the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Festive up in here

Last night we finally put up the Christmas decorations including two separate trees. That’s right. TWO TREES. Look at me with my two cars and my two trees. You know what? I’m not even going to apologize. Kanye sure wouldn’t.

There’s a tree in the living room where we’ve hung all the nostalgic ornaments that need safe keeping. And then there’s a tree in the family room decked out with ornaments I found for a dollar. A whole damn dollar! Here is where you lecture me about buying cheap shit and how I am personally ruining the earth by doing so. And I say, really? It’s not because the earth is already overpopulated and I selfishly gave birth to two more consumers? Or the fossil fuel required to operate my car? What about the strawberries I eat when they’re not in season? I WILL WIN YOUR ARGUMENT FOR YOU.

Let’s just put it this way. Someone around here is so excited about Christmas trees that she’s going around wishing everyone a Merry Christmas Tree.

Both girls helped me adorn the cheap tree, and that is the nicest way I can phrase that. I think one branch is hogging 80% of the ornaments, 80% that Marlo rearranged no less than seven times. On that same branch. At one point Leta couldn’t take it anymore, threw up her hands and said, “UGH! If she continues this, our tree is going to be BORING.”

Not a boring Christmas tree, NOOOOOOO! Worst Christmas ever.

Marlo’s fascination continued this morning when I leaned over to get her out of her crib and her immediate greeting was, “MERRY CHRISTMAS TREE!”

Related: a couple of weeks ago Cami was over and we were playing in the middle of the floor with Marlo. I leaned over on a pillow and pretended to be asleep, you know, a little game where I could pop my eyes open and be all SURPRISE! I know, LAME. A sleep game? I can’t do better than that? Her pony is not going to buy itself, MOM.

Cami told Marlo to go over and wake me up, and I thought she was going to give me a sweet little BOO! or an I SCURRED YOU! But no. It was neither of those little sweet things. No. Instead, before I had a chance to pop open my eyes, that kid put her mouth mere centimeters from my ear and screeched, ” WAAAAAAAKE UUUUUUUUP!” about a half pitch lower than the frequency that shatters glass.

I miss being able to hear songs.

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/12/13 at 2:56 pm

    LOL…my ear started ringing out of empathy for you. Pictures of the trees?!

  • fnber2

    2011/12/13 at 3:41 pm

    My dad use to play sleep games with us all the time. He’d specifically tell us not to wake him up and then we’d wake him up by kicking him as we stepped over him. I don’t know whats worse broken ribs or a broken ear drum, either way, I’ll always have fond memories of that game.

    For the record, I never broke my dads ribs, it was just a dramatization like those unsolved mystery shows where someone gets murdered…and this just became awkward.

  • kymmi

    2011/12/13 at 4:19 pm

    Back in the 70’s when I was young and my parents were hip, we had 2 Christmas trees as well. The living room was the fresh green one with the multi colored lights and the nostalgic ornaments. And the other was a fake white one with white lights, red velvet ornaments and boxes under the tree wrapped with red paper (all empty of course). It was rad and I will never live up to it. Thanks a lot, Mom!

  • smithie1996

    2011/12/13 at 4:51 pm

    Every year I tell myself I am going to be really zen about the whole toddler+Christmas tree combination and every year I find myself losing my shit no fewer than 100 times a day. “If you touch that goddamned ornament again you are getting a time out.” Now that’s some awesome holiday spirit!

  • zziggysgal

    2011/12/13 at 5:31 pm

    I love my ‘daily dooce’ fix! honest to goodness; you have made me belly laugh countless times over the years. YOU GO GIRL!

  • fishsticked

    2011/12/13 at 5:58 pm

    I was cool with yesterday’s post until you mentioned your two trees and showed no shame for having both of them. GOD! You’re just greedy!


    I envy the whole two tree thing. We’re sporting the breakable-bottom, fragile-top look thanks to our son. But dollar ornaments exist for a reason, and kids are that reason.

  • OrangeLily

    2011/12/13 at 6:12 pm

    I love your first paragraph! Probably one of the best first paragraphs ever!

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2011/12/13 at 6:54 pm

    Our trees? (and we also have two but one is a Chanukah bush and DON’T JUDGE!) Our trees have hardly any ornaments on them. Imagine Marlo helpfully putting all the dollar ornaments on the ONE BRANCH. Then imagine The Littlest Box taking each and every ornament off and dramatically dropping them off the balcony above the stairs. Imagine Leta complaining that the tree is boring whilst the Box Daughter throws fits because EVERY ONE IS DOING IT WRONG AND NO ONE IS LISTENING.

