Small Minded Gossip

First, the part where I apologize for breaking my New Year’s Resolution. Who’s with me? Come on… You don’t really go to the gym three times a week, right? You only made it through 20 minutes of “Insanity!” and you’re never getting the t-shirt. Except maybe on Ebay.

I said I’d post on Mondays and Thursdays, and I barely made it a week. I’m revising my commitment to once a week. I’ll build from there.

Now, let’s talk about the kerfuffle on regarding Kelle Hampton’s Instagram photo of naked Nella.

For those of you who don’t follow, let me sum up. Kelle Hampton was a young woman in Florida with a photography blog. She posted lovely photos of her daughter, Lainey — a dead ringer for husband Brett — squeezed between uncapitalized, poorly punctuated text that included such ejaculations of wonder as “dude”.

She “rocked” everything. You name it, she could rock it. She was, if you will, a rockstar. She who didn’t just do stuff. She. rocked. it.

Her husband’s sperm being one of the many things Kelle rocked, she became pregnant with another girl. Nella was born just a few months after my daughter Viva, so I had recently discovered the world of the “mommy blog.” I’d reached the ripe old age of 38 and had yet to follow any blogs. To this old lady, they were still nothing more than the unpolished ramblings of the morons who killed print journalism. Heather “Dooce” Armstrong’s blog link was posted on a thread in my “due date group” one morning and since she had also just recently had a second child, I started reading hers too.

Then, Nella’s birth story hit like the norovirus, and we were all infected. Every mommy group on the internet posted a link to this “amazing, touching story.” Scrolling through photographs of Nella Hampton’s smooshed nose and Kelle Hampton’s bloated, ugly cry face, I felt reprehensibly grateful for my typical baby. I remember one photo in particular of Kelle looking up at Brett as she held her newborn. Her story claimed no one but her knew in those early moments that Nella had Down Syndrome, and you can see the pleading, desperate fear on her face as she looks to her husband for acceptance. I felt sorry for her.

Then, she catapulted to Internet Viral Fame, and my pity turned to jealousy. There we both were, writers with newborn babies, only she was successful and I was not. Jealousy is not something I can claim today.

I read that Hampton recently posted a photo of herself on Instagram, coiffed, made-up, and pregnant, admiring herself in the mirror. Incidentally, in the background, was her three year-old daughter in the tub, naked, eating a giant bowl of ice cream, vulvic cleft clearly visible. Allegedly. I never saw the photo myself.

The outcry was so shrill, even Kelle Hampton, who never addresses her critics except in an adorably wry and defensive way, wrote a response to it. She quoted Bill Cosby. Quite a departure from her usual sucking the marrow out of Emerson. She pronounced her critics full of pain. “Hurt people hurt” was either something she decided, or something a sycophant wrote in the comments. Commenters assured her that anyone who doesn’t agree with her or perceive in all its glory the miracle that is Kelle is a) jealous, b) a moron, c) a hater, d) a miserable troll, e) all of the above. Years ago, her father Rik, nicknamed “Poppa” by Himself, shook his flaxen Moe Howard locks and bemoaned a world where people who criticize his spawn sing the “sad symphonies” of their ugly lives.

I see a difference between a person who leaves hateful words in a blogger’s comment section and a person like me who writes my own blog. I get an email every time someone leaves a comment on my blog, but if I want to read criticism of me, my looks, my writing, my parenting, or my lentil stew, I’d have to go looking for it. Actually, I have a person in my life who would “helpfully” let me know all about it, but I’ll write about my Toxic Best Friend Syndrome more directly later. The former invades your space and startles you. The latter is also hurtful, but you have only yourself to blame if you Google yourself.

The most damning criticism of Kelle Hampton’s choice to post a photo of her naked three year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome has been that pedophiles troll the internet looking for children to victimize, and Kelle handed them her child on a silver platter. Commenters on GOMI pointed out how easy it is to get Kelle’s address and that she’s posted so many pictures of her house, her children, and herself that anyone familiar with her blog could walk right up her chalk decorated driveway and into her child’s bedroom without making a single wrong turn (and presumably leave with a beautifully hand-labeled bottle of homemade bath salts).

