Heater, Mother of Lance

And lo, the house was christened

Yeah, the moving. I’ll get to that. But right now… these first few days in the new house… I have to keep reminding myself that there is going to be an adjustment period. I have to cut myself some slack, let some things go. Because when I look at the amount of boxes and bins that need to be unpacked I start to feel the beginning of a panic attack. You ever have one of those? No? They’re super fun. Just imagine your older brother holding your head underwater far longer that you are capable of holding your breath, and when he finally lets you up for air he’s just farted in your face.

I have a vague idea of where things are right now, things like garbage bags, coats and gloves, snow boots, batteries. Last night when I found the pencil sharpener so that Leta could do her math homework I celebrated like a lunatic. She was like, dude. It’s just a pencil sharpener. And I was like, dude, considering the fact that I have no idea where the salt shaker is, it might as well be a golden fucking egg. HERE IS YOUR SHARPENED PENCIL.

This morning was the first official Get Everyone Fed and Dressed and Out the Door to School in the new house, and like I said, I know that there is going to be an adjustment period. And I started repeating that in my head about two minutes after Marlo woke up and I realized that she was miserably constipated.


Oooohhhh say can you seeeee! By the donzer lee light!

Yeah. The national anthem of this website. What.


There are four things I own that I packed in my purse so that I would KNOW where they were when I moved: one, my passport. Two, my driver license. Three, my checkbook. Four, Marlo’s fiber supplement.

Wait. There were five things. But my dad reads this website and he doesn’t need to know about my vibrator.

Instead of spending the next hour eating breakfast and getting ready for school, Marlo and I sat in the bathroom and contemplated poop. I kept asking her to go poop, she kept refusing. Then she started screaming which quickly turned into crying which quickly turned into PLEASE LET ME GET OFF OF THIS TOILET. Given the fact that she had to be at school in less than a half hour, I relented and decided I’d try again later. Here’s where I’d like to request a scientific study on the percentage of their life a parent spends thinking about the regularity of their offspring. In the first five years of a child’s life, it’s got to be, what? Like, 100%?

I quickly got her dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, and then pulled Leta aside to thank her for being a functioning nine-year-old who can take care of those things herself. For those of you who have to get five kids ready for school in the morning, I waffle between wondering why you didn’t practice birth control and nominating you for a Pulitzer.

We rushed downstairs, gathered up lunch boxes and backpacks, and zipped up coats. As I tucked the car keys in my purse and headed toward the garage, Marlo suddenly froze a few feet away from me, grabbed her butt and whispered, “I think I pooped my pants.”

She thinks she pooped her pants. THINKS.

I reiterate that part to explain what happened next.

You’re like, what do you mean “what happened next” ?? The kid pooped her pants. Rush her to the bathroom, for crying out loud.

WAIT. Wait one second, you well-rested reader.

Remember that I just moved into a new home. I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in weeks. Rushing her to the bathroom would have been rational, yes, but the part of my brain that governs rational thinking gave me these instructions: since she only THINKS that she’s pooped in her pants, maybe she really hasn’t so you should rush over to her, pull down her pants and check.

Which is what I did. And when I discovered that she had indeed pooped her pants that same part of my brain said, “It’s pretty solid. If you grab it, you might be able to get it out of her pants before it really makes a mess.”

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air!

Leta was standing at the door watching this whole thing play out. She shook her head and asked, “Why are you holding her poop in your hands?”

She asks very good questions, that one. And I would have answered it, except the turd I was holding in my hand had been serving as a stopper, and suddenly everything stored behind it started shooting out and there I was catching poop with both hands as it came out of my kid’s butt.

Listen. You and Leta can both stop shaking your heads at me. I couldn’t pick her up because I had poop in one hand and even if I did she would have leaked poop down the hallway and ALRIGHT. FINE. I will get some sleep. And you? You can go out right now and refill your birth control prescription.


  • jill

    2013/03/12 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I was unaware of my stress level until all the laughing was making me suck in more oxygen and now I feel better! Better living through poop stories.

  • Kris

    2013/03/12 at 9:39 pm

    Calling kids names happens some times. I was watching a friends kid once, and he was just being a total jerk. He was about 7 or 8 at the time, and I wasn’t used to kids that age, more used to my son, who was barely a year and a half. So anyhow, he was being a jerk, and I finally looked at him and said stop being such a dingleberry. He was, what the heck is that. And so I gave him the honest answer that a dingleberry is a piece of poop that has stuck to the fur on a dogs behind. Yeah, thank goodness my friend and I have the relationship we do, because he told her I called him dog poop the minute she got there.