    SORRY ABOUT YOUR EARS. OH wait…I don’t need to shout any more. The children are in bed asleep.

  • hanniy

    2011/12/13 at 7:37 pm

    Two trees? Hmmm…I’m not sure if that’s as nuts as my mom…

    Our living room in the house I grew up in had a ceiling that was about 18′ high. And why did it have such a high ceiling? Why, to hold a large Christmas tree, of course! My mom is a Christmas tree NUT (seriously, a HUGE nut), and she would drag my little sister and me with her to get our tree, which was usually one that she’d scoped/picked out shortly after the previous Christmas. By “get our tree”, I don’t mean to go buy it somewhere….NO. We had to trudge through the deep snow and find the best tree in the woods. After cutting the tree with a hand-saw, we would carefully wrap it in a tarp (this step alone could take 45+ minutes) and drag it to our vehicle (through the snow and brambles), then tie it on top. And hopefully, the owners of the property on which we were trespassing wouldn’t come shoot us before we drove off with their tree that was longer than our car!

    Once the tree was home, we had to raise the tree and straighten it – no easy task with such a huge tree. And, since no simple tree stand is meant for such a large tree, one of us would climb an extension ladder and attach stabilizing wires from the tree to the ceiling. Then the decorating started, and usually continued for days…

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/13 at 7:38 pm


    (Haha, usually a different “t” word goes there.)


  • J. Bo

    2011/12/13 at 10:30 pm

    For some crazy-ass reason, MY job in Christmas tree adornment was to apply the lights before the decorations went on. Now, this is a somewhat intimidating engineering project at ANY age, but as young as 7, I was in charge of untangling the long-stored strands and applying them evenly throughout/across/within the tree. And I always rocked it (no, seriously, I’ve got photographic evidence, bitches)… obviously not knowing that it was something COMPLETELY beyond my ability.

  • karzel

    2011/12/14 at 1:38 am

    Merry Christmas Tree to you too. My two year old sings: Tinker Bell, tinker Bell tinker all the way!
    My Christmas Tree (only one Thankyouverymuch) has multiple personalities: Bottom of the tree is decorated by my 2 and 5 yo therefore like yours all decoration hang on two branches, and upper half is, well, normal
    Pictures please

  • sarahfromthenorth

    2011/12/14 at 5:55 am

    My problem is not a toddler since my son is 10, but it is our newly adopted 8 month old Boxer puppy – he runs by the tree nipping it’s branches and I swear at some point that Christmas tree is going to come crashing down! I forgot how freaking annoying puppies can be. Oh so cute when they’re sleeping but once awake they cause havoc everywhere they go .. I miss my old dog :(…

  • CO

    2011/12/14 at 6:22 am

    Hahaha! Waaaaake uuuuup has also ruined my hearing on numerous occassions. Oh small girls! They are so much fun! Next year you should let the girls each have their own tree in their ROOM! I did that this year with my Soph and she loves it! A real tree about 3 feet tall (very Charlie Brown-esque) is in her room all decorated (and rearranged over and over) by her. So I don’t think your two trees are crazy at all. I think you need more. 🙂

  • neeroc

    2011/12/14 at 6:28 am

    Add me to the more trees are better brigade. And holy moly, I’m usually a real tree sort of gal, but I saw a royal purple tree the other day that I’m fairly sure I just have to have. As well as the tree in my family room and the one in the entry…and I’m still pushing for one upstairs too. (Is there such a thing as the crazy tree lady?)

    Merry Christmas Tree! is the best greeting ever. The ‘waaaaake uuuuup’ not so much, hope the ringing stops in the next year or two.

  • denice

    2011/12/14 at 7:42 am

    Your two trees are nothing to my five. Yes, five christmas trees in one 2400 square foot house. I laugh at your earth ruining 2 trees. I’m busy punching the universe in the guts.

  • Monkey

    2011/12/14 at 8:24 am

    Two trees?? I can barely deal with one, mentally. Course, if I had two, I could certainly commandeer one so it lives up to my decorating standards.

  • iliekcheeze

    2011/12/14 at 8:28 am

    Thank you for being a good consumer. Our country needs you.

