the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Eye roller

Last night after everyone finished dinner, we sat around the table and talked about our days. Yes, we still do this, but not because we love our children and want them to have warm memories. No. We do this so that I can write about it here and exploit the idea of parenthood for cash! Whee!

We’d all explained our least favorite and most favorite parts of the day, and when we got to the part of the program where we discuss what we are thankful for Leta said, “I’m thankful for babies and children. Because otherwise, how would we have kids?”

And she said it as if she had read it in a manual somewhere, that babies and kids just spontaneously multiply. Or maybe they’re like amoebas and divide themselves in half through fission. That’s such a horrifying thought! Legions of multiplying kids covering the earth like a cancer, snot and permanent marker and sharp, upturned Legos in the crevices of every sofa.

There would be no place safe to sit!

I looked at her across the table and said, “Leta, babies and children have nothing to do with how kids are produced.” I was risking a broader, more uncomfortable conversation, but whatever. I wasn’t feeling mean, per say, but she sounded a little too confident about something wholly incorrect. It would have been irresponsible of me to let that go, irresponsible and HERE WAS MY CHANCE TO BE RIGHT.

I spend my day job being and doing it wrong. Hell yes, I will snatch victory from a seven-year-old.

She didn’t flinch, returned my stare with one equally convinced and blurted, “YUP.”

Before I could even process her response she hopped up from the table with her plate and rushed it to the sink. My kid had basically just told me how cute I was sitting there thinking I had the story straight. Obviously she’s been reading twitter.

That’s fine. I’m okay. I’ll remember this when we’re having that more uncomfortable conversation. And when her eyes inevitably widen with disbelief I’ll be like, WHERE ARE THOSE BABIES AND CHILDREN NOW, HUH?

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/12/20 at 1:51 pm

    When my kids ask, I’m going to tell them about their own conceptions … which involved daddy first getting cozy with a plastic specimen cup, and then being fully dressed at the time mommy actually was impregnated. I figure that’ll buy me a couple years.

  • slappyintheface

    2011/12/20 at 1:51 pm

    The last time we went to Chuck E. Cheese’s for my nephew’s birthday party, I pulled my 17 year old son aside and told him “remember how much fun this isn’t the next time you kiss a girl”. He laughed … but it’s oh so true. It’s all fun and games until those babies show up.

  • Bones

    2011/12/20 at 2:43 pm


  • NicoleC

    2011/12/20 at 5:43 pm

    She’s probably some sort of procreation prodigy and understands something we don’t. Wait, did that sound crazy? Besides, I like her explanation better. That means we wouldn’t need penises right?

  • anya

    2011/12/20 at 6:04 pm

    Hasn’t she asked you about where babies come from yet? I’m surprised you haven’t had the conversation already. On the other hand, she may have already read all about it and doesn’t want to put you on the spot. She may have known for MONTHS and been keeping it to herself…

  • bexs369

    2011/12/20 at 7:41 pm

    This is not hard to figure out, after you’ve raised three teenagers. You see, if they skipped right to the teenage years, there would be no kids. So Leta is absolutely correct. If there was no such thing as babies and kids and all their cuteness, I can assure you there would be no reproducing.

  • Anxious Annie

    2011/12/20 at 9:19 pm

    Off topic, but did you see this? Even Nina Garcia says adults should never wear crocs. Never.

  • NicoleC1181

    2011/12/21 at 5:46 am

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but let’s see here:
    babies grow into children, children grow into teenagers, without teenagers we wouldn’t have “Teen Mom” and BAM! Leta is correct.
    Blasted kids!

  • waitimaprincess

    2011/12/21 at 6:27 am

    Been skirting around “the talk” w/the 11 yr old for weeks now b/c ugh. I don’t think it’s the discussion itself, but more the inevitable “do you and daddy still do that?” BECAUSE HELLS YEAH, THAT KNOCKING ISN’T REALLY THE RADIATORS AND THIS ONE TIME, WE WERE IN THE KITCHEN…wait, why’re you crying and running away? Embrace the teachable moment, damn.

  • annabanana

    2011/12/21 at 7:59 am

    Just for future reference, it’s “per se” (Latin) rather than “per say”!

  • ltlepaw

    2011/12/21 at 9:33 am

    My 2 year old SON, who’s learned the art of procrastination at bedtime, told me the other day that his he didn’t feel well, and wanted medicine. He’s been honest in the past, so I said, I’m sorry what’s wrong, mommy will fix it…He comes back with “My tummy hurts, there’s a baby in there.”

    Needless to say, I can’t fix that. So I just told him to go to sleep and he’ll feel better in the morning.

  • acm

    2011/12/21 at 11:31 am

    well, I’m sure there’s some underlying confusion as well, but it’s possible that she means something literally correct: that “kids” (being the, say, 7-11-year-olds that she finds interesting) develop from “babies and children” (being the younger ones, who are pesky) rather directly. if we didn’t put up with babies, we’d never have kids worth playing with, e.g.


  • Anamchara

    2011/12/21 at 7:39 pm

    I would have had to totally mess with her head and ask, “What do babies and children have to do with the creation of baby goats?” Then I would have swept my plate toward the sink, “YUP.” 😉 Your children are adorable and I love how you interact with them…

  • antoniomo

    2011/12/21 at 8:31 pm

    I had a talk about how babies are started with my daughter when she was around 11 or 12. She had asked me if someone could get pregnant by kissing. I explained the basic facts calmly and briefly. She thought about it for a minute and said, incredulously, “Do you have to do that every time you have a baby?!!” I tried not to laugh, said yes, and that sometimes people do “that” just because they enjoy it.

    She looked at me like I was absolutely crazy.

  • janellemac

    2011/12/26 at 10:21 pm

    Most of my attempts to explain shit to my kids or have profound parenting moments end up with them looking at me with a mix of pity and disdain, or me sitting there confused realizing I’m completely full of it and have no idea what I’m talking about, having not figured much out myself. You know, in general.

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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