Friday, May 25, 2007

Hallelujah! Vacation!

I’ll be brief.

I’m going on vacation.

Technically I’m not going anywhere. It’s kind of hard to afford anything other than daytrips when all of your disposable income goes to diapers and formula.

But I’m taking a little break. I'll catch up on housecleaning and paperwork and all the other fun stuff that there's never enough time in the week to complete.

The clock is ticking.

Gotta go!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sniff, sniff! What's that smell?

Today I’ve been hungry.

Not just stomach-rumbling hungry.

Ravenous-eat-everything-in-sight hungry.

I plowed through my whole-grain waffles for breakfast.

Ate Ladybug’s leftover scrambled eggs too.

Sucked down four cups of coffee.

Tackled the donuts that a colleague brought to work.

I think it’s the training you get from having a toddler who’s a picky eater.

See, I can’t stand to see anything go to waste. So when Ladybug doesn’t want her microchopped lasagna, I’ll eat it – even if I just finished my own plate.

That was the case when we went to IHOP this weekend. It was the first time we had ever bought Ladybug her own meal. Usually we just tote along snacks and bottles with us, but this time we got her a pancake and scrambled eggs. She ate about half of each before she realized they’re best when airborne.

So I took away her plate, and dreading the thought of it getting dumped, ate it myself. But of course I had already ordered my own lunch, and not wanting that to go to waste, ate it too.

The whole practice has left me constantly hungry and sniffing out snacks like a dog routing through garbage.

Someone please stop me before I start asking my colleagues, “You finished with that?”

Oh, the things we do

By the time I get home from work at night, it’s usually at least 6 p.m., oftentimes later. That leaves me about an hour to make Ladybug’s dinner, feed her and give her a bath before it’s time for her to go to bed.

It also leaves me very little time to do the noisy household chores like vacuuming, and this week, pureeing the vegetable soup my mother-in-law made for Ladybug.

With little room in the fridge, a giant pot of vegetable soup on the stovetop and Ladybug in bed, I was in a quandary. What to do?

So I did what any enterprising mother would do – poured the soup in the blender and carted it off into the room the farthest away from her bedroom for blending.

It just happened to be the guest bathroom.

There I am, wedged between the wall and cabinet at 10 p.m., trying to reach the only outlet that of course is blocked by what my husband calls the “ugly cubes” – a stackable storage unit that I used to love before I had to puree soup in the bathroom.

I’d puree, take the blender back into the kitchen for emptying, refill, head back to the bathroom and repeat. I think I did it four times.

All the while, I’m thinking she could have had a V-8.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I love you four!

One of our little learning games with Ladybug is High Five.

I’ll hold up my hand and say “High Five!” She’ll then tap my hand as fast as she can while I count equally as fast.

“One, two, three, four, five!”

Ladybug bursts out laughing at my exaggerated high-pitched race to keep up. We do this several times a day, just about every time I pick her up.

So this morning after I finish changing Ladybug’s diaper, she gives me a big hug around my neck and babbles what I interpret to be “I love you.”

“I love you too!” I said.

She gave me a big smile and yelled, “Three!”

I guess that’s one way to count.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You can't make this stuff up

Ladybug has become quite the jabber jaws.

Most of the time she talks in her own “secret language,” but every once in a while we’ll pick up a few real words, albeit a little garbled.


Translation: How are you doing?

Hay yeeewwww!

Translation: Hey you! (This statement is usually reserved for when I have walked faster than Ladybug can keep up, or for when I have gone in another room and closed the door, leaving her on the other side.)

Teeeee Toooood.

Translation: Attitude, the name of one of our cats, usually stated in a long, drawn out whisper. It’s also how Ladybug refers to every feline she sees, whether they’re running through our back yard or are on the pages of her books.

Sometimes she’ll use real words with perfect pronunciation; she just doesn’t use them correctly.

Case in point, her word choice when she doesn’t feel good or is uncomfortable.

“Mama, enema. Enema, enema, enema!”

Oh, baby, you have no idea.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A kleptomaniac in training

Dear business owner, let me say I’m sorry in advance. It’s not my intention for Ladybug to steal from you. It’s just she has a case of sticky fingers.

This weekend, it was a Reebok baseball cap. She must have pulled it off the shelf and tucked it in her stroller as my husband was trying on hats.

I caught that one before we left the store. And I’ve managed to notice the stuffed animals and board books that she tucks on the side as I push her through toy store aisles.

