the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Great big things

Yesterday was a big day around here, you guys. Not just one of your average days where you pretend to be working but you’re actually looking at websites like this (thank Kelly for that one) and trying to morph the uncontrollable laughter shooting up from your gut into actual crying, so that when your boss is all, dude, what are you doing? You can say, sorry, it’s just that I love working here so much that I got all emotional.

No, yesterday was not one of those days. And I’m not going to build it up anymore because then you’ll be all, what? Your daughter got her hair cut? What is this bullshit?

I’LL TELL YOU WHAT THIS BULLSHIT IS. Just the most monumental thing that has ever happened to my seven-year-old IS ALL. It doesn’t matter that everything that happens to her is the most monumental thing that has ever happened to her. THIS TIME IT’S FOR REAL.

(The next time and the time after that and definitely the time after that will be for real as well, but we are disregarding that for a moment so I can write this damn post.)

She has wanted to get her hair cut for about six months, but we’ve been having a huge problem getting this haircut scheduled. School and camp and traveling and piano lessons and then I up and leave the country for eight days. So you can imagine the build up in her brain. I would compare it to what happens in my brain when they announce a new season of “Hoarders.”

OH! And a “Hoarders” marathon? You have to be delicate with me because once our DVR got too full and didn’t record the eleven consecutive episodes and I ran to my room, slammed the door, and wrote in my diary about the meaninglessness of life.

I took her to my hair stylist who is fantastic with kids and has cut Leta’s hair before. When I say she’s fantastic with kids, I mean she does not take any crap. Is not afraid to not take any crap. And sometimes my oldest child deals with anxiety by throwing a whole bunch of crap around. There you go. Now it’s a post about poop.

The end.

But really, as I have mentioned, Leta will make a very big deal out of absolutely nothing, and my hairstylist was all, ZIP IT. Except in the nicest possible way. It was magical to watch her basically tell my child to suck it while smiling and emitting visible rays of sunshine. While I have never told my child to suck it, I imagine that if I did it would not come out looking like a rainbow.

Now, you’re sitting there scratching your head. Why would I be happy about someone telling my child to suck it? One, she didn’t actually use those words. Two, Leta wanted a pink feather added to the cut but was worried that the application of the feather would hurt. Three, when my stylist approached Leta’s head with said feather, Leta said, “OUCH! THAT HURTS.” Four, without missing a beat my stylist responded, “Nice try. I’m not even touching you. Here, let’s get this beautiful thing in!”

Nice try.

Because if that had been me I would have LOST IT. Would have BEEN DONE. And made a completely irrational scene because my patience tends to wane thin when it should not, and here I am admitting to losing my cool from time to time with my children. I get to the end of the day and after hearing complaints about food, clothing, the length of time it takes to practice piano, the way Marlo is looking at her, the music in the car, and the existence of the dogs, sometimes I’m like, REALLY? OUCH? You’re complaining and I’m not even near your head? WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD?!

And then she’s asking me why I’m so mad at her and I want to punch myself.

I want to be able to say as calmly as my stylist, “Nice try.” And then move forward.

I did not mean for this to turn into a therapy session! UGH! Gross!

This is supposed to be about my gorgeous (at times difficult, but who isn’t?) daughter and her awesome new haircut.

(Kelly, I saw what you tweeted this morning, and yes, in fact, we plan on using Leta’s head to catch dinner.)

  • kellyelizardbeth

    2011/07/15 at 1:52 pm

    OH HI DOOCE, sorry, I’m just having 17,000 consecutive heart attacks.

    1.) I love that you love that KHole site; it’s one of my very favorite things on the internet.

    2.) Okay, don’t use her HEAD as bait, maybe just the feather when she is done with it. (She is beautiful.)

    3.) Ohmygod, I love you.

  • Lauren3

    2011/07/15 at 1:54 pm

    Sooooo please tell Leta that stranger #43259718 of The Internet thinks she looks GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS.

    1000X more chic than Selena Gomez… because I think that is who the seven-year-olds like these days.

  • KathyRo

    2011/07/15 at 1:58 pm

    Oh Leta your pretty pink feather is just to die for!!!

  • napangel

    2011/07/15 at 2:02 pm

    How perfect is that style for Leta?! It is PERFECT. And I love that pink feather. Leta: You are GORGEOUS.

    Making a note to use “nice try” instead of losing it. I could have been using that for 14 years now.

  • blknecht

    2011/07/15 at 2:08 pm

    Just had the same experience with my 8 year old. SAME. HAIRCUT. Buhbye to 13 in of hair, but donated to Locks of Love. Hopefully you donated Leta’s too.

