Saturday, April 30, 2011


As the entire world was glued to the TV in anticipation for the Royal Wedding, Bean was skipping in circles around the living room. Ladybug, spinning the toys attached to the stationary entertainer, glanced up every now and then when the cheering crowds increased in volume. "EW! Why are they kissing!?", Bean stopped short. "Because they got married and the girl is now a princess! A real live princess", I explained. "What does a princess do?", she questioned. "Well, first of all they are pampered, have lots of money, live in a HUGE....", I started to say sarcastically. I could see the word "confused" written all over her face. As I bent down to her level I quickly corrected myself. "What I mean is, a princess is always nice. They help when people are in need, are extremely giving, and they love unconditionally."

After breakfast, we headed outside to burn off some morning energy. 4 kids quickly ran up to greet us; two we recognized as our neighbor's kids and the other two were unfamiliar. Apparently an acquaintance of our neighbor had abandoned the children in her care. As she retold the story, she hugged and caressed them as if they were her own. I offered to donate extra baby clothing, bottles, diapers, wipes, etc. since they were left with nothing. We gathered the belongings and rushed them back to their house. We placed the items on the doorstep as we could hear the kids crying inside the home. We could overhear the neighbor singing a sweet song, calming the children instantly. "See baby, SHE is a real life princess", I whispered.

Later that day, while Ladybug and Bean were "discussing" the tastiness of peas, I discussed the adoption that my cousin was going through with my husband. "She will do anything for those kids. She wakes up at 3 to start prepping for the day, has a full time job, drives an hour home to pick them up by 4, cooks them dinner every's amazing", I said in awe. "Mommy, she is a princess too!" I shook my head in agreement.

The day was finally coming to an end and Ladybug was on the verge of falling asleep. She was limp in my arms as the rocking motion calmed her of any anxiety. I noticed Bean peeking into the room as if watching a secret meeting. She tiptoed in, making sure to not make a sound, and slowly approached my side. She studied my movements, listened to my random humming, how I stroked Ladybug's hair; how it soothed her sister. As Ladybug peacefully subsided into a slumber, I placed her in the crib and left the room. I let out a sigh of relief and quickly picked up Bean, hugging her as tight as I could. As I started to plant kisses on her cheeks she grabbed my face with her two little hands. She stared me in the eye, noses almost touching, and whispered "YOU are a princess TOO, Momma. OUR princess."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sleep Training

For 37 weeks, I nurtured my little Ladybug as she baked in my tummy. We sang and read stories to her as if she were already part of the family. Bean would talk to her daily and even share toys with my belly anticipating a response. Since her birth, I have religiously nursed her on demand. When she's in my arms I cover her face with kisses. Every night before going to bed, I will stare into her eyes until her lids get heavy, leading her into a peaceful slumber. As she drifts off she will pinch any object in arms reach, kick her restless legs, and pacify on her helpless binky. I carefully hug her and let her use me as her comfort object until she is sound asleep. This has worked exceptionally well, except the fact that she has been in our bed for the past 8 months. ----- This is when the record stops with a loud scratch and the peaceful music stops. ------- Hello sleep training.

I nervously sat on my bed holding a full glass of wine as the volume on the TV was slightly one decibel above the screams coming from Ladybug's room. It's been a miserable hour and a half and nothing will stop the crying. Of course, I KNOW what will stop it, but a sudden flashback enters my mind of the same pain we endured with Bean only two years earlier. Brett entered our room and said, "40 minutes". A heavy feeling overcame me. "If she is still crying in 40 minutes....", I started to say with an attitude. "We HAVE to do it. She needs to learn", he interrupted.
I sat there, angry and frustrated knowing that we were causing this little baby so much pain. All she wanted was me. She wanted to gaze into my eyes for a moment, to see the love, to study the only face she probably has memorized. To hold my hand until she couldn't squeeze any tighter. To know that I was there to protect and comfort her. "She probably feels like I've abandoned her! She's never gone to sleep without me before, damn it!" I yelled hoping that he'd give in. As we argued about the pros and cons we started to notice that we were getting louder so we stopped. There was silence, no crying, no whining, just silence.......She did it. She was a s l e e p. We waited. We muted the TV. Even the dog poked his head out from under his cover and cocked his head as if in disbelief.

