Month: June 2010

Have Baby, Will Travel

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Traveling by plane with an infant is always an adventure. Doing this alone only adds to the adventure. Packing a stroller, car seat and enough diapers for every passenger on the plane (who knows what might happen to her bowels at 50,000 feet), a baby’s necessities take up more space than should be allowed. Somehow, the smallest human on the plane requires more equipment than an entire professional basketball team.

As I enter the security line, after being dumped at the curb by my husband, the heart palpitations begin immediately. I not only remove my shoes, but those of my baby as well. She also needs to be removed from her stroller because security might find something other than Cheerios and smashed raisins stuck to her bottom. I work quickly so as to not slow down the line. Success – we make it through in record time with the kind help of security employees.

Arriving much too early for our flight to begin with, I notice a delay on the screen. Not good. How long can I entertain a baby in an airport? Sadly, I think I’m about to find out.

I quickly decide to get comfortable and feed her to avoid extra mess on the plane. I remembered to pack extra outfits for her, but forgot a spare T-shirt for me. Thank goodness it’s just my parents picking me up at the airport. Sour milk and squished peas become my fragrance of choice.

One hour later and still no delay announcement has been made. I let my baby walk around and push the stroller. She greets waiting passengers, especially those with food or a cell phone (not sure what the phone fetish is about, but it keeps her busy). We make our way to the counter to find out our plane is delayed indefinitely. Why? Because it’s broken and they’re looking for another plane anywhere in the United States. I contemplate leaving the secured area and buying a book, hoping my baby will soon tire since I’m already exhausted. She sleeps for 15 minutes. Are you kidding?

We leave the secured area containing only cheese and $9 salads. Good decision. I buy a book, and at this point need a light jacket since I’m now freezing. (Yet another packing oversight on my part.)

After a five-hour delay, we board the plane, and my baby reaches immediately for the flight attendant, who’s greeting everyone. She tells me my baby can help her and to go ahead and find a seat. Who am I to argue? I take my seat and pray no one sits within a four-aisle radius of me. No such luck, but I do score an empty seat next to me. This is really good.

A man takes the window seat next to me, and I warn him the baby in the front of the plane will be joining us soon. In his British accent, he said something kind and sat anyway. It turned out he was quite entertaining. He offered animal sounds when I read to her, and didn’t mind occasional feet in his face when she decided to stand on her head.

Luckily, every passenger around me was wonderful. They helped entertain my infant for the three-hour flight, and surprisingly, were still smiling when we landed. She never cried nor slept, but she was very social and seemed to befriend everyone nearby. I incurred the only mishap. I endured a bloody lip after she wacked me with her hardcover book. I didn’t see that coming, but better me than my friendly British companion.

Before exiting the plane, I cleaned up every row near me covered with flying baby snacks during our flight. It was the least I could do for the flight attendants. Practically running off the plane in glee, I quickly thanked everyone. I also considered asking them their itinerary so we could sit together again on our return flight home. Just in case the feeling wasn’t mutual, I opted against it and decided the trip was a success.

Courtesy of The Atchison Globe


Caffeine Addict

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The other day while shopping with my son, a young sales lady put a little gift in our bag.  It was a sign for a doorknob that said, “Family Tip No. 12 — Never Wake a Sleeping Mom.”   Either I need more under-eye concealer or she’s a mind-reader and deserves a promotion. I went right home and put it on my bedroom doorknob. When I’m really feeling tired I use the other side that reads, “Slowly, Quietly BACK AWAY.” I believe that’s pretty clear.
With all the children home for summer break that means more energy flying around the house (sucking every ounce of mine), five times the normal amount of questions asked on a daily basis, and absolutely no break unless I physically leave the house without any kids in tow.
My answer to this dilemma so far has been to greatly increase my caffeine intake. It doesn’t always work. Instead, my children are developing a palate for the taste of coffee and I’ve had to hide the espresso machine. Even my 2-year-old grabs my mug when I’m not looking.
To help with my lack of sleep, my husband surprised me with a coffee mug the size of the lake in front of our house. I refer to it as my coffee bowl. Two cups of that and I could help finish the Amelia Earhart Bridge in two hours flat.
I remember my pre-coffee days, which were inevitably before I had children. I didn’t need coffee back then. How did I even function? I also remember weighing less. I’m sure the extra 800 calories worth of coffee creamer I use on a daily basis doesn’t help.
At my last yearly check-up, my doctor nearly convinced me to stop drinking coffee. She said I’d initially feel tired for a few days, and after enduring the raging caffeine headaches, I’d actually feel better.  I was almost convinced until I assumed she didn’t drink anything containing caffeine.  She laughed and said, “Oh no, I live on it.” I laughed so hard, I nearly fell off the exam table.  And months later, I still need my fix. There should be a support group for this. Maybe I’ll start one.
Recently a friend recommended taking a B12 vitamin.  He said his mom takes them daily and she feels great. (She’s in her 60s, but I decided not to read anything into his advice.)  I bought the B12 vitamins immediately, grabbing the ones that contained 1,000 milligrams each. I had high hopes. The first day I tried one, I had the best nap of my life. I wish I were kidding.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned to cut my caffeine intake off before 4 p.m. For some reason, if I drink anything with caffeine after that magic hour, I end up staying up until 2 a.m. Then the vicious cycle starts all over. After having children, I was forced to change into a morning person when I’d always been a night owl.  Fourteen years later and I’m still working on it. (There is a learning curve, right?)
My long-term dream is to give up caffeine, especially caffeinated coffee. When I’m feeling optimistic, I daydream about the benefits, including internal peace on a regular basis.  It also includes not minding when there’s play dough crumpled and smashed all over my kitchen floor, or even when my angry teenager throws a cup of water at her 4-year-old sister in the house. I can visualize the calmer me now. Unfortunately up until this point, pessimism keeps winning out. I can’t fathom living without it.
One day I will be free of this caffeine burden and I’ll start my CA (Caffeine Anonymous) support group to help others. I think we’ll start each meeting with a nap.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

