the smell of my desperation has become a stench

This is Gigi’s world and we are all just living in it

One night last week I was indulging in a favorite but rare evening activity—no, not a massage. No, not slipping dollar bills into the g-string of a spray-tanned stripper named Dylan. No, not sneaking onto the lawn of the local Mormon church and hanging tampons from the trees. I was watching the nightly news with Brian Williams. SOMEONE STOP ME. I’M GETTING OUT OF HAND.

It’s a favorite because, well, it’s Brian Williams. If you’re not a fan of Brian Williams, that’s okay. You are not a fundamentally bad person, just marginally flawed. And you should get help.

It’s rare because my nights are jam packed with kids and piano and homework and bath time and stories and songs. There isn’t a lot of spare time to sit down and watch television, at least not until my girls are asleep and by then I’m almost asleep as well. Friends keep telling me that I need to get out more, and I try to, I intend to, but why would I leave my house where there is a bed in which I can lie down and go to sleep? Invite me to a restaurant where there are beds and I’ll get out more.

Anyway. There I was watching the wonderful Brian Williams when my cell phone started to ring. I almost didn’t reach for it because the only people who call me without texting first are The Democrats. Listen. I love being a Democrat almost as much as I love Brian Williams, and I would be willing to give them more money IF THEY WOULD STOP CALLING MY PHONE.

Instead I glanced at it out of curiosity and the name on the phone was Gigi’s mother. It’s not like her to call out of the blue, so I picked it up immediately.


“Heather?!” said a young voice on the other end of the line. Ah, it was Gigi using her mother’s phone.

“This is Heather, Gigi. How are you?”

“Hi! I’m good. Um, I have a couple of questions for you.”

“For me? Okay,” I said, a little surprised that she hadn’t called to talk to Leta.

“First… can you recommend a good dog food?”

You guys, can I even tell you how awesome it is that Leta’s best friend called me to get my advice on dog food? I’m not sure I can express what an adorable moment that was, so adorable that I now need to amend the list of things that bring me joy to include “dispensing guidance on dog food to a nine-year-old.”

“I sure can!” I answered. “I’ve been feeding my dogs the same brand of food their entire lives.”

“Oh yeah? What is it called?”

“It’s called Canidae. Let me spell it out for you because it’s kind of—”


“Cani-DAE. Let me spell—”


“DAE. C-A-N-I—”


“Gigi. Let me—”


Just then her father spoke up.

“Gigi,” he said. “What are you doing?”

I could tell she had pulled the phone away from her face because her voice sounded muted. “I’m trying to find a new dog food!”

“Who are you talking to?” he asked.

“I’m talking to Heather.” I could hear him start to laugh.

“It’s not funny. We are feeding our dog POISON.”

She was so not kidding around.

“What are you talking about?”

She sighed and then explained, “There are ingredients in that food that aren’t even listed on the packaging. WHICH IS ILLEGAL.”

“Where did you come up with this?” he asked.

“I read it in, like, at least two different places on the Internet.”

Forget Brian Williams. Gigi needs to host the nightly news.

She put the phone back to her face and said, “Can you spell it out for me?”



“Sure,” I obliged. “C-A-N-I-D-A-E. Canidae.”

“Thank you. Okay. Next question… can Leta have a sleepover on Saturday night?”

“That’s totally fine with me,” I answered. “But let me check with Leta and get back to you. Sound good?”

“Yep!” she said. “Thank you for answering my questions. Goodbye.”

The next day her mother and I were texting and I asked her if she knew that Gigi had called me. She said she was totally unaware and I was like, listen. You cannot have your daughter fraternizing with a mommyblogger. Next thing you know I’m going to be writing about her and exploiting her childhood for cash money. And then I’m going to invite her out with me when I hang tampons from trees on private property in the middle of the night. WHICH IS ILLEGAL.

  • Kiwifruit

    2014/03/03 at 4:04 pm

    Aw, I think I love Gigi.

  • LearnNoBurn

    2014/03/03 at 4:11 pm

    Gawd that was tooo freekin cute. Thanks.

  • Cristina Robinson

    2014/03/03 at 4:22 pm

    This is the most adorable thing I have read today!

  • MazMonroe

    2014/03/03 at 4:50 pm

    Gorgeous! I love her hat, and also her name.

    (PS Those white flowers you were speaking about, in the UK they are snowdrops.)

  • kmpinkel

    2014/03/03 at 5:20 pm

    I want a Gigi of my own!!! righteous kid!

  • KC

    2014/03/03 at 5:42 pm

    Oh that Gigi! Too funny 🙂

    Have you watched that movie called, Enough Said? It stars Julia Louis-Drefus and James Gandolfini, and is a very good movie. Julia’s character has a daughter getting ready to leave for college. The daughters friend always wants to hang out with the daughters mom (Julia). Gigi’s phone call to you reminded me of that movie for some reason.

    Brian Williams is awesome. Did you know that he has a daughter that is in that show called Girls? I saw her on Letterman one evening, very cool girl!

  • Carla

    2014/03/03 at 7:44 pm

    Are your kids only allowed to have friends that look like them?

  • Meg

    2014/03/03 at 8:50 pm

    Brian Williams is a very nice man in real life, by the way. But Gigi is THE BEST EVER! (Seriously.)

    Also, I really don’t understand why extroverts insist that Going Out is always the solution to every problem. No, really, I genuinely prefer curling up with the dog on the couch with a book or my knitting and a tv episode.

  • David

    2014/03/04 at 7:57 am

    We got the same call. Same with her Uncle Sol, and probably everyone in the family. But we all know about Gigi and the interesting, wonderful world she has spun in her first 9 years. We just feel privileged to be a part of it….and watch it unfold, blossom….become.

  • KristenfromMA

    2014/03/04 at 9:12 am

    Gigi will no doubt run things at some point in the future. Like a BOSS.

    why would I leave my house where there is a bed in which I can lie down and go to sleep?

    This is me, and I don’t have any kids. 😉

  • Kathee

    2014/03/04 at 1:51 pm

    How adorable is that?!! I love her and I haven’t met her.
    I don’t do anything in the evenings either. If I’m not working or running then I’m fraternizing with my bed. It’s a relationship I can maintain.

  • Lauren3

    2014/03/04 at 2:23 pm

    This post is delightful and everything, but HEATHER, I need to know what filter you’ve been using. The reading rainbow photo… it’s gorgeous. How you doin this?

  • Guest

    2014/03/04 at 4:46 pm

    That child sounds like an absolute delight. I love kids with chutzpah!

  • Dana B.

    2014/03/04 at 4:47 pm

    That child sounds like an absolute delight. I love kids with chutzpah!

  • tmb

    2014/03/04 at 10:50 pm

    love this. And Brian Williams *swoon*

  • Short and Feisty

    2014/03/05 at 7:14 am

    Extrovert, here, who genuinely loves Netflix marathons, knitting, and wine.

    We don’t like to party ALL the time.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/03/05 at 10:07 am

    Thank you! You can buy some presets for Lightroom and Adobe Bridge here:

    The VSCO app for the phone is my favorite mobile phone editor, too.

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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