Bad Mom?


I have a theory. I think that every mom and dad must have moments like the one I had yesterday. But they are so worried about what someone will think–that they don’t share them. And so instead, a cycle continues where new parents feel like they are the worst parents in the world…

The story begins on Sunday. My little family went to the mall, and decided to stop in the toy store. My daughter doesn’t have that many toys, and now that she’s super fun, I wanted to find some development appropriate toys. Nothing expensive. Nothing the requires batteries. Something to help her brain grow.

My husband, ever the practical one joked, “You know that most moms who buy lots of toys feel guilty. The baby doesn’t need toys–she needs you to play with her.”

And then my eyes sprung a leak.

The next day, after walking out of the store empty handed, I tried to explain to my husband why what he said hurt the feelings of this teacher mom teacher-mom. After being with 18 other children all day, I get home tired. I sometimes need a break. And that means that regardless for the great love I have for my daughter, sometimes I don’t want to play. That conversation ended with frustration, but with a resolve to give more to my baby.

Which brings us to yesterday. I need exercise to give me energy and keep me healthy. I need to spend time with my littlest love. Why not combine the two? Into the jogger went Ale. I buckled her in then headed out. Along the way we sang songs (she sings when I sing), and I talked to her about all the neighbors. We stopped at a co-teacher’s house, and I parked the stroller. I turned around to ring the doorbell. Can you see where this is going?

I heard a strange noise, and turned quickly to see Ale’s stroller rolling. And falling. And crashing.

This story could end very differently. This careless mother could have greater sadness in her heart. Lucky for little Ale (and her Mama), she crawled (almost!) away with a little scrape on her forehead. I sat down, held her, rocked her, nursed her, and prayed through my tears. We brushed ourselves off and continued our outing. All the while I debated if this was a story I should share with my husband.

I’m glad I did. He said, “Things like that happen sometime…” Which leaves me wondering, Why did HE start using the brake list week?

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

20131019-091340.jpgMy baby playing while I work at Starbucks.

Last year I was so excited for the arrival of October. Yes, I live in the desert. Yes, it looks the same all year long. But there was one little thing I couldn’t wait to get my hands on… Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks!

I tried Every. Starbucks. In. Town. Finally I accepted the fact that Mexico, while plentiful in the salsa category, was sorely lacking in the sweet-treats-of-fall category. Sigh. I feel like I should write a sonnet for my fall friends. After all, a love like this is a special thing. When I bought squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes the other day, I felt so at home! I hurried back to my kitchen to make Mama Bell’s “Pumpkin” Soup. Yummy! (And Victor was excited to find out that you could do something with squash other than adding sugar.)

Well, my love affair has blossomed with my little Sweet Pea. I like to add sweet potatoes or pumpkin to her food. I feel like she needs to grow an affection for those too. There are many autumn goodies in her future.

This year I was thrilled to hear that Starbucks finally got the message. Of course this came after I learned to make my own pumpkin spice lattes. And guess what? I like them better! I wake up in the morning, and put this on the stovetop: 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spices, and sugar to taste. I cook that and add 2 cups of coffee. Oh. My. Word. It’s like a party in my pink coffee mug! I drink that deliciousness down slowly–and I savor every drop.

If only we could ship the trees, and the leaves, and the crisp morning air, and the smell of campfires, and…

My Brother-In-Law


Once upon a time, my brother-in-law was just my sister’s boyfriend.  I remember it like yesterday…

Sidenote:  I’ve written about my sister before.  She has a heart of pure gold (except for the little black corner where punching-your-sister-in-the-gut lives…)  She has been through her share of country song experiences, and we’ve even written a country song about her experiences.  Luckily “My Husband Is A Lyin’ Cheatin’ Whore” isn’t the title of this song.  If there was ever someone who deserved to be loved and treated like a fairy princess–she’s it.

Enter Jacques Cousteau.


Love is Patient.  Patience is plentiful in his petit french heart–hence the reason why he was so longsuffering with Little Sister (Me).  I found it humourous that he is from France.  I proceeded to call him every French name I could think of.  I ran out after Pepé La Pew, Jean Valjean, Napoleon, and Jacques Cousteau.  I also used up all the French I remember from class (“Zut!” and “Ferme la bouche!”).

Love is Kind.  As their relationship continued, so did his patience.  I drank up all his fancy coffee.  I slept on his couch.  I went “shopping” in his kitchen cabinets.  I complained about my hairy pup niece (whom I love dearly).  I watched his tv, used his internet, and held nothing back.  He kindly accepted me and the key I had to his apartment.  When I quit my job, he encouraged me and allowed me to spend every waking moment camped out on the couch.

Love doesn’t envy.  My sister has been loved.  She has a husband who cooks, cleans, does laundry, shops, and most important–accepts her family as his own.  After all, Jean Marc didn’t just (have to) accept me as his new sister–he has a whole slew of new siblings, nieces, and nephews.  In our family, that means that sometimes the girls get to hang out without the boys.  That means that sometimes the nieces and nephews sleep with the aunts.  That means that sometimes, you steal away with the Mama Bear to have supper without your siblings.  They say when you marry someone, you also marry their family.   It’s a good thing he has accepted us for the crazy nuts we are!  I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…

It always protects…  Recently we all got fired up over an experience that Jenny and Jean Marc had.  Someone was oh-so-ugly to her–and who stepped in?  Jean Marc to whisk them away on a magic carpet back to the sane side of the river (Oh, why would you ever CHOOSE to live in Maryland?).  Despite the fact that my sister is fierce, it is always nice to know she has someone to look out for her.  After all, I’ve lived with that chick.  If you don’t buy her groceries and fix her food–she doesn’t eat.  

..always trusts…  A word of advice to my brother-in-law–don’t act like you don’t trust that girl.  There’s no one more loyal than she.  And you totally don’t even get points or sweet compliments for this.  It’s a given…always hopes…  Despite the fact that your lovely lady has muttered nothing but disregarding statements about marriage…always perseveres. Which brings us to now.  Here’s to fifty years, you two.  Much love!

Bon appetit!  (My third French saying…saved the best for last!)

P.S.  Apparently I have zero pictures of you…and about a billion of my bratty sister.  Hopefully the next fifty years will remedy that!

Life Away From My Baby


Night number four without my baby girl curled up beside me, and I find a piece of me is missing. I lay in bed thinking of my littlest love–snuggling me while searching for chi-chi… Tell-tale sighs of adoration and satisfaction escape from her as one hand curls around her food source.

We are like one, she and I, and as I move her body shifts as well. She settles in with kitten-like mews of contentment.

We drift off.

She wiggles and I awake, searching her face for signs of distress or discomfort. I guide my nipple to her open mouth as she blindly nuzzles my arm (still asleep). “Here baby,” I whisper, although she doesn’t hear.

Being a mom is grand.

The first night I left to come to the Tri-Conference in Mexico City, Victor told me how much Ale missed me. I felt a tug in my heart. The next night, she was happy to see me, but mostly just wanted to play with the computer. Today, four days later, I arrive and she gives me a half-smile as if to say, “Eh…just mom.”

My heart was full of love and tenderness, and I carted her off (away from her daddy) to win her over again. It didn’t take long for her to realize that she could rest easy with her heifer back by her side.

Chalk another point up for breastfeeding.