One of the recurring themes in Leta’s childhood development (and we sharing our ups and downs) is that people love to weigh in with advice. While advice is good, and sharing is good, some of the email and comments border on the pathological. And some are just mean. No one is surprised at the Blurbodoocery.

Asking people to be considerate on the internet is like asking some people to breath with their mouth closed (Mouth breathers, no offense. Just joking.) or to pick their knuckles off the floor (Simians, no offense. Just joking.). Instead of making a futile request, I figure that if I share some stuff, maybe people won’t be so quick with the mean emails and comments.

So here’s an email I sent to an anonymous commenter using a fake email address that bounced back. Fucking anonymous fuckers.


I don’t know if you are aware of a few things, so I’m writing in hopes that any concerns you have might be alleviated. Your tone came across a touch condescending (as if we were somehow ignoring Leta’s needs) and I thought it might be good to share some information. This is a very touchy subject for Heather and the person who made the comment previously had sent Heather a lot of email that wasn’t kind and had such a negative tone that it eventually turned into harassment. After the year we’ve had, I tend to regard harassment as something that requires action. I don’t think you were being harassing at all, just so you know, but when Heather gets comments that are well-meaning but that bother her, my protective instincts kick in.

Some info:

  • Leta had an MRI in September of 2004. There were no signs of abnormality in her skull or brain development. Our radiologist said that because the pediatrician had concerns, we should do it again when she’s two, but that was only because it would be a definitive way to see if there were any problems, not that there were problems. Our pediatrician, after reviewing the MRI scans, called us and said we couldn’t have hoped for better results; Leta’s brain is normal.
  • Our pediatrician visits have occurred as scheduled. Leta goes to physical therapy every week. Both the physical therapist and pediatrician have not mentioned autism once.
  • Many children don’t walk on “schedule” or crawl on “schedule”. One of the things I’ve learned about parenting is that there is no schedule. Every kid is different. Heather never crawled, she scooted. Leta is starting to show signs of crawling, and she sits up normally and reaches and moves normally. She just doesn’t want to crawl, but we are doing all kinds of exercises. Leta doesn’t like putting weight on her legs, but she’s starting to show signs of changing.
  • Heather is extraordinarily sensitive about people making comments about Leta and Leta’s development. Whatever your opinion about Leta, rest assured that we are watching her every day, and working with her to develop at HER SPEED. We can’t force Leta to want to stand up, but we can encourage her through exercise and positive reinforcement. It’s rough going, but Leta has responded very well to physical therapy.
  • We live and breathe research.
  • Leta is worth every effort we are putting into her learning and growth.


jon (Leta’s dad)

Here‘s a page that talks about what parents of autistic children said they saw demonstrated when their children were infants/toddlers. Of the bulleted list, there are two items of concern for us. One is the hand flapping and the other is toe walking. Our concerns may be unfounded as my family all were hand flappers and twisters, as were Heather’s. This movement is referred to as stimming. Leta doesn’t like to put pressure on the soles of her feet, but the physical therapy we do is pretty intense and she’s gradually being less sqawky about standing up. I’m not sure if what she does in her bouncy chair is toe walking. She still has her monkey toes, but I don’t think that is a sign of autism. Leta loves to make eye contact and smiles at people who talk to her nicely. She smiles at all her extended family members and it is extraordinarily cute. She also plays peek-a-boo, and will even instigate this herself with her froggy blanket thing. She also likes to talk. A lot. Some of this is loud talking, some is very quiet. Point: we are watching her diligently. Just because we like to drink now and then, doesn’t mean Leta is being raised by Chuck and the roaming pack of wolves that frequents our neighborhood.

So, Internet, chill your shit out with the autism, ok?

  • Geof F. Morris


    The only action that these negative, harrassing fucktards need is to be routed to a bit bucket, preferably /dev/null.

    It’d be presumptuous of me to think that I was more concerned about your kid than you were. I mean, good gravy, it’s not as if you and Heather post every last thought you have about the kid on here—if you did, you’d never get anything else done, I’d imagine. You allow us to see but brief glimpses into your [[maybe not so much anymore] wild and crazy] lives, and while it’s nice and sweet and all that we’re concerned on some level about your kid—as we should be about ANY KID!—good gravy.

    Teach Chuck to bite these people’s ankles or something. Tell him that Internet-fucktards taste like rawhide chewbones. :)

  • Holy Schmidt

    Anyone that has had NORMAL children, would know that they all develop in different ways and at different rates.

    Leta is a beautiful girl and will do what she wants to, when she’s damned good and ready.

    Here’s to hoping that all the “Internet-fucktards” fall face first into a big pile of Chuck-poo and take their negative comments with them!


  • ginger

    Jon, I hope you and Heather fully realize exactly how LOVED –yes, freaking LOVED–y’all are on here…

    I know there are idiots who want to spout out “knowledge” or their judgements, or just plain hate, but please know that the majority of your readers come her and to because we enjoy your stories, we enjoy your photos, and we enjoy seeing and reading about a part of your lives.

    I’ll just say thanks to you and Heather for allowing us to be part of it. You, Heather, Leta and Chuck are all beautiful people (and dog!)

  • mihow

    I get the impression that many of your (and heather’s) readers tend to forget that you’re actually real life people and not actors whether they’re conscious of it or not.

    Judging by the often times most bizarre comments left on both sites, it seems that there are some readers who treat this daily exercise as their daytime soap opera. And while that might get them through their day, I can imagine that it’s insanely frustrating for the two of you.

    The Internet thrives on gossip, especially the blogosphere. For every wonderful writer, designer, musician, political buff, and photographer, there are 100 thoughtless individuals out solely to make their days more “entertaining”. If that means saying something hurtful to set someone off, then so be it.

    While it’s easy to say and think “ignore it”, I know from personal experience that’s impossible to do. But with posts like the one you just wrote, I hope at least a few will think twice before writing such things.

    Is there an MT Plug-in for Empathy?

  • Maya

    Blurb & Dooce-
    It’s hard to believe that people feel that they have legitimate reasons to question and reproach you for the way you are raising Leta. They believe they are experts on your life after reading a few minutes and experiences from your life that you have chosen to share with us all . The NERVE!
    Here’s to a wonderful and healthy year for us all!

  • sweetney

    nicely done. not that that person deserved your time and effort, but i certainly understand the desire to set folks straight.

    know that for every intrusive moron out there writing you bullshit “advice”, there are a fucking ton of folks out here who adore you guys and are 1,000% on your side. we got your back, homies.

    aside: mina has been slow to do many things “on schedule”, and i too have learned that there IS NO SCHEDULE. so fuck that noise, and enjoy leta as she is, at each stage of development. she’ll soon be running around the house driving you guys batshit — no need to speed the process unnecessarily. heh.

    many smooches and power-fist throwing into the air (LETA POWER!) for all yous armstrongs.

  • El

    Geez! I can’t imagine if the internet had had the option of participating in the early development of my children. What a nightmare.
    I’ll try to make this a short story but I’m not usually very successful at that thing.
    My youngest son was born with a very rare disorder that almost killed him soon after birth and left him with some pretty severe brain damage. He had a liver transplant at 8 months of age which “cured” his disorder but left him with ongoing medical issues. (That is such an abbreviated version of the story I just impressed myself). Suffice to say…I’ve have more experience with pediatric hospitals, doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and technicians than anyone I have ever met. I have also had the opportunity to meet and get to know LOTS of parents. Parents who are dealing with issues as extreme as my son’s as well as less extreme like Leta’s. I also drink now and then and sometimes joke about selling my son to the gypsys (can you imagine what the internet would say about that?) That doesn’t mean that I also haven’t made decisions that have saved my son’s life nor does it mean that I neglect him in any way. I read your blogs almost daily. My laymans assessment? You rock. You’re doing a great job. Screw the knowitalls.

  • Mick

    And herein lies the intrinsic danger of operating a widely-read blog. I agree that presumptuous asshats should be dispatched accodingly, and good job doing so with your response above. HOWEVER, one must expect a certain amount of idiocy, especially given that dooce and blurb contain sincere pieces of writing, i.e. no obvious subterfuge or artifice.

    Laying your life out for public observance is not without it’s price. Looks like you and Heather handle it reasonably and with grace. Well done.

  • Mick

    As well, your AUDIENCE has a level of responsibility. This is a longstanding danger of art: You risk misinterpretation of your work. Beyond that, you risk your audience establishing a false bond with you based on what little you put out there, which is not nearly sufficent to form a reasonable opinion. As readers, espcially on a medium as slippery as the net, we have a responsibility to NOT take what we read or see too seriously. Heartfelt blogs like dooce complicate this and blur the line.

  • Melle

    Huh. I was an extremely difficult, hand flapping, toe walking, not-properly crawling baby. And yet… not autistic. Go figure.

    Seriously, autism? Some time I need to toss a quarter into the internet to see if, indeed, the potential for lameness actually is bottomless.

    My martial arts instructor mentioned once that the only issue he’s ever seen with people who didn’t crawl properly as babies is that they can’t do an “animal walk” (left hand – right foot/ right hand – left foot) very easily (and how often do you see adults doing that?), but that not crawling “properly” is also common in children who test as “gifted” later. YMMV, and I haven’t researched that, purely anecdotal, but there you go.

    Autism. Jeebus.

  • sharbean

    I worked on a daily basis with autistic kids for years and now do occasional work with kids who have aspergers syndrome in a swimming pool environment. I don’t see any signs of autism in Lena and it was not something that I even thought of until now — she looks into the camera when you are taking a picture of her. If anything she is a little star in the making!

