A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!”

Aw, shucks, you guys. Thank you so much for all the sweet birthday wishes for my dear little Bucket Head and the kind words you shared about my sentimental tribute from last year! I feel all warm and fuzzy, and not just because it’s sunny today and I’m out of Magic Cream.

It’s been a rough week. I shared something very personal on Tuesday In The Powder Room and so many of you were incredibly supportive. I am truly touched and encouraged.

Maybe the lack of alcohol is enabling me to feel all the feelings that I normally keep at bay with my steady drip of boxed wine, or maybe it’s PMS, or the enormous amount of sugar I’m using to quell my alcohol cravings, but Lord have mercy…I could fill a Super Soaker with the tears I’ve shed over Bucket Head’s birthday this week.

I can’t place my finger on what it is about him turning five that is such a big deal to me. I’m ecstatic, proud, and devastated at the same time. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m suddenly so nostalgic and sad that my last baby isn’t a baby anymore.

You should have seen this child in his glory on Wednesday, stopping random strangers in the grocery store to tell them “I FIVE!” (sic) “It’s my birthday today!” and “Now I don’t have to hold down any fingers!”

He gets that from me. I’ll probably be just as enthusiastic when I turn 42 next week and start telling people “Now I only have to take off my socks, count all my digits, multiply that number by two, and whip out my boobs to show you ‘how many’ I am!”

Yeeesh. That’s a scary thought. Just imagine what 43 will be like.

So, if you don’t mind, I just want to linger in his babyhood for a moment longer and thought maybe you’d like to join me since he’s such a popular character around here.

Five Things You Might Not Know about Bucket Head:

1.) Bucket Head is a Water Birth Baby. This may explain why he is deathly afraid of water and does not like to swim, bathe, or touch icky things. Ironically, he is also a Pieces.

...the beach is not his fave. He doesn't like the water OR the sand...especially in his mouth.


2.) We call him Bucket Head because when he was a toddler he took to wearing one of my old OxiClean Buckets on his head everywhere he went.

Photo credit: Laura Lee Photography


3.) Bucket Head has spent the past 1,828.25 nights snuggled up next to a plastic crib aquarium toy he affectionately calls “Turtle.” Turtle is heavy, stinky, and noisy as hell, but not to Bucket Head. I have faith that he will eventually outgrow his Turtle-dependency, but if not, I can sew him into one of Bucket Head’s pant legs on his wedding day and it will be his wife’s problem from then on out.


4.) Bucket Head had what my pediatrician called “the worst case of Chicken Pox [he’d] seen in over 15 years” because I fell behind in his immunization schedule.

Bucket Head, 18 months old, having some outside nekkid time to dry out the pox.


5.) When Bucket Head was a baby, he had a heart shaped “stork bite” birthmark in the middle of his forehead. It was not very noticeable unless he was pooping, in which case it would glow bright red. We affectionately called it “The Poo Beacon,” a very useful feature for newborns…like one of those pop-up turkey thermometers.


And “one to grow on”…

6.) He has always had a knack for making funny faces.


Yup. That’s my Bucket Head. Someday you’ll be able to say you knew him way back when. And hopefully I’ll stop crying by then.

Have a great weekend everyone!


(Psssst. Don’t forget to vote for the Top 25 Funny Moms today!
Just click this link and then click the “thumbs up” sign next to your favorite bloggers. You can vote once every 24 hours until March 21st for as many bloggers as you wish. Thank you!)


  1. Julie The Wife

    And now I’m crying because Bucket Head is 5. Stop it. Love those blonde locks sleeping on the floor of what looks like a freakishly clean house. Now I’m crying about the cleanliness as well. Happy Birthday, BH!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Haha! Don’t worry, that room has NEVER been that clean since that ONE day. I should frame that picture as proof though that my carpets weren’t always brown.

  2. Ninja Mom

    Now I’m crying! I shit you not. I don’t think I’m going to be able to let Roo grow up. Your Bucket Head is so adorable. Chain him to his room. I know that’s not healthy, but holy fuck they are going to grow up and marry tramps how won’t invite us over, even if we agree to babysit their triplets.

    I’m just getting hip to your giving up wine for Lent. I am a sporadic drinker. I can have a glass (or two) every night and then go a couple of months without. BUT I’m a full-time depressed person. I take drugs the doctor gave me an everything. Depression is a bear. I hope you get a handle on what’s going on and accept any and all means of getting better.

    Iris, I know we aren’t in-the-flesh friends (not yet, at least), but I truly care about you and hope you know that I am praying for you to feel great about life. The flabby bits and the Bucket head growing older bits, too.

    Huggles and shizz. Nicole

    PS-King Bucket Head I is AWEESOME.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Girl, your comment is the gospel right there. I am the tramp my husband married, and that’s all I’ll say about that here and now.

      I’m not on drugs any more; but they surely saved my life (and the lives of at least two others) the first time I was diagnosed about 7 years ago. But that’s a story for another day. I will say this though, vehicular homicide is never the answer.

      Thank you for the prayers, huggles, and shizz! Shit, bitch, now I’m crying again.

  3. Karin

    He’s too damn cute for his own good. Lots of love, Mama! My baby turned 5 in November, and I can’t think too much about how big he’s getting without crying.
    It’s so cliche’, but it’s so true; they grow so fast!

    • The Bearded Iris

      So true! There’s always truth at the root of those damn cliches! Don’t you wish we had time machines and could go back to get a little baby snuggle whenever we wanted? But then we could jump back into the time machine and get the hell out of there as soon as there was a diaper blow out or vomit on the ceiling.

  4. TishM

    That pic of him sleeping with Turtle is so sweet <3 And the Poo Beacon? LMFAO!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Tish! He still looks like that when he cuddles his Turtle every night. Sometimes I go in there all “Love You Forever” creepy and just stare. I should probably just go ahead and rob a sperm bank.

  5. Mel

    It’s clearly no surprise to you, but that darned Bucket Head is such a darling! And those ARE some awesome faces!
    I just went over and read your post at The Powder Room. You are so awesome and brave to share any of these struggles with us. I think the more we share, the more we allow other people to share. Best wishes for feeling better every. single. day.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks sweetie. My sincere hope is that there is strength in numbers and that if I can share my struggles, experience, and successes, it might help someone else too. Right now there are more struggles than successes, but I think it’s going to keep getting a little easier every day.

  6. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    “Now I don’t have to hold down any fingers!” ?!?!?!? I die of cuteness.

    Love all these little factoids. So sweet. Except the pox. I remember having them as a kid, and they were NOT cute. I have the scars to prove it.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh no doubt – he was SO ITCHY. And it was EVERYWHERE. That was before he could speak in sentences so he would just walk around saying “Eenis. Itchy.” (Penis. Itchy) Bless his heart! Sorry about your scars. They surely give you character though. 🙂

  7. Carrie

    Look. If I love that Bucket Head any more, it’s gonna start sounding creepy.

    You turn 42 next week, I turned 43 this week. We have muffin tops. We like the word vagina. We like wine. Except for the part of you giving it up for 40 days, it’s kinda like we’re holding hands.

    And if I was there or any closer, I’d hold your hand when you cried. Cause so many of my girlfriends have held my hand when I cried.

    Actually, you held my hand every Monday night while I cried with laughter over that jackass on The Bachelor. You just didn’t know it.

    Pure love for you, sister. Pure love.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Seriously. STOP. IT. I’m all teary again. God bless Al Gore for inventing the Internet and bringing sisters like us together to hold hands and laugh and support each other’s muffin tops and vaginas even though we are thousands of miles apart. Pure love right back atcha.

  8. julie gardner

    So are you saying Bucket Head was, in fact, pooping during that portrait? Because I can see the pop-up turkey thermometer, so to speak.

    And I’m DY-ING over the dress and the LOUIS IV chair. Serious death. Except not the “serious death” like where someone isn’t living anymore; the you-are-so-f’ing-funny-you-kill me kind.

    Anyway, I didn’t comment on your Powder Room post because I was hoping to be able to follow your thoughts on this one and see where it takes you, first. But let me just say I know what you’re talking about. I know.

    When my kids were 5-ish, I felt the need for wine every night. Not the want. The Need. Capitalized. And I questioned myself. Often.

    Now that my kids are teenagers, it’s a different kind of stress. I myself haven’t changed but my circumstances have; and I swear (while it’s more difficult in some ways) that mind-numbing, clock-checking has stopped. I no longer have The Need I once believed I had.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love love loved my babies with every fiber of my being. (And my toddlers and kindergartners and every other stage of their lives so far.) I did. I do. But there’s something about the isolation, the self-doubt, the fears involved in raising YOUNG children that is unique to that stage; and hard to bear at times even though you wouldn’t trade it. Most of the time.

    Have I said too much? Perhaps. I’m just suggesting that it gets better. Or maybe “different” is a better word. And also that I’m here and I get you.


    • By Word of Mouth Musings

      and you two know each other too …
      Sweet Julie, how I wish you had been able to head to EBWW, because this here lovely Iris is my room mate there – in the flesh, her twenty digits and apparently boobs make the magic number, just grateful she is not going to be 43 for our first meeting 😉

      • The Bearded Iris

        You know I get around, Nicole! I promise you I won’t do any counting when we room together next month at EBWW! Really looking forward to that, by the way!! There will be SO many funny ladies there to inspire us (wish Julie was going too!) And chances are, I probably won’t be wearing a lampshade on my head (this time) or crying on your shoulder and saying “I love you, man.” You’re welcome. 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      1.) No, I don’t think he was pooping in that pic, but when he laughed hard we would also see the glow of The Poo Beacon. So basically, if the glowing red warning sign came on minus a good hearty laugh, I knew I had to get busy and make our way to the changing table.

      2.) Thank you so much for enjoying the Louis XIV picture as much as I do. That face KILLS me.

      3.) I am so grateful that you shared your experience and that you get me. Really helps me feel less “terminally unique.” So…

  9. Kathryn Frost

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! We had those crib aquariums too! Jack didn’t, but he had a busy box thing. It was equally as annoying. Jack and Lila outgrew theirs, but Tom… we had to nail his “bish-ees” into the wall when he moved to his big boy bed. He had that fucking aquarium til kindergarten. It finally broke. It may still be in the dark recesses of his closet at Daddy’s house. Not sure.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Holy CRAP – I never thought to nail it to the wall! That is brilliant! The good news about him carrying it around though is that it’s like a bell around a cat’s neck…we can always hear him coming. Also, great for road trips.

  10. L. Hewitt

    Well shit, now I have to go watch Steel Magnolia’s. And cry, you have flung a craving for babies on me. I have to wait to be a grandmother and I can, believe me, I can. Feel better, maybe Al Gore has invented something to cure all our crazy asses. That would suck. I usually like being all crazy and shitz, keeps people on their toes. Luv from Mississippi
    P.S. Excellent blackmail picture (the dress & chair)
    P.P.S. I don’t watch the bachelor but saw a picture or some such – WTF is up with that hair? Would you date him? IDTS

    • The Bearded Iris

      WORD about keeping people on their toes. I only have to GLANCE at my kids or husband with the crazy eyes and they all cower. I should probably do that more often. Also, I find that I don’t get asked to volunteer for school jobs anymore ever since the infamous open house incident of 2008. 😉

      Yes, let’s all rent Steel Magnolias today and sob. It will make us all feel better!

  11. Didi

    And I voted cuz seriously you are one of my favorite bloggers… but because you are real and true!! Win, win, win, win, win girl!!! YOU DESERVE IT!! Your an amazing mom!! A truly caring person, with a very good soul and an incredible heart!!
    There, I’ve said it and I’M NOT TAKING IT BACK!!!

    *what ya gonna do about it*??? 😉


    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Didi, be still my heart! What am I gonna do about it? I’m going to hug you. Brace yourself, I give really big hugs with my man hands.

  12. Kristy

    Holy freakin MOLY, IRIS! This is so beautiful! *sniff, sniff*
    I am in LOVE with Bucket Head! *sob, sob*
    I mean, can the kid BE any cuter?! *sniff, gulp, weep, sob….*
    And, and.. my girls *gasp, gasp* are all TEEEEN AGERSSSSS…. *boo, hoo, hoo, hoo*
    And I remember FIII IIII IIIIVE!!! *whaaaa, ahhhhh*

    {deep breath.. pulling myself together}

    This is just one more reason why I think you’re so awesome!
    Good grief Iris… you’re dry spell is gonna kill us all! 😉 *MUAH*

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG Kristy – your comment make me CHORTLE so loud that my husband looked up from the newspaper and said, “Are you okay? Why are you crying (again)?” And I said (for the first time in two days) “I’m not crying! I’m laughing! This comment cracked me up!” So thank you for that!

      Oh crap, I really don’t want to be the formerly funny lady who got sober wasn’t so funny anymore. No more sad ones for a while, I promise. Thanks for being here with me Kristy!

  13. Leighann

    Here I thought my child’s face was the only one that glowed red when she pooped.
    I’m laughing hysterically at his cute personality and I get why you are feeling bittersweet.
    I feel the same way about my daughter turning two next month.

  14. Leighann

    I forgot to say I love Turtle. My daughter sleeps with her MeMe (a soother) and a buba (of water) and my hair!!!
    She has to touch my hair before she goes to sleep.
    College will be interesting.

    Happy birthday Bucket Head! Xo

  15. ghfool

    BUCKETHEADMAN – Return of the Poop Beacon.

    Coming to a theatre near you. SUMMER 2112!

  16. Karine

    Holy Cow… you’re going to be 42?!? Lady, you look f-ing amazing!!! Love that pic of you and Bucket Head! That kid is soooooo cute! He takes after his Mama! 🙂

    Seriously sweet post… I cant imagine when my son is going to be five, I’m getting nostalgic b/c his 6 m/o b-day is tomorrow… so when he turns 5 y/o, I’m probably going to be a total basket case, locked in a padded cell somewhere. Seriously.

    Thanks for sharing your battle with the muffin top and the dreaded d-word, depression. I have both and they suck ass! The good news is that you’re aware of the problem (I’m talking about the depression), which makes it easier to deal with. The bad news is that it’s a bitch to get rid of! Don’t give up, enjoy the good days and just get through the bad ones.

    And thanks for helping me get through my own bad days. Your posts are often that little spark that gets me going. Laughter is the best medicine (cliché but true) and The Bearded Iris is the best kind!

  17. Lisat

    OMG those pictures are so sweet! I understand your mixed emotions on his 5th bday. I think motherhood is a real conundrum, or oxymoron. One moment you’re delighted and proud, the next you feel neglected and disappointed, and exhausted. I guess it’s a mixed bag with the tears and the laughter continuing…I enjoy your candid take on life.

  18. Ellen at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    Those are some great pictures. And they hit me in my soft place that wishes I could freeze my babies where they are. I took to my bed for about two months when Jellybean went to kindergarten. I should be fine next year when Coco goes to High School and Jellybean goes to Middle School, right? Right??
    (Love the turtle, we have our own versions of it here. Still) Ellen

  19. Jennifer

    Damn you making me cry. It’s that bucket. I’m going to quietly go weep into a bucket now. xo

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