Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She did it!

My mom read about Ladybug’s pooping-in-the-tub episodes (see the Jan. 22 entry "Warning: Not for the Weak-Stomached") and offered up this thought:

“Would this be a good opportunity to sit her on the potty just before bath time to poop? Perhaps if you made it a habit at the same time of day, just for this particular poop time, it will finally connect and she will let it rip in the potty. It sounds like she is trying to develop a 'regular' night-time elimination, and by shear odds you have to get it in the potty at least once! From that point on you may be able to start some of the potty training.”

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious. I had been so wrapped up in trying to catch Ladybug’s sewage baths before they became too messy, that I didn’t think to prevent them.

So every night before Ladybug’s bath, I started sitting her on the toilet. She wasn’t interested in her mini potty, so I removed the seat and placed it on the real “big girl” toilet. We had been doing this every night for about a week with not so much as a tinkle in the potty.

Because we weren’t having any success, I decided to start increasing the number of times Ladybug sat on the toilet throughout the day. Like my mom said, by shear odds she’d have to make it in the potty at least once.

So I put her on the potty yesterday morning, not expecting anything. But lo and behold, there was the beautiful sound of pee hitting toilet water. I started to cheer, Ladybug was clapping and yelling “Yay!”, and when my husband came in to find out what all the noise was about, he started to hurrah also. I put a sticker on the calendar with a description of what happened to commemorate the day.

Then when Ladybug was eating lunch later that day, she put down her fork, looked at me and said, “Potty.” I was a little doubtful. I mean, could she be picking up on this that quick? But I took her into the bathroom, and yes, she peed again!

And this morning while she was playing on the floor, she said, “Potty quick!” I rushed her into the bathroom and not only did she pee in the toilet, she pooped too! There was a repeat again tonight.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up to high just yet. It would have to be a miracle to be potty trained in a matter of a couple days, right? But we’re finally, definitely on the right track.

Man, using the potty and coming off formula all in the same week. You can slow down now on growing up, Ladybug.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Even though it’s been almost a month since my parents left after their Christmas visit, Ladybug still runs through the house looking for them.

“Neema?” she asks, standing in front of the closed guestroom door, waiting for my mother to come out.

The other day Ladybug and I were in the guestroom when she called for “Neema” again.

“Grandmom and Grandad will be here in about three weeks,” I said.

Ladybug stared at me with a blank look.

“Right, we haven’t discussed time yet,” I mumbled under my breath, trying to find the best way to describe all the days that have to pass before my parents come again.

“Well,” I started, “Grandmom and Grandad will be here after you’ve gone to bed and gotten up about 20 times.”

Ladybug continued to stare at me, comprehension slowly spreading over her face. Then she turned around and began pulling herself up on the bed.

If she could talk, I’m sure she would have said, “OK, now only 19 times to go.”

Fee(l) my pain

You can call me Oscar because I’m a bit of a grouch after buying three tickets to Sesame Street Live. I could just hear Elmo laughing as I clicked the “Buy Tickets Now” button and watched $85 get sucked out of my wallet.

There was a building fee, a convenience fee, a fee for ME to print the tickets from MY HOME COMPUTER, and some other fee that I choose not to remember. It was like getting three tickets for the price of four.

It took me about five days and 20 attempts to actually have the tickets in hand. First, I kept getting timed-out of the online purchase because I was reading the fine print about Ticket Master sharing my address, sending marketing and promotional e-mails, not being responsible for lost or stolen tickets and all of the other methods they’d use to profit off this one transaction.

When I finally managed to get all the forms filled out in time, I was so worked up that I cancelled the order altogether. It took a few days for my husband to convince me to order them again. After all, it’s for Ladybug, he said.

I begrudgingly bought them. But I can guarantee you that Big Bird isn’t the only one with ruffled feathers these days.


The one task that I’ve always hated is making bottles. The daily washing/sterilizing/mixing formula routine shouldn’t take more than a half hour in all; but seeing as it’s really three steps to reach a finished product, it ends up taking me several hours.

I no sooner get the bottles in a large bowl to soak that I’m distracted by another more-immediate need, like changing a dirty diaper. Eventually somewhere between making lunch, cleaning up lunch and trying to get Ladybug to take a nap, I get the bottles made and cooled off enough before she starts asking for one.

But tonight as I topped off her bottles with the last of the formula, I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic about it all. Even though she still asks for a bottle every now and then throughout the day, it’s filled mostly with whole milk with a dash of formula mixed in. After this round of bottles, it will only be milk inside.

I can’t say as I scooped the last of the powder into her bottles that I was longing for the old six-bottles-a-day ritual. No, it just made me realize just how quickly Ladybug’s growing up. She’s eating almost all solid food now, another milestone in her journey to independence. What’s next? Potty training?

I should only be so lucky.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Never a dull day

I couldn’t wait to take Ladybug to the Mardi Gras parade Saturday. I had been looking forward to it all week. The floats, the noise, the crowds of everyday people doing stupid things for plastic beads. What’s more amusing than watching a weekday stuffed suit letting loose for throws?

But I was also a little nervous. It was just going to be Ladybug and me, and with her fickle temperament recently and no nap that day, I wasn’t sure how she would behave. So I timed our departure to give us just enough time to find a parking spot and barely get settled in before the parade’s start. These days I’m all about convenience – get me in and out as quick as possible.

I loaded up the car and we were on track to leave when Ladybug, excited at the prospect of an outing, dashed past me and wiped out, face first in a mud puddle. She didn’t just fall; she slid like a baseball player diving for home plate. When she stood up she looked like she had just wrestled with a tub of brownie batter.

Back inside we went to change clothes, all the while the clock ticking. That was probably the quickest I’ve ever whipped off shoes, socks, pants and shirt. We were out the door within five minutes.

We parked in one of the garages downtown and speedwalked to the science center, getting there just as the parade was starting. Ladybug picked up on the spirit, clapping, waving and yelling “beep-beep” at the trucks pulling the floats. The crowd around us thought she was calling for beads, which they were only too willing to heap on her.

When the last float passed by, it was another speedwalk back to the garage before it got dark and a return home to pick up my husband for an uneventful dinner at a favorite restaurant. That is, until Ladybug gagged on a piece of chicken and got sick all over the table, booth and – of course – her and me.

And of course I didn’t have a spare change of clothes because I usually keep them in the diaper bag and I don’t take the diaper bag with me anymore. I just stuff spare diapers, wipes and changing pads in my pocketbook. It’s that convenience thing again.

We went home, and Ladybug went straight into the tub. I peeled off my clothes and rubbed Ladybug’s bath water over my arms to clean off the vomit smell, too exhausted at that point to bother with a full shower.

First thing I did this morning, though, was to take that much-needed shower.

Then I put a change of clothes in the trunk.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SAHM Syndrome

There was a point when I was still working at the newspaper that I knew it was time to call it quits.

I had been recruiting readers to help develop when I found myself using the Mommy Voice – that octave-higher pitch where words come out sounding like tossed pillows. And in my case, in sentences that always ended with “Sound like a plan?”

The Mommy Voice is now such a part of my being that I don’t hear it anymore. I’ve moved on to the next level: putting tasks to songs.

Ladybug’s teeth are brushed to “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

We bake while singing Cookie Monster’s “C is for Cookie.”

The Little Einsteins theme song is reserved for grocery shopping.

I even got creative and made my own ditty for handwashing sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat: “Rub, rub, rub your hands, Rub ‘em til they’re clean, We can make lots of bubbles, like a fairy queen.”

Hmmm. I think I might need some adult conversation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Warning: Not for the weak-stomached

This weekend I had to buy bleach. That’s an unusual purchase in our house, mainly because we can’t tolerate the smell. Unfortunately for us, it’s also the quickest and most effective disinfectant to Ladybug’s latest trick: pooping in the tub.

You’ll remember a while back we had an isolated incident (see the Sept. 29 posting “Double Bubble Trouble”). Then twice last week she did it again, each time with a tubful of toys.

The first time I noticed it, it was waaaayyy too late. I pulled Ladybug out of the tub and put her in the stand-alone shower, where she proceeded to freak out. (She doesn’t like having water sprayed on her.) So I wrapped her up in a towel and carted her off to the guest bathroom. When I placed her in the other tub, I saw her foot was covered in blood. Each time she moved, she’d leave a bloody footprint. Now it was my turn to freak out.

I wrapped her up in the towel again and ran in a panic back to the other bathroom where my husband was cleaning up the original tub mess. We determined she nicked her pinky toe on the shower drain but, boy, did that sucker bleed.

The second time she pooped in the tub, she sent a warning boulder before the mudslide. I got her out in time but still had to do another round of disinfecting.