    When I read the email sent by the inconsiderate person on Dooce’s site I actually shook my head because that person didn’t know what they were talking about — it was a thinly veiled attempt to create fear and hurt Heather. And, in the blogging and Internet world, that is not only immature but completely inappropriate. Itís like slapping someone in the schoolyard because you got to a swing before they did.

    In 15 years of working with kids I learned that they come in all shapes and sizes and in all kinds of developmental rates — in a swimming pool some kids will put their face in and blow bubbles the first time you ask and others will take 5 sets of lessons to do it — if at all.

    As was mentioned earlier you canít push kids to do things on schedule because they are little humans with their own beliefs and personalities. Leta will progress when she is ready — and when she is sprinting from cupboard to cupboard looking for things that are interesting (and dangerous) you will reminisce about the good old days.

    Sorry for the novel.

  • Karry

    Someone told me that advice is just that: advice. I don’t have to listen to it or take it to heart.

    Once I understood that and then started following it, my stress levels with my kids went way down. So, smile and nod (or just punch delete) then go home to do the exact opposite.

    For people who get foul with you – start a list like a blogroll. Just list your hater’s names and email addresses for the spam bots to pick up. Some of your readers would likely help that along too, in more ways than one.

    Ever think they are getting worse about it because you draw attention to it? I dunno – the thought just occured to me that it may be the case. Some people get their jollies out of getting a mention on your site however they get to do it.

    If you are raising Leta to what you know is right then who gives a rat’s ass about HOW you do it. I think everyone agrees that you guys are normal and non-abusive people. Why would they doubt that you can raise children?

    FWIW I also tiptoed for years. To this day I can barely tolerate socks and shoes. Yet, I am normal. (Click the link to my blog if you don’t believe me) I am not an illiterate, autistic, bimbo-murderess, IN FRANCE!!!

    Those comments are a grain of salt and why put them into an open wound? Just toss ’em over your shoulder for good luck.


  • christy

    Ugh. I feel so bad for everyone who gets that unsolicited advice. Especially when it isn’t the well-meaning-but-misguided type and is just pure mean.

    At least with these jagdorks you can be as mean, nasty and generally unleashed as you want to be in your responses because, hey, what do you care what they think? It’s not like it’s coming from some relative you will have to make nice with for the rest of your life.

    It makes you wonder what *these* people’s kids are like. I can picture someone standing over a 10-month-old with a riding crop, “YOU VILL VALK!!!” Asshats they are …

  • moose

    Amen, Jon.

    You guys rock. Leta is beautiful. We are privileged to read your blogs.

    Nuff said.

  • Em

    I think you guys are doing great with Leta and she is simply beautiful! My kids have all been arm flappers – I always just thought that they were VERY expressive and without much vocabulary it all built up and they didn’t know what to do with it – plus I have been known to throw my arms around a bit too! :-)

    I have 3 girls and not one of them has developed the same as the others. Every child is unique and if someone is stupid enough to think that you are neglecting her needs because Leta has her own schedule – then fuck them!

    All I can say is watch out because if she’s got her own agenda when she is this young – just wait til she’s 2 and 10 and 16 and 21 – oh boy will life be fun then! 😉

    Hug her and kiss her and try to delete emails and comments before Heather sees them.

  • kmoka

    Kudos to you Blurb for your well detailed response to the anonymous fucktard. People like that need to get the hell off the internet and leave it to the rest of us that truely love to read dooce and blurbomat on a daily basis. If the fucktards don’t have the balls to own up to their comments then they are not worth the 1s and 0s that they are trying to spit out on the internet.

    You have a beautiful family and you have every right to be proud of that. Leta will do just fine – she has great parents and a wonderful dog showing her the way

  • wix

    jon, thanks for such a well-considered reply. it’s good to have a succinct reference for what has and is going on with leta’s developmental timeline. my son will be eight months old on saturday, and i’ve frequently looked to you and heather to see what is around the corner for us. of course, CX and leta are developing differently–I think CX might walk before he crawls, for example, since he *loves* to pull up and stand and ‘dance’, but isn’t so big on being on his tummy for more than a couple of minutes–but they’re close enough in age so that i can watch leta from afar and say, “aha, so THAT’S what such-and-such is like for them.”

    i have to thank you for sharing so much of your lives. while your circumstances are very different from ours, you are (in a strange way) our parenting peers. my husband and i are the first in our various circles of friends to have a baby, and while there are a few pregnant mamas and newborns in our circle, we’re kind of blazing the trail. it’s extremely helpful to visit your sites to see how and what you are doing.

  • Beth

    Almost every day, I am amazed by some of the things that people comment on and here – so I can’t imagine what they say in the emails. I hate that people got so shitty that you felt you had to somehow explain yourself. It’s very obvious that the love you have (and Heather has) for your family is mighty. Leta can’t go wrong in a house like that!

  • Jane

    Well, this is the downside to a blog that deals with your personal life, yes? Not for nothing, but I would not post pictures of my child or my name or what city I live in on a blog for all the tea in China. People are crazy. I learned that long before I became a parent.

    And then there is this: my son is autistic and it is not a curse nor is it not the end of the world. It’s part of who he is. My son is my son is my son.

  • maxigumee

    You tell ’em!

  • Ali L

    Wow. Finally something I know about.

    My elder son is severely autistic. Leta is not autistic. I can’t believe for one minute that we are even discussing it. Some idiot suggested it, a person who posts all over the net, looking for jobs, love, affection, attention. Very. very sad case.

    Leta is lovely. She reminds me of my second son, who is perfectly normal (didn;t walk until almost 14 months, didn’t talk until almost three, now top of his classes. Winner at sports day etc.)

    Let Leta be Leta. Have a great 2005.

  • MrsDoF

    Jon (the Daddy Bear) doing a great job on lookout for his family. You Go, Guy!
    Yesterday at church we had a visitor as old as my own mom, and the lady’s name is Leta. Pronounced with a long E sound. My first real life meeting with someone called that. The baby name book says it means Gladness.

  • Mari

    What a great dad and husband. Have a happy New Year.

  • Jae

    I didn’t read all of the above comments so I’m sorry if this is a re-run.

    I can’t believe some people would be so quick to propogate such negativity to people they don’t even know. It’s so funny how they think they know you when all they do is read bits and pieces of your life online.

    I also cannot believe these people think they know so much more than you when it comes to raising your child.

    It makes me wonder what they do with their day. How do they have so much time to watch someone else’s child like a hawk? Also, if they hate everything you’re doing so much, why bother reading it? I read Dooce all the time and it honestly amazes me how people who claim to hate her so much read her page so often.

    I guess I’m naive.

    I think you are both doing well, as far as I can see. You look like a happy, healthy family.

    Happy New Year!

  • Jenna

    All I know is, my parents (god bless em) could not devote the nearly the same amount of time or resources you and Heather are able to give to Leta, and somehow (shock!) I turned out just fine–although not “normal” in any sense :) –which I chalk up to *never* doubting that my parents love me more than anything else in the world, and that they would do everything in their power to take care of me.

    I think you’ve got that particular facet of responsible parenthood well covered.

  • Annette in Omaha

    Jon & Heather… I enjoy both your blogs immensely. Apparently a downside of blogging is that various persons feel a need to harass … too bad they are unable to live life otherwise. Thanks for sharing… and here’s to a joyous 2005!

  • Erika

    Go, Dad, Go!

    Yes, Leta is as normal as can be – since every child is PAINFULLY DIFFERENT. I worked with Children who have autism for 5 years – and not once while reading about your beautiful family did the thought of autism cross my mind. That’s good, since I have a bad habit of meeting kids who do have it and getting their parents to have them diagnosed.

    You don’t need affirmation from any of us non-entities who enjoy your and Heather’s writings, I know. But you do damn fine work, Jon, and make me happy to know that you are out there. My best friend is chlinically depressed, and I am sure that she was headed for suicide before she met her husband – whom I believe saved her life. They now has 2 beautiful beasts who fill their days, just as Leta fills yours.

    May joy touch you and Heather and Leta and Chuck and all your loved ones every day in the coming year…

  • Christiane

    I’m with Sweetney – Fuck that noise.
    Anyone who has spent any amount of time reading the blurbdoocery would know that there is so much love and adoration shared in your family.
    But that’s probably not good for your gorgeous baby either…..

  • Ali G (I’m not kidding)

    Jon, you are just like the sweetest guy ever – sticking up for both of your girls. Anonymous emails are completely ridiculous, especially if they don’t at least try and offer you a penis pump or some free vicodin. Insulting anonymous emails are just too much. Pansies.

  • bornagh’s mom

    jon and heather- i just started reading your blogs and didn’t know about leta and your concerns…sorry to hear you guys are having a tough time with people being cruel. I had a scare with my daughter when she was 5 months old. she had to have cat scans, see the pediatric neurologist, etc. i was initially told she had severe cortical atrophy. luckily, the neurologist said the radiologist was wrong and her pediatrician agreed. the worst time of my life ever, but thankfully, bronagh’s okay. hang in there. it’s obvious how much you guys love leta. all my best.

  • Courtney

    Jon, I emailed Heather directly after reading that crap that woman sent her, basically saying what all these other people–including parents of children with autism–that Leta doesn’t have it, will probably not develop it, and besides that, she’s absolutely lovely. You two are on top of her developmental needs, and obviously love her to pieces. It’s too bad there are so many trolls out there that want to be fed.

  • Tyler

    The internet is a wonderful thing. But it only takes a few idiots to remind us that people ruin things. More often than not people are pretty non-confrontational, for instance, I doubt many strangers would walk up to you or heather in the grocery store and tell you how shitty of a job you are doing raising your kid. But when they are hiding behind their computer screens in the comfort of their own home they are invincible. They can say what they want to who ever they want with little or no substantial repercussions. The internet breeds keyboard wielding chicken shits who throw stones from afar.