Be that as it may, I think the real issue here is that bloggers who post pictures of their children are perched on a knife edge. Do not these children have a right to privacy? When they become adults and someone does an internet search of them, will hundreds of pictures of them as children come up, and how will they feel about that? I’ll tackle the elephant in the room. It is with no unkind intentions that I say Nella will probably not ever be able to understand her internet celebrity. Lainey, the older one, will get to an age where she will tell her mother to knock it the fuck off. In all probability, Nella will not have the same abstract understanding of what it means that her picture on the computer can be seen by anyone in the world. She won’t really understand how she has been used and her privacy violated. Her personhood disregarded.

Whenever I post my daughters’ pictures (privately) for my relatives and close friends on Facebook, I beam over the compliments and the “likes.” I grew those kids in my womb. They are part of me. They look like me (a tiny bit). Having people tell me how adorable and smart my kids are strokes my ego and feeds every narcissistic cell in my body (of which I have many). Imagine how that feeling is compounded when the “likes” are not 30 but three hundred and a book deal.

Kelle wrote that she was going to, wait for it… Rock being the mother of a baby with Down Syndrome. She was going to do it in a way no one had ever done it, or thought to do it, before. I’m paraphrasing. Or completely making this up. I forget which. I wonder if she realized how this little “Nellempire” was going to take on a life of its own and sweep her along with it to the extent that she became virtually a figurehead of the Kelle Hampton Brand instead of the relatable “mama” she started out as.

Why can’t Hamptoloonies say “mother” and “children”? It’s always “mama” and “littles.”

Over my life, I’ve read much about narcissists. They are created in childhoods where they are either over-indulged or ignored. They have grandiose false selves invented for them, or they invent them on their own. They construct these fragile gingerbread houses out of sugar and spice and everything nice, and in the center are hollow, unfillable voids.

The child of a narcissist has no identity or value outside of the narcissist. The child is an extention of the parent. Her only purpose is to bring praise and attention. The men who marry narcissistic women live stressful lives of hopping from foot to foot trying to make that bitch happy, all the while knowing nothing CAN make her happy. She is a bottomless pit. So they settle for trying to avoid being the targets of her fury. Said fury may take the form of passive-aggressive comments like, “You really should think about other people sometimes.” It may look like full-frontal assaults: “How YOU feel? How do you think I FEEL?!” Or maybe just sulky silent treatments. One article I read told me that spouses of narcissists often have all sorts of physical ailments, the manifestations of a life spent on edge, waiting for the fallout of displeasing the narcissist: insomnia, chronic illness, chest pains, panic attacks, hair loss, rashes, the works.

It must be a relief to a spouse to have the narcissistic lens turned toward the offspring. Not so much for the children, of course. Children have a way of rewriting any narrative so that they themselves are the villains. Mommy or Daddy will always gleefully lose the game of “who is the worst person in the world?” with little children of narcissists. Or win, depending on whose side you’re on.

I’m not a therapist, but I am happy to make internet diagnoses of public figures I’ve never met. Ever since I began writing stories at the age of six, I have been a keen observer of people and their stories. I’m fascinated by what motivates them and I enjoy dissecting what they do. Some would call this “gossip”, but I have no use for goody-goodies like them. Someone recently quoted Eleanor Roosevelt to me, the gist of which was “small-minded people gossip.” Well, Mrs. Roosevelt was very likely used to small-minded people having something to say about those teeth. Bless her heart (Southern catch-all disclaimer).

I think there are two categories of people who put pictures of naked children on the internet: narcissists and idiots. Oh, and Anne Geddes. But this last one takes artistic photos of babies dressed as pea pods, and they’re not her own children but anonymous child models whose names and addresses we don’t have. And I’m pretty sure baby junk is not featured in any of them. If you made a Venn Diagram of idiots and narcissists, there would be plenty in the overlapping region. Take from that what you will. What I do believe is that Hampton Enterprises was in danger of alienating potential customers, which is probably why the picture came down, even after much defiant refusal to admit anything was wrong with it. Someone got wise, probably someone on the PR team who ran some numbers.