Five nights later we were all enjoying the new sleep routine. I must admit, I did enjoy getting more than 4 hours of rest, but I deeply missed the feelings I shared with Ladybug before falling asleep. After laying her down in her crib, Bean and I went outside to enjoy the cool breeze while chatting about the day on our porch swing. I had tucked her under my right arm and started brushing her hair with my hand when I noticed that she was overheated. 103.4. "Let's get you some baby Tylenol and see how you feel in the morning", I said. As we started to head upstairs she looked up at me and asked, "Can you sleep with me tonight? Like you used to when I was a baby?"
I gasped, "How do you rememb..." I caught myself. "Gladly" I said with a comforted smile.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Strong Western winds shook the trees as the morning birds chirped in harmony a song only they knew. The garden flowers blooming as the sun beamed down, and the smell of freshly cut grass engulfed the air. Tables, decorated, and lined up. Food, music, and beverages ready to go. All the silverware polished - anticipating for the guests arrival. No, I'm not talking about the preparation for the Royal Wedding, but our Springtime block party. One by one the families arrived, bringing food and desserts to last a week. Kites, hula-hoops, balls, powered toy cars, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, and 15 kids filled the cul-du-sac. The sound of adult laughter and screaming kids echoed for miles.

This was the first block party experience for Ladybug and Bean and we didn't know what to expect. We knew Ladybug would be fine because she is so young. But Bean on the other hand, it could be interesting. My dear husband, Brett, was manning the grill and taking orders like a proficient chef. I was attempting to play hostess while loosely keeping an eye on Bean and trying to keep Ladybug's temper at bay. I was in the process of serving drinks when all of a sudden we heard a loud shriek and knew instantly that it was Bean. I quickly panned the crowd looking for her when I spotted her limping slowly in my direction. Blood dripped from her knee as she cried and mumbled the reason for the accident. I quickly took her inside and fixed up the cut, while listening to her explanation for losing the race. "Those kids are MEAN. They won't move out of the small kids way and I fell down", she said matter-of- factly. When we returned outside I lined up two racing groups {small and big kids} then acted as referee. This game lasted for about 5 minutes as the older kids lost interest watching the smaller kids run with their tiny strides. "They are too slow!", one yelled as they proceeded to run off and grab balls to play catch. The toddlers laughed, unfazed, happy as clams, oblivious to the world.

An hour later, after putting Ladybug down for a nap, I was finally able to relax and grab a glass of wine. I grabbed a cheeseburger, salad, a few chips, and reclined in my favorite beach chair. The juice was pouring out of the meat, cheese melting, the smell of the caramelized onions made me even hungrier. I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and lifted the burger to my mouth....."AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH", the same shrieking we had heard earlier. It was Bean. I dropped my plate on the ground, jumped up, again panning the crowd looking for that same sad face, but this time I didn't see her. I quickly looked to my left and in the grass I saw her on top of one of the older girls, screaming and pulling her hair! Brett quickly ran over to break up the fight; grass tangled in their hair, frantic {crazy} looks in their eyes...."What is going on!?", Brett questioned Bean. She was so out of breathe that she couldn't talk. After regaining composure she proceeded to explain that an older girl started to steal Easter eggs from the 2 year old's while taunting them. So she attacked her. One of the dad's started to laugh while she retold the story and said, "Yah, that's right girl. You got gumption." Bean shook her head, "Ya, I have gum", she said in agreement.

Later that evening, after everyone had left and the only evident sounds were the oscillating fan and the sound machine echoing from Ladybug's room, we explained that physical contact and fighting is not necessary. We were proud of her for sticking up for herself and her friends, but there are better ways to go about it. After some discussion {and negotiation}, she agreed to write an apology letter in the morning. As I leaned over to kiss her goodnight I accidentally knocked her doll off the bed. She immediately jumped up and put up her dukes, ready to fight.

"Etta Bean!", I yelled in shock. "I'm just kidding momma. I have gum, remember?" "Ha, yeah, gum", I repeated as I tucked Bean in Dolly in for a good night's rest.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Kid

"Wow, those girls are beautiful", the woman said to me as I struggled to push the double stroller down the store aisle. I kindly thanked the woman for the compliment as the Ladybug and Bean looked up at her staring back at their faces. "Are you a live in or do you have any openings? My daughter is looking for a nanny", the lady questioned me as if I were in an interview. My jaw dropped and my face must have turned demonic as the woman's eyes widened with fright then quickly scurried away as if to understand that she had made a terrible mistake. "What happened!?", Bean asked worriedly.
This is the thing. If I hadn't birthed my girls I would swear that they weren't mine. Bean has all of my husband's features; from the color of her hair, the shape of her nose, the twist of her smile, and no meat on her bones. Ladybug has my body shape {short and stalky}, but again has my husband's light hair color, blue eyes, and all of his facial features. I guess in hindsight I shouldn't have been angry at the situation but it has always bothered me that neither one of my girls resemble me AT ALL.