    It is easy for me to say take it with a grain of salt, but what else can you do?

  • Library Girl

    Jon you kick ass, right on buddy!
    It’s obvious by reading over your site or Heather’s that you both live and breathe for your little girl. Anyone who doesn’t see it is a complete tool.

  • Karan

    That is just plain cruel. My kids did what they did when they did it. My son said nary a word until he was almost two (and then started with full blown sentences). My daughter wasn’t fully potty trained until she was six (too busy, I guess) and she wasn’t a self-reader until she was in fifth grade (maybe more of that too busy thing – now I can’t get her to stop reading to read). The real struggle in parenting is beating back those who go by the book and standing firm in your belief that kids progress at their own rates.

  • Anne

    Way to go, Jon!

  • Coelecanth

    Good on ya for keeping your cool and responding with words of more than four letters and non-anglosaxon etymology.

    The world is full of idiots. But it’s full of good people too. Unfortunatly, the good ones don’t engage our emotions the way the ass-hats do, anger is the more powerful emotion. It’s taken me 16 years in the retail world to be able to shrug off the irrational, the iritating, the ignorant and the rude and see that the majority are rational, kind, sensible and nice.

    That said, the Robert Service Memorial Gulag for Web Trolls isn’t quite full yet. Send ’em my way and they can learn their manners in the -20c weather were having.

  • Marj

    Jon, and family-
    I am very suprised that you take such negative comments to heart. Honestly, Armstrongs, you guys are so strong and so blessed with hundreds and hundreds of people that love you, the people that commently cruelly should just be laughed at.

    To me, it is apparent that they are jealous. Sounds fourth grade, I know, but that is my true feeling. You know that you are doing what’s best for your child, so WHY DO YOU CARE WHAT SOME INTERNET PSYCHO THINKS? It still hurts, I know, but I think as time goes on you will learn to just deflect any mean commentary coming your way.

    It will never stop, but how can words from people that hardly know you affect you? You are an amazing family, and I wish you all the best.


  • jesslin

    I’m so sorry that you guys have to deal with all the stupid people that read your sites. From what I read on your sites, you two are amazing parents. If I could be a fraction as intuitive and dedicated as you two are, I will be a very happy person. Leta is quite likely the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life, and you will likely have a tough time dealing with all the boys she’ll attract! You and Heather rock my socks!

  • Amy

    Jon and Heather — you guys are amazing and I add my voice to the countless readers who admire you.

  • Zach

    I walked at 9 months but didn’t speak (not talking just speech, I didn’t make a sound) until I was nearly two years old. My Mom’s family was all convinced I was def/dum/retarded/autistic. When I finally achieved the powers of speech, I promptly told them all to fuck off.

    I wish I would have turned out a smidge autistic. Did you guys see the article on Bram Cohen the creator of BitTorrent in the last Wired mag? I’d kill for half the powers of deflecting distractions he has.

  • seannarae

    on the subject of differences in developments…

    we all watched as archibald jude ran around a southern california park kicking a basketball with his feet – BOTH feet mind you – and literally off-the-ground running. at 19 months, jude still only has 3 words in his head, and i’m sorry, ‘uh oh’ doesnt count somehow.

    in the same park was a child 4 days his senior who had a vocab of like 20 words, and used them confidently and correctly. but to see him gingerly struggle to walk even 5 or 6 paces from ma to da was a reminder of how ALL INFANTS scales are tipped when compared to others.

    i cannot fathom the ignorance it would take for someone to claim that this wide variance could be significantly attributable to the parents’ handling.

    parents have a hand. some, yes. but logic alone dictates where parenting (nurture) ends and the kids path (nature) begins.

    kudos for you to responding to them in such a way that EDUCATES them, jon. or at least attempted to. personally, i keep a rusty pair of pinking shears in my hip pocket for focks such as these critics.


  • Leon

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the double edged sword that is the Blurbodoocery.

    You pour out your hearts and share all of your initimate details with every internet yaywho.

    You’ve come to realize that there is no internet filter for the lowest common denominator. Any half witted jackass with a modem can get to your site and espouse their expertise on any little bit of minutia they decide is critical from your blogs.

    People truly blow. Really. At the risk of sounding preachy, you may have just empowered the very people you sought to quell. “Yay Dooce and DJ Blurb are perturbed by what I said!” “I’ve upset them, I must have said/implied something that was correct!”

    The sad truth is that there are so many people out there who are so wrapped up in their own self-importance that they do not realize what is truly sublime about the Blurbodoocery.

    A FUCKING SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. This is what brought me to Dooce and what led me to the Blurbomat. Parents who have an honest sense of humor about their own child!

    So take a step back morons and get over yourself.

    Never forget how many of us out here are truly grateful for what you guys do and the work it takes to keep it all going.

    Happy New Year Armstrongs. From an adoring Internet.

  • Zach

    Btw – when will another “whore” be appointed. It’s been nearly a year since the last one.

  • Emily Petrick

    You’re a good dad. Keep up the good work.

  • Badger

    I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of shit you and Heather must field regarding your parenting and Leta’s development and whatnot. You already know this, but it bears repeating: NO ONE knows your child as well as you (both parents) do. These fuckheads with their annonymous emails and shit do not know you at all, they do not know Leta at all, and they have no relevance in your life. And also, they’re big stupid assholes.

    If I had a dime for every misguided bit of advice I’ve received about my kids (ages 7 and 8) over the years, I could send them to a real college, dammit!

  • patatomic

    I haven’t heard the word “amazing” used this much since watching The Bachelor.

    Jon, you and Heather are doing just fine.

  • Ninotchka

    I feel compelled to tell you that my niece didn’t walk until she was 18 months old. I don’t think she EVER crawled. She scooted on her butt. My sister did “some” investigation, which I smugly deemed NOT ENOUGH. I was really pissed off at her. She didn’t follow through with physical therapy because “the baby cries.” I was SO pissed off at her. You know what? My niece is now 4 and a brilliant, gorgeous child that walks, jumps and runs just like every 4 year old. Yes, even the ones that were little geniuses that WALKED RIGHT OUT OF THE VAGINA! So, I ate lots and lots of delicious crow. And it really was delicious because I’m so glad I was wrong. That’ll show SMARTY PANTS ME! I adore my niece and I’m so glad she’s OK, really. I shouldn’t jest.

    My point(s) in this rant is/are this: you are doing just what you should. And you need to listen to no-one but your medical experts and even then, I’m fairly confident that you, her parents, would know when to seek a second, third, fourth opinion.

    She’s making progress. And that’s great.

    I don’t know you but I read Heather’s blog and you two sound like fun, smart, loving and very capable parents.

    Keep up the great work!

  • kalisah

    your child is totally not austistic. I’ve seen austistic babies and she’s no austic baby. Believe me, your kid will do PLENTY in the years to come to make you question her mental capacity and there will be days (months…years) when you’ll rue the day she ever started walking and talking but for now, just enjoy your beautiful baby.

    People think b/c you put it out there on the internet they have the right to harrass you about it. I work for an internationally-known charity and b/c I’m in PR I get all of the emails that come in through our web site and THE INTERNET IS FULL OF COMPLETE NUT JOBS THAT HAVE NO LIFE BUT TO HARRASS THE REST OF US NORMAL FOLKS.

    Fuck those dudes. Your tops in my book.

    Just make sure, you know, you teach her “The Golden Plates” with all the hand motions and I’m sure she’ll grow up just fine.

  • JulieT

    I’m so very sorry that people feel as though it’s their business to inform you of how you should be raising your daughter. It’s a damn shame that you cannot freely express yourselves without receiving unsolicited advice from strangers who clearly have a) no clue and b) no life.

    Leta is just fine. No one in the world knows better than the two of you. Delete, delete… ignore, ignore.

  • christilee

    All I can say is that I wish you and Dooce were my parents.

  • Jennifer

    I have read both your blogs for a while now and have enjoyed watching the process of Heather’s pregnancy and Leta’s growth. It has always been clear to me that not only is Leta a beautiful little girl, but that her parents love her very much and are raising her as best as they possibly can. That best, by the way, is better than most parents are able to give their children.

    People who pass judgement probably have no experience with children and are making assumptions based on fairy tales they make up in their head.

    My sister started walking when she was 10 months old. I didn’t walk until I was about 15 months old. We were raised by a stay at home mom and hard working dad much the same way that Leta is being raised. Though my sister and I were raised the same, we both passed certain stages at different times and have both grown up and done well for ourselves. My point is that children will grow at their own rate and will end up fine regardless.

    Thank you for giving me (and the rest of the internet) the opportunity to share in your good and bad times as Leta grows.

  • Jane

    I want to thank both you and Heather for sharing so much of Leta’s life–the good and the bad–despite the existence of stupid people online.

    I still haven’t decided if I want to have children, and at this point I’ve done so much research that I decided not to make a decision. But hearing about what you guys go through is a big help. Most parents feel too embarrassed or guilty to admit that raising kids is HARD for the average parent who wants to be a good parent.

    Thank you.

  • JulieT

    Jon, you could be famous for the next great invention… the “great unsolicited e-mail advice filterer-outer.” It automatically detects unsolicited advice and sends an e-mail back to the sender that says “This is an example of a comment that sucks. Please refrain.”

  • MelissaS

    I’m so glad we weren’t on the internet in this realm when I went through these types of things with my little girl.

    I can only imagine the hysterical input I would have gotten from well meaning people. Simple internet research had me hysterical enough.

    In the end we even had to go against our pediatric neurologist and take a ‘wait and see’ approach.

    Anyway what I’m trying to say is, you really do know what’s best and you have enough real life (and professional) input to know when/if something wasn’t going the way it’s supposed to.

