the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A fish gets a name

Me: “Hey, do you want to go over some of the names people suggested for your fish?”

Leta: “People really left suggestions? REALLY?! YEAH! I wanna see!”

Me: “Okay, here. Let me read some of them to you and you pipe up when you like one, okay?”

Leta: “OKAY!”

Me: “Larry… Al—”

Leta: “Larry? What does that even mean?”

Me: “That’s just the first suggestion, Leta. We’re gonna be here all day if you—”

Leta: “But I’ve never even heard of a Larry.”

Me: “Larry has probably never heard of a Leta.”

Leta: “Okay, whatever. Keep going.”

Me: “Thank you. Alright, where were we? Albert… Miss Havisham…”

Leta: “Havasha-whah??!”

Me: “LETA.”

Leta: “OKAY.”

Me: “Sparkles… Fred… Prudence… Omar… Ahab… Florence… Nemo… Moby… Bruce… Turtle… hey.. I like that. Turtle.”

Leta: “Turtle? But it’s a fish. Turtle isn’t a name.”

Me: “Actually, turtle is the name FOR THE ANIMAL THAT IS A TURTLE.”

Leta: “Keep going.”

Me: “Okay… Che… Puddles… Scribbles… Silver… Mr. Limpet… oh, look. Someone here agrees with the name Turtle.”

Leta: “Come on, Mom. What else?”

Me: “Rosie… Lola… Scout… Claus… Miro… Sergeant… Fluffy… Zippy… (this continues for about ten minutes during which she says nothing and expresses no emotion)… ok. Leta, here is another person who thinks Turtle is a perfect name. In fact, a lot of people like that name.”

Leta: “Do you like that name?”

Me: “You know what, I do. I once had a friend who named her cat Chicken. I thought it was hilarious because that cat was scared as hell of everything and that probably makes no sense to you why am I allowed to talk to children?”

Leta: “Turtle… hm… Turtle…”

Me: “Listen. I don’t want to pressure you into anything. We can call that fish iCarly or SpongeBob if you want to.”

Leta: “No, I’ve thought about it. We went to that store to buy a turtle but we got a fish. Turtle will remind me of the day I met the fish. Let’s call him Turtle!”

Me: “Really? You want to go with Turtle?”

Leta: “Yeah. I like it. Turtle the fish!”

Me: “Can I tell everyone who suggested names that this is what you’ve decided?”

Leta: “Yes! And tell everyone who didn’t suggest Turtle that I’m sorry I have only one fish to name. It’s just, like, right now I can only handle ONE fish.”

Me: “I’ll tell them you said that. I think they’ll understand.”

From both me and Leta, thank you, everyone. Oh! And Turtle thanks you, too.

  • LeahW.

    2012/05/03 at 1:59 pm

    Awww, that reminds me of the ending of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing!

  • mtevis

    2012/05/03 at 2:00 pm

    Hello to Turtle! A fitting name for a fish in his circumstances. And what a lovely exchange between you and your daughter. Trust me, the Internet understands.

  • doublebuttons

    2012/05/03 at 2:01 pm

    I love the name Turtle. And for the record, I really think your hair looks pretty right now.

  • Jessica Eiden Smedley

    2012/05/03 at 2:05 pm

    Aww! Just like Turtle the dog from “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”.

    Excellent choice.

  • Irina

    2012/05/03 at 2:06 pm


  • Tfer

    2012/05/03 at 2:09 pm

    Hahaha “Why am I allowed to talk to children”. Leta is just brilliant. Blessings for all of you.

    I guess we will have daily Turtle photo?… might be kind of boring, but meh. Imagine the teeny tiny props!

  • dooce

    2012/05/03 at 2:10 pm

    @doublebuttons thank you. I’m trying to be patient until I can pull it into a ponytail. Then I’m home free.

  • Cooky

    2012/05/03 at 2:10 pm

    Welcome to the Doco, Turtle. You will be loved and cherished by many here.

  • Crazy Lu

    2012/05/03 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for posting! I think that is a perfect name for your fish! I like how Leta justifies it by saying yall went to the store to by a turtle and came home with a fish! Good reasoning there! And what a great conversation starter when people come over and meet Turtle? I can just imagine how many times you will have to tell your story on why you named him Turtle. Enjoy! I had a Beta in my office for 2 years. I named him Gilbert. I found him on the ground one Monday when I came to work. I have no idea why he decided to commit suicide but it hurt my feelings that he would jump like that. I mean I was very good to him and kept a clean bowl and fed him. How rude.