  • slappyintheface

    2011/12/14 at 8:45 am

    OMG! The next thing you are going to tell us is that you have two blankets on your bed and that every member of your household has their own pair of socks. I just can’t take any more of this decadence!

  • red is a neutral

    2011/12/14 at 9:58 am

    I used to wake my dear daddy up by pulling up his eyelids with my skinny little fingers and asking “are you awake, Daddy?”

    Daddy didn’t like the sleeping game.

  • Medbob

    2011/12/14 at 11:29 am

    It might help with that self-loathing to understand that you have been placed on this earth with as much right to the resources of it as the next microbe or endangered flea.

    Of course, it helps to think of it in terms of a deity or deities that have endowed you with inalienable rights…

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/14 at 12:20 pm

    Dude I have a band recommendation for you:

    Wye Oak – “Civilian” is the name of their album, and that’s the song I would start out with, too.

  • karynmassey

    2011/12/14 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for the great laugh, I sorely needed it today. And this week. And I’m sure I’ll come back later for another giggle.

  • alicia6270

    2011/12/14 at 1:37 pm

    My brother has four kids (crazy I know). The two little boys ages 5 and 3, play the wake up game in the middle of the night. Each very different, but frightening none the less. Gabe the 5 year old is ninja like, he will show up in their room and stand half a centimeter from a sleeping parents face and just stare. Talk about scare the crap out of a person. The 3 year old Gavin, when he walks into the room in the middle of the night he slams the door open, causing a noise to wake the dead, and causing heart failure in his parents. Good thing Elizabeth (1 years old) is still restrained in her crib, because she is definitely displaying Marlo like tendencies and absolutely no sense of fear.

  • Dani

    2011/12/14 at 1:54 pm

    I was playing that same game with my daughter one time when one of our dogs came over and started licking me. I was all, “Eww get off, go away. Take your stinky dog breath elsewhere.” Finaly the dog went away and I went back to pretending to sleep and my cute little daughter crawled over to me and…licked my face. True story.

  • bawb23

    2011/12/14 at 4:56 pm

    My grandson shouted in my ear the other morning. Not fun. Always best to append the word ‘nicely’ to instructions requiring surprise interaction.

  • SMD

    2011/12/14 at 10:05 pm

    As you know, in Utah having two real Christmas trees is stupid (they dry out mad fast) AND smart. My smart tree holds ornaments like the two irreplaceable ones that my 2.5 year old son broke (when I left them in his path; my bad). The rest of the nice ones are hanging above toddler reach with the creepy Elf on a Shelf guy overlooking to ensure they stay in place. Sounds like Christmas Spirit, right?!
    All in all, it’s fun to be around a kid that’s excited about Christmas for the first time, like it sounds Marlo is too. Ah, to be young and innocent.

  • sunnygirlsf

    2011/12/15 at 7:39 am

    I love Marlo. MERRY CHRISTMAS TREE! Are you already planning on using this to embarrass her when she’s a teenager? “But you were so cuuuuute!!” 🙂

    Love this story.

    You didn’t say….did you jump up to the ceiling when she woke you up like that?

  • evaporated

    2011/12/15 at 8:12 am

    80% on ONE BRANCH? That sounds like an Occupy movement waiting to happen. Pretty soon 20% of your ornaments will be marching around that one branch with tiny signs full of angsty messages touting their unclear argument. Just beware. The Elf On The Shelf ain’t got nothin’ on your tree.


  • Cosmo3807

    2011/12/15 at 11:05 am

    Gotcha all beat! We have SEVEN, dear doocers! (or doocebags or dooceaholics whatever…) All this is my wonderful 88 year old mother’s doing. Well, her idea with help w/the actual doing, tho she’s done quite a bit. One is a real 7 footer in the living room. (Horrors! A live tree to be tossed after the season!). Then we have the little 2 or 3 foot fakes in my bedroom, her bedroom, the kitchen and THREE, yes 3, in the den. One of those is fiber optic. It rocks!

    THEN, she insisted on a Charlie Brown tree. I cut some empty branches off the trees around the house & stuck them in a planter of dirt. She put the fluffy fake snow material under it on it’s little table & also to cover up the dirt. Then we sprayed it Heavily with fake snow & put a single red ball on it. Breathtaking, I tell ya, breathtaking.

    God, how I love my mother!! Truly.

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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