But a host of local restaurants aren’t as lucky, as a colleague noted the other day as he passed by my desk.

“What a pathetic-looking fork,” he said of the bent silverware propped against my salad bowl.

“IHOP,” I replied.

At least a half-dozen equally pathetic-looking forks and spoons were at home, their origins unknown.

A few more of these and I’ll have enough for a six-place setting.

A case of crunchy head

If there were an award for the best crunchy head, Ladybug would win.

You know what I’m talking about.

Anytime there’s something sticky on her plate, it ends up in her hands, which end up in her hair, which ends up drying into crunchy chunks, á la “There’s Something About Mary” style.

But I much prefer crunchy head to stinky head, that period when Ladybug was three or four months old and would suck her fingers and run them through her hair. Her head would smell like a bad case of morning breath.

At least now, Ladybug’s crispy hair is more likely to exude the sweet smell of strawberries or peaches.

And that’s a breath of fresh air.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is happening to our children?

When I was pregnant, I’d wake up at nights in a cold sweat from nightmares of my unborn daughter being the victim of random violence. I’d cry myself back to sleep, trying to put those awful visions out of my mind.

But as I read the local headlines over the last few days, I am reminded of those late-night panic attacks:

A $1 million bond has been set for the Shreveport teen arrested last week on charges he raped, robbed and beat an 81-year-old Caddo Heights woman.

A 15-year-old has been charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with a double shooting of two men.

The parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in the 1600 block of North Market Street in Shreveport turned into a crime scene Sunday morning following a shooting that left one teen dead and another in the hospital. The dead teen’s older brother is charged in connection with his death.

What is happening to our children?

I try to make sense out of it all but can’t.

I think back to my years in high school, and I can’t remember having seen a fight, let alone participated in one. Sure I heard about them, but they were primarily weekend fistfights in the shopping center parking lot where the “troublemakers” cruised. There were never guns, and I was never afraid to go to school.

Then, a few years later when I was in college, the high school installed metal detectors as gangs took over the hallways.

When I hear these stories, I can’t help but wonder what in those children’s lives led them astray.

My Ladybug is only 15-months-old, but each time I let the rules slide because I’m too tired to fight over it, or each time I leave for a full day of work, there’s a nagging voice in the back of my head: Am I doing the right thing?

I have plenty of time to figure that one out.

I just hope when I do, it’s not too late.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hear that sucking sound? It's money going down the plastic toilet

Before my husband and I had Ladybug, we would scoff at the price tag people put on raising children.

“Oh, come on,” we’d say. “Don’t you think that’s just a tad bit exaggerated? How much food does a baby eat anyway?”

We soon found out. It was a side dish to our helping of humility pie.

But it’s not just the food – although a week on Nutramigen will have you hunting for spare change in the sofa cushions. It’s everything else compounded.

We prided ourselves on having everything we needed months before Ladybug was born. I even declined the multiple offers for baby showers. Anything more would just be wasteful, I thought.

But then Ladybug transformed from a sleeping-eating-pooping blob to an interactive charmer. Staring at the mobile above her swing no longer satisfied her. That started the long list of purchases – baby gyms, pop-up toys, push-down toys, talking dolls, singing animals, and lest I forget, the $100 Exersaucer.

Then there was the playpen, the high chair, the safety gates, the cabinet locks and the $300 forward-facing car seat.

Most of Ladybug’s toys sit in a corner now. She’s much more interested in my pots and pans or my husband’s laptop. I bought her a mini dustpan and broom after she began mimicking me as I swept the floor. It’s now one of her favorite “toys.”

But there’s no break. We’re back to buying the next round of necessities for a growing toddler: more spoons and sippy cups, an umbrella stroller and – our latest acquisition – a potty.

A $20 plastic bowl to catch pee.

Oh, right, I forgot, excuse me.

It transforms into a step stool later.

The sweet sound of success: Mmmmmm


When I hear that sound coming from Ladybug, I know I’ve done something right.

Strawberry-filled cereal bars.


String cheese.


Chopped bananas.




What?! What?! Mmmmmmm?!?!

I couldn’t believe it. This weekend, after months of handing Ladybug a sippy cup of water that ended up everywhere but in her mouth, she did it. She drank the whole thing.

You can credit the success to a new sippy cup with a built-in straw.

Now hopefully with the sippy cup saga behind us we can move on to the next challenge: potty training.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Celebrate motherhood: Help save a life

I don’t know Ethan Powell.

I don’t know his parents either.