  • Anxious Annie

    2012/05/03 at 2:17 pm

    Okay, love the name. But I don’t get suffering through growing your hair out, only to pull it back into a ponytail so then you look like you have NO HAIR.

    Short hair rocks – especially your short cuts. (I’m sure it will look good longer too, but don’t do a ponytail all the time.)

  • Ms. Pants

    2012/05/03 at 2:18 pm

    I’m pretending he’s got middle names. Turtle Master Beta Armstrong.

  • dooce

    2012/05/03 at 2:21 pm

    @Anxious Annie the ponytail is for the gym. Right now I sweat and it’s a messy mop all over my head. Once I can pull it into a ponytail the mess will be reduced tenfold.

  • MelissaJ

    2012/05/03 at 2:29 pm

    Turtle…a perfectly lovely name for the fish. I like it so much I want to go buy a fish and name it Turtle.

    I was going to suggest we buy her enough fish to cover all the names but she nipped THAT in the bud.

  • ADDGirl

    2012/05/03 at 2:31 pm

    Turtle is an awesome name! And I think your hair looks great too!

    Leta has good taste in pets!

  • jewels421

    2012/05/03 at 2:34 pm

    Excellent! Turtle was my first thought when I read that post the other day.

    May he live long and may his bowl never be knocked over by the crazy dog… 🙂

  • ladygray

    2012/05/03 at 2:35 pm

    Leta: well named!!! i was one of the people agreeing with Turtle, i think it is perfectly hilarious. 🙂

  • ladygray

    2012/05/03 at 2:38 pm

    and also: i know you are annoyed as hell, but the hair is looking really cute. if i had any curl/texture to my hair, i’d consider copying it, no lie.

    with the straightest, finest hair ever, however, i’d look like a mop was used, wrung out, and then unceremoniously sat upon my head.

  • dawdawsmom

    2012/05/03 at 2:41 pm

    can you claim turtle on your taxes?

  • Lauren3

    2012/05/03 at 2:42 pm

    NICE. Turtle suits him well!

    Hair looks pretty.

    The way you wrote these last couple posts, it seems like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. I hope that’s the case. Even if it’s just a little weight!

    And on a music note, some band suggestions if you haven’t heard them yet:

    Vacationer – “Dreamlike”

    Beach House – “Myth”

    Islands – “Same Thing”
    (I can’t find a friggin video for this one, but it’s on Spotify. You have Spotify, RIGHT? Also, it’s one of the band’s sadder songs, there are happier ones if it should please you more.)

  • jilllovesbacon

    2012/05/03 at 2:51 pm

    That exchange makes my day. Love it. And the mentions of “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” make me weepy remembering that ending.

    @Ms. Pants: Turtle Master Beta Armstrong? I’m giggling like the 10YO that I am.

  • lemoga

    2012/05/03 at 3:04 pm

    “Larry? What does that even mean?” … ha! That’s awesome.

    I love the name Turtle for a fish.

  • minnette

    2012/05/03 at 3:11 pm

    What a sweet story 🙂 So glad she went with turtle. I once had a turtle named Fluffy. True story.

  • GingerPeach

    2012/05/03 at 3:29 pm

    I love it! I named my turtle “Turkey” (Turkey the Turtle) when I was a kid. Super cute!

  • CrisLawson

    2012/05/03 at 3:30 pm

    Perfect! Leta still got a Turtle.

  • amerob

    2012/05/03 at 3:40 pm

    There’s a character named Turtle in The Westing Game – one of my favorite books when I was younger!

  • Absent Minded Housewife

    2012/05/03 at 3:42 pm

    The same day you posted that turtle post, my oldest son brought in a dead and mummified box turtle he found on his walk home from school.

    I’ll let that sink in. Dead. Mummified.

    I have no idea why I haven’t thrown it away yet other than my two cats think it’s fun to gnaw on.

    My mummified turtle has no name. It needs one.

    We used to keep fish and we’d name them after celebrities. We once had two betas named “The Olsen Twins”. They ate each other. Coincidence? Nope.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2012/05/03 at 3:48 pm

    Turtle is the perfect name for a fish. Hiya, turtle! Welcome to the family.

  • we_tigers

    2012/05/03 at 3:48 pm

    Heather I’m also in this phase of sweaty-mopness at the gym – search YouTube to choose from lots of ways to wear one – I like a rockabilly fold for badassery. You can try two baby pigtails to keep it off your neck, too (low and in the back to avoid too much cute).

    Also, I love the font you used for Turtle’s name. It is as beautiful as he is.