Today was probably one of the warmest days we have had all year. It was 86 degrees by 9am, and Bean was eager to play outside. "Pleaaaaase, mama!? Ohh come on. It's a beautiful day!", she begged as I could feel the humidity seeping from under the door. I reluctantly gave in. As I opened the door she quickly pushed me aside and ran out into the driveway, as if it were her first day of freedom. Shortly after, our neighbors joined in the morning festivities and we were all watching our kids play in the cul-du-sac. One of the young boys suggested that all the kids should race and I could be the judge. "Oh ya, this should be fun", I thought as I looked at Bean's excited face knowing damn well that she would be in last place. As I started to line the kids up, Bean feverishly told me to wait as she kicked off her shoes and socks, then neatly placed them in the grass behind her. "I'M READY!", she yelled while stepping back in line with her comrades. I rolled my eyes realizing that I used to do the exact same thing as a kid, then quickly yelled "GO". She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her but laughed the entire way. As she made her way back, one of the older kids yelled "fifth place" as she finished the course. She looked up at me with the biggest smile and said, "AGAIN!" with determination.
After numerous races, the kids finally agreed to sit down for potluck lunch. PB&J's, salami sandwiches, grilled chicken, edamame, Pirates Booty, carrots, boiled eggs, turkey sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, water, milk, and apple juice. As we placed all of the food on a picnic blanket I secretly grabbed one cookie as the kids jumped on the rest of the food like little ants...... everyone but Bean. She carefully anticipated the moves of each kid, ready to pounce like a lion if anyone neared the cookies. A sigh of relief overcame her as they remained untouched. She started to mumble to herself as if pretending to converse with the other children as she slyly grabbed one while peering out of her left eye in my direction. Before I could even say her name the entire cookie was in her mouth - chocolate smeared on her cheeks and hands due to the warm weather. "ETTA!", I yelled in shock. She looked up at me, lifted up her chocolate covered hands, and smiled revealing a mouth full of chocolate covered teeth. "Cookies!", she exclaimed.

Ha, I realized to myself. She is definitely my kid. If only that lady could see us now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Being Pretty

The smell was awful. It was a heavy stench like old wood and plastic melting together in a hot silver tin. My mother would swirl the concoction for what seemed to be hours as the wax became somewhat of a burning lava to be placed on her face. I watched her with awe as she carefully, but quickly, painted the wax on her lip and eyebrows, then waited as it dried and molded to her skin. As it hardened she would proceed to hold her skin taut with one hand while delicately peeling the wax from her face. I can still remember the shape of her pursing lips and frown in her forehead perfectly as if it were yesterday.
As I would witness this torturous ritual, I recall staring at her and thinking that she was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen. Her hair was always styled, makeup always perfect, she was enviously thin {thanks to Jane Fonda aerobics}, and had a wardrobe that I couldn't wait to raid. When she would leave the room to cook dinner I would secretly open her Avon boxes and play with their contents - as if they were my palette and my face the canvas.

Saturday, thanks to my understanding husband, is My Day. I get to do whatever it is I please. Sometimes I choose to spend the entire day with the family, while others I like to have a little "me" time. This Saturday, I decided to have a little personal time by getting my eyebrows and lip waxed at my favorite Ulta Brow Bar, which is a far cry from the archaic method my mother used. The store was running a promotion and doing free makeovers. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity. After sitting in the chair for 30 minutes, I walked out with a new makeup kit that is almost sold out nationwide, killer cat eyes, and feeling like a hot mama. I couldn't wait to get home to see my husband's reaction.
As I walked in the door of our home I could hear everyone in the backyard. "I'm home", I yelled eagerly anticipating their approval of my new "look". I could hear Bean yelling with excitement as she dropped whatever it was she had in her hands. I could see her little shadow growing larger as she rounded the corner when all of a sudden our eyes met and a loud scream filled the room. She quickly averted and headed back outside. "Dadda! Dadda! Mommy scared me! She looks like a clown", she said out of breath. Great, there goes my surprise. I quickly ran upstairs and to the bathroom to dispose of the evidence. I was embarrassed and slightly mortified that I actually thought I looked like Natalie Portman, whom I told the makeup artist to emulate, not Bozo the Clown.

After I washed my face and cleaned the sink of the remnants, I fell backward on my unmade bed. I felt like a complete fool and I needed to curl up in a ball with my tail between my legs. All I wanted to do is feel and look pretty again. I closed my eyes and started to picture myself on a beach, the warm sun beaming on my skin, the sound of the ocean breaking on the nearby rocks...."Momma, are you ok?" I heard Bean whisper from outside my door. "Of course, baby, come in here. Come cuddle with me." She slowly entered the room unsure of what she would see, and I could see the worry melt from her little face as she recognized the one staring back at her. She climbed on the bed, and buried herself in her favorite little nook under my right armpit and my chest. She stuck her right thumb in her mouth, closed her eyes, and held my right hand with her left. I couldn't help but stare at her beautiful long eyelashes, her perfect baby doll complexion, the gorgeous color of her hair, and fullness in her lips....ah, to be young again I thought. Her eyes slowly opened as if she could feel my gaze and her thumb popped out.

"Momma", she said as she traced my arm with her fingertips.
"Yes, Etta?"

"You are so pretty", she said then kissed the backside of my hand. "Just like this" (pause) "I love you."

"And I love you too", I repeated with an understanding smile.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Little Surprises

Being the second child in my family, I remember playing in the sand outside by myself, making mud pies, riding my trike for hours around our U shaped driveway, and studying the thousands of ants in the garden. Recalling all of this and seeing how we treat Ladybug, I'd like to call this neglect. I swore that if I ever had another child that I would make ample time to give her the same amount of attention as we did with the first. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible in our household.

I was working on potty training with Etta Bean for the second time this morning as we could hear Ladybug squealing and laughing. I peaked out from the bathroom to see her looking up at the hanging butterflies rotating from her little disco ball in her swing. We like to call these her "friends" - I never intended her first playmates to be inanimate objects. With the first child we cuddle, coddle, and hover over them protecting them from the tiniest particle from touching their lips. Now, we don't even consider cleaning the binky when it falls on the floor or if the dog licks her tiny hand. Looking around our house there are four, YES only 4, pictures of Ladybug up from the past 7 months. The rest, approximately 50, are of Bean.

Looking at both of the girls we can see a huge difference in personalities. Bean is very carefree, independent, strong, very outspoken, and a daredevil. I strongly believe that it's because we did give her so much attention and this made her confident. Ladybug on the other hand is very timid, scared, and unsure of a lot of her surroundings. During playtime, Bean would study every toy as if she were a little engineer, determined to understand how and why things worked. Ladybug, on the other hand, grabs the same exact toy and bangs it on the nearest unfortunate item as Bamm-Bamm would in the Flinstones.

We sat down outside to have a little afternoon snack, and as usual I placed a few Puffs in front of Ladybug while Bean and I shared some veggie chips and carrots. As we were stuffing our faces, we could see Ladybug frantically trying to grab the tiny pieces with her delicate fingers. As each piece fell from her hand, or get stuck to her face, we could see the determination escalate. Finally with a roar, ahhhhhh, she quickly brought her hand to her mouth and stuffed that little Puff in her mouth as if it never stood a chance. We yelled with excitement and she looked at us with a smirk.
Later in the day I was sitting with both girls and as I was watching Bean play, I was repeating ba-ba, da-da, ma-ma, Et-ta, to Ladybug as I always do hoping that soon she will start to copy me. She ignored me and stuck a toy in her mouth. I got up to help Bean cook "fake food" as Ladybug yawned, giggled, kicked her legs, then roll to her back then to her tummy. She slowly started to rub her eyes and quietly hum and moan similar to a puppy when they scratch their ears."mmmmmmm".....another yawn. MMMMMM, ahhhh. Ma-ma.

This is the funny thing about life. Just when you start questioning yourself about being a bad parent, life will always throw you a little surprise.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Language Barriers

"¡Hola", "Ni-hao", "Shalom", "Bonjour"! Bean yelled excitedly as she skipped through the street. As she continued to skip her forehead wrinkled and eyes tightened as she concentrated. "Momma, how do you say thank you again in Spanish....and in France, I mean French", she corrected herself.
My parents speak Spanish as frequently as they can when in the presence of our children. Bean gets the gist of what they are trying to say, and will react and respond accordingly. A few days ago we attended a couple's baby shower, and there was an elderly woman who took to Bean as if she were a great-great grandchild. I watched Bean listen to this gentle woman, who was whispering stories of what could be long lost family secrets. She was so entranced with this lady that I too thought that she may be a long lost relative. I quickly snapped out of this magical moment when I realized that she was speaking Romanian.

Then there is non-verbal language. Ladybug and Bean can have full conversations with one another even though one is still saying ga-ga. Bean will be running around outside and stop suddenly near our dog, Kodiak Bear. They give each other "that look" then proceed to chase each other, barking and laughing, as if they read each others minds. We were frantically gearing up to head out of the house today when Ladybug started to wail. "She's hungry", Bean stated. "Nope, I fed her an hour ago. She's just fussy. Let's go!", I said trying to gently push her out the door. "But she's hungry!", she said not moving. Ugh, this kid! I looked at Ladybug who was staring back at me with a sad, slightly worried expression on her face as if I may deprive her of food. Man! We'll be late again I quickly fed her then we all scrambled out the door.

I admit {and now realize} that I simply don't listen to them. With all of the chaos circling us daily how is it possible to tend to their every word? They simply want our attention and want us to "hear" when they are sad, angry, happy, content, bored, scared. Verbally and non-verbally.
Ladybug and Bean were laying in my bed for a nap as I sat next to them supervising {yes, I lost that battle} and they were both dozing off. Kody barked and startled Ladybug. She let out a little gasp that quickly opened Bean's eyes. We all stared at each other waiting for the next sound, and that's when I felt it. I could see, feel, and hear the love gleaming in their eyes. Ladybug's binky fell out from the corner of her mouth and she let out a tiny squeal, smile, and leg kick. Bean didn't take her eyes off of me once. She slowly blinked while giving a tiny smile and whispered, "Thank you mama for letting us share your bed". A moment later she opened one eye, caught my gaze, then stuck out her tongue.

Ay dios mio.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Idle Threats

You see it everyday. Parents bending down to their kid's level whispering that someone bad will get them if they don't stay by their side. Alleging that if they make that "ugly face" again, the next time it will stick.....and then there is the infamous "...if you suck your thumbs anymore the doctor will have to cut them off". Yup, this was me today in full effect - to the point that I wondered how my daughter is not scared to wake up every morning. I like to call these....Innocent Idle Threats.

I'm not sure when I decided that threatening a two year old was acceptable, but I have a feeling it was somewhere in between trying to get a good nights rest and the idea of talking {scaring} her into behaving/reacting faster. In all honesty, my intentions are good. Her thumbs look like they are out of a horror movie; peeling, red, sometimes bloody, and scabbing over. If she runs around the store like a hooligan someone may decide to kidnap her, or better yet just kick her out of the store. But seriously, what is the best way to keep your child from misbehaving while understanding the consequences?

This afternoon we had decided to sit outside and enjoy the extremely warm weather. Ladybug was down to her diaper and Bean had pulled out almost every toy in the garage. I was sitting on my beach chair, jeans rolled up, and enjoying a nice cold beer...OK it was a Izze Tangerine drink, but I was trying to paint a picture for you. It looked like we were having a garage sale, minus the beer and low ballers.
Bean kept running to the next best thing like it was going out of style. "Mom, where's my helmet?", "Please? Bubbles? Can I do bubbles now?", "HAHA, watch me!", she said after her failed attempt to hit the ball off her Little Tykes T-Ball set. I was dizzy watching her run around but glad that she was burning off some energy. "Baby girl, let's paint or draw the letters of the alphabet with the sidewalk chalk", I suggested. She looked at me with the kindest little smile and refused, returning to her Barbie car.
Ladybug was trying to eat Puffs by herself and drinking out of her Sippy cup while twisting and turning in her stationary entertainer. Hours had elapsed and it was finally time for dinner. "Come on, let's go. Time to clean up", I said knowing damn well that this would be the biggest challenge of the day. Of course, no response. She kept playing as if I had never said a word. "Two minutes, little one", I reminded her. Again no response. I started to move Ladybug and our belongings inside and Bean came rushing in behind me ready to eat. "No, ma'am. You need to clean up or Santa won't bring you ANYTHING that is on your wish list. You know he see's you every day, just like in the song. In fact, he's going to come and pick up all of those toys outside and take them back", I stated firmly. Her eyes opened in shock, mouth dropped, and took a quick breath in..."What!?". Now I felt like the meanest mom on Earth. The idle Santa threat partially worked. We both tackled the mess the little tornado left in its wake, while Bean repeatedly asked if Santa was going to come after all.