  • Mette

    2013/03/13 at 1:15 am

    Haha, best poop story I’ve heard in a while :,oD

  • Julie

    2013/03/13 at 3:54 am

    Natalie that is funny! Lol

  • Sandi

    2013/03/13 at 6:04 am

    This is hilarious, only because of how many times I’ve been in that position myself. My oldest daughter (who is 4) has had those issues all her life. I remember how much trouble she had pooping even as an infant. Doc finally put her on Miralax every day, and now life is better. But there are times (when I forget to give her the stuff) that I still have to worry about what extras have appeared in her pants. It’s awful.

    But? I don’t think I’ve ever actually held any of it directly on my hands. I’m not sure if you’re a hero or just desperately need a nap. Perhaps both?

  • Beth Scimemi

    2013/03/13 at 8:30 am

    Since I have the boy versions of your two kids (almost exactly), I know exactly how you found yourself in that position! Thank you for being brave enough to admit on the internet that you held the poop–my day is better for it.

  • Nancy Minchew

    2013/03/13 at 8:32 am

    I almost pooped my pants laughing!! So funny – but so real! Just keep on plugging Heather – you are doing GREAT!

  • acm

    2013/03/13 at 8:34 am

    Wow, that’s really top-flight parental boot-camp, right there! You do get the circus at times.

    Actually, I spend no time thinking about my kid’s poops, because she’s in that (once thought to be imaginary) phylum of kids who just does it, sometimes one little grape every time she pees, sometimes more normally. NO costipation at all. Of course, we have other things to fret about, but no, this is not a universal concern. In some houses. Sorry about that.

  • Susie

    2013/03/13 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for making me laugh- really hard!

  • OM

    2013/03/13 at 11:02 am

    Just so we all know: sometimes moving the kid isn’t the best idea either! I worked in a daycare, and these accidents happen often. Once, there was this boy who refuse to admit what had happened… even though he was leaving little brown “crumbs” all over the floor. When I picked him up, everything went down the leg of his pants and rolled to the floor. The kid kept saying that he didn’t poop and I had lots of work afterwards. Now I just laugh, but then… ugh!
    Conclusion? You never know if there was a good reaction to one of these accidents. Good for you for reacting, which is more than many people do!

  • Meg Griswold

    2013/03/13 at 11:10 am

    I laughed until I cried. My mom used to take polaroids of me on the toilet as a bribe to get on it. You do what you gotta do.

  • Kelly

    2013/03/13 at 11:17 am

    It’s a good thing you don’t punish her for accidents, because she’ll have enough of that in a few years when one of her classmates finds this post.

  • Carrie

    2013/03/13 at 11:35 am

    *dies laughing*

  • amy (dishondesigngal)

    2013/03/13 at 12:01 pm

    OMG. And I’m saying that for me as much as you. I read about this a few hours ago, and may have LOL to myself just a bit and then walked upstairs to find my dog had pooped (diarrhea) ALL over the carpeted floor of my office. I am STILL cleaning it up. shit. I mean… ugh.

  • Amy

    2013/03/13 at 12:28 pm

    Tears are seriously streaming down my face!

  • Lisa

    2013/03/13 at 2:15 pm

    As a mommy of 2….I had to laugh. I have been there. So tired you don’t make rational decisions. And so worried about your kids pooping that you end up with handfuls of poop.

  • Michele Rowe

    2013/03/13 at 2:21 pm

    Arse-nal…get it? I have no doubt that Marlo will find it funnier that her mom had her hands full of poop.

  • Chez Sanderosa

    2013/03/13 at 3:26 pm

    As I am a fellow parent of a child almost the same age as Marlo, I must know the name of this fiber supplement. And the amount you give her. Like yesterday! And seriously, who knew we’d think about someone else’s poop as much as we do?!

  • Amanda J. Pittman

    2013/03/13 at 4:40 pm

    There are so many things I want to say right now, but I can’t, because I’m not ready for the internet to know. Related: I think you and my mom could exchange stories.

  • Stacey B

    2013/03/13 at 5:29 pm

    Best.post.EVER! God, I’m still laughing 30 minutes later. And I can so relate, as both my girls had these “issues.”

  • Roberta

    2013/03/13 at 6:36 pm

    OMG! Laughing my ass off! not at you – WITH you.