Memorable Questions & Quotes from Hope

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It's All About Hope

The entertainment never ends in the Baniewicz household, especially with our 4-year-old daughter. She continuously asks random questions that keep me on my toes. I could probably rent her out for birthday parties to help build her college fund.

Her barrage of questions is usually asked while I’m driving.  To my benefit, at least she can’t see my smirk, shock or the look of panic on my face.

Some of my favorite questions were this past winter. While admiring the snow, from the backseat I heard, “Mom, why do birds fly?” I said, “Because they have wings.” She continued, “Why don’t they have coats? Aren’t they cold?” I answered, “No, they have feathers.” She seemed satisfied with this answer. Great. Moving on.

Apparently still concerned about freezing animals (although we STILL have no pets), she asked, “Do dogs that live outside get cold?” I said, “The little ones do.” Quite frankly I thought, maybe the big ones do as well. I’m no dog expert, but the idea here was to provide comforting thoughts to a curious child.

According to Parenting Magazine, toddlers are “genuinely curious.” Well, duh? “They realize there are reasons behind the things that happen around them.” The magazine recommends keeping answers “brief and simple.” (No doubt this is for the parent’s sanity.) It also states “the barrage of questioning will pass when she’s 3 or so.” My daughter will be 5 in the fall and I don’t see things slowing down. I guess she falls under the category “or so.”

During the Christmas season, she asked if Santas live at the Eiffel Tower? Number one:  How many Santas does she think there are? And number two: When did she go to Paris without me? My answer was, “No, they live at the North Pole.” This was followed by, “Do they have moms?” I said, “Yes, they do.” What I really was thinking is, where does she come up with this stuff?

Always acting like a teenager stuck in a 4-year-old body, she asked, “I’m too young to have a boyfriend, right?” My answer, “Yes, there’s plenty of time for that later,” (and God knows I have to survive three of her older siblings dating first).

Still thinking about her future love life, she saw a beautiful dress in a store and said, “What’s that?”  I said, “It’s a Pocahontas costume.” She said, “Can I wear that when I get married?” I answered, “Sure, why not.” Who am I to squash her individuality?

Of course, it’s inevitable that at some point every child will ask where they came from. Some ask earlier than others, my daughter being no exception. She started with, “Why doesn’t everyone have babies?”

A few answers came to mind but I opted for the moral lesson.  “Because some people aren’t married.” I added, “Some people can’t have babies. They can’t get pregnant.”

She said, “You were pregnant with me once, right?”  I said, “Yes.”

“And with my sister?”



With my heart beating much faster, I stuttered out the answer, “Uhh, God put you in my tummy.” I decided this answer was age appropriate.

She repeated, “God put me in your tummy?” I said, “Yes, that’s right.” Luckily, she was satisfied.

Never short on enthusiasm, while walking into a restaurant in Kansas City, she asked, “We’re eating here?” I said, “Yes.” She exclaimed, “Are you kidding me, I love this place!”

Another favorite: “When I grow up I want to be a dolphin,” (as if we could all be our favorite animal some day).

And I’ll never forget her trying to pull feminine hygiene products out of my purse in church and asking what they were for. I no longer even bring my purse to church.  Problem solved.

Lastly, my favorite, (melt-your-heart quote from her), was when she said, “When I grow up, I want to be a mom like you.” This was followed by a big grin and hug. That alone makes it worth the challenge of parenting.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe