Thursday, October 27, 2011


I'm a bad mom, there I said it. I admit it. I have a million reasons to justify my behavior, but I'm sure many of you could prove that they are wrong. For the last four months I have found myself placing the Ladybug and Bean in front of the TV while I prepare their breakfast, clean the dishes from the night before, and quickly prepare Bean's lunch for school. For one hour they are entranced with Dora the Explorer. Their eyes transfixed, mouths wide open anticipating the next adventure, and nothing can break them from being hypnotized.

So, it was to no surprise that for Bean's 3rd birthday she was showered with Dora gifts from her grandparents; an Enchanted Forest Dora costume, Dora themed pencils and stickers, Dora strawberry lip gloss, and life-sized Dora pillow, and a miniature-size Dora doll that plays a little jingle once her belly is pushed. A few months went by without Ladybug noticing the Dora dolls until it finally happened. Bean was busy with her stickers and left both of her dolls alone, looking helpless on the floor. Ladybug looked over noticed the pleas of neglect in their eyes as she quickly crawled to their rescue. I didn't think much of it until I noticed how Ladybug held both dolls; one by the neck under her arm with the other pushed tightly to her chest. She held them while crawling, eating and sleeping - which was awesome when Ladybug switched positions at 3am accidentally rolling on the singing Dora. Bean was nice at first allowing this obsession to last for a few days, but she really wanted her Dora's back. Needless to say, I found myself running to Target to purchase two new dolls, which of course backfired. Now instead of two doll to obsess over, she had four. If anyone attempted to touch the dolls she would scream at the top of her lungs then growl, like she does when we ask her to imitate a lion, to fend off the intruder. Things were getting out of control. She was becoming possessed with the spirit of Dora and we needed an exorcism, fast.

Two weeks had passed and I noticed that Ladybug stopped trying to walk because she was so busy trying to crawl and drag the dolls around. Would her obsession hinder her her ability to walk? I grabbed my computer and started to Google about kids with obsessive personalities, and became inundated with a slew of disorders that she may have. I started to panic and reached for my phone to alert my husband when out of the corner of my eye I saw Ladybug standing. She stood there staring at Dora clenched in her right hand. She slowly bent down and grabbed Dora #2 with her left, carefully stood upright, then smiled. She was balanced, calm, and confident. She looked at me, grinned and took one step. Then two...then three, four, five, six....She was FINALLY walking! I tried to hold back my excitement but I could tell she noticed it as my smile felt bigger than my face could allow. She slowly made her way across the room into my arms. I immediately started to kiss her little face and praise her feverishly. She moved her face trying to dodge my attempts, and giggled at the same. She glanced up at me with a coy look on her face, grunted a command, and pushed both Dora dolls to my mouth. I of course, had to give both Dora's a big kiss back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Race

The potty dance was in full effect as Bean alerted me that she had to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, she inherited my clumsy genes as she tripped and fell on her pant leg as she attempted to undress and open the bathroom door. She looked up at me with defeat {and pain} since she waited until the last minute to “go”. I picked her up quickly and placed her on the toilet while glancing back and confirming that Ladybug was safe among her stuffed toys. As I was dealing with the bathroom drama, I heard it; the music blasting from the walker that was a few feet from where I had left Ladybug. She was up and moving. I urged Bean to quickly push but she kindly reminded me that she had to “concentrate”. I stood there tapping my foot impatiently, while peaking out of the bathroom every 2 seconds. I could hear the music traveling farther away from me, moving quickly from room to room. As I visualized her race path, I could picture her laughing in slow motion, head reared back, as she left a trail of destruction.

Ten long minutes later Bean was running back to tend to her dolly tea party, and I started to track the trail left by Ladybug. I ran into Bean's room to find the entire library of books scattered across the bedroom floor. A few books led toward the laundry basket which was tipped over, clothes spewing in every direction. I followed the zig-zag line of Dora the Explorer undies (she is in love with Dora) leading into the playroom. I looked in horror as I saw every single toy drawer wide open and empty. I heard Bean share my sediment from behind me as she gasped with disbelief and disapproval.

“Uh-oh, Addie was bad mom. She needs a timeout for making this mess” she said while shaking her head.