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    2011/07/15 at 2:15 pm

    I love the feather and the fact that I am now inspired by a 7 yr old to be more trendy. Looks great, Leta!

  • TropicalPopsicle

    2011/07/15 at 2:24 pm

    Where did baby Leta go? Look at that beautiful little girl!

    I’m already looking forward to the next time I can use “nice try” to defuse some drama. Thanks for the tip! I hope you get to use it first before Leta uses it on you!

  • Becky Cochrane

    2011/07/15 at 2:26 pm

    Great haircut, fun feather. No way would I have been allowed to do that as a kid. Lucky Leta!

  • beth.wagner

    2011/07/15 at 2:36 pm

    Love that style! My first short haircut was one of the biggest events in my life too.

  • helixiafox

    2011/07/15 at 2:43 pm

    WOW she looks so grown up! What a gorgeous kid. The hair suits her perfectly.

  • SweetAdeline

    2011/07/15 at 2:44 pm

    Loving the new style! Heather, are you even related to that kid?

  • Irina

    2011/07/15 at 2:49 pm

    Whoa. You do not look old enough to have a child who looks that grown-up. She’s also beautiful, but that’s not incongruous at all.

  • KatR

    2011/07/15 at 2:56 pm

    Ok question. How do you wash your hair with the feathers in it?

  • MsMegan

    2011/07/15 at 2:58 pm

    I can’t help but wonder if our kids are related. My son swears up and down that cutting his finger and toe nails hurts. And he carries on to no end about it. And I have no patience for it at all.

    But yesterday… he separated his shoulder and like no one knew about it all day. Totally calm, cool and collected.


    P.S. – Love Leta’s hair. Beautiful.

  • Not So Glamorous Housewife

    2011/07/15 at 3:05 pm

    Ummm….Hello? Did you know that you can watch Hoarders on Netflix ANYTIME?It’s my guilty pleasure. I’m 7 months preggers and I tell my husband I’m just soooo tired and need to take a rest. Then I go into my room, turn on some netflix Hoarders, and dream about all of the methodical organizing that I will do to my own house when nobody is around.

    BTW., I love love love her little bob. It’s so cute. My daughter is getting a bit of a religious ring to her look right now as she refuses to wear anything but a dress or cut her hair. Maybe this little picture will inspire her.

  • devoyka

    2011/07/15 at 3:08 pm

    I just can’t get over how grown up Leta is! I remember reading this site when she was born! Gah, I now feel old, lovely.

    The cut is perfect and she is absolutely a beautiful young lady.

  • musickatt

    2011/07/15 at 3:18 pm


  • TigerLily

    2011/07/15 at 3:27 pm

    Holy Hell — When did she grow up to be such a beautiful young lady? Seems like just yesterday you were posting pictures of her in footie jammies! Leta is absolutely stunning and she can rock that pink feather like nobody’s business!

    I’m not sure if her hair was long enough to donate, but because another commenter mentioned Locks of Love, I wanted to strongly encourage anyone who cares to donate hair to consider Children With Hair Loss ( CWHL provides a lifetime of hairpieces, wigs and other items to children who suffer hair loss for ANY reason at no charge whatsoever to the recipient. Locks of Love, on the other hand, charges a fee for their hair pieces (based on a sliding scale, but still — it’s not free) and they do so on a one-time basis. Locks of Love receives so many hair donations that they throw away the vast majority of the donated hair they receive. My 11 year old daughter donated 12 inches of hair a little over a year ago and we did a lot of research before deciding to send her hair to Children With Hair Loss.

    Not trying to turn this into a sales pitch, but just wanted to mention a little-known organization that deserves a plug!

  • MelissaJ

    2011/07/15 at 3:31 pm

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE the pink feather. i want a feather too; but maybe not a pink one.

    she is such a beautiful girl. i wish i were her aunt so i could spoil her proper…LOL

    and marlo…so many times i look at her and see leta…and then sometimes i just see wild child marlo…LOL

    i would love them both to the ends of the earth.

    i am now done being a weird stalker!

  • juliemewood

    2011/07/15 at 4:10 pm

    Awwww, a Leta post. I feel a bit more complete now. 🙂 Looks great Leta!

  • Laura Mauk

    2011/07/15 at 4:21 pm

    More beautiful than her hair–which is totally cool and fashion forward–is the huge, satisfied smile on her face and that fact that you can see how beautiful she feels.

    I love the haircut. I love the stylist. I love the pink feather (because I would’ve wanted it, too). I love that you admitted you lose your cool because I’ve been feeling horrible about my newest uncontrolled phrase, “Stop crying,” which I just read on is one of nine things you should never say to your child. But mostly, I love Leta’s glow. Congrats! Laura (

  • Shel in Canada

    2011/07/15 at 6:43 pm

    Your daughter is just lovely. What a perfectly terrifying time this must be for you:o)

  • Kristina1219

    2011/07/15 at 7:59 pm

    Leta, you look beautiful! Love the pink feather.

