Saturday, March 31, 2012


I deliberately created Belle, as I stated in a previous post. I asked The Universe for an anchor, a baby, a family and I manifested all of the above on December 7, 2011. I did not set conditions or limits on my gift, although ideally I wanted a baby in the confines of a marriage or other committed relationship. I knew from my years of conscious creating that The Universe doesn't always provide things exactly as requested, if at all. That being said, I did not go into my relationship with Belle's father hoping to have a baby.

Our relationship disintegrated around the time of Belle's conception (I compared the dates against an online pregnancy calculator.). I left Belle's father when he became outwardly aggressive and hostile. This scared the crap out of me. I dumped him and I went to Maui during my entire pregnancy, likely as self-preservation. Belle's father had seemed eager to settle down [with me] at the start of our relationship. I know he would have wanted to move in with me immediately had we known about Belle. This would have been the worst mistake of my life. Belle, however, is no mistake.

I am coming to terms with the reality that Belle's father won't likely be around to witness her many milestones. Personally, I would rather he stay back and not make false promises or otherwise upset me and my child. I got into enough trouble with health and social services for not being present during my pregnancy and for not receiving prenatal care to bring any additional stress onto me or Belle. The Universe does not make mistakes. I attracted the right baby at the right time. Now I can attract the right romantic relationship with someone who will match me vibrationally and will serve as a positive influence in Belle's life.

Ring sling

I am having major success carrying (and nursing!) Belle in her Chic Tots Chic & Cozy ring sling. We took nearly a two hour walk with her in it this afternoon. I love it especially now that I have mastered the fine art of threading the sling in three easy steps (The manufacturer provided something like fourteen pieces of instructions). Now that I am so confident wearing Belle in it (I wasn't at first, thanks to the lengthy instructions provided!), I face the stares, comments and concerns of others.

Some people think Belle is a puppy when I wear her in either the Chic Tots ring sling or the Hot Slings. Once they realise Belle is, indeed, a baby, they ask how many weeks she is, thinking she is a newborn. When I tell them Belle is nearly four months old, they say, "She's petite!" Some ask if she is cold inside the sling, if I made the sling (Umm, no!) or how comfortable I am wearing the sling. When I reveal how cloth slings can safely accommodate an infant of five pounds to a child of at least thirty-five pounds, they say, "That will break your back." I have been wearing Belle since her underweight days at four pounds something. She is now eight and a half pounds and growing, thanks to the comfort and warmth this close contact provides.

I must be the only [black] woman on Alameda's West end who carries her baby in such a fashion. I must introduce [race] because someone once assumed I was an African based on my manner of wearing Belle, that, and my curly/kinky hair. I have witnessed two [white] women and one [white] man carrying their babies in an Ergo (I have a similar Infantino.) on this side of town. I have only ever witnessed one [black] woman carrying her baby in a Moby wrap (I also have one of those, but I have yet to use it publicly) across the island. Most everyone else pushes their young in car seats that attach to stroller frames before graduating to the more traditional strollers where baby sits upright. Belle won't fit upright in her stroller for another several months.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Le petite

Belle officially weighs 8lbs, 7.5oz, up five ounces from last Friday. Aside from being born just shy of thirty-five weeks (A full term pregnancy lasts about forty weeks), Belle is proving herself a slow gainer. She lost almost an entire pound in the weeks after birth and didn't return to her birth weight until her sixth week of life (Many babies are back to birth weight by week two). This concerned her original doctor, who insisted I supplement breastfeeding with formula. He didn't say how to do this, however. When the couple of bottles I gave infrequently didn't plump the baby up, the doctor ordered Belle into the hospital, where a battery of tests were given. Those tests all came back negative for abnormalities or malignancies.

Belle took up to twenty-four ounces of formula per day for a good month after that. She went from 5lbs, 3 oz (January 20, 2012) to 7lbs, 10oz (February 24, 2012). Belle slowly weened herself from formula after this by nursing until she either fell asleep or drifted into quiet, contented alertness. She maintained her weight on breast milk alone for most of March, only picking up eight ounces before last Friday's appointment. Her new doctor suggested I give Belle at least a bottle of formula per day just to ensure she is getting enough calories. Breastfeeding on demand, plus five extra ounces [of formula] a day for three days, helped Belle gain five ounces between last Friday and today, Thursday.

I wasted half a bottle of "ready to feed" formula in this process. I am reluctant to open even an 8 oz canister of powdered formula because that defeats the goal of exclusive breastfeeding. Also, the canister puts pressure on me to clean bottles, measure and mix formula for an entire month's commitment. I would rather express milk for Belle with a breast pump than use additional formula, especially after last night. Belle took her last bottle of formula after breast feeding and then politely pooped runny stools. The poop stained her tunic and my bedding, down to the mattress pad. I fell asleep doing the laundry.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Human touch

I am re-learning the value of human touch through Belle. I lived alone for over twelve years before her birth. I needed those twelve years to myself after the smothering relationship I'd had with my maternal grandmother. My grandmother, a hoarder, had sought refuge in my room after filling her own room with mementos to the ceiling of the apartment we shared in Los Angeles. We shared a bed for many years, which made adolescent development very difficult. My grandmother monitored everything I said and did. I had absolutely no personal freedom, but I had every useless material good advertised on TV.