Now I’m a bit gun shy each time Ladybug takes a bath. Whenever I hear a mischievous giggle, I quickly push back the bubbles, looking for uninvited guests. We haven’t had a repeat yet, but the Clorox is ready if we do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tension tamer

When Ladybug is tired, Ladybug doesn’t listen. So since she hasn’t been sleeping well these last few months, it goes without saying that she hasn’t been following instructions too well either.

We try to enforce the house rules but also don’t insist if it’s not worth it. I mean, who wants to have a showdown over toys not put away when she’s done?

Sure, at first I tried using timeouts. I’d tell Ladybug, “I’m going to count to three and if you haven’t started picking up, you’re going on the futon until you decide to put your things away.” But she caught on fast, counting to three on her own and then running to jump on the futon like it was a game.

Now I save my strength for the big battles, like Ladybug’s attempts to break free during our walks and run into people’s yards or – worse – the middle of the street. Nothing has worked to curb this behavior so, for now at least, we’ve banned our walks. Ladybug is confined to backyard play.

That decision came after a particularly trying outing over the weekend. We weren’t out the door five minutes before her behavior forced us to turn around and came back home. Ladybug’s uncontrollability didn’t stop then. No, she proceeded to throw everything that was within her reach. A remote on the table? Tossed on the floor. Grocery store circulars? Up in the air they went. A pile of folded laundry? Pulled from its perch into a messy pile.

My husband and I started to get aggravated. Sensing our irritability, Ladybug stopped and raised her arms in the air.

“Cute,” she said.

How can you argue with that?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Spinach pancakes

So as I attempt to wean Ladybug off of formula by her second birthday next month, I’ve been trying to get creative in getting more fruits, veggies and whole grains in her diet. If you’ve been keeping up with our daily adventures, you know the challenge that has been posing recently.

Nonetheless, Ladybug has welcomed a few new additions: blueberry smoothies, oatmeal cookies (that counts as a grain, right?) that case of mandarin oranges she refused to eat a couple weeks ago. And tonight: yummy-yummy spinach pancakes.

Seriously, they’re deee-licious.

The recipe came from a book my parents gave me for Christmas that uses a variety of fruit and vegetable purees in kids’ favorite foods. The pancakes were actually double chocolate chip made with a puree of spinach and blueberries and a blend of white flour, whole grain flour, wheat germ and unsweetened cocoa. It sounds gross, but they actually tasted like brownies. (Yeah, they had to pass the mommy taste test.)

Ladybug scarfed them down with a glass of whole milk, and I couldn’t be happier. Next up: macaroni and cheese with cauliflower.

Diaper trouble

How many diapers have I changed by now? Somewhere in the thousands, I would guess. But all that experience hasn’t helped me recently.

For the last few days, Ladybug has woken up in a puddle of pee, her diaper open on one side. After we finished reading in our bed last night, she stood up, a wet butt print on the sheets behind her after her diaper shifted. And when we were at the playground, her diaper actually came out her pant leg.

“I don’t have that problem,” my husband told me.

So this afternoon, he gave me a lesson. He put Ladybug on the changing table and with scientific precision drew an invisible line that the waistband should reach and the Velcro touch in order for the diaper to stay in place.

Three hours later, that diaper still hadn’t budged. He’s right. He doesn’t have that problem.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So sorry

Today I offended another mother. I referred to her little girl as a boy.

I know those things happen. Short hair, blue T-shirt, blue jeans – what else is a stranger supposed to think? But I’m also the one who has been known to privately rant over a passerby’s comments of Ladybug being such a cute boy. Sometimes I just want to grab the commentators by the shoulders, shake them and yell, “She’s a girl, dammit! See the skirt? See the pink top?”

Gender mix-ups are such my pet peeve that I actually avoided using pronouns with one of the neighborhood kids who befriended Ladybug. I suspected the freckle-faced chubby pre-teen might have been a boy, but the high-pitched voice and slightly girlish figure had me guessing for a while. Turns out, though, my first inclination was correct.

I guess that’s why I felt particularly embarrassed, guilty, apologetic, you name it, over my faux pas today. It happened so quickly – the little girl cut Ladybug off at the jungle gym stairs and I told Ladybug to wait so “he” could pass.

The mother said nothing, didn’t even bristle. She kept her game face on but made a point of referring to her daughter by her formal name and very girly nickname the entire time. I think there may have even been a “good girl” thrown in there for good measure.