    Something that helped us in the end when we decided to take a break from all the testing our neurologist was calling for; if we had a specific diagnosis what would change? Nothing, we were seeing a neurologist (by annually) and a physical therapist (weekly) and our guts said she was going to be fine.

    If she wasn’t fine we would have found the help as things got worse or didn’t progress.

    Hold tight to what you know.

    (God I’m sorry this is so long)

  • Stephanie

    I somehow knew this was coming. That is so wonderful of you to take up for your family like that. You are absolutley correct. Plus, it is nobody’s fucking business what you do in the privacy of your own home with your own fucking child that you created. That person whoever you are, you need a great big kick in the NADS or PUSS whichever you are. Ignorant people should not be allowed to breath our air.

  • Laura

    I read Blurb and Dooce diligently. I love them equally. I have never commented before, because I figure if you and your lovely family have the grace to openly share your lives with the Internet, the Internet should respond in kind.

    That said:

    I love your family. I don’t mean that as creepily as it sounds…I just think you guys kick ass. I think Leta is ADORABLE and is going to grow up spectacularly if her parents are any indication. If you ever feel the need to adopt a 19 year old, you just give me a call.

    Much love, peace, health and good times to Dooce, Blurb, Leta and Chuckers.

  • dasmadchen

    First of both your blog and Heather’s …both of you have great writing styles!! I only recently found Heather’s blog, but it has been a true enjoyment to read… And for the record (not that my opinion should matter much anyway), from what I read, you guys sound like awesome parents! Cheers… I raise my alcoholic beverage to you- anyone that is a parent needs a drink now and again anyway! Helps you get through the insanity I think..

    Secondly… I read that Leta is reciveing PT weekly. I work in Denver as a service coordinator for babies birth-3 that have developmental delays. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that there is a federally funded program called Part C that is there to assist families that have children with any kind of developmental concerns. If you’d like more info, go to Very often you can get in-home intervention services(such as PT, OT, etc..) at no cost to you.

    Just wanted to pass that info on to you, in case you were not aware of this program.

    Best wishes for a happy new year!!


  • Jamie


    First post here–I swear I know you from Provo Days (do you rmember Siren Song? Frankenhouse?)–but I digress…

    The number one sucky thing about parenthood (and you can pass this on to Heather), worse than poop, exhaustion, teething, etc.–is people making you feel guilty all the damn time. Nothing you do will ever be right in everyone’s eyes (the old “Can’t please everyone” thing). It’s not just on the internet.

    I was drowing in guilt and mild PPD when I saw an Oprah show about Naomi Wolf’s book on motherhood. It absolutely slayed me because I watched it with my mom and she said, “These women are so selfish!” and I wa thinking, “They are speaking for me.” I don’t know why pregnancy, birth, and parenthood are so easy for some people and literally “the shadow of death” for others. But I do know that experience vary so dramatically, I can’t imagine comparing someone else to myself or my children. It breaks my heart that so many women continue thier jr-high cattiness into adulthood when motherhood is such a fine opportunity for sisterhood and support. Lame.

    Our families probably have little in common on the surface, but I always assume that we have the most important thing in common–we love our children with al lour hearts and souls and we fight like lions for their health and happiness.

  • wizmo

    My favorite story about kids developing at their own pace is one my friend Sandy, now a doctor, told me about himself. Apparently he didn’t speak a word until the age of three, and they were very worried, until one Christmas morning he suddenly blurted out, “I want to open my presents now.” He figures he just didn’t have anyting he wanted to say until then…

  • Lacy

    My niece – who will turn two tomorrow – didn’t start walking until about 3 months ago! Like Leta – she just didn’t like putting weight on her feet. When she finally decided she wanted to walk – she did. Every child is different … and Leta has two very loving parents and thousands of webfans – and that makes her better off than a lot of kids out there! She’ll walk when she wants to!

  • Zach (R)

    I have to say that I’m incredibly impressed in your restraint and the maturity of your response (both form and content). Not because you’ve given any indication that you are not a mature adult, but rather I know the rage I would feel for someone upsetting my wife with inane commentary in the guise of advice. I’m sorry to see you two having to deal with such drivel, but well played on your response. Hopefully this will inspire civility for a while or at least an angry mob at your command for divine retribution. =)

  • maria

    Hey, not only do I have kids with different schedules, but I have been known to yell out “where is Herod when you need him?” And of course, I don’t mean it! Everyone will have opinions and unfortunately some of them will be asshole-y. Speaking for myself, I adore you guys, and envy you, in a good way.
    You’ll be driven nuts when Leta wals and wander why you wanted it so much!

  • Wen

    Here is my advice to you and Heather:

    Have a happy New Year, take naps, drink bourbon, love, laugh, give the internet middle finger to anyone who criticizes you, play, give The Senator belly rubs, blow raspberries on Leta’s tummy, take pictures, write, don’t write, breathe in the joy that you have under your roof.

    Thank you Jon (and Heather and Leta and Chuck) for sharing your lives with the world. I appreciate it.

  • ab

    I am an avid reader of both of your sites. Please don’t let assholes like that person deter you from sharing your lives with us. I truly enjoy seeing all of the beautiful pictures of Leta and look forward to more.

  • jules

    well done jon! i advise my “friends” that send some of the unsolicited crap i receive on a regular basis, that I will be forwarding their information to the most important

    BITE ME file….for no further perusal. it is starting to work… really.

    now, on to the more burning question…

    did chuck get that mr dentist for christmas? i am sooo worried about his teeth….


    all the best to you all for a happy and healthy new year..

  • Jonna

    Argh, why must people condemn others for judging, yet judge themselves?! For the love of God, just refrain from judging, people. And that includes comments here that basically say that a) you would never put pictures of your family on the Internet because *you* know better and b) Informing Jon and Heather that ‘they asked for it’ by doing so and ‘this is the price you pay’

    For Chrissake.

    Look, Jon, you and Heather are kind enough to share your lives with us. We are privileged to be able to be a part of it, as voyeurs in our own living rooms. But some of us friendly readers have forgotten that we are not part of the action, but merely observers, and that a lot of what we’re reading isn’t *exact* but is a smidge of hyperbole.

    Is this everyone’s first day in the blogging community or what?! I’m sure there’s an article out there about how to be a Good Blog Reader, i.e., read, send nice, non-freaky emails if you are so inclined, but DO NOT STALK, do not cross boundaries, and in general, shut the fuck up because you are NOT IN THEIR LIVES just because you read about it every day.

    Good grief. Sorry Jon. Some of the many comments, even here, while well-meaning, sent me over the edge. I give you mega kudos for not hunting them down and kicking their asses yourself. Your note, btw, was very classy and more than the dude deserved. Next time, don’t bother – they don’t deserve your attention.

  • Lane

    Since I was a pre-teen I’ve been working with children. For the past 10 years it’s been developmentally disabled children. For the past 6 years it’s been autistic preschoolers.

    I’ve been a mother for 5+ years.

    My daughter handflaps, toewalks, and has other small stimmy things. My daughter is not autistic.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to comment on other people’s parenting skills online unless they ASK. Not only that, but I’m not QUALIFIED to diagnose autism or any other DD. I seriously doubt that person is either. The nerve.

    I think you went above and beyond what you needed to do in replying. They suck – please don’t waste your time and energy on them.

    Concentrate on your awesome family! Especially that beautiful daughter of yours.

  • Big Gay Sam

    You ought to see the advice I get. Mostly taking a long walk off a short pier or “do the world a favor and kill myself.” You know. The usual shits and giggle.

    My mom gave me some sage advice when I was just starting to spread my wings and explore the world.

    “The opinions of worthless people are worthless.”

    Now talk amongst yourselves. (yiddish accent)

  • Karen Rani

    Hey guys,

    I love your family and all the stories you write about. I can truly relate to Heather’s PPD and owe her so much gratitude for opening up about it. She literally saved my life.

    As for all the stupid things people write to/about you, mean people suck. Stupid people suck even more. Stupid and mean people…..well you get the picture and those of us with brains and hearts are totally siding with you!

    Be yourselves. Say whatever you want. Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind, don’t matter.


  • Lisa

    My second daughter didn’t walk until 17 months. She used to like to be carried upside down, like she was doing a back bend. Her feet touching the back of her head. I carried her like this everywhere. People would stop me. They thought I was either hurting her or she was severely damaged. She is almost 10, in the 5th grade, Irish dances, brillian artist and writer, and qualified for the gifted program at school. Aubree did things her own way, and she is fine. Leta will be fine too.

  • Lactivist

    Far as I can tell you and Heather are wonderful parents! I am sorry that people choose to email you about Leta’s development. You’d think they’d know better since they aren’t the ones raising her and most obviously cannot know everything about her or you as her parents. And I’m sorry that things get to Heather too. As a mom myself I know how hard it can be when people criticize your parenting choices. I’m glad you are speaking back to this people and I hope they make better choices in the future.

    Happy 11 months to Leta!

  • Jessica

    You two are awesome parents. And as far as Leta not moving around too much, don’t worry about it. I didn’t learn how to walk until around 16 months, and I turned out superbly. (Graduated HS and went to college at 16… no dev problems whatsoever.)
    Keep your chins up, guys. Happy 11th month, Leta!

  • K

    Holy Comments Batman.

    Seriously though all kids are different and any person with sense would know this. Other parents may unwittingly be offensive becaes A) they are curious and B) they want to brag about thier wonder kid. It is the asshole freaks who ruin it all.

    Heather if your feeling like a pimp (ass ho motherfucker) go on brush ya shoulders off.