Those things were packed into boxes and spread throughout the duplex I'd inherited from my paternal grandmother once we relocated. I was so thrilled to be turning twenty-one and finally in my own room again. I spent six happy months in that room before my grandmother said she'd seen or heard something (A spirit, perhaps?) that scared her to be alone in her room. I moved back into her room for moral support just for a season until an argument drove me back into my room.

My grandmother and I stopped the affectionate touching that transpires in most families along the way. My grandmother's health severely declined about a year after I graduated university. Instead of giving her the healing human touch I am sure she needed, I retreated into (1) the fear that she would die soon and (2) the resentment that my own twentysomething life would be forever sidelined by her failing health. My grandmother's own fears about her pending demise eventually manifested as harsh verbal abuse and other criticisms that hurt us both. We didn't know how to be affectionate at the end.

I lived in what one of my astrology books calls "splendid isolation" after my grandmother died. I attracted the right short term players for long term lessons. I never found lasting romantic love or stability. It took me many years to re-establish relationships with my extended network of aunts, uncles and cousins. It eventually took relocating to Alameda, meeting a variety of people and having Belle to finally get that human touch I'd been missing. Belle and I are now growing together, each providing what the other needs to thrive.

On why I almost left.

I almost left Belle back in January. Doctors, nurses and social workers were on my case about Belle not gaining enough weight despite my best breastfeeding efforts. To make matters worse, I had participated in social drinking (without blacking out or engaging in risky sex, I must add) and sushi eating when not conscious of my pregnancy. Certain agencies wondered if I was truly fit to raise a child ("Just because you're old enough to have a child, doesn't mean you should!"). When allowed to leave Belle momentarily to fetch myself some clothes from home, I wondered if I would be allowed back in. In the midst of this uncertainty, I considered walking away to save myself and Belle. Belle wasn't thriving on my breast milk anyway. I strongly detested, and even feared, her father. That relationship had long ended. I had no grandparents, aunts or uncles to surround her with. I wasn't prepared for her, nor did I feel deserving of her, at all.

I didn't walk away from Belle. I weathered the storm, literally and figuratively (It stormed the entire weekend of Belle's hospitalisation.). I faced what seemed like endless questioning from people in authority on why I hadn't sought prenatal care, why I didn't know I was pregnant and why Belle wasn't gaining enough weight on breast milk alone. Add to this my parents' murder/suicide, my maternal grandmother's harsh nurturing in light of her daughter's murder and my failed romantic relationships, and I felt like a complete failure at life. I let the walls close in on me during Belle's hospitalisation for four long nights. Because this was a children's unit, food for me, a breastfeeding mom, was not guaranteed. I had no one at home to bring me any food or to otherwise do anything for me. I settled for whatever scraps the nurses could arrange for me on a tray. I also settled for harsh words and unkind treatment because I didn't have parents, grandparents or a man around to advocate or support me in any way. If there was any karmic debt owed, I sure paid it that weekend.

I am very lucky to have Belle in my life today. She is an active and healthy 16 week old, if not petite. I see myself and her father in her. I also see shades of my parents and grandparents. I wish we were surrounded by these special people. I wish, like my new girlfriends with babies, that I had chosen a good man to serve as both husband to me and father to Belle. I attribute witnessing my parents' murder/suicide as a five year old to my questionable romantic choices as a thirty-five year old. The domestic violence I witnessed from zero to five left its imprint on me, especially my mother's murder. I remember breaking down in tears as a seven year old on the afternoon of the wedding of a family friend. I had come to associate marriage with violent death. I decided this young woman was too beautiful to be murdered by her new husband. I refused to bear witness to what I knew would be her undoing. I decided that day that I wanted no part of marriage. It didn't help matters that both sets of my grandparents had divorced. My maternal grandmother, who raised me, daily preached the horrors of marriage, child rearing and other intimate relationships once my puberty started. I was given Barbie dolls and other material delights even through my teens to curb typical teen development and dating.

Marriage, children, and the creation of a solid and stable home were not encouraged or supported in the households I grew up in. I truly had nothing to look forward to when I found myself turning twenty-three years old, having outlived my parents and grandparents. I had absolutely no idea how I could possibly rebuild my family, or even if I should. You bet I made mistakes in the twelve and a half years before I had Belle! I surrounded myself with people who did not respect, support or understand me at all. None of my romantic relationships were ever geared toward longevity, especially not my relationship with Belle's father. It may have looked promising in the beginning, but it had no staying power whatsoever. This all came to a head the moment of Belle's birth.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie!