All of this will soon be moot (not “mute,” honey). The Messiah is coming. The Son. (“Boy is highest blessing!” – Magda). Pour Elijah the Prophet a glass of wine and make ready. February is almost here.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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53 Responses to Small Minded Gossip

  1. Gia says:

    I know only of Kelle Hampton bc of your blog. But she seems a lot like Ree Drummond aka ThePioneerWoman who uses giveaways to get hits. I’ve always liked Dooce bc she actually WRITES.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I like her WHEN she writes. I don’t care for her dog photos. She has talent, though. No question. I just wish she and Jon could have made it work. I’m sort of mad at her like I was at my mom for throwing my dad out 27 years ago.

      • Chelsea says:

        There’s a huge difference between Kelle Hampton and Pioneer Woman. Kelle’s blog is driven by advertisers and “sponsors” who send Kelle overpriced boutique clothing and pay her to dress up her kids and take photos of them and write about how much she loves their stuff. Pioneer Woman makes a fortune off her blog and pays for the giveaways out of those profits. No advertisers – she just gives away stuff she actually likes. To me, the distinction is that Kelle is willing to let the offer of money determine the content on her blog (which is a strange internet form of prostitution, in my mind), while PW just gets excited about Le Creuset pots and wants to give some away. If PW gets 30K hits, more power to her, but the choice is 100% hers.

  2. I think Lainey has already reached that age where she is refusing to participate. Some of her expressions are (deservedly) hostile lately. I’m sure Nella will also express her views, she seems to know her own mind that one :). I do think Kelle is in for one hell of a ride with a boy coming into the mix though. Or Brett, or whoever does all the grunt work!. I’m wondering why I’ve wasted so much time thinking about the hampton family lately. Ridiculous. I did like her blog before the dreadful shaken post. I do like your writing Mrs Odie, greetings all the way from Melbourne, Australia.

  3. Nicole says:

    Ha! You slyly referenced not only my undeniable typo, but God’s judgement vs. GOMI snarkers!

    Good stuff.

    I’d much rather read your thoughts, than participate in GOMI antics. No WK, as some named me – but women are ruthless. Sheesh.

    Thanks for the shout out, honey.

  4. donna says:

    I’m am absolutely in LOVE with this post. I’ll put it right out there and say that I went from unbelieving-but-admiring-the-dazzling-glitter-and-unicorn-fairytale-life of Kelle Hampton, to her just annoying the crap out of me. When I first came across her blog, I actually felt like a failure of a mother, a defect who didn’t get the memo about referring to the other kid’s moms I know as ‘Mama’s’, or calling the kid a ‘chillin’ or whatever the hell the hipster name is these days. I think I should have realized from the photo-op birth experience (the first thing I ever read), complete with hand crafted keepsakes and hand printed wine glasses, that something was awry, but what can I say, sometimes it takes me a minute to get with the program. I’m not a Kelle-follower on Instagram, so I didn’t view that particular pic, but I’m sure it doesn’t differ from the other 800 pics she’s posted on her blog of her pigeon-toed self rockin’ some cherry red lipstick and black framed nerd glasses.

    I do ask you to consider something though……if you had a father like ‘Poppa’, a husband like Brett, and God love her, one daughter like Nella, wouldn’t you maybe be a little (bless her heart) simple acting too? Kelle’s ‘job’ allows her time to make dioramas and ‘winter-wonderlands-in-a-bottle’ and throw parties for every single holiday that rolls around, complete with reindeer poop chex mix. If I had hours to throw away like this, I’d probably be riding the crazy train for all it was worth too!

  5. Her response on the blog was actually about some photos she had taken of herself and her BFF + their “littles” at an orange grove. She had spent the day with one of her manic BIGGEST FANS EVER and had not mentioned the visit. GOMI and others cried foul and accused her of being a mean girl to that fan. She still has not responded to the nekked photo.