  • Carol

    My sister Robin never crawled forward. Only backward. (OK I admit she grew up to be a bitch lawyer but I doubt there is a direct connection that would indicate actual deformity.) My sister April was a hand flapper. I spent three months in a wheelchair after a car accident and let me tell you I sure as hell didn’t want to put any weight on the soles of my feet after all that time – it hurt – and mostly it felt really damned weird. Leta is GORGEOUS. Thanks for sharing your weird assed family with all us weird assed people.

  • Dr. Johnny Fever

    Jon, you show saintlike restraint in a situation that would have rendered mortal men enraged and homicidal. Next time some n’er-do-well tries to play amateur pediatrician, you tell them Dr. Johnny Fever said to shut the fuck up.

  • Naomi

    Can’t you ban people who send this email or perhaps they have to post a comment to know their IP? Wow, for someone to send this type of mail, they must be really unhappy, sad, pathetic people.

  • becky

    autism? where did that come from? geez, the amateur diagnosticians come out of the WOODWORK.

    whenever i think that someone has the wrong perception of me, i too want to set them straight. it’s hard not to. but don’t worry, jon. the majority of us realize that you two don’t share everything and yet you STILL manage to be caring parents. no matter what the internuts think.

    just keep doing what’s right by you for your family and the rest doesn’t really matter. hope 2005 is fabulous. and maybe a little less nutty.

  • amandarin

    What is it about the anonymity of the internet that just brings out the absolute WORST in some people? Would people be so quick to speak up if they overheard a conversation you were having, say, at the post office?

    I applaud you and Heather for being brave enough to share your struggles & triumphs with the world at large – and for being wise enough not to listen to the asshats who have nothing better to do with their time then try to manage other people’s lives.

    And, finally, a word about autism for the armchair doctors out there: Being autistic is not akin to having a fatal disease. Autism, like most developmental disabilities, comes in all shapes and sizes and in varying levels of severity. It IS possible for autistics to lead “normal” lives. Someone very close to me is autistic and that person has three advanced degrees, a stable job, a loving relationship, and plans for a family. It’s not a death sentence nor does it automatically relegate its sufferers to a life spent looking at the interior of an institution.

  • DeAnn

    What really bothers me is that those few people who are assholes can mess up your day and make you feel awful despite the fact that there are THOUSANDS of us out here rooting for you guys and loving you guys and seriously feeling nearly as much pride in Leta’s accomplishments (and yours and Heather’s) as y’all do. My advice: Ignore the mean ones. Focus on us — all nice and stuff!!

    Love and hugs to you all.

  • Big Gay Sam

    I’d rather see this side of human nature on the internet than in person.

    Too bad the delete button only works on the internet.

  • Autumn

    Maybe Leta doesn’t have anywhere to go.

    My brother didn’t talk until he was 3. One day my mom asked him “John, why don’t you talk?” He looked at her and said very clearly “Because I don’t have anything to say.”

  • Shan

    I felt the need to ask my parents about me when I was a baby after reading your post. My mother explained that I didn’t walk until the age of 3 but I was a brilliant child of course. Aren’t we all? When I finally did walk it was realized that I walked with my toes pointed inward severely. This was something that I was born with and had absolutely nothing to do with not walking early. I must of had some baby sixth sence not to try because I would hurt myself and probably my baby pride. For the next 4 years I fell over my own feet more times than imaginable but was a talented figure skater and gymnast. The decision came along to straighten the problem and that was that. I’m reminded of my baby stuborness by my scars–they make me original.
    This story is not to say anything about Leta but to give any doubters out there another side of kids who like to sit on their bums! Leta is a beautiful girl and obviously smart…I mean she yells go dog go! You are 2 incredible parents and whatever life throws at you–you can handle…that’s what a family does.
    All the best
    Shan :)

  • Mary in Sacramento

    Jon, I didn’t crawl at all. My mother says I would just sit and scoot, and then one day when I was 13 months old, I pulled myself up on the coffee table and started walking. And I graduated in the top 5% of my high school class, and am definitely not autistic.
    You are a wonderful father and Heather is a wonderful mother, and the whole internet can see that you love your baby very very much. I know what you mean about unsolicited advice, because I get it all the time from my family in law, on why my 5 month old just started rolling over and how he should be on rice cereal and baby food by now. It sucks, and I wish it would stop too. But you know what? I’M James’ mother, just like YOU’RE Leta’s parents, and you can always look at them politely and tell them to Fuck Off.

    Happy New Year
    May the most that you’ve hoped for be the least that you get.

  • Bill

    I don’t expect you to read this far down the page. Heck, I didn’t read all the comments above this before posting, so why should you have to be less lazy than me? But if you do read this, add it to the “support and encouragement” pile.

    I know nothing about raising babies (which is a painful confession, considering I have a fourteen month old daughter and another on the way), but I wanted to say that I’ve always thought you guys seemed like considerate, caring parents. You know, from what I could gather from the tiny window you’ve allowed us to peek through, into your life.

    I just don’t get how people can think they know all about you from the one paragraph a day they read. These must be the same people who think they don’t need to read a book after they’ve perused the dust jacket. I just don’t get it.

  • N

    It saddens me how people can write hurtful things, when yours and Heather’s stories about Leta are so beautiful. She is a very lucky kid, and hopefully both of your entries will be saved for her to read when she gets older. They’re like old love letters and I guarantee she will appreciate what you did for her and how much you both loved her.

  • blackbird


  • deedee

    Raising 3 boys has taught me.

    No such thing as a schedule.
    Listening to others advice will drive you ape shit.
    They do everything in their own (individual) time. Including trying drinking, smoking, dating, sex.

    All my kids walked at pretty normal ages, but that was because it was a survival technique. If they couldn’t out run the other two, you got used as a projectile through the drywall.

    But each had their own timing for each life development.

    I always said what I cannot teach them or convince them to do by the time they are 16, it is up to their girlfriends. ie. It’s minus 40, you should put on a jacket.

    Sure enough, years later their girlfriends actually come over and bitch about stuff they canít do, (like have a clue…they are still boys)

    I listen and looked concerned, and turn away with a little smile…and think good luck, itís your turn lady.

  • Kristen

    I think you & Heather are amazing for sharing all your experiences with Leta on the net. I think any parent who claims they are perfect & don’t take time for themselves are bullshitters.
    There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ baby. On medical terms I was generally ‘normal’, but I wouldn’t drink milk. If every child was the same as they grew then parenting would be a cinch.

  • Heatheranne

    You are 100% correct in that all children are different. You made a statement that most parents never grasp, you’re letting Leta develop at her speed. Too many parents force their kids to grow up – mature – develop at a pace that suits them, not the child. People get so fucking competitive with their kids and worry about what other people will think of their parenting skills, they forget what’s best for the children.

    You and Heather are doing great. Leta will do things when SHE’S ready, not when the internet’s ready.

  • JM

    I have several close friends with autistic children. I can tell simply from the pictures of Leta and the stories Heather tells that Leta is NOT autistic. No worries, Jon and Heather, your baby girl is simply her own person and doing things HER way. Nothing wrong with that!

  • Lauren

    1. i can’t believe that some people don’t realize that everyone is different! develop different, think different, look different. babies, being small people, are different too.
    2. what different would it make if Leta did have autism? you’d still be rad parents, you’d still love her and take care of her, she’d still be cute and lovely.
    3. what ever happened to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
    4. y’all are so cool.

  • Susie

    Goodlord, the crap you two must put up with. God bless you for being so generous to continue sharing your lives, your perspectives, your gifts with “us” out here. Hopefully you get enough goodstuff in return to provide some counterbalance to the crap, the unkindness, the ignorance.

  • JinJan

    What crap! I read through the list of behavioral patterns that children with autism display – such as insisting on carrying around a specific item (I mean what kid doesn’t have a blanky!) and playing with toys a certain way, and blah blah blah. I have a three-year-old who does a lot of those things a lot of the time. She often pretends she’s deaf because she’s just plain stubborn and spoiled rotten by her adoring parents. If we all took the time to categorize our children (and ourselves) from a list provided by professionals, I’m sure we’d all have something wrong with us (who doesn’t – ha!)

    My advice to those who have nothing nice to say – get off the internet and start doing something productive with your time. Start a fund-raiser for children that unfortunately are suffering from autism or have terminal cancer.

    Do something with your life instead of obnoxiously critiquing the actions of others!!!

  • wn

    DJB, Dooce and Leta,

    Happy New Year from our family to yours!
    I wish all three of you much health, success and happiness in this new year!


  • JoyceC

    It’s not about you.

    Autism talk is in the air these day. Every parent in the United State with a child under the age of 3 gets querries from friends/family/strangers about their kid and autism. Trust me on this. We ALL get this crap.

  • http://gretchenb/ Gretchen C.

    Hell’s bells. You mean, people write to y’all and SAY shit like that? Just when I start thinking maybe people aren’t complete assholes after all, they have to go and prove me wrong.

    Leta is Leta, no one more and no one less. No labels. No limits. Just Leta.

  • midwestgrrl

    I know there’s a school of thought that says if you open comments, you deserve whatever you get.

    I just think that certain rules of etiquette are no different on the Internerd than they are in person; namely that it’s rude to presume to tell someone how to raise their kids.

    As you were.

  • Lorraine

    I had to comment here and just say AMEN and thank you for being a voice for all parents whose children aren’t on the almight “normal” chart! I read you and Dooce all the time and I have to say Leta is the luckiest little girl in the whole world.
    My daughter doesn’t eat – simply won’t eat – and no specialist (and we’ve seen them ALL) has any clue why … but you would not believe the suggestions we get. Oh My God! I want to punch people in the head every single day (not good for a pacifist). Anyhow, keep up the good work and thanks for giving my thoughts a voice (as your wife does on a daily basis).
    p.s. my mom didn’t walk until she was three and not only does she have 2 university degrees, but won the gold medal for one of them and was selected as “Woman of the Year” for her contributions to society. It will work out and Leta will continue to be brilliant and love her parents as they so dearly deserve.