Maybe I’m reading too much into her reaction. Maybe the mother shrugged off the whole thing. Maybe she didn’t even hear me. Or maybe someone’s getting an earful tonight about the idiot woman at the playground today.

Must-see TV

I’ve never been one to watch a whole lot of TV. But every once in a while, I’ll stumble on a show that I can’t live without. When I was pregnant, it was Lost. Last year, it was Friends. (Yes, I know I’m a few years late, but I watched the entire 10 seasons in a matter of months thanks to Netflix.) Now my obsession is Friday Night Lights.

When Ladybug goes to bed at night, I take my laptop into the exercise room, plug in the earplugs and run or bike through two episodes. The distraction not only keeps my mind off the task at hand but, as corny as it sounds, it also gets me thinking about parenting.

If you haven’t seen the show, it revolves around the life of a football coach and his family in a small Texas town. The 40-something coach and his wife have a teenage daughter and, this season, a new baby. For some reason, the show hits home for me. Maybe it’s because I’ll be 40-something when Ladybug is a teenager or because I feel the fatigue the coach’s wife is dealing with as the baby cries all night.

As I watch the show, I often find myself making mental notes of how the various parental characters deal with teen issues – the ones that my husband and I roll our eyes and shrug our shoulders at now, saying we’ll deal with them as they arrive with Ladybug.

I know I still have many more years before we’re at that point, but it’s still interesting to watch how other parents – fictional, though they may be – deal with their daughter coming home drunk from a party or lying about her whereabouts.

The situations are so realistic they’re uncomfortable. You can feel the tension coming through the screen. It makes me glad Ladybug’s teen years are still a ways off.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Raincheck, please

I’ve given up trying to keep the living room – Ladybug’s play area – picked up during the day. I wait until she goes to bed to pack up the hundreds of pieces of plastic food, Little People, doll furniture, crayons, stickers, balls, blocks, stuffed animals and whatever else she has dragged out of storage boxes and baskets. I’m not kidding when I say it takes me a good 20 minutes to throw everything back into its appropriate container.

As I was putting away the dishes to her new toddler-sized kitchen the other day, I realized she hasn’t been playing with it recently. The cups and plates that were scattered throughout the room weren’t from a three-course “meal” she had prepared on the stovetop but from a simple tea party on a makeshift table – an upside-down storage box covered in an old tablecloth.

The dozens of pieces of doll furniture that I had painstakingly ordered in time for Christmas were dumped in a neglected pile on the floor. The dollhouse itself was empty except for the five-member family and dog Ladybug crammed into the bathtub. Oh, and then there was the potty in the upstairs bedroom.

The clear plastic tote bag that we use to carry Ladybug’s outdoor toys was stuffed not with the new plastic bowling pin set but with a deflated soccer ball and a rainbow colored ball we got from the dollar store last summer.

Suddenly that punched-in-the-gut feeling I had on Christmas day when I looked at the dozens of boxes and bags under the tree came back. I knew we had overdone it when I was wrapping the gifts, and I felt terrible about the waste, the potential for creating a spoiled child, the guilt that there were families not as fortunate.

And now Ladybug’s birthday is right around the corner, and I’m faced with the task of telling family members not to send any gifts because she has too much. But when both sides of your entire family live thousands of miles away, gifts become the norm “so Ladybug doesn’t forget me,” as my mother-in-law would say.

Given the heaps of toys scattered throughout the house, I don’t think Ladybug will be forgetting anyone anytime soon.

Couch potatoes

So much for my New Year’s resolutions. That “TV-will-be-reserved-for-special-occasions” rule for Ladybug was quickly scratched off the list but for good reason: my top ambition for 2008.

You know that 2:47 a.m. bottle habit we’ve been dealing with for the last couple months and that I resolved to break this year? Well, it’s been two nights in a row now that Ladybug has made it through the night without waking up.

OK, technically that’s not the case because we slip her a bottle before we go to bed. But it’s us waking her up, not the other way around. Now before you go beating me up on that one, you have to realize she wouldn’t get a full night of sleep on her own anyway. She’d eventually wake up for a bottle, so we just sped up the process.

At the same time, we made a couple other changes. We added whole milk to Ladybug’s bottle in an attempt to start weaning her from formula. We moved her bedtime up to 6 p.m. And we started letting her watch more TV (toddler-appropriate, of course).

“Why more TV?” you ask.