After putting Ladybug to bed with her favorite Criblanket, Bean and I headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She jumped up on her stool, smeared on the toothpaste, and started brushing {and humming} away.

"Hmmm,hmmmm-mmmmm-mmmmmmmmmm, LA, LA LAAAAAAAA, scrub, scrub {brush, brush, brush}...ALL DONE!"

"OK, my turn Etta Bean", I said as I grabbed the toothbrush from her hand. She opened her mouth with a gasp. "That's not nice. Santa isn't going to bring you ANY presents. You need to share and don't pull things out of people's hands!", she lectured. Like I said, Innocent Idle Threats.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Battle

**Sorry that there was not a Friday post, but you will soon understand why**

Friday morning:
1812 Overture was playing in my head as I glanced over at Ladybug feverishly shaking her rattle to the speed of the music. At the same time Bean was running around me in a circle incoherently screaming as if I were her prisoner being tied to the stake. Sippy cups dropping as the cannons exploded, the baby pinching my arms and pulling my hair as I fed her, and Bean throwing toys around like they were confetti. We were in the midst of a battle and I was not about to win.

Friday afternoon:
With bruised arms and tighter stomach muscles (due to picking up dropped cups), I was still trying to gain some ground and win the battle. Bean advertently refused to pick up her toys and showed stronger threats of combat as she pointed her finger to me and said "I'm 16 years old, I'm not a child (thanks, Little Mermaid).
The battle followed us to the park. She ignored my requests and continued to play and toss rocks in the water, REFUSED to eat her lunch but then hijacked my bag of veggie chips. I ran to retrieve them - all while watching her laugh with excitement. Moments later I see Bean and her little play mate whispering as if plotting against us moms. Coyly they each picked flowers and walked them over to us, then ran off laughing and screaming like banchees, arms flailing in the sky, then rolling down the hill as if doing drills and preparing for more combat. They had handed us live grenades.

Friday evening:
"2 more minutes before bedtime" I warned as Bean was finishing her puzzle. Silence. I peered out from the doorway and saw her standing still and staring at me from across the hall. We were in a standoff....who would draw their guns first? "Etta, I'll read one book but it's time to go to bed," I said calmly. She leaned back as if about to sprint, then charged at me like an animal that had fallen into a prickly bush. I was preparing for an exploding collision as I inhaled, held my breath, and closed my eyes expecting the worse. I felt her little cold hands grab and squeeze my thighs with unexpected force and wasn't letting go.
"Momma, I love you", I heard her say. She looked up at me with her big beautiful brown eyes, smiled, then calmly climbed in her bed. The white "truce" flag had finally been lifted in the air.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Memory Games

The moment I gave birth the entire area in my brain that used to hold memories deteriorated. I can barely remember what we did last week much less memories from high school or college. It's rather sad but this is why they started adding DHA in organic milk, right?
Every day I am more and more impressed with Bean's memory. People have always told me that kids have amazing memories, but I never thought that it would be that of a toddler Einstein. "Look, it's like your old car!", Bean points to a black SUV as we're driving down the freeway. "No, sweetie, mine was silver, not black", I said smiling at the attempt. "No mommy, up there in front of the truck." Good lord, she WAS right.

There have been numerous studies, reports, and articles written that say the key to improving/keeping your memory strong is repetition. This is why kids like to play the same games a million times, sing the same songs until they are blue in the face, and hear the same books read to them over and over - to the point that you are ready to accidentally let the dog eat them.

"ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR circles", she exclaimed as she lined up the bracelets on the floor. "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR squares", she added. She looked up at the daybed and counted 4 pillows and 4 dolls with the same vivacity, and then stacked 4 blocks on the table beside her; then quickly knocked them down. "Curious little child", I thought and smiled at her idiosyncrasy. The day went on as usual but for some reason she was stuck on the number four. She demanded 4 more minutes of play time, 4 more cookies when I had already given her two, and 4 episodes of Dora. During dinner this same manic behavior continued. She only wanted 4 chicken strips, 4 sliced carrots, and 3 sips of milk with one final long sip that emptied her glass.