  • ALG

    2013/03/13 at 7:33 pm

    Oh, Dooce – I have not been reading your blog regularly the past few years because I, too, have been going through HUGE changes. In 2011, a week after the long-awaited and blessed arrival of the second child we tried 4-1/2 years and endured a year of fertility treatment to conceive, my husband of 11 years decided he didn’t know if he wanted to be married anymore. ONE WEEK AFTER OUR BABY’S BIRTH. Three months later, my dad died in a motorcycle accident. Three months after that, my husband unilaterally decided that, yeah, he didn’t think “we” could be happy together going forward. Needless to say, 2011 sucked ass. And then came 2012, or what I like to call “The Year of Rebirth.” Divorce filed in January, job secured in March (I had been a stay-at-home mom for 4-1/2 years), house put on market in June, house pulled off market in August when ex decided to buy me out and stay there, divorce finalized in September, closed on my new house in October and moved the first weekend in November, and then we were robbed right after Thanksgiving (Welcome to the neighborhood!). Blessedly, mercifully, 2013 has thus far been a relatively QUIET and PEACEFUL year – and I pray it stays that way. Life is good. Change is okay. The future is exciting. Knowing you’ve been going through your own version of all of this is oddly comforting. I hope you’re doing okay, and that your kids are adjusting as well as mine are. Good things away, lady – best of luck to you in your new home and your new life!

  • Cristy

    2013/03/13 at 9:21 pm

    Six kids, one of which was special needs (finally put a TV in the master bedroom). The special neesd daughter could shit like there was no tomorrow! I spent many, many years up to my elbows in poop! If you don’t laugh at those awkward situations you will cry. And with all the commotion in my house, there was no time for tears! Praise the lord for my empty nest!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SherrieB

    2013/03/14 at 4:25 am

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read in ages – love it!

  • Genelle Gardner

    2013/03/14 at 10:42 am

    Oh thank you. I needed a good laugh today. And I’m so sorry for you too. Grossness! 🙂

  • Lizzy

    2013/03/14 at 11:36 am

    In my mind, the dude should have named himself Pope Dooce, because not even he, holy that he is, can claim to have CAUGHT HIS DAUGHTER’S POOP IN HER HANDS. You. so. win.

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/03/14 at 12:08 pm

    Good god. You have endured so much. Your strength is inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/03/14 at 12:08 pm

    Miralax. One dose everyday in her morning juice. It totally works for her.

  • susan

    2013/03/14 at 12:31 pm

    oh my dear lord, tears are streaming down my face……I can so totally relate…….I just can’t stop laughing….oh my!!

  • HeatherO

    2013/03/14 at 12:54 pm

    After a long hiatus from blogs I now remember why yours was an essential part of my week.
    I laughed so hard I cried and the dog is looking at me strange.

  • tamara

    2013/03/14 at 2:45 pm

    hahaha i was eating while i read this, yikes!!! i once let a kid i nannied for poop in my hand… his parents had him hang out without bottoms while he was potty training and he was *always* constipated. he would lean against the wall to try to go, which usually didn’t work. then one day it did. i think it’s probably even worse when it’s not your kid. : )

  • cnico

    2013/03/14 at 3:06 pm

    Nodrog… I’d just like to add that if you do indeed have “a serious aversion to poop jokes or references”, then this is not the blog for you! I, too, am really sorry about your childhood/teenage trauma as it sounds absolutely horrible and I hope you are able to heal. But you do perhaps need to consider that poop is a big part of dooce… and roll with it…. or maybe find another poop-less blog. Best wishes.

  • cnico

    2013/03/14 at 3:21 pm

    I’m with Heather… you are in inspiration…maybe mercury was in regrograde the past 2 yrs? just want to say that I too went thru hell the past couple of yrs… beginning in mid-July 2011 when my mom was attacked by racoons (don’t laugh, it was terrible, she was bitten all over and they kept coming back to attack her after they knocked her over and she couldn’t get up) at 80, broke her ankle; bedridden for 6 mos while steadily declining, I had to move to Dallas to take care of her; mentally ill brother briefly put in charge of her affairs, he locked me out of her house, triggered PTSD from childhood; I was re-instated in charge of things, I got her back home finally and she passed away only 4 days later; after saying he “never wanted any of her money” he filed an extremely stressful, completely unnecessary lawsuit against me; 6 mos later my high paying scientific consulting job went away overnight due to a new Repub governor in NM; sold my house the next month; moved to MX 2 mos later after deciding in my late 50s I did not want to return to cubicle land working for idiot jerks in the consulting world… I’ve been here a year and I think I am still suffering the effects of so much stress for so long…. eg my adrenal glands gave up after dealing with so much stress for so long (making me constantly anxious and irritable) and my thyroid gland is also out of whack (works closely with the adrenals)… which causes an extreme lack of energy and depression. But ALG and dooce… I too think the future is exciting and that life is good…. and yesterday when I was so blue, I decided to practice gratitude and I started saying out loud all the things I am so grateful for… of which there are many… and it helped so much to shift into gratitude and abundance mode. Life…. it is always going to throw us some curves, we just have to get back up, get some adrenal/thyroid support if we need it (!) and keep moving on.

  • Crystal Layland

    2013/03/15 at 10:26 am

    So sorry this happened to you but who am I kidding, I totally can’t stop laughing! Well wishes in the new home.

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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