You know all that research that says people have a tendency to eat more while sitting in front of the television? The same holds true for my Ladybug, the one who would take two bites of her dinner at the table before pushing it away. But plop her in front of her favorite Little Einsteins, Heidi or Disney princess movie, and she’ll clear her plate. And for Ladybug, a full tummy means a better night of sleep –for her and us.

I realize it’s a slippery slope we’re walking with that solution. But it’s a temporary one until Ladybug gets in the habit of eating more solid food. Until then, I’ll try to refrain from cringing each time I ask her if she wants to eat dinner in front of the TV.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Beethoven's top hit

Da, da, da, duhhhh …

If I never hear the opening notes to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 again, it won’t hurt my feelings. I have gotten a lifetime’s worth of that introduction in the last few weeks. Ladybug has figured out her stereo, and Beethoven has been her choice for the “repeat” button.

Last month I walked in on her while she was “conducting” a Beethoven air orchestra. She was waving her yellow plastic xylophone wand around like a conductor’s baton, bouncing up and down on the tips of her toes and punctuating every few notes with a cry of “Oh, no!” It all made for what my husband calls a “You Tube Moment.”

I don't know what it is about this particular piece that has Ladybug so infatuated. But she's always asking for it, and her requests for "Da Da Da" have no boundaries: in the bathtub, in the grocery store, during our walk around the block. And, of course, at night.

Normally, I would turn off the stereo when Ladybug falls asleep. But given all of our sleeping issues recently, I'm kind of forced (i.e. Ladybug will scream if I touch the stereo) to let it play nonstop throughout the night.

And seeing as how our bedroom borders her nursery, we're kind of forced to hear it throughout the night: Da, da, da …. Oh, wait, isn’t that a scratch on the CD?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ships passing in the night

“I’ll take care of Ladybug tonight,” my husband just turned to me to say as he headed off to bed.

“That’s alright. I’ve got it,” I replied.

As much as I’d like to get a full night of sleep, it is my turn. Yes, that’s right, my husband and I are back to pulling shifts to take care of Ladybug.

I didn’t expect to be back to night work so soon. It seems like just yesterday that my husband and I were rotating, one taking care of Ladybug at night in the guest room while the other slept soundly in the master bedroom.

Those first few months of Ladybug’s life were grueling times. Aside from all the usual baby stuff, like needing to eat and be changed every two to three hours, Ladybug suffered from awful acid reflux that had her vomiting after each meal.

The on-call parent would lie awake at night, worrying over the raspy breathing coming from the crib, wondering whether Ladybug would throw up her most recent bottle and jumping out of bed each time she slid down the propped-up mattress. We were ever-so-grateful when Ladybug outgrew the reflux and started sleeping through the night.

Now here we are again, taking turns sleeping in the master bedroom so that the other one can get a full night of shut-eye.

So good night, sweetheart, as you lumber off to bed. Sleep well because tomorrow it’s your turn.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2:47 a.m.

We were doing so well.

Ladybug was going to bed at 7:30 every evening, she was sleeping through the night, she was taking her mid-morning nap every day like clockwork.

And then it all went out the window. And when I say “all,” I mean “all.”

A few months ago, Ladybug started waking up an hour or two earlier than usual. Then she started postponing – and then skipping – her morning naps. That was followed by a refusal to go to bed at night. Next came the 2:47 a.m. bottle feedings. I’m not kidding; it’s like she has an alarm clock set to that time.

The latter is what’s bothering me the most, primarily because I can’t figure out the cause or the solution. Sure, I had lots of theories on the subject. I thought maybe she wasn’t eating enough solid food during the day so I started giving her less bottles and more food. Didn’t work.

Then I tried stuffing her with rice cereal just before bedtime. No change.

We moved her bedtime to an even later hour, hoping fatigue would keep her sleeping through the night. That only worked to push the middle-of-the-night cries for a bottle to a later hour.

Now we’re giving her a bottle of formula right before bedtime and leaving a sippy cup of water in the crib. But so far it’s only served to create 2:47 a.m. sheet and pajama changes … right before another bottle.

So I’m stumped. If you’ve dealt with this or have some suggestion that I’m overlooking, post it under the comments below. Everyone in our house will thank you for it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


A few weeks ago, Ladybug and I were passing by the seafood department in Wal-Mart when the woman working the counter hollered, “Is that your child?”

I hesitated for a moment, wondering if she was talking to me and what we might have accidentally done to cause such a stir.

“Yes,” I replied firmly. “Why?”

