Sunday, March 12, 2006

Flight of the Ladybugs

We've just returned from a weekend at Matt's parents' home in central New York. They are unbelievably kind--transporting themselves to a basement bedroom so we can have the upstairs rooms near the bathroom. When I was horribly nauseous while pregnant this room swap began, and it hasn't stopped yet. You would think we would offer them our comfy king-sized bed on their visits to our home instead of our "guest futon," but we have yet to do so. At least we offer them the freedom on the futon of being a floor away from our frequent night-waking children!

For some unknown reason, Matt's parents' home is infested with ladybugs. "Infested" is likely too strong a word, but they are present enough that we pause to shake out our clothes in the morning or brush off the pillow when going to bed. Despite being both harmless and beautiful, ladybugs were worthy of a full-blown phobia for Kyra on this trip. She and Lucas were attempting to share a bedroom--a scene that reminds me just how much I have become like my parents! For a couple of hours each evening we would sit in the living room listening to the loud giggles and shrieks from under their door. (This shared room arrangement became even more interesting when Lucas learned how to crawl out of his pack 'n' play and didn't hesitate to do so!) I absolutely remember hours of illicit laughter and play behind closed doors with my own sister, as parental "tone" became increasingly threatening from the other side of the door. I'm certain our two believed they were equally invisible to us behind closed doors, and found our "tone" just as amusing as I once did. Our big threat? Kyra would need to move to "our room" (also known as Grandma and Grandpa's room, though our kids have never seen them sleep there!). The ladybugs are more plentiful in there, so this was fear-inducing for Kyra. We only followed through on the threat during a nap, and even then Matt had to build a special card table tent for her and I eventually capitulated and slept with her on their bed (not that I minded the nap....). At the start of this post I was contemplating asking for ladybug remedies, but as I recount the power of the threat, I'm realizing their presence likely works in our favor.

And speaking of phobias, I suppose it is only fitting that I have a child with at least a mild neurosis. My big fear? V O M I T! In all forms, as it affects all senses--the sound of someone throwing up, the sight of someone throwing up, the smell of throw up, the memory of someone throwing up. On and on I could describe this fear, but I actually get a little twinge in my stomach and my mouth starts that awful pre-puke salivating just by typing the words. My mother once explained the root of my fear as being the frequent car sickness of my sister in early travels. Apparently I was often the target of the surprise vomit attack and this had a lifelong effect. Anyway, we visited an outlet mall on the way to Matt's parents. After relative success in purchasing new shoes for the kids (who grew out of their current pairs overnight--no lie--and were suddenly coming home with daily blisters), we were driving down the hill to rejoin the Mass. Turnpike. A car in front of us stopped suddenly. Matt slammed on the brakes just as quickly and said, "You've got to be kidding me," in disgust. Meanwhile I had a front row seat for the passenger in the car leaning out to expel her lunch, her breakfast, and potentially a snack from the night before. Not pretty--and a sight we were fortunate enough to witness again at a red light at the bottom of the hill. For those who know about my phobia, you can imagine the consequences--my instant queasiness, my reaching for the plastic bags every time one of the kids even coughed. I am still racing around the house with Clorox wipes, hoping against hope to outclean the nasty stomach virus as it moves its way through the northeast. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my fears. Catherine Newman, of Ben and Birdy fame, wrote about her own barf fears here. After learning that the friends who hosted Kyra last weekend for the aforementioned sleepover had been chased down by this virus soon after her departure, I spent the entire week living in dread. I actually said to Matt, "If given the choice between being independently wealthy and having none of my family members throw up ever again, I'd take the 'no vomit' option." It's just that bad!


Kara said...

HA! That must have been the Lee outlets and I can envision that hill perfectly.

I was queen of carsick so I always got the front seat and the car was exactly the temperature I wanted it. Not my sister, or my mom, or my dad. ME. The carsick kid has all the power.

I lived in the Berkshires for a while and we had major ladybugs. Insane, carry your children away in the middle of the night and leave no note ladybugs. Did you know that they smell REALLY bad when you kill them on purpose with half a can of raid? Well, that's what I er, um, ah, heard anyway. Protect the poor child from the ladybugs is all I'm saying

Kristen said...

Hmm, better ladybugs than scorpions, I'd say. My grandmother's house had scorpions (she lived in West TX, everyone's house had them *shudder*). I always got carsick, but never actually to the point of vomiting, so I never got any special treatment like Kara, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

We have had ladybugs all winter and it ahs been a source of joy for Molly. Each one is named Speckle and she puts thm on the house plants. Your barf story had me laughing. I was a puker in the car, I'm sure I ruined more than one paint job!


Jennifer said...

Kara, you're right--we were in Lee, and I don't think I can visit those outlets again without some serious flashbacks.

Thanks to all for the ladybug tips!

Heather S. said...

I don't know if I ever heard Mom explain your phobia as a reaction to me always being sick in the car--makes sense! I remember that queasy car feeling all too well and still get the front seat quite regularly because of it! (And really, I don't make it up--I really feel differently in the back!)