“We have to find her first”, I said quickly.

Scattered toys led to Ladybug's room where we viewed the mess Miss. Tornado left in her wake. Clothes poured out of her drawers, covering the floor, and even sticking out of her crib. A pair of socks were soaking wet, a break I presume, to relieve her aching gums. Shoes engulfed her closet floor and she was still nowhere to be found. Then I saw it....the now quiet walker was parked outside of the guest bathroom door. For one moment everything was still, no sound could be heard. I took a breath and charged in its direction. I couldn't seem to run fast enough as if I were re-enacting the scene from the movie Poltergeist. You know where the mom is trying to run into her kid's bedroom and the hallway gradually gets longer and farther away? Yup, this was me. I finally reached the bathroom, and with caution, opened the door. The room looked soft as a cloud and sitting in the middle, like a winged angel, was little Ladybug. She sat, giggling, covered in toilet paper. As Bean entered the room Ladybug slowly stood up, held her hand up in the air, and said, “Hi”. At that moment Bean and I looked at each other and realized what Ladybug had done.

“Good job!” Bean screamed with delight. “She did it Mom!”

“Ya, I smell it baby, I smell it.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm Alive

Loyal fans and readers....I'm sorry that no new stories have been posted for over a month. I've been emotionally and physically dealing with the cornual ectopic pregnancy and it has lasted a little longer than expected. Please know that things are finally getting better and I can honestly say I can see the light. Healing takes time and I'm almost there. :)

I'm starting to feel the writing itch returning, so be on the look out for stories to come.

Thank you for the support, well wishes, warm thoughts and prayers.

Hugs to you all,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Never Take Things for Granted

“Oliver! That's my favorite boy's name and we can call him Ollie for short”, I said with excitement. “I thought you liked Granted. That could work for a boy too”, Brett said reminding me of the name I wanted for Bean. “Granted, that's right. Well I liked Granted Leigh for a girl, but don't think it would work for a boy. Let's just take this day by day”, I said with a little worry since we had just found out that we were pregnant with our third.

A week had passed by and things were going smoothly. My mind was engulfed with thoughts of new living arrangements, what life will be like with a newborn in the house again, how easy it would be if we were blessed with another girl, how difficult it may be with a little boy, but surprisingly I was happy. Happy at the thought of another baby in our lives and without an ounce of stress in my veins, until I saw a major warning sign. I knew since “mother nature” was a week late I shouldn't be seeing anything but I was shown different.

I decided to head into the ER to get evaluated to be on the safe side and was there for 2 hours when I got my results. My emotions were running high. I had gone from being happy at the prospect of a third, to thinking I was having a miscarriage, to seeing the egg sac on the ultrasound and finding out I was 6 weeks pregnant, to finding out that I had a rare cornual ectopic pregnancy (which occur every 1-3% out of ectopic pregnancies). My little one had implanted itself interstitially within part of the fallopian tube and uterus, while resting on a major artery. Without treatment it could eventually rupture, with the potential result of my death by internal bleeding. I was shocked. Overwhelmed with emotions. Was there a way to keep the tiny baby alive? Could it slowly move to the right place with a little TLC? What did I do wrong? What decisions did I make in my life to allow this to happen? I was sitting alone with an IV stuck in my arm. The visions of the Ladybug and Bean hovering sweetly over a bassinet slowly dissolved as my eyes filled with tears. The doctor returned to the room and confirmed that there was no vital heartbeat. He also confirmed that my health history didn't contribute to this unfortunate event and that I was simply lucky {or unlucky} this time around. He also urged that the only way to avoid problems was to get an injection of a chemotherapeutic drug to dissolve the tissue growing in my tube. With no hesitation I agreed to be admitted into the hospital.

The night was long. The drugs had nauseating effects on my body combined with excessive sweats. I fell in and out of sleep. The smell of the hospital blankets helped recall the moment I met Ladybug for the first time. My dream had no auditory significance except the sound of my heart beating. It was if I was reliving the birth of Ladybug on a live video loop. Everything was in first person, but blurry in sight. The visions and feelings overcame me as her warm little body was delicately placed on my chest. The intoxicating baby smell permeating from her head as it rested on my clavicle, as the pheromones saturated my nose telling me that this was the baby for me to love. Then finally watching Bean kindly stroke Ladybug's arms for the first time looped in my brain for hours. I'm not sure why these thoughts—or dreams—overpowered me that night but I was thankful for the memories.

One week and a half has passed, and and I'm still enduring the physical side effects of the chemo drug (as I received another dosage recently), and emotional side effects of this rare ectopic pregnancy. What I do know is that I wish I didn't take my first two pregnancies for Granted, we are blessed that the powers above Granted us the gift of two precious children, and I'm terribly sorry that Granted Leigh couldn't be part of our lives.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anxious Annie

I was seven years old and loved the movie Annie. This was probably pretty normal for most little girls, however I wanted to look like Annie. My mother, accommodating as she was, allowed me to get a perm so that I could have my wish - visualize a short Hispanic girl, with a black Afro (not red), and bottle capped glasses. You can imagine how I became an easy target on that October day.

The morning was extremely hot and humid, so much so that my clothes began to bind with the shape of my body as if being dunked into a pool of water. My mother wanted us to “get ahead” of our public school counterparts so she enrolled us into the only private Catholic school in town. The morning church bells signaled that recess was nearly over for our first grade class, which made my heart beat with relief. I stood up from picking flowers and slowly headed for the door leading into the cool building. I watched all of the kids stare at me as if I were a freak show at the circus. The boys gawked with jaws wide open, and the girls whispered and giggled as I passed by. With embarrassment I started to walk faster, head down, watching my feet alternate into the ground. My goal was to get into that building as soon as the doors opened, but unfortunately I ran smack into the tether-ball pole pivoting me to the ground. All of the kids came running, laughing, and pointing at me confirming I was the freak show they thought I was. I started to get up from the ground when the popular girls, Michelle and Roxanne stood in my way. They started to point out all of the obvious reasons that got me into this situation and proceeded to say: “Anyone who wants to be friends with HER is a loser. If you don't want to be a loooo-ser, come stand next to us.” Not to my surprise, all of the kids stood next to them; everyone except Katie. That's how I met my first private school friend.

Twenty-eight years later those same anxious feelings that I had endured on that October morning overcame me when we took the Ladybug and Bean to a local restaurant for kids night. We headed outside and Bean was instantly drawn to the puppet show taking place on center stage. She tugged on my arms pulling me in the direction leading me to the kid-filled audience. Brett and Ladybug took a table in the far right corner near the moonwalk and sandpit hoping to place an order to beat the crowd. The puppeteers signaled for everyone to stand up to do the hokey pokey, and of course Bean wanted to partake but not without me as her dance partner. As I pointed and shook my index fingers around, I noticed Bean wasn't by my side. I quickly turned around and saw her talking to a little girl. As I approached them the girl ran off. “She wanted to know if I saw her red sand bucket, and I said no”, she said in a concerned manner. “OK, well I'm sure she will find it. Let's go see daddy and sissy and get some food. We can come sing and dance later”, I said gently pulling her hand and leading her to the table. As we approached the table Bean saw the little girl, pointed, and screamed, “There she is! I have to help her!” She then let go of my hand and ran off to join the girl in the sandpit. Bean approached the girl but she ignored Bean as she frantically searched the sand, uncovering lost treasures of dump trucks, shovels, and other lost novelties. Bean was relentless, following the girl to every corner of that sandpit. It was as if a string were tied to their arms keeping them attached. My heart started to pound faster as I watched her, my palms started to sweat, I was on my tippy toes anticipating to rescue Bean from the disaster about to happen. I started to take a few steps in their direction, ready to save Bean from the wrath that stood in that little girls body, when all of a sudden the little girl whipped her head around in Bean's direction. I pictured her pushing Bean and yelling to leave her alone all while making her feel smaller than she physically already is. But to my surprise the girl looked at Bean with a blank stare then smiled. They started chatting about who knows what then slowly walked off and started to play with sand covered dolls.

When I was finally able to coerce Bean to join the family for dinner, I casually asked her what she and the little girl had talked about. She explained, “The girl said her bucket was red, not green and she forgot because she was color blinded or something like that. I don't know why she forgot the color but she did. And the kids took her bucket and HID IT from her because she kept calling it green. They were mean and called her BAD names. So we played with dolls instead that were stuck in the sand. She was nice, mama and dada. I told her we could share my bucket next time.” A small tear emerged from the corner of my eye and I had to wipe it before anyone could notice. Today my Bean was not an anxious Annie, like me, but rather that little girl's “Katie”.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Little Gem

The morning dew glistened resulting in a million little prisms on each blade of grass. As I stared out the window, I was entranced by the nature surrounding me. A cardinal bobbed around searching for food and was startled unexpectedly by a doe and her two fawns making their way through our backyard. I jumped back from the window which alerted our dog who immediately started barking. The Ladybug and Bean were oblivious of the beauty I had just witnessed as their eyes were glued to the television.

“Mom, I want my picture up there like those kids. Look. See? Look. Mom?”, Bean said excitedly trying to get my attention as she pointed to the t.v.

“Yes, Etta. I'll send in a picture, OK? Now eat your breakfast please”, I repeated as I turned around looking back at my reality.

“OK. Thanks, Mama. You are the best mama eeeeva”, she said pulling at my heart strings.

Guiltily I grabbed my computer and searched the requirements to submit a picture to Disney Jr., and found that we had to create a treasure chest for their Jake and the Neverland Pirates promotion. After breakfast we looked in our craft bin and had everything we needed to create the chest – one large box, paper to wrap the box, adhesive gems, markers, fake coins, tape, ribbon, and glittered glue.

“OK, do NOT touch these gems. They are too small and I don't want these on the floor. Do you understand, Etta?” I asked. She nodded her head with temptation.

Moments later the inevitable happened...a gem was missing somewhere on the carpet. I was furious. I kept visualizing Ladybug finding it, putting it in her mouth, and choking. I demanded that she help me look for it by getting on our hands and knees and combing the carpet with our fingertips. She looked for one minute and gave up. She obviously didn't comprehend the degree of my fury. After searching frantically through each carpet fiber like a mad detective, I decided to give up. We ended up playing in Bean's room for the rest of the day since I didn't want to take a chance with the baby. I had never been this angry at Bean before and I felt so guilty for my feelings. She is only two years old. How could I be this mad at her? Once the girls went to bed for the night I decided to complete the treasure chest and unsuccessfully search one last time for the missing gem. I placed the finished product at the foot of Bean's bed hoping to ease any feelings of sadness I may have caused.

“Oh wow! My treasure chest! It's beautiful! Mama! Mama! Maaaaaaaaaaaama! Come see!” Bean screamed waking up the house. I smiled with excitement as I ran up the stairs to greet her. I got her dressed, grabbed my camera, took four good shots of her posing with the treasure chest, then emailed them off. They better pick her, I thought. If they only realized how much trouble parents go through for the slight chance that our kids' picture may show up on t.v. I shook my head and rolled my eyes at the thought. I looked over at the girls playing independently – Bean with her doodle pad and crayons, and Ladybug sucking on an alphabet block. I slowly placed my laptop on the floor, got on my hands and knees and started to growl like a lion. They both laughed and squealed, crawling away from me, enjoying our new found game of lioness chasing the cubs. I was growling in a low volume then let out a huge growl that scared Bean. She jumped back, shook her hands in disapproval, and fell backward over the little chair that was in her way. From the ground she screamed “truce!”. I stopped in shock then jumped up to grab and hug her. I quickly apologized for scaring her then asked how she knew the word truce {I was both proud that she used the word in proper context and her ability to verbalize her feelings}. She couldn't remember where she had heard the word but wanted a turn at being the lioness.
“My turn! My turn!”, Bean screamed. “OK, go! Chase us”, I said returning to the ground to crawl forcing Ladybug to follow in my direction. As Bean started chasing me she yelled for me to stop but I kept going. She got up from her crawl and ran toward me looking at my right foot. “Look, mama, the missing gem!”

“Oh my gosh, Etta you found it!” I said with relief.

“You're not mad at me anymore? I found the gem like you wanted”, she said with a pouty face.

“No baby. I'm not mad. Truce?” I asked?

“Yah, mama. Truce”.