  • theurbancowgirl

    2012/05/03 at 3:57 pm

    TOTALLY love the name Turtle for a fish!

    I wanted to name our black and white rabbit Cow, unfortunately the husband shot that one down.

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    2012/05/03 at 4:10 pm

    you DO know about the buff, yes? (and i ain’t talkin turtle)

  • careysmile

    2012/05/03 at 4:43 pm

    Love it! We have a cat named Duckie and a sugar glider named Munkie. We’re all about the cross-species naming around here.

  • Sabine

    2012/05/03 at 5:18 pm

    THAT WAS ADORABLE sorry for shouting.

  • just beth

    2012/05/03 at 6:03 pm

    this made me cry, a little. you’re doing a good job, Heather.

    also, Turtle from Entourage, hello!

    xo, b.

  • LynnFlynn

    2012/05/03 at 7:28 pm

    I’m glad she picked Turtle! This is coming from someone who has a cat named HIK. Not pronounced “hick” but the actual letter H I K. My two year old niece named him when she was learning the alphabet.

  • luv and kiwi

    2012/05/03 at 8:00 pm

    I was just tickled you read out Florence the Fish lol…Turtle’s much more clever in hind sight. Good job Armstrongs! Way too choose!

  • knolting

    2012/05/03 at 8:09 pm

    Perfect name choice, Leta!

  • MommaH13

    2012/05/03 at 8:51 pm

    My son’s first fish was named Sushi. hehe

  • andermer

    2012/05/03 at 11:18 pm

    I think that Turtle is an entirely appropriate and suitable name! (because I know my approval means THE WORLD! 🙂 )
    Also, I really really think your hair looks lovely. I’m sorry it’s driving you nuts, but I enjoy looking at it! I know the feeling. I look like Justin Beiber right now because of my short cut. At least you look like a female person. Yay!

    Felicitations on your new fish mommyness!

  • kellyfaboo

    2012/05/04 at 6:28 am

    That’s alright Leta. Turtle Armstrong is a great name, has a good story, and one fish at a time is a great motto.

    Keep on taking it one fish at a time.

  • T from TN

    2012/05/04 at 6:29 am

    I rarely leave comments, but today I just have to. “It’s just, like, right now I can only handle ONE fish.” Thank you, Leta. You totally made me smile and made my day today.

  • Janie1224

    2012/05/04 at 7:44 am

    Damn, I LOVE that kid!

  • Annie007

    2012/05/04 at 8:23 am

    Great photo of Turtle – whose fins look like gorgeous flowing locks. The way you made sure to acknowledge so many of the names we suggested is a tribute to what a great mom you must be.

  • bdm

    2012/05/04 at 8:59 am

    Love this exchange with Leta. Great name!

    I created an account so I could tell you how much I love the photo you posted of your hair. What a beautiful shot. I think the way it’s growing out is gorgeous.

  • erinwelch

    2012/05/04 at 9:02 am

    Great name! We are all over “name the animal after a different animal” thing as our cat’s name is Llama.

  • Deserex

    2012/05/04 at 10:42 am

    If only Leta and my daughter could be play mates. They would come up with some AMAZING conversations, and we’d have some amazing stories to share! LOL! I like Turtle Armstrong too, that was my vote. 🙂

  • cassidy.stockton

    2012/05/04 at 11:57 am

    Oh I love it! I’m so glad she picked Turtle. It’s a special, unique name and I love that she’ll remember how she got the fish every time she hears his (or her) name. Congrats Leta!

  • gretchie

    2012/05/04 at 2:13 pm

    Leta, that’s one more fish than I can handle right now. 🙂

    And, it’s nice that you’re joining our conversations now. We’ve waited patiently for quite some time.

  • wisa03

    2012/05/04 at 4:05 pm

    This is so awesome I actually have tears in my eyes. I love it! I am honoured to have contributed in the naming of Turtle. I would also love to have a cat named chicken.

    And i’ve never heard anyone named Larry either! I just googled it, and it is a derivative of “Lawrence”, which means “Laurel-crowned”.

    …then I googled “define laurel” and determined that it was “a number of shrubs or other plants with dark green glossy leaves, such as the laurel”.

    Now, back to the australian shepherds.

  • gonk

    2012/05/07 at 6:40 am

    I love that name! My daughter had a Leopard Gecko that she named Turtle. It was always difficult explaining that Turtle was really a Gecko to visitors. And we also had a box turtle named Chester… 😀

  • schae4u

    2012/05/10 at 2:16 pm

    firstly, i <3 turtle the fish!!! great name.
    secondly, what font did you use on that pic of turtle? i dig it.

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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