  • salsamite

    2011/07/15 at 8:14 pm

    Very sweet! The feather is fun 🙂
    Heather, the internal dialogue is all we have to get by some days. Speaking of which, I actually sent this to you in an email, but I did notice you don’t really read your emails diligently… So here is a video I think you may appreciate, being one of us parents who admits to being a bit less than awesome sometimes (especially on the inside) NOW – before anyone gets all up in my grill about this, I maintain this is about INTERNAL DIALOGUE some of us not-so-perfect parents may or may not engage in. Nobody is suggesting this is the kind of thing one would say out loud to their child. This is an end of your tether kind of situation, and it’s supposed to be funny – that’s all. I hope you enjoy 🙂

  • LisaAR

    2011/07/15 at 9:05 pm

    She is absolutely stunning. Wow. In many ways, she seems to be an old soul, and now her looks have caught up!

  • J. Bo

    2011/07/15 at 9:20 pm

    I know you’ve taken a lot of grief over Leta’s hair (second only, I’m sure, to the admonishments about Chuck’s nails), but I absolutely LOVE that she actually WANTED an actual haircut. (Tho’ I will miss the stories you wrote about checking on her in the night, trying to brush away her copious locks, and alarming her awake by sticking your finger in her ear.)

    Please tell her that the pink feather ROCKS. I just got my overlong hair cut off to shoulder-length, myself (when it gets caught in the car window, it’s time to consider a new style), and now I feel light and free and GREAT! I hope Leta does, too.

  • Scriberson

    2011/07/15 at 9:21 pm

    I also have a wonderfully “difficult” 6 year old. She’s awesome but my goodness, no one will ever use the term “compliant” to describe her. About 4 months ago she got a pink feather in her hair and was super proud to be the one bringing that style to kindergarten! First kid in her class. And it is adorable. I love that look on little girls.

  • b00ph3tt3

    2011/07/15 at 9:26 pm

    Love it! I saw a lot of these sorts of hair extensions this past year on my seventh graders that I teach. I will say that Leta rocks this look better than any of those “big” kids do! That haircut makes her look so grown up.

    And the hair stylist sounds awesome. No nonsense.

  • waybusymama

    2011/07/15 at 9:27 pm

    Ok, yes, Leta is lovely and the haircut is wonderful… but can I take this opportunity to tell everyone that I have, indeed, once, in a moment of great parenting shame, told my eleven year old daughter to “suck it”. I did it. I admit it. And I blame you, Heather Armstrong, for putting into my head 🙂 It did, however, have the intended effect which was to get her to stop doing whatever it was she was doing and get her to listen to what I was saying for a darned minute.

    Anyone else?? Nope, just me. I figured as much.

  • cherechere

    2011/07/15 at 10:03 pm

    where did our baby go????
    she’s sooooo lovely.

  • poopinginpeace

    2011/07/15 at 10:36 pm

    See this is why I love and have always loved reading your blog. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in my craziness as a mother. Yesterday, I was at the end of my rope with my girls and having one of those, “why the hell did I decided to do this” kind of days. Sometimes I get worried when I feel that way, but it’s so nice to know that other moms turn on their kids by the end of the day too. There’s only so many ways we can try to gently and calmly tell them to stop fighting, get their shoes on, get in the car, get out of the car, eat their food, until we find ourselves in a full blown screaming “mad Mommy” outburst. I just like knowing I’m not alone. I LOVE Leta’s hair, by the way. She is a beautiful girl. I would say just as beautiful as mine. I am biased you know. 😉 Thanks again for doing what you do. If you’re ever interested in my mommy times-the good, the bad, and the even worse, with my 3 girls I’m at

  • emptynesster

    2011/07/15 at 11:02 pm

    Darling, darling, darling!! How fun and very summer-ish! I LOVE the feather.

    What a fun idea AND how come they didn’t do that when I was a kid or for that matter, even when my daughter was a kid. I told her she was getting old – I think I mean it.

    I love Leta’s haircut!!!

  • kschmied

    2011/07/15 at 11:19 pm

    OMGoodness she is beautiful…as always…but so much more grown up. WOW Jon needs to gear up he is in TROUBLE. 😉

  • yay4tay

    2011/07/16 at 1:22 am

    I will say up front that I really hate this random feather in the hair trend that’s going on, and I 100% believe this will be one of those childhood photos that Leta looks back on in her 20’s and goes ‘jesus christ, can you believe we thought this was cool?!’

