the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Modern folklore

On Christmas Eve I sat around my kitchen table with Leta and Marlo as the early afternoon light poured in through the wall of floor-to-ceiling south facing windows. I haven’t lived in this house a year yet and am still getting to know its personality in various seasons, a lot of it through these windows. Recently I spent a good half hour trying to recover my eyesight during lunch when I turned to face my salad and the angle of the sun cut my face open. During the summer a thick canopy of trees shaded this part of the house and made certain meals feel like a reenactment of Swiss Family Robinson. Now that those trees have lost all their leaves and the sun sits much lower in the sky, meals here feel much more like Lord of the Flies.

Both girls had their backs facing the windows so as not to endanger their eyesight and were eating frozen burritos. This should answer your question, “Have you encouraged your children to adopt your diet?” If by encouraging them you mean exposing them to the way I eat, then yes. I encourage them at every meal. Is it working? Let’s just say that whenever I get a text from a mom requesting a play date for her child, it always ends with, “You can tell Leta that I have burritos here for her to eat!”

Leta is made up of 60% water, 30% frozen burritos, 7% vital organs, and 3% hair detangler.

We were talking about how weird it was to be having lunch at home ON A TUESDAY, a novelty that only compounded the adrenaline high of the day. How awesome was it that Christmas Eve was in the middle of the week and, right now, normally, she would be in the middle of, like, geography or something! I agreed and told her I was happy to have the time off, too, because normally, like right now, I would be in the middle of, like, scratching my butt or something.

(Gigi, that was for you. [Leta’s friend Gigi reads my website now {could someone please have her mother’s head examined} and she told me over the weekend that her favorite post was the one I wrote about Marlo getting sucked into the automatic toilet. Now I kind of feel a duty to the children.])

Just then Marlo started doing one of the things I hate most in this world. When I tell you what it is you’re sure to list off much more horrible things like famine and war and disease, and I agree that those are horrible things. I hate those things, and I try to give my time and my money to help alleviate those things when and where I can. But there doesn’t really exist a nonprofit for getting rid of children who routinely cross their eyes because they think it’s funny.

Also? Why haven’t we eradicated the world of whistlers?

crossedeyes

I just cannot stand it when kids cross their eyes. I’m awful, I know. I should be laughing about it and joining in, but I will not support this repugnant behavior especially when I am trying to make a point and suddenly the child is more focused on the fact they they can now see three of me simultaneously.

Repugnant is a strong word, yes, but the kid usually wants you to join in, and when was the last time you crossed your eyes? It’s kind of like turning around in circles or standing on your head or, you know, hangovers. When you’re young all that shit is easy. When you’re older? It feels like you’re dying. In fact, you’d prefer death.

So there she was crossing her eyes, and I was succeeding at ignoring her until she jumped down from her chair and got very close to my face with her crossed eyes. That’s not much different than crossing my eyes myself and I felt momentarily dizzy. Enough that I said, “You know what? If you cross your eyes and someone comes along and hits you on the back of your head your eyes will stay that way forever.”

Because nightmares aren’t going to create themselves.

She immediately uncrossed them and pulled away to scowl at me.

“Is that true, Mom?!” Leta asked, her hands gripping the table.

I shrugged and said it was just something I had heard happened to a friend of a friend.

“Well, then… I am not ever, ever, ever crossing my eyes again!” This is my older child, the one who could identify every letter of the alphabet when she was 20 months old, the child who was reading books at age four, the one who would rather research the chemical components of sand than actually put her feet in it.

My other child? The one who routinely scavenges the backyard and brings me a dead bird in her mouth? She had returned to her seat. But instead of resuming her lunch she sat there with her eyes crossed while hitting herself on the back of her head.

Obviously, if you don’t have any children you should probably go out and get some.

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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