Today I made a peanut butter and jelly smoothie from reduced fat milk, "no sugar added" grape juice and "all natural" creamy peanut butter. I blended two tablespoons of peanut butter, 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup grape juice, plus a few shakes of nutritional yeast (optional). The smoothie started out lilac (white milk plus deep purple grape juice) and went dish water after that. It was subtly flavored and highly nutritious (B vitamins, calcium, calories, fat, etc).

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have finally organised Belle's 0-3 mos clothing (8-12lbs). One drawer holds colorful one piece body suits and socks; one drawer holds white onesies and bodysuits, bibs, hats and elastic headbands; one drawer holds baby gowns, pajamas, play suits and sleep sacks. I haven't yet sorted through the "going out" fits or given them their own drawer. I must also figure out where to put the knitted pieces. I am tempted to re-organise the bottom drawer because I feel I could do a better job. I am very excited for this next round of wardrobe. Can't you tell?

Belle and I skipped church this morning after a long night and lazy morning. I gave her a bath in the early afternoon and dressed her in blue and pink polka dots. We trekked out to our favorite Mexican restaurant about six this evening, with the sun still shining bright, for dinner. Belle slept very well while cradled in her Chic Tots Chic & Cozy sling. She slept through my entire meal (a bowl of pazole) and a short after dinner walk. Belle read me the riot act as soon I poured myself a cup of tea at home, demanding to be breastfed as if she'd never done it before.

I tell Belle all the time how excited I am to one day share tea with her when she is ready. I speak of the virtues of the herbal tea, particularly rose petal tea, that she will drink at whatever age small children start sipping warm beverages. Until then, I am currently enjoying Lipton tea in moderation because it is caffeinated and I am breastfeeding. At fifteen weeks, Belle is too young to get why mommy needs her tea. I am usually caught breastfeeding Belle with one hand while sipping tea with the other. I miss drinking hot tea in a hot bath.

I also miss social drinking. I spent a good chunk of my time in the pubs and restaurants around my home these past five years. It proved a good way to meet people, including Belle's father. I would have never done this in Los Angeles, my birthplace. I never felt safe enough to be out there the way I do here. I made so many connections in these places that some of my friends in the food service industry gave me things for Belle. Belle will hear all of these stories as she grows.


I infrequently dream of auditoriums, stages and my struggle to walk on those stages without falling off. This morning I dreamed I walked into an auditorium very much like the one belonging to my high school alma mater. A myriad of wooden staircases surrounded the stage. I couldn't decide which staircase to ascend. I picked one and started climbing, careful not to teeter off my platform shoes. I looked over my shoulder just in time to see very unflattering photographs of myself on a monitor. Every monitor in the auditorium featured a slide show of unflattering, indecent photographs of me. I quickly descended the staircase to stop this. The person in charge of the slide show, who is a real life friend I won't name, stopped the slide show by biting off one of the nipples of my detachable breasts located near the light and sound boards. Belle and I were co-sleeping at the time of the dream. I am sure we were nursing then. Belle doesn't have teeth yet, so I don't know about the biting. I do miss the stage though. I must find a way back there.

Friday, March 23, 2012

4 mos check up

Belle had her "4 month" check up and shots rather early today, before she'd had her fill of me. I had to feed her on the bus en route to the appointment, on the way back home from the appointment and at some points in between. Her natural inclination to stretch her body underneath my breasts made nursing inside her Hot Slings extra challenging and indiscrete. I had to employ the assistance of a green blanket with a delightful monkey print lest all of Oakland's Temescal get a thrill.

Belle gained about half of what she could or should have gained this month. She gained at the rate a slightly older baby would, if using BreastFedBabies as a guide. Her doctor suggested I offer Belle two to four ounces [of expressed milk or formula] a day in addition to the breast. Belle's diet was being supplemented with formula after every feeding for a good month after being hospitalised for failure to thrive. This gradually tapered off as she nursed herself to a contented sleep after every feeding. When her weight gain slowed, the health visitor suggested I re-introduce formula "just to see what she'll take." Belle took two ounces of formula after her feeding and spit it back up. I never worked it back into her diet.

I am now wearing Belle in a Chic & Comfy sling by Chic Tots. I just nursed her comfortably and successfully in this sling until she dozed off. This is a first in this particular sling for me. I have had a love/hate relationship with this sling because the "ring belt" aspect proved more of a learning curve. The sixteen piece directions are very difficult to follow. I threw those out when I discovered a way to secure the sling on the body in three simple steps. "Hands free" nursing is very handy, especially when feeding "on demand." I can keep her at the breast and stay active myself. Neither of us misses anything when I wear Belle