"You are so silly today, mama!" I casually said to her. "Why? Why did you say that?", she replied. I explained how I observed her fascination with the number four and wondered why she never counted any higher. "Team Umizoomi!", she said. At this point she started singing the theme song to the Nick Jr. show that comes on every morning at 10:30 {which happens to coincide with Bean's morning snack and Ladybug's second feeding & diaper change in which the process lasts about 30 minutes}. Embarrassingly, this is when I had to explain to my husband that it's a show that I allow her to sometimes {ok, everyday} watch as I'm feeding the baby. I had heard that song a million times but I didn't know that SHE knew the words - they count to four in the intro, by the way.

Repetition, repetition, repetition wins the day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Little Helper

Being helpful is a behavior that we were all taught at a young age. "Help your grandmother get up from the chair", "Please grab my bra that's hanging from the doorknob", "Mija, grab me a Coke from the fridge, please", I recall my mother saying to me as a little girl. Since I was the youngest child I never had a problem understanding the correct time to be helpful. However, I believe that this is not the case for the oldest child.
One of the greatest things about Bean {Etta} is that she has the most loving heart, and always has your best intention in mind. "Mommy, are you OK!?", she asks after I cough. "Here, let me help you", she says as I struggle with the laundry from falling to the floor as I transfer from washer to dryer. So it was not to my surprise that she would apply this behavior to her little sister.

Our morning routine consists of 30 minutes of Dora the Explorer for Bean while Ladybug {Adelaide} struggles with having to endure tummy time. I was brushing my teeth and looking at my reflection in a daze when I heard Laybug's binky roll off the bed and to the ground. Before I could even run to get it, I see Bean excitedly slide her thumb into Ladybug's mouth and exclaim, "Here Addie, use my thumb! Shhh, shhh, shhh, it's OK!" Of course, I had to run to Addie's aid and explain that although I know she was trying to be helpful, it was not appropriate to put fingers in anyone's mouth. A sigh and an eye roll followed my reprimand.

Instead of our morning walk we ended up running a few errands. Bean's "little helper" instinct came in handy by helping me carry a few light bags of fruit, pick out baby food flavors, and ever-so-politely saying "thank you" to the lady who finally moved out of our way in the baby aisle {Bean could tell that I was annoyed and ready to plow her down since she had selectively ignored my request 3 times}. We got some lunch and decided to have a little picnic at the neighborhood lake to watch the birds and look for turtles. We were enjoying our lunch and Bean accidentally spilled the entire cup of lemonade on herself. "It's cold! I'm soaking!", she squealed shivering. I jumped up and ran to the stroller and grabed the stroller blanket and t-shirt that I keep handy to clean up the mess. No sooner did I hear "Here, Addie! Eat some more food. Open your mouth!" Time seemed to be in slow motion as I dropped everything, pushed the stroller aside, and yelled "N-n-n-n-n-o-o-o-o-o-" - hands flailing. My first thought was that she was trying to feed Pirate's Booty to Ladybug but she was attempting to feed her the baby food that I {ignorantly) left at her side. I quickly apologized and explained that only adults feed babies, not kids. "Sorry mommy, I was just trying to help" Bean said while pouting and lowering her head. This, of course, broke my heart.

The rest of the day was filled with chasing butterflies, spraying the vomit off the baby's stationary entertainer with the waterhose, and enjoying a late dinner at the local Italian restaurant. "It's going to be one of those nights", I thought to myself as we finally paid the bill and I realized that it was close to 8pm {girls are usually in bed by 7:30}. When we got home we scrambled to clean up the playroom, give baths, brush teeth, and get them in their pj's and in bed. Ahhh, quiet time. Ten minutes later the baby started screaming and crying. My husband and I glanced at each other and it was an unspoken decision that we'd let her cry it out. We continued with our nightly chores until I realilzed that Bean wasn't asleep but singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as sweet and as quietly as she could. She sometimes sings herself to sleep during naps but not usually at bedtime. I started to head to her room when I realized that the singing wasn't coming from there, but from the Ladybug's room! I peaked in and saw the baby sound asleep with Bean delicately holding her hand.......The Big Helper.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Screamer

It has been weeks since Ladybug has slept through the night, so it was a pleasant surprise when I woke up at 7:30 this morning. I had actually slept for 10 hours straight! This was the first time in over a year that I've had sleep like this. Ah, things were looking good for this glorious day. Our daily morning routine {showers, diaper changes for both girls, breakfast feedings, and a 30 minute lesson plan in the playroom} went smoothly. "The stars must have been aligned last night", I thought as I glanced out the window to the brightly shining sky. It was no sooner that Ladybug started screaming from the top of her lungs and nothing, I mean NOTHING could stop her. I tried singing, cuddling, Mr. Binky, I changed her clothes and diaper, took her temperature, and even tried feeding her - all unsuccessful. Finally, out of sheer exhaustion her eyes became heavy and she fell sound asleep. Normally I would have panicked and called the pediatrician, but I decided to let her sleep and see how things went throughout the day.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon seemed to be better. Ladybug woke up happy as a butterfly, cured of whatever seemed to be ailing her. We all ended up going outside after lunch to play with bubbles and sidewalk chalk, and Ladybug laughed and squealed when Bean blew bubbles near her head. I've never seen a bigger smile come from that adorable little face. The excitement, joy, and innocence beaming through her bright blue eyes was incredible. The sound of both girls laughing warmed my heart and I was so content in this little moment. We decided to head back to the playroom for an afternoon snack and some coloring when out of nowhere, the screaming started again. It was uncontrollable and loud. Bean and I were like ants that had been disturbed in our ant pile...scrambling and looking around for something or anything that could be bothering her. I quickly placed her on her tummy time blanket and ran to the bedroom to call the pediatrician . I peered out from the doorway and saw Ladybug on her tummy, reaching for her little rattle that was delicately hidden underneath one of Bean's stuffed animals next to her mat. You have got to be kidding me. She wanted her rattle!? Two seconds later, more whining.

This time it was Bean screaming uncontrollably. She was trying to open the purple paint container, twisting and turning the lid with all her might. "Maaaaa-maaaaaaa, pleaaaaase! Open it! Open it!" I quickly ran to her side and opened the paint while explaining that all she had to do was ask nicely. "Whining and screaming is not the right way to ask. You just need to ask me and I'll help you", I said as calmly as I could. Then I looked back at Ladybug to see if she was OK and she was glancing up at me with a biggest smile on her face, as if to say, "Ha! I learned it from my big sister"! Yes, yes, yes....lesson learned. Babies:2; Me:0.

The Ladybug and Bean Blog Changes

When I decided to start my company I knew that I wanted a blog, but never had enough time to really decided what I wanted it to be finally after much thought I know the focus.

Starting today we will be going through a little change and this blog will feature daily stories about The Ladybug and Bean {our girls}. The stories will be loosely based on our daily experiences and hope that they will be entertaining, fun, and worth a little laugh. We look forward to sharing part of our lives with you all!

Happy reading. ♥

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When is it OK for a young girl to wear colored lipgloss?

My daughter is 2 and a half and loves Dora the Explorer, blowing bubbles, trying to catch butterflies with her net, Play-doh, and watching me put on makeup. Every morning, as I reach for my eyeshadow and blush, she eagerly rushes to my side to carefully analyze how I apply the make up to my face. Then she begs for me to apply some to hers, in which I explain that it's for adults only. As hard as I try to remind this to her daily, it never fails that as we're walking down the store aisle or through the mall she will find colored lip gloss that she just HAS TO HAVE {especially when it's a Dora themed lip gloss}.

I personally don't allow her to wear colored gloss - just plain, clear, SPF 15 chap stick. I feel that 2 is simply too young. I don't need her or anyone else thinking that she is older than what she she has her entire teen/adult life to wear makeup.

So, this brings me to ask.......what do you think is too young for a child to wear makeup and/or colored lip gloss? Do companies cross the line for putting products like this on the shelf?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Zoc Posen for Target

So, the girls and I were on our weekly Target trip today getting the necessities {diapers, diapers, and more diapers} when I just happened to see this BEAUT hanging in front of me. For those of you who don't have a few hundred {or thousands} of dollars sitting around, you can now get Zac Posen for Target clothing! I quickly snatched up the only size I could find {which happened to be a 3}. Needless to say, I can't fit in it so I'm going to see if the other Target has it in stock to exchange. If not, this is reason enough to help me drop those nagging 10 pounds. :)