  • Dana

    my brother refused to stand and didnt walk till he was almost 16 months old. now’s he an F18 pilot and his moto is still ‘why walk when you can ride’? she’ll be fine!!

  • TulsaOkie


    I think it is great that you jump to defend your wife and child. I hate that people have the need/urge to post such non-sense shit about your and dooce’s parenting. You obviously love your child as does Heather. I would say let it slide like water off of a ducks back but comments about your children are hard to ignore. My daughter is almost 14 months old and isn’t crawling.. I’m not worried, but comments about autism and shit really PISS me off and are very hard to ignore. She crawled late (almost 10 months) and she will most definately be a late walker. She is a perfectly happy thriving child. Do not worry, Leta will be mobile in due time then you will be in for even more fun adventures!

    Take care and hug your ladies tight!

  • pegjordan

    Jon and Heather-
    Just wanted to tell you my 8 yr old son was recently diagnosed w/ autism. 8 yrs old! We have been seeing drs for 8 yrs, we also have children that do not have autism. I was floored when the diagnosis finally came in. Keep doing what you are doing with Leta. The most important thing to the child is to know that you guys love her, and are willing to be there for her. Just look at those happy baby pictures. She will be just fine. The internet loves the whole Armstrong family.

  • MrsDoF

    I was at a coffee shop and reading the newspaper. There is an article about how many people read weblogs and how much the percentage of personal blogs has gone up in the last year alone.

    One lady said she never heard of such things, why are people in other people’s lives so much? Why care? Why use up so much time in front of the screen?
    All Valid questions.
    Upon further investigation, I learned this woman gets up every morning, in all weather, and delivers 128 newspapers to doorsteps. Then she goes to a cafeteria kitchen and cooks. The staff there served 7,000 meals last Sunday. No wonder she doesn’t have time or energy to sit and read sites on the Internet.

  • Amanda B.

    I can think of very few things more cruel than fucking with a Mama and Dad about their baby. I don’t know what to say except that the people who would engage in this behavior are obviously very sick. I’m sorry you guys have had to deal with them.

    Leta is beautiful and perfect.

  • Stephen

    Dude, I have read this blog and Dooce enough times to know that you have some emotional and mental health issues that you have struggled with in the past year. I hear that. But good grief, you need to let this shit go. I have 2 kids under 3 and it is hard for my wife and I to get through a day without having some New York nutcase tell us that our kids are too skinny/too fat/needs a hat/should be talking/should be on the list for Dalton/should be evaluated for special needs.

    Listen, you need to let that shit go. You can’t even take it in. You get a thousand > a day here, most parents get few to none. You know that, right? First step to letting go, let it go: No writing long emails to people you can’t pick out of a line up and then posting it on your blog.

    That’s my advice and yes, people have been giving advice to parents long before you or I became fathers. It’s part of the gig. Let it go.

  • schmutzie

    I have a brother who has slight autism (among other things), and from the regular reading I’ve done of both yours and Heather’s sites, Leta sounds fine to me. Lots of babies are hand-flappers. Secondly, I never walked or talked before the age of one and ended up in accelerated learning classes. So there. Some “concerned” people on the intraweb seem to get awfully uptight about your willful little daughter!

  • zchamu

    Leta is awesome. That is all.

  • Katy

    Who cares what she says?? Why would you waste any time thinking about it, let alone actually responding to her & posting this on your blog??

    LET IT GO!!!!!!!!!! You have better things to concern yourself with – they are Leta, Heather & Chuck!

  • Kimberley H.

    Don’t you wish you could delete shitty people like their shitty comments? I sure wish I could.

  • lily

    oh please, its this wicked world that we live in that makes us drink a bit and just plain have fun. that doesn’t mean we ignore our responsibilities. just because we have a baby doesn’t mean life is over. life’s a compromise man, you can be an adult and have fun :)

    they’re probably just envious people who want a bit of your sunshine and since they can’t get it they’re trying to get you guys down. DON’T LET THEM. FUCK’EM.

  • Melynda

    Amen to the first post! Who knows Leta better than her parents? It’s obvious, from what you both share, that you are doing everything possible to help Leta. No one but a doctor is capable of diagnosing autism.

    Stupid internet fucktards… Hopefully you and Dooce can blow off their comments. I mean how can you look at those beautiful Leta eyes and think of anything but how gorgeous and amazing she is? And I’m basing that coment just on pictures I’ve seen! Imagine how stunning they must be in real life!

    Enjoy your daughter and getting to hold her as much as you do. She’ll be walking all to soon, and then she won’t want to be held anymore.

  • Shannon

    Jon: You don’t owe the internet an explanation. Leta is being raised in a wonderful home with loving and attentive parents. I think visitors to your BLOG feel as though they know you and your family and, therefore, can offer advice on how to take care of your daughter. Only you and Heather know what is best for Leta. I have a friend that didn’t speak until she was almost 5 years old. She’s now an Assistant District Attorney in NYC. Another friend didn’t crawl or use his legs until he took his first step – at age 3. My point is that everyone develops at his/her own pace and Leta will walk when she’s ready.

    Happy New Year.

  • sarcastic journalist

    i would have never even thought “autism.” she seems (from what I get on the net) nothing like that. tell the asswipes to leave the emails at home. Like you guys have nothing better to do than to receive advice.

    Oh? I met a kid who was 2+ and hadn’t started walking yet. And I don’t think anyone was screaming “autism!” at his mom.

  • red

    this post is reason # 432 why we love you, Jon. way to go for being the protective, wonderful husband and father you are. Leta is fine, and i think you and heather are wonderful parents — as if my opinion matters. happy new year!

  • Shannon

    I agree with one of the commenters above. ANYbody who has had children knows that each one develops at their own pace and differently. My son is 10 1/2 months old and has just started crawling a few steps. My 9 year old son has Aspergers Syndrome, which is related to Autism, and was a “normal” baby. He didn’t show signs until he was almost 2 years old.
    Leta is beautiful and I am sure she would tell those dumbasses to shut up.
    Happy New Year to your family.

  • Lisa

    Jon, I’m sorry you have to deal with insensitve folks sending in unsolicited advice. They may not have senses of humor, being unable to distinguish a facetiousness when they read that Chuck is raising Leta on bourbon. These people need to be better readers, or at least not take themselves so damn seriously. I think sometimes people project their own inadequacies onto you and Heather; for instance, if they are slow to notice something (i.e., the humor in your posts), they assume you’re slow to notice health problems in your own daughter. Sheesh. Now that I’ve written what seems like a rather pedantic email, I guess I’ll go ahead and post it, but just know this: you, Heather, Leta, and Chuck rock!

    All best for 2005!

  • Boegle

    Hey – I’ve been checking out both your blogs (loads of fun instead of work, I must say – and quite inspiring creatively), and have noticed the weirdness that is UNSOLICITED ADVICE FROM TOTAL STRANGERS. Now I swear to god I’m not trying to give advice – just a little assurance. I don’t have children so feel free not to listen to me – but I know that my dad didn’t walk till he was 18 months old, and then when he did he ran. A lot.

    Though I am not representative of the *entire* internet, I can say that I have faith that your healthy kid will walk when it’s time, and it’s really cool you are helping her at all. I’m sure that physical therapy is relatively new in the scheme of things. My hope is that a little bit of faith from a different total stranger will sort of BLOCK THE BULLSHIT from the other somewhat more advicey strangers.

    The aforementioned dad got polio at 5 years old, and he had to learn to walk again and again throughout his young life after many stupid and uneducated operations. He’s now 62, healthy, happy, has a great family, and STILL HE IS WALKING. It’s all good. Happy Endings All Around! Good luck with it. Happy new year.


  • donna

    my sister (now three) took her first step on her first birthday. I was very sad. Mobility means the end of life as you were starting to get used to. Having a screechy sack of potatoes is one thing, but having a screechy sack of potatoes on WHEELS is another thing entirely.

    She’s three. I’m twenty five. I should be in the prime of my life. I can’t keep up with her. (How the hell does our 48 yr old mother do it? Yegods.)

  • Kristine

    My daughter was a ‘flapper’ and the neighbor boy didn’t walk either, and when he did, he walked on his toes.
    They are 11 now and fine.
    Kara didn’t have some strange disorder and Kyle didn’t turn out gay because he was a ‘twinkle toes’.
    So don’t be surprised if Leta walks on her toes when she does start walking…it also doesn’t mean she will be a ballerina. I think.

  • Ashik

    Jon (& Heather),

    From all evidence, you two are amazing, sensitive, thoughtful, caring and careful parents. In the world devoid of objectively ‘correct’ things to do, you really seem to make all the right decisions with respect of parenting (Anyone who’ll dress their kid in “mommy wants a new president” clothing rocks as far as I’m concerned.)
    But in this context even all that is irrelevant. The point is, NO ONE has the right to tell you what to do with your kid. Even if this email came from one of your parents’ – – this would still be unacceptable. Especially given that this came from someone totally random who has no business passing judgment on your lives – and of course you’re just being protective – don’t let idiots rattle you. Especially Heather.
    If the comments to this post is any indication – – the Internet approves!!
    Happy New Year. I hope it’s filled with more love and happiness for you guys (knocking on wood).\

  • Kristina

    Just wanted to make one quick comment in regards to Leta’s not wanting to crawl. I was walking at 10 months, however, my brother who is 3 years younger didn’t walk till about 16 months, everybody is different, Leta will walk when she wants to :)

  • Susan

    I agree with Shannon. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Ignore the advice but keep writing.

  • Big Gay Sam

    “Shannon says:
    . My 9 year old son has Aspergers Syndrome, which is related to Autism, and was a “normal” baby. He didn’t show signs until he was almost 2 years old.