“She looks like you!” the woman exclaimed. “She is such a spitting image of you, it isn’t funny!”

Another employee stocking shelves turned around to look.

“Oh my, she sure does!”

The whole exchange kind of surprised me. I’ve always thought Ladybug looks like my husband. Sure, she has traces of me in her face, but if you sit my husband and Ladybug side by side, you’d see what I mean.

But yesterday as Ladybug and I were playing outside, I stopped dead in my tracks. As Ladybug turned around to hand me a ball, only her bangs peeking out from under her hat, I thought I was staring at a childhood picture of me.

It was freaky.

I guess it’s because I still can’t believe I’m a mother. I’m more like a walking cliché: my pregnancy seems like a dream; the first two years of Ladybug’s life have passed in a blur; I still feel like a teenager inside. And then, there I am, standing face to face with my mirror image of 33 years ago.

As I took the ball from Ladybug, I had to look away. It was just too strange to see this little version of me staring back.

I had the same feeling again this morning as I snapped Ladybug’s hat under her chin, her auburn bangs framing her blue eyes. But as Ladybug smiled up at me, I took comfort in the realization that, yes, I am a mother.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I’ve come to learn that when you have a toddler, your to-do list is never completed. Some days it’s a miracle that I even get dinner on the table.

But that doesn’t keep me from trying. My desk is covered with sticky note reminders of things I have to do. And if by some chance I do accomplish a list of tasks, I’ll leave it hanging by my computer, the crossed-out items in full view as an inspirational reminder the next time I complain that I can’t get anything done.

So seeing as today is the biggest day of lists – a.k.a. resolutions – here’s what I resolve to accomplish this year with Ladybug:

- I will break the 2:30 a.m. bottle habit. Ladybug prefers her bottle over real food and drinks away her hunger. But those bottles don’t hold her for very long, leading to the middle-of-the-night shouts for her “didi.” Now when she asks for a bottle during the day, I only fill it halfway. Maybe that will quench her thirst but still leave her hungry for dinner. And that, hopefully, will lead to her sleeping through the night.

- I won’t push potty training. We already tried twice with no luck. But that’s probably because we did it on my schedule, not hers. I will take my cues from Ladybug when she’s ready to try again.

- TV will be reserved for special occasions only. We’ve always allowed Ladybug about a half-hour of TV a day, usually in the morning while she drinks her bottle. But she’ll try to watch more, turning on the TV by herself throughout the day. It’s too easy to let the TV become the babysitter, so we’ll nip that one in the bud.

-Since we’re cutting out TV, Ladybug can get more outdoor exercise. We already take daily ¼-mile walks and play about an hour outside in the afternoon. But seeing as how Ladybug prefers outdoors to in anyway, we’ll add another play session in the morning.

- I’ll get Ladybug to eat more foods, even if she doesn’t know it. Her limited menu is healthy enough but not well-rounded. So with my new copy of “The Sneaky Chef” in hand, we’ll use the suggestions to get more fruits, veggies and whole grains into the food Ladybug already eats.

OK, those are my goals for the year. Three hundred sixty-five days should be enough time to cross at least one of them off the list.

Oranges, oranges everywhere

I really should know better. You’d think 22 months of practice would teach me something when it comes to Ladybug’s eating habits. But, oh, how quickly we forget when excitement takes over.

Ladybug doesn’t deviate much from her egg beaters-cheese-yogurt-blueberries-bananas-spaghetti lineup. I’ve tried; but if it isn’t squishy, she isn’t interested. So when we went out to dinner the other night, she picked – surprise, surprise – spaghetti.

Her order came with a side of mandarin oranges, which I didn’t expect her to try. But I pushed the bowl to her while her spaghetti cooled off, and before I knew it, she had eaten every last one.

“Mmmmm! Yummy!” she said.

Woo-hoo! We can add another fruit to the at-home menu, I thought.

And just to make sure I didn’t forget, we went to Sam’s Club directly after dinner and bought those mandarin oranges.

A whole case of them.

That she won’t touch.

I’ve casually tried to slip a cup of them in at breakfast, but she pushes them away and asks for her “berries.” I’ve offered them as a mid-afternoon snack, but she shakes her head and asks for cheese. I’ve tried giving them to her at dinner, but she keeps falling asleep in her high chair before we get through the first course.

So I’ve got a case of mandarin oranges sitting in my pantry. According to the stamp on the can, they’re good until January 2010. At the rate we’re going, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still working on them then.