But there was something about his story that grabbed my heart.

Maybe it’s because I’m a mom now.

Maybe it’s because I remember the terror I experienced in the ER when Ladybug was poked and prodded for hours, a half dozen nurses trying to find a vein large enough from which to draw blood, my two-month-old baby turning purple from nonstop screaming.

Maybe it’s because I can’t imagine life without Ladybug.

All those feelings came rushing in when I saw Ethan’s big eyes staring at news cameras, his parents pleading for people to get a bone marrow test for the one in 2 million chance doctors might find a match for the two-month-old leukemia patient.

There have been several bone marrow drives for Ethan since then, and there are more scheduled throughout the Ark-La-Tex. Visit Ethan’s site for dates and places.

You can also order a test kit through for a kit that will collect a swab of cheek cells for tissue typing. The kits are free through May 21.

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to help save a life?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

She's a girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It started when Ladybug was about two months old.

We were in Carter’s shopping for little summer dresses after a stressful morning. Ladybug had come off a whirlwind couple of weeks of ER visits, doctor appointments and, that morning, a stomach biopsy. Her pediatric gastroenterologist had wanted to rule out the possibility of a stomach kink, and thankfully we got the news we were looking for. Ladybug’s projectile vomiting and trouble breathing were all tied to severe acid reflux that would improve with time.

To celebrate the news, we went to the Boardwalk to find Ladybug some new outfits. We were all exhausted, having been up since 4:30 a.m. (although that would imply we had slept the night before.) Ladybug was still in her white and yellow pajamas and fell asleep in her stroller, right between the racks of clothes.

That’s when we ran into an old acquaintance that we hadn’t seen in several years.

“I didn’t know you had a baby!” she said. “Oh, he’s so cute!”



“He is a she,” I replied indignantly.

“Well, then you should make her look like one instead of wearing boy clothes,” was her retort.

It was at that moment that I remembered why we hadn’t talked in years.

That said, since when are white and yellow “boy colors”?

I tried to brush it off and give her the benefit of the doubt. Don’t all babies kind of look alike in the first couple weeks? And, OK, she had no hair.

But then it happened again a few months later at the doctor’s office. As another baby tried to take one of Ladybug’s toys, her mother said, “Give it back to him.”

Yes, Ladybug was dressed in white pants and a white pullover, but her hair was curling around her collar. How can you not think she’s a girl?

But I think the worst was the most recent incident. Ladybug and I went grocery shopping, and I was already feeling a little self-conscious about the enthusiastic home haircut she had gotten a few days earlier.

I was standing in the return lane when the cashier looked at Ladybug and said, “Oh, aren’t you a cute boy!”

I sighed and looked down at Ladybug in the shopping cart, trying to remember what white outfit I had put on her that day.

She smiled back at me, kicking her butterfly sandaled-feet from underneath a tied-dyed skirt.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Before I was a mom

A colleague sent me the following so I thought I’d share:

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

I’ve got another one:

Before I was a Mom it took a lot more than that little write-up to make me cry.

Friday, May 4, 2007

If only I had known ...

As I was scrubbing the dried yogurt off Ladybug’s high chair, I was thinking how I wished someone had pointed out the impracticality of its super-padded seat.

Yes, it’s so comfortable that Ladybug actually falls asleep in her chair. And it’s so cute with all of its little fishies swimming every which way.

But the ripples that make the seat uber-soft are also great hiding places for Cheerios and shredded cheese – much to the delight of our cat Attitude as she waits for the crumbs to fall to the floor during cleaning time.

That got me thinking to what else I wish I had known. Thinking back over the last year, these things jumped to mind:

10 feet between the changing table and the bathtub without a diaper might as well be 10 miles – or longer if you have carpet.

Backrest pillows work great for propping up babies who haven’t learned to sit on their own yet. Just make sure they have a removable washable cover, especially if you have a master blaster.

Terry-cloth changing pad covers exist for a reason. I always figured wiping down the uncovered changing pad with a Clorox wipe after each diaper change was more sanitary – that is, until Ladybug had the squirts that leaked into every crevice of the flower-decorated vinyl cover.

Sometimes I think there ought to be a class for this stuff.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I'll take that headbutt any day

Ladybug has recently discovered that if she taps her head against the wall, it makes enough noise to get attention from Mommy and Daddy.

This weekend all three of us laid down for a nap – or at least an attempt at one – when Ladybug realized tapping her head against the headboard accomplished the same thing.