    114 / 01.04.2005, 2:55 PM”

    Of course here at work (I work with Shannon) we call it Ass Burgers and do a lot of giggling. Sometimes immaturity has it’s place in the world.

    Her son is the most darling little shit you coud ever meet. Everyone loves him. :o)

  • Maria

    When I ran a home daycare, I took care of a little boy who absolutely refused to put weight on his legs or stand until he was over a year old. When he finally started crawling at age 1 1/2, he only did it for a couple of weeks before he started walking. Is he autistic? Of course not. He just developed on his own schedule instead of following the “norm”.

  • juli

    The internet never ceases to amaze me. I’ve met the nicest people you could ever imagine and the biggest assholes. So far the nice ones greatly outnumber the buttheads. Maybe if the keyboard and mouse were a little more complicated…

  • jin

    i am sorry that you and Heather constantly get these sort of comments and “advise”, you guys esp. little Leta do not deserve these!! thanks for sharing your life with us in the internet, i have learnt so much from you guys!!

    i have a little 26 months plus boy, and he did not learn to crawl till very late passed one year, and started walking even later, close to 19-20 months!! we have a parenting support group here in singapore and looking at the other kids his age, they all developed at different speed and take their own time!! a friend’s kid who started crawling and walking much earlier than mine, was slower in other areas of development…such as verbal skills…

    gosh..i hope the internet will mind their own business and leave you guys alone!! what is the problem that if they do not like to read what you or Heather write in your own blogs, then just leave, don’t read!!

  • Jennifer

    Keep up the good work. Leta will walk, when she damn well pleases. My daughter didn’t crawl until she was a year old. She didn’t walk until a month before her second birthday. Physical therapy and orthotics aided in the progress but ultimately it was up to my daughter to get on her feet. I received a lot of unwanted advice and it is very painful to hear. Sorry that the same has happened to the both of you.

  • foobario

    Jayzus. People are slamming the kid? Didn’t they read the bit that says DON’T SUCK when you leave a comment?

  • Laurie

    Great post, Jon.

    My son was misdiagnosed with autism for about six months, it turned out to be language delays. It never occurred to me that Leta might be autistic because she doesn’t want to stand up yet. WTF kind of logic is that? Autism has lots and lots of symptoms, and that’s not one of them.

    During those six months, though, I met a lot of parents who had children with a variety of special needs. From them and from parents of typically developing children, I learned that the people who know the most about their children are the parents.

    It’s obvious from your websites that you and Heather love Leta and look out for her best interests. I don’t think she could ask for anything more.

    Hope all of you have a great new year.


  • EyeDigress

    One of my nephews never walked, he dragged himself along the floor with one arm. Combat style. He never crawled and went stright to walking.

    I don’t have any children yet, but am not looking forward to other peoplle “advice” on how we are doing everything wrong. It happens to everyone. I guess everyone who has a baby should write a book about their illustrious knowledge of child rearing.

    Just continue to do what you are doing with Leta. As her parents you two are the people who know what is best for her. Why don’t people get that?

  • Stephanie

    I’ll keep it short. My daughter is right now in the other room playing by herself, and every time I yell, “HEY, MADDIE!” she is unresponsive. Also, she never crawled; she rolled and army-crawled (propped on one elbow, scooting on her belly), and when she was learning how to walk, she tiptoed. She also had hair that resembled the open feathers of a peacock, but that’s another story.
    Point: you get the point.
    Mother of One Peacock-Headed, Toe-Walking, Anti-Social Little Stinker.

  • Jordan Stratford

    My theory? She can walk. Once you’re asleep, she hops out of the crib, puts on little sneakers, and goes around the block a few times. When you’re awake, she’s just faking it.

    It’s a shameless sympathy ploy.

  • Jdog

    I’m willing to bet that the ones that insist in writing you and Heather emails telling you either what to do or what not to do are child development majors that have no kids. I used to room with one in college and she loved to look at kids and parents in line at the grocery store and tell me everything that they are doing wrong. From the shape of the child’s head (she blamed on poor diet and drinking) to acting up (which they all do. and always in public).

    Good luck handling all of us crazies who are addicted to yours and Heather’s sites. You guys are doing a great job, don’t let anyone tell you different!

  • Mary

    Not like you don’t have a million two cents already … but here’s mine. I think Leta is an extraordinary little person who is going to turn into an extraordinary bigger one. All the screaming? I think it’s because she’s so intelligent and strong-willed; she gets frustrated at the things she can’t do and how little power she has over her environment. Of course I have a screamer too, so take my theory with a grain of salt. (But my girl is struggling with walking right now, and she’s so frustrated she quit trying altogether for the past month or so. Sounds like Leta and crawling maybe?) My ped tells me that it’s often the gifted kids who are intense and hard to handle babies. The thing I admire is that you two are so respectful of who she is, rather than who some anonymous fucktard thinks she “ought” to be–I think you give her exactly the kind of parenting she needs.

    Happy new year to Blurb and Dooce and Leta! Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  • http://none emily

    I didn’t walk until I was 13 months old (yet, like your daughter, I talked early), and I’m just fine. In fact, I work at Harvard and I’m in grad school for biomedical engineering! My parents never pushed me, and it is great that you are allowing her to develop at her own speed; she will turn out so much better because of your actions.

    take care!

  • Lisa

    I still CANNOT believe that people still send you mean, unhelpful or generally unsolicited advice after you have so clearly asked them not to. I’m sorry this happens and sincerely hope that it won’t make you:

    1. Sugar coat your parenting stories as to not raise the ire of the internet. We need to know the way it is.
    2. Worry even one smidgen more than you would if these clods kept their ideas to themselves. As if parenting didn’t come with enough uncertainties without someone else suggesting additional things to worry about.


  • Nannergrrl

    My ex-sister-in-law didn’t walk until she was 2.5 years old and spent much of her day rolling on the floor, between the dining and living room. She also spent the first six months of her life screaming at the top of her lungs when she was in bright light or a strong breeze.

    She left Stanford Univ. after her freshman year because they “were too stuck up” and is currently working on her PhD in genetics and molecular biology. She is sweet and as well-adapted to life as any of us could hope to be.

    I know this is only anecdotal evidence and nothing anyone can say will mitigate those first few awful seconds when a comment by an asshat makes you wonder and worry before shaking it off, but hopefully it will help reinforce what you already know – Leta is good to go. :-)

  • bunny

    I had three kids and it is my observation that oftentimes they will lag behind in one thing and be way ahead in another. Case in poiint, my son who was walking at nine months BUT barely strung three words together till he was over three. Not having the internet back then I didn’t know I should be worried.
    Since he is now in college (stop me before I brag now) I guess I can assume HE turned out okay.
    Sounds to me Leta has simply decided she is more interested in being verbal right now. NONE of mine were talking as early as she is.

  • amy

    Jon –

    I waaaaay down here in the comments but hopefully you’ll make it down this far :)

    I am the mother of a beautiful baby girl that happens to have down syndrome. I share this with you because I am privy to ” helpful-advice” not in my blog, but in my daily life – on a regular basis. It sucks.

    Even the well meaning advice stings and hurts and scares me. I know a little bit of what you are feeling. Every situation is different, but like you I have immersed myself in research. I am one-tracked – on MY child. I will never understand why some people feel the need to tell you everything they think you “need” to know. It is so hard to tune it out.

    My husband and I have had Elle for a year and not a day goes by that I do have somebody with some new theory. . . It has taken me months to get to the point where I tell these random “advisors” that I will love their advice when I ASK for it.

    For now, I rely on the sharing I have with Elle’s physical, speech and occupational therapists. It’s odd because I don’t even think of Elle as a baby with down’s anymore – she is just my baby.

    Leta is just your baby. She belongs to nobody but you and Heather. I applaud you for standing up for your family and your needs. I feel lucky to get to share a piece of the internet with you and your family. I hope that you are able to contuine sharing with us.

    Hang in there. Enjoy living the life with Leta. You are a beautiful family. Tune out all of that extra noise and keep making us smile.

  • Somebody

    I can’t think of anything better to say to this other than it was so wonderful, to the point, and loving in the same breath.

    We should all be so lucky to have such parents.

  • Cece

    With the good comes the bad. With all the wonderful things that people say to you and all the love that they project to you…you get this shit too.

    I had tears reading that. Your daughter is beautiful. You are both very lucky to have such an intelligent and plucky girl!

    As always, I love the Blurbodoocery and adore your family from afar.

  • MetroDad

    Hey Jon…I don’t know if you have a no-profanity policy in regards to commenting. But in regards to those people having the gall to disparage your parenting skills and leaving nasty comments? All I can think to say is…FUCK THOSE FUCKING MOTHERFUCKERS!!! (eloquent, eh?)

    What is wrong with people who could be so mean and uncaring? Are they really pathological? or just inherently mean? do they just have too much free time on their hands?

    Whatever it is, just ignore them (if you can). I think all the other comments filed here from other well-meaning people should restore some faith in humanity. Keep up the great parenting and blogging.

  • Nero

    Well you have about 600 comments already, so I don’t expect you to read this. But.

    I must express my amazement at the Internet. Obviously it’s something you’ll never get away from, as you yourself said. So the only consolation I can give is that there are MANY MANY people out here who cannot wait for the next posts on the Blurbodoocery, as they are all highly entertaining. Whether I laugh or I cry, I still come for the stories. Heather’s letters to Leta every month are amoung the best blogging entries I’ve ever seen. The pictures are wonderful.

    I have no children, but watching the love you guys have not only for Leta but for each other makes me want to have a child.

    Just a random commenter saying thanks, and don’t pay attention to those bastards. They know not of what they speak.

