy first, and the girl four years later – and crazily I got just that) that I never included broken noses, ER visits while abroad, and shitting on the floor in that plan. There needs to be a new word for the crazy that is raising a child.

  • SuZoo

    2011/07/12 at 9:36 pm

    All of a sudden many things are causing my 7 year old to declare they are “creeping me out”, also. It must be an elementary school conspiracy.

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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