the smell of my desperation has become a stench

This is what I want to read for Book Club

Up until very recently Marlo hasn’t been very interested in books, one of the marked differences between her and her sister. For those of you who’ve been following along since Leta was a baby you might remember that she was interested in books before she could crawl. She’d sit in the middle of the floor surrounded by books and flip through them, marveling at the covers and pages. And then by age four she was reading whole sentences and paragraphs. Now at age nine she is sifting through 300-page tomes and begging to visit new libraries. At age nine Marlo will most likely be begging extended family to sneak her knives in prison.

Sunday afternoon the three of us were lounging in the living room. Leta was curled up in a chair reading a book and I was sitting on the far side of the couch, holding my phone, loath to turn it on. Let me just take this moment and describe to you what it felt like to finally get cell service after eight days, to plug back into technology and this mire of interconnectedness that has become the focus of our lives… it wasn’t a sense of relief. No. It was much more like someone took a spiked baseball cleat, attached it to a bat with the underside facing out, and repeatedly bashed me in the face.

Never have I longed more for the days when someone tried to collect call me and I got to say no. I suddenly longed to have to rewind Purple Rain.

Marlo was rummaging through the bookcase that lines the west wall of the living room, and then she suddenly appeared at my side.

“Mama,” she said handing me a book. “Will you read this to me?”

I looked over and she was holding The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear.

marlobook1

Are you guys familiar with this book? Yeah? No? Well then, here, let me show you page three and four:

marlobook2

Yeah. That shit deserves to be sung. Like, you can’t just READ those pages. It’s not even possible. And maybe because I did sing those pages, maybe because I got mad operatic with the line, “O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,” maybe that’s why when I finished reading it Marlo turned back to THESE SPECIFIC PAGES RIGHT HERE and said, “I like that part. Read that part again.”

She likes that part.

I couldn’t hold back my laughter. It rumbled up from my belly and out my mouth and immediately Leta asked me what was so funny.

“Farts,” I answered. “Farts are funny.”

Because, come on. I am a parent, for crying out loud. I am supposed to be an adult about this. COME ON, HEATHER. Pussy is a legitimate word for a cat. Grow up. Grow the hell up, mommyblogger. But all I could do was look at those lines and think, Edward Lear, you horny toad. YOU grow up, Edward. YOU check yourself, Eddie.

Tell me a good fart joke or a video of someone falling over and I’m still going to laugh at it when I’m 90. I refuse to grow out of farts. Or singing pussy.

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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