  • PattM

    Idiots. 2 of my kids never “crawled” and are OK (so far). My daughter is mildly autistic (Asperger’s Syndrome) but crawled the best of them all. I wouldn’t wish autisim on anyone. Just from the peeks into your lives, Leta seems to be a normal, happy baby with adoring parents!

  • the mighty jimbo

    the assumptions and suggestions and advice people feel compelled to provide astounds and frequently appalls me. i don’t know much about parenting, but from what i can tell, your daughter is lucky as hell to have parents like you two.

  • Sara

    I don’t even know if you’ll get this far..
    I guess I don’t read all of the comments and thus rarely see the negative stuff. I don’t known that much about autism and am only learning to be a parent myself, but I think you are doing a stand-up job — both of you. Leta looks happy, expressive — she’s making noises and what the hell is normal, anyway? It seems like there would be more than two symptoms if she was really going down the autism track. At any rate.. the negative stuff is appalling, as previously mentioned. From the looks of these comments, most think you are doing well as I do.

  • Daxohol

    I am a faithful reader of both of you.

    People need to mind their own shit and just enjoy, or stop reading. I bet you that they spent more time emailing you about your problems than working on their own. Losers.

    Cheers guys, love you internetly.

  • Elizabeth

    Well put, Blurb. Heather’s lucky to have such support — such a strong, concerned teammate.

    I don’t have kids of my own yet. But a friend of mine just announced that she’s pregnant. I’ve been completely dumbfounded at the reactions — from mother-in-law to supposed best friend — within seconds of “Wow!” or “Congrats!” comes the unsolicited advice and judgement. It breaks my heart…and I know it will only get worse.

    It’s never been anything less than obvious that the two of you pour yourselves into being the best parents Leta could dream of…you’ve made some fucking difficult choice to make certain of that and it’s amazing. (I mean this so sincerely having lost 2 relatives to depression.) Stay the course…you’re both proven you’re amazing.

  • will&wrightsmom

    I think you two are doing an amazing job. Glad she likes the frog blanket. Jon – you are a good protector.

  • voice of god

    I used to like you but now that everyone likes you and you post letters basically everyone to like you even more, I kinda dislike you. I may even start to really not like you.

    I have spoken.

  • Kim

    Hi Jon (and Heather!)

    I work with autistic preschoolers, every day, for the past 2 years. And when I read what you wrote about Leta (which has been for about a year now), autism has NEVER crossed my mind. I was (and still am when I am not wearing sneakers) a toe-walker and I am 25. I also have sensory issues, with both noise and sound. It doesnt mean I’m autistic or crazy or disabled, it just means I have sensory issues and I really dont see it as a big deal, just something I live with, as you two have wonderfully been doing with Leta!

    A lot of kids with autism have something called Sensory Integration Disorder and a lot of kids who DONT have autism have it too. I’m not saying Leta has it (so I hope I dont get a nasty reply email *shudders* LOL) but I am gonna recommend to you a really cool book – read it, dont read it, its your choice and I’m just throwing it out there. Its called “The Out of Sync Child” by Carol Stock Kranowitz. There is also a hands-on sequel called “The Out of Sync Child Has Fun”. I thought they were really cool books and know some parents that use then with their TYPICAL and so-called NORMAL children. I know the books reference autism a lot, but just remember, a lot of kids with autism have this (and a lot who dont do too).

    Anyways, I hope I wasnt offensive at all. I think you guys are really cool and awesome parents. Good luck with the continued PT and Leta will be just fine.

    Hell if I can still eat babyfood (the fruits – bananas, apricots, peaches – its GOOD!) at 25, Leta can take her own damn time walking. We all grow up too fast anyways! :)

  • Dawn


    As the aunt of a toddler with Down Syndrome, I can appreciate this entry more than you realize. Everyday we hear from people who think they know so much more about how to give him the best life possible. What they don’t see or understand is that this little boy has already had open-heart surgery and survived. He goes through speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy every week. What they don’t understand is that this little boy is loved beyond words and our foibles as the adults in his life are some of the things that make us realize he is a child first and foremost.

    Some of the best blog entries I’ve ever read are Heather’s monthly entries to Leta.

    I think the two of you are doing a phenomenal job and Leta is a lucky little girl to have you as parents.

  • Kim

    Oh yeah, and I STILL have my “monkey toes”. My toes are constantly curled. If I cant move my toes around in my sneakers, it drives me up a wall. I constantly scrunch my toes.

    I think I’ve written enough already. I love you guys! You are awesome and keep up with the Chuck-raising-Leta stories. If I have half of the humor you guys display when I have children, I will be content for life!

  • Ms-Chievous

    I’m a daily reader of both of your sites, I know, Yadda yadda yadda.
    My personal experience is as follows:
    I have four children.
    The last two are my five year old twin boys. One is perfectly “normal” according to the “charts”. The other has always taken his own sweet time with every traditional developmental milestone.
    Moral of the story. Each child is inherently different.
    Trying to measure a child against some invented chart is futile, and I believe, harmful.
    Imagine, if we as adults, had to live up to some Doctor/Physiological chart. How well would we do?
    No worries Mr. Leta Daddy.
    Leta is just her own unique person, and I’m sure you are proud of her for that. How could any parent want for more?
    Spot on Leta!

  • Di

    You guys rock! Fucking dumbass people who always have to leave their two cents about what they think you’re doing wrong. Well damn, you’re doing it all right as far as I’m concerned. Chuck may be more competent than some people out there, ya know. 😉

    Leta is beautiful and she will walk when she feels like it!

  • 1981

    my son was 2 months premature and started crawling only three months ago (aged 16 months).

    he walks, but still intermitently falls backwards with straight legs (aka the ‘pole axe’)

    up until aged 14 months he only enjoyed spinning around on his arse (Mr. 360)

    …he is the most fantastic thing on the planet, bar none, nothing, nada.

    and if I listened to everybody’s advice, comments, theory’s or followed his “development plan” like we should – I would have gone insane over a year ago.

    your doing a bang on job, and your daughter is testament to that.

    (the internet has always had the lions share of people 2 sandwiches short of a picinic, give them the recourse they deserve)

  • Katie

    I’m scared of Autism. I have no logical reason to be so really, it’s just that I’ve read here & there that there is potentially an environmental cause to it and 3 boys on my street alone have recently been diagnosed with Autism.

    I watched my now 5 yr old very carefully indeed. I delayed his MMR vaccine past that period where these things get diagnosed and there might be a link but probably isnt’……”just in case”. I now have a 6 month old baby and I’m terrified that he may be at risk so I watch him extremely carefully too.

    Anyway, I blather. What I am astounded by is that anyone reading this or could come to the conclusion from what Heather and yourself have written, that Leta shows symptoms of Autism.

    How appallingly ignorant of them to presume intimate knowledge of your child based on the small amount they see written here. How absurd to make a medical diagnosis based upon it.

    BTW, My 5 yr old showed absolutely no sign of walking or crawling in his early months… was just totally uninterested in it. He finally crawled around 13 months, and walked at 18 months. I wasn’t worried at all, hisi development – while slow – was in line with several of his little friends at the time and also with his dad’s. My now 6 month old couldn’t be less interested in moving around while some of his peers are crawling already he hasn’t even rolled over yet. I’m not stressing :) Leta is 11 months old, give it another 9 or 10 months before you worry too much!

  • AyEnDeeAreEeAyAitch

    Man, I feel bad you you guys get shit like that. Whatever happened to if you don’t have anything good to say don’t say anything at all? fuckers. Sorry, but I hate it when people just rag and rag and having nothing good to say. I think the internet forgets that there are actual human beings on the other end of the keyboard.

  • no name yet

    everyone has said all of the things that i could say that are supportive in an intelligent and informative way, so i’m going to instead go with my gut emotional reaction to the discovery that hoards of people are sending you guys email suggesting, in a condescending way, that leta is autistic and that you guys are neglecting her in some way:


    k, thanks.

  • Alison

    Leta is a beautiful girl with a couple of concerned, grounded parents. Don’t sweat the asshats of the interweb.

  • Cora’s mommy

    Jon, you are such a good husband and Daddy. It’s heartwarming to see your “protective instincts” kick in. I read both yours and Heather’s site. I don’t know why someone would deliberately say things about something that they know is sensitive. I have a girl almost the same age as Leta, Cora was born on Valentines Day. People can say anything about me, or my husband and live…but if they say anything even remotely negative to or about my daughter, the mother lion in me will come out and my little 125 pound body will tear them to shreds! I have been reading you guys for about a year now and I feel like I know you and it makes me sick that someone has made Heather upset. Like you said, especially with the year you all have had. You guys are super cool, I love reading you!

  • Anna

    I don’t have much to say, just:
    1. you’re way more polite than I would be
    2. I’m 20 and I still do monkey toes.

  • gardenia

    I’m curious what percent of e-mails you get are from idiots. Your family has a such huge fan base who is taken with and drawn into the stories of the Armstrong household. You guys are attractive, talanted, interesting and real. I think any negative responses are about jealousy of those things. And of how many people think you’re cool

  • Ned Batchelder

    No one knows your child like you do, *no one*. Watch them, love them, know them. Most advice givers mean well, but they just can’t do for your child what you can. Unfortunately, that includes many doctors and professionals. Take from them what you can, and move on when you must.

  • lauren

    People who judge others without knowledge are stupidly deluded, self-focused, closed minded prigs. Really…what makes them think they are so muckin fuch?

  • Lynn P.

    My son is almost 6. He is developmentally delayed and the most beautiful, kind and happy child I know. I wouldn’t have him any other way. Leta is your baby, beautiful, kind and happy (except in the early morning, I’ve heard) you would have her no other way. Fuck the haters!!

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