Then it was the wall behind her changing table.

Then the kitchen cabinets.

Then, this morning, my head.

A good ol’ fashioned headbutt.

After I let out a cry of surprise and an obligatory exaggerated “Owwww!”, Ladybug giggled and gave me a slobbery kiss on the nose – only the second one she’s ever doled out.

I’m not a fan of the headbutts, but the kisses … that’s another story.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A minor miracle

So, this weekend after a nightmare round of grocery shopping in Wal-Mart – which despite my unsuccessful best efforts to get there while the crowd was still in church – we went out to lunch.

I was trying my best to keep Ladybug occupied to forget the fact that it was now three hours past her naptime. We had gone through the last of her strawberry-flavored finger puffs, a napkin full of rice had ended up on the floor and she was looking like she was going to nosedive for a full-fledged chomp fest on the restaurant high chair. So to distract her, I put my glass of lemonade up to her mouth.

Do you want something to drink? I asked, not expecting anything to come out of it. (You know what I mean if you read about our sippy cup challenges.)

Ladybug opened her mouth for a sip. But rather than going for the edge of the glass, she stuck the straw in her mouth and – miracle of miracles – sucked up a mouthful.

Wow! Did you see that?! my husband and I exclaimed to each other.

Our enthusiasm was short-lived as Ladybug puckered up her lips and spit out the lemonade.
I tried to get her to drink from the straw again, but by that time she had discovered it was another thing that she could chew on.

But, hey, there may be hope for us yet!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sippy cup battles

OK, I need some help.

We’re having sippy cup challenges.

I’m not so sure it’s a case of Ladybug not being able to use it as much as not wanting to use it.

Each time I hand her a cup, it ends up on the floor or upside down in highchair tray. We’ve tried all kinds:

A small two-handled Snoopy sippy that doesn’t require any sucking and leaks when upside down.

A larger no-handle Disney princess sippy that requires lots of sucking but doesn’t leak when upside down.

A one-handled Raggedy Ann cup with no top and that begs for a little hand to splash around its contents.

We’ve also tried the tiny yogurt drinks with the foil peeled back a little, halfway and off altogether.

I’m stumped.

I was talking with another mother who has a son a couple months older than Ladybug and she noted she was having the same problem. She has an older -- successfully weaned – child, so she told me she knows it can be done. She just doesn’t remember how.

Any suggestions?

Baby Steps

So, here’s my entry into the world of blogging mommies. How weird is that? I don’t even have a cell phone.

I’m not so sure what to expect; I just hope I have more success at this than my previous attempts at chronicling my daughter’s life.

When my now 15-month-old Ladybug was born, I tried to write her a weekly letter - nothing formal - just a here’s-what-you-were-doing-when-you-were-two-weeks-old recap written on teddy bear stationary I bought when I was about 10 years old. After about three weeks, it became a monthly letter. After about three months, it became a nonexistent letter.

So I decided I’d try scrapbooking to highlight the big moments of her life - first teeth, first haircut, first Mardi Gras (this is Louisiana after all). I clipped a half-off coupon out of a craft store flyer, packed Ladybug’s diaper bag and stroller into the car and headed out.

I found a beautiful scrapbook, and best of all, it was an all-in-one kit with paper and accessories. I took it home and sat it on her dresser, ready to start documenting the milestones.

The first tooth came in. Then the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and half the eighth. Ladybug had her first haircut propped up in her high chair, a drop cloth around her shoulders, my husband trying his best to snip here and there. Now, as her bangs flirt with her eyelashes, it’s time for another.

We went to Ladybug’s first Mardi Gras parade. My parents came into town, and my mom got into the groove, jumping up and down and yelling, “Beads for the baby!” We got plenty of beads and stuffed animals and krewe coins. I put a stack of the coins on the buffet to decorate the pages of her scrapbook and forgot about them until I moved the dining room furniture last weekend and found them on the floor. And all this time - seven months - the scrapbook sat on Ladybug’s dresser, unopened, no milestones documented.

I finally admitted to myself that the scrapbook wasn’t going to happen anytime soon and packed it in Ladybug’s “memory box” - a big plastic container that contains her first pacifier, the furry pink Winnie the Pooh outfit she was supposed to wear home from the hospital, and the summer onesie she ended up with instead after the temperature climbed past 80 degrees that early February day.

I guess until I can find time to write those letters or start that scrapbook I’ll just keep snapping plenty of pictures. I have several hundred so far.

Now I just have to get them printed.