    Kind of like when I look at photos of myself as a child in sideways ponytails and scrunch-down socks in turquoise and pink.

    Anyway, that being said, Leta is so beautiful. She is growing into the most gorgeous little lady on earth, and she’s going to be such a heartbreaker at school before you even know it. And she has a very pretty new haircut 🙂

  • tdotjen

    2011/07/16 at 7:56 am

    omg! Leta’s always been a spitting image of Jon, but scrolling down to see her turn around and show us the feather, suddenly I see Heather in her face, too!

  • Indiana Lori

    2011/07/16 at 12:44 pm

    My “challenging” Sara asked for a very similar haircut last year. It’s perfect on Leta! It’s funny how the right haircut at 7 or 39…doesn’t matter, big difference to the mindset. I know you know this, but you are not alone in the wanting to punch yourself at the end of a “why are you making this day so hard!?” day. Daughters were put here to make us grow as people, so I’m assuming I’ll be Mother Theresa any day now.

  • onedesigner

    2011/07/16 at 2:59 pm

    Did anyone ever tell you she looks like Hilary Clinton? Especially the first forward shot. Beautiful!

  • Truthful Mommy

    2011/07/16 at 5:22 pm

    She is gorgeous with that damn feather. I remember when I wore those when I was about the same age, but they were never cool colors and I ended up looking more like I’d gotten attacked by a bird on the way to school:) Only think missing in my hair was bird poop!
    My girls , especially my 4 year old, will scream bloody murder the moment she sees a brush…even if its from across the room:)LOL Of course, if she falls or stumbles or hurts her self in anyway she blames it on her older sister ( even if said sister is at school)…she’s consistent that way!
    Again, Leta looks beautiful.

  • carrieb

    2011/07/16 at 5:52 pm

    Weird! I have that exact same piece of furniture that your TV is on in the very top photo. It’s from a second-hand store in Chicago. We, too, keep our TV on it.

  • knerd

    2011/07/16 at 7:44 pm

    Leta is so beautiful! I love that haircut. I have that fine fine baby hair that hasn’t looked good in that style any of the seven or so times I have tried to pull it off, but it couldn’t suit her more perfectly.

    I hate to be that person, but those feather extensions are not a very good practice, as the animals aren’t treated super well, and they are bred and killed solely for their feathers. I hope that Leta’s is synthetic.

  • kelcut

    2011/07/16 at 9:42 pm

    Yay, Leta!

    Her haircut (& feather) are absolutely adorable! Let her know another internet stranger has given a big thumbs up.

    She does look awfully grown up now though. 🙁

  • tokenblogger

    2011/07/17 at 2:04 pm

    Do you hold it up while combing the rest of your hair?

    Does it come off when washing your hair?

  • ssburnette

    2011/07/17 at 7:24 pm

    I had NO IDEA that a feather in the hair was in style! I’m a mother of boys! She looks really cute but I am unsure about how you care for the feather? Do you wash it with the hair?

  • Bluesky161

    2011/07/17 at 7:35 pm

    When did she become a teenager?! Gorgeous haircut! Hope she loves it! 🙂 I remember (WAY back when) I cut my hair at 9 and was so excited about it – but I didn’t have the great idea for a feather!

  • deborahjmum

    2011/07/17 at 7:56 pm

    Loved this post — I always love the ones about Leta because she reminds me so much of my firstborn of many years ago, who was a crap thrower just like her.
    Have to put on my grammar nazi persona now, and let you know that “wane” means to “wear thin”, hence “wane thin” constitutes a redundancy. Thought you’d like to know.

  • newgyptian

    2011/07/18 at 4:32 am

    1) Leta’s haircut is lovely and she is so very pretty.

    2) I was playing that Wastin’ Time song from a few posts back when I clicked on the link to the Internet K-Hole site, which I think really altered the experience for me. You should try it.

    3) I felt a little weird about leaving the list at 2 so there’s this.

  • Sarina

    2011/07/18 at 8:32 am

    So beautiful and grown up!

  • theurbancowgirl

    2011/07/18 at 2:16 pm

    Freaking LOVE the feather. So much so that this 28 year old is going to request one on Friday 🙂

    Leta is so grown up and gorgeous!

  • ChrisB

    2011/07/18 at 3:23 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!!!

  • TheSkyIsOverrated

    2011/07/18 at 11:31 pm

    I hope Jon owns a gun. Not that you would actually let him use it… ever! But just to.. you know, wave it around and scare the crap out of the young man who is no doubt going to knock at your door in just a few short years to pick up Leta for her first DATE!

    And that’s when we all get to cry with you… and when you might also consider letting Jon actually load that gun… with real bullets.

    You know… just to keep the young man in line.

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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