  6. jen says:

    Unfortunately I have no doubt she is grooming Lainey to be a clone and she too will grow up to be a narcissist. The world will probably be subjected to a teen Lainey with some bratty blog telling everyone how wonderful she is just like mom.
    They will simply be another form of Kris Jenner and Kim K. Whoring out the kids to the highest bidder and the mindless kid goes along with the game for money. Equally unfortunate is that Brett Hampton is as ball less as Bruce Jenner so the sickening promotion of the Hampton family will never end.

  7. AP says:

    Kelle Hampton stikes me as insecure, naive and shallow. I have a strong opinion about parents posting their young children’s pictures for their own benefit. I don’t use social media. I don’t follow anyone on twitter or Facebook….nor do I share my child’s photos online. I think it’s a violation of children’s basic human rights. I could never understand people’s motives of having their child’s picture as their own profile photo!

    • Summer says:

      My child’s picture is my profile picture because I took it and happen to love the composition.

      • AP says:

        I know, many people do that. Once I was looking for someone and had no idea she had a child and of course I couldn’t recognize her because her profile picture was her newborn’s photo. I just think whoever owns the account should post their own photo. However, I understand the logic behind it.
        I don’t like using my child’s photo without her consent and unfortunately many children are never asked for that.
        But let’s stick to the KH topic-it’s more entertaining:)
        I also HATE how Kelle refers to her daughters as sisters. I think she has it all wrong, mixed up in her brain.

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          As far as putting our kids’ photos as our profile pictures, I don’t like it. I wish people would not do it. Nevertheless, it’s their Facebook and they get to set it up however they want. It isn’t the same as putting them on the blog. Facebook isn’t perfectly private, but it is private. I’ve seen posts about the Facebook Picture Stealing Apocalypse, but I remain skeptical.

        • Summer says:

          I was just giving you a different perspective regarding using your child’s photograph. You had some strong opinions about it. No weird motives, the picture represents a favorite place of ours and the timing was a great shot of some cool memories. I have my privacy settings so people can’t search me out anyway so no one is looking for me. It is my page and I decorate it my way, not so much to please others. 🙂 Just responding to you. No worries. 🙂

  8. Mrs. Dubose says:

    Flaxen Moe Howard locks? Priceless!

  9. kelly says:

    Glad you are back. Enjoyed every word.

  10. Pamela says:

    Kelle has crossed a line with disregarding her children’s safety. It makes everything else seem over-the-top and ridiculous. Stop painting picture frames and figure out how to get your home address off the Internet. Stop putting naked pictures of your children on line. Even if you disagree and feel it is pefectly safe to post nude photos, consider the future humiliation for just a second. My children are in middle school now. God help them if people could dredge up naked images of them when they were 3-years-old.

    As for Mrs. Odie? Sister can write. (sorry, couldn’t help but lapse into Kelle language)

  11. Summer says:

    Ha, like Kelle’s succulents Venn Diagrams are so out! I’m sure you meant ‘thinking maps’! (j/k)

  12. Dirtyswife says:

    You put all my thoughts of this situation into words! While I think a lot of the women on GOMI went a little (or a lot) overboard on the photo, I think you and many others are right about Nella’s right to privacy. She most likely won’t be able to assert herself at all, if ever, in situations like this. Shouldn’t Kelle be more of an advocate for her daughter instead of showing the world what should be extremely private, family and some friends only, pictures?

    I didn’t comment about it on GOMI because I think the train got off the track pretty quickly and it started getting a little scary over there. Those women are nothing if not impassioned about the subject. A previous commenter and you are right; God’s judgement is not nearly as harsh.

    Do I think she was an idiot and narcissistic for using this picture? Absolutely. Do I really think she thought about the shit storm and harm it would cause? No, not completely. I don’t think she realizes the magnitude of what she has created for herself completely. I don’t think she is a total idiot; I’m sure she understands she’s a popular and huge blogger. I think she gets what most of it entails, but nobody has given these top tier bloggers PR training. I just don’t think she fully understands the irreparable damage she has done, or might be doing, to her family. She can’t keep pretending that she’s some Mom and Pop blog anymore. If you are going to blog at this level, be a little more professional. This isn’t some of your Facebook friends and family giggling at your cute family blog. You have the world looking at everything you do and by proxy, every move your children make. Now the world knows what one of them looks like naked.

    Mostly, I just feel sorry Nella. She will never have a complete grasp of what her mother has created for her, the good and the bad. Especially the bad.

  13. Kit says:

    Sooo glad you’re back, Mrs. Odie. Excellent post….I spit up a couple times 😉

  14. Wendy says:

    This post alone should garner you some sort of award. Fucking brilliant.

  15. barb says:

    I made the mistake of reading her recent post where she claims her hormones are responsible for spray painting at midnight and making brussel sprouts. Wow. After reading that post it is clear she displays so many signs of mania. I think she has a psychological problem and Brett is an enabler.
    Also, the fact that she would have no thought to put on a protective mask-Brett had to suggest it to her- while spray painting shows what a narcissist she really is. She has had a couple of posts talking of of letting dark haircolor (the worst kind during pregnancy) soak into her scalp for an hour, starts to spray paint (so toxic) 20 frames without a mask and is constantly doing crafts for her blog with toxic paints and products. Her maternal instinct is not there at all. ALL this useless woman cares about is herself and her image. She should not be raising kids since all they are to her are products for money and sales.

    • Summer says:

      I’m not defending her (I swear) but pregnant energy is really a “thing”. I would do that shit until midnight too (making deviled eggs comes to mind and I don’t even it that!) but the painting is weird. I would have freaked a little over the paint.

      • Mrs Odie 2 says:

        I loved how her subtext was Brett is terrified of setting her off. Totally supports what I wrote about spouses of narcissists. Wasn’t Brettles in the ER with an anxiety attack not too long ago? I believe you about pregnancy energy, Summer. I was on bedrest at the end of both and I had PSD with both too.

        • Summer says:

          Do you still have PSD? My chiropractor still helps me with mine. It never totally went away. My rib cage misaligned too. I think I still deal with it because I still breast feed. I know you haven’t weaned either. Sorry for the questions but I don’t usually find other people that have dealt with it.

          • Mrs Odie 2 says:

            I do. My gynecologist said, “Hopefully, it will get better,” then refused to refill my pain medication. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since September of 2008. Even when the kids are sleeping, I can’t get comfortable because of my hips. My GP has run every test: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS. I am healthy as a horse with slightly elevated cholesterol (love the feedbag). I have continuous, debilitating hip, back, elbow, hand, foot, wrist pain. We all have our fingers crossed that when I stop nursing Pringles, I’ll be better. I can’t afford a chiropractor. I’d love to, but the co-pays would kill us, not to mention parking and the time. When the hell am I going to go to a chiropractor? I only have time to poop every other day.

            • Summer says:

              My chiro is no fuss. $30 visit and I can walk again. He was also a physical therapist. Couldn’t have done it without him. He’s in Huntington Beach located within a 24 hour fitness. Parking no issue.The visit is about 20 minutes. I’m surprised your doctor didn’t tell you when you decide to get better you will along with discontinuing your pain meds.

  16. Shannon says:

    I was another one that read THE birth story and cried and then told everyone I could think of to read it and then I spent months feeling like my poor daughter wasn’t getting the correct childhood experience because our lives certainly weren’t mirroring those of the Hamptons…so I had a lot of mom guilt (and a nasty case of PPD. Awesome).
    But then I grew a bit wiser, realized my daughter was and is happy and smart and that there’s certainly more to life than glitter and camera’s and I moved on…I still continued to read her blog but just with more distance. Oh but then GOMI entered my life and with it even more perspective…then i felt a tad sad. I wasted way too much time feeling guilty on what is obviously not reality.
    I have now discovered her sisters blog and your blog and that makes it worth it…because not only are you two talented but you’re real. And that is what this mom likes and needs…blogs I can read and laugh with and nod my head to and some days even shed a tear.

    As for the naked Nella picture…I think it’s going to take more than just the birth of “gentle fox” to save this blog…unless she has one hell of a birth story…and that I doubt. It’s only a matter of time before Queen Kelle is just a distance etsy memory.

    p.s. sorry for the grammatical errors. I hope I can still stay and play 🙂

  17. bridgetannie says:

    I am in love with this post as well. I was going to ask you to marry me….but that is weird and stalkerie….right??? Yes, right. OK…so I am in love with this post. It says what I was thinking but better!

  18. Mary Virginia says:

    Actually, I don’t like either one of you (Kelle OR Mrs. Odie) . . . and I especially don’t like myself for reading these stupid blogs. WHO CARES what all of you think about each other and yourselves? Is this 7th grade?? Get a life!!

    • Julie says:

      At least Mrs Odie calls it what it is, “Small Minded Gossip.” KH acts like her blog is real when it’s not, and it has messed with the heads of a lot of new mothers, myself included. If you don’t like it, there’s a red X in the top left or right hand corner of your internet browser. Feel free to stop reading and click it. Just sayin’.

      And, I think KH posting a full frontal nude picture of her 3 year old child on the internet when she has MILLIONS of followers is something worth talking about. It is a conversation that we need to have. It is something that needs to be looked at under a microscope. Who would do that to their child without a second thought? Her first job as a mother is to protect her children. When the world knows exactly who you are and exactly where you live and then you post nude pictures of your children online, you are inviting the perverts of the world to your doorstep. It’s irresponsible and reprehensible. And the more I think about it, the more angry I get. No, DFCS doesn’t need to show up and take her children away (yet), but she does need a HUGE wake up call. Life isn’t rainbows and unicorn farts for everyone. There are a lot of bad people in the world and she needs to wake up and do her job to protect her children from them – not serve them up on ice cream platters.

    • Kit says:

      Anger issues much? Get a life, loser.

      • Mrs Odie 2 says:

        Now, now. Let’s be civil. I like her. Her attitude about my work reminds me of my mother.

        • Kit says:

          Sorry, I’ll go crawl back under my rock 😉 Did you see now that The Today Show is calling her out on Naked Nellagate? Link is somewhere over on GOMI. I found you first, Mrs. Odie, a while back….now I have found GOMI and I love it ;;-)
          Hmmm, where is Poopa? Why is he so quiet?

    • Belinda says:

      Well you obviously care enough to leave a comment telling us what you think of Mrs Odie and KH’s blogs! So aren’t you contradicting yourself? If it bothers you so much why even invest your time & energy?

  19. leslie says:

    Odie – you are such a good writer. Amazing! Love, love, love your writing style. As I struggle with my own blog and trying to put what’s in my head down on the screen, it’s so hard, and you do it amazingly well!
    And I was checking your site, twice weekly, because you PROMISED you’d write. You promised!!! So bummed when you don’t, but I totally understand how hard that must be to keep up.
    GOMI commenters are ruthless. Ouch. I’d be so afraid of them. Have you ever been discussed on her site? Curious what you think of her. Maybe you

  20. Kelle HATERZ says:

    Mrs Oldie, you are my IDOL. I am jelous I am not like you, funny and witty. Keep up the good work. keeping snarking. xx

  21. mrsk6 says:

    I admire you for posting what most might not in the comments section.

  22. J says:

    After she delivered The Messiah Queen Kelle, of course, wrote a post about the experience. Heidi, her lady in waiting, had to run to her house to retrieve her bag since Queen Kelle had to go straight to the hosptial. Queen Kelle wrote, “everyone should have a Heidi.” Is Heidi an object or a person? That’s a rhetorical question. In Hampton’s world every person seems to be an object.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I was a Heidi. I was Toxic Best Friend’s Heidi. My job was to be uglier, fatter, and less fabulous. Also, to stay close by in case she needed anything. It was a thankless job. Now, my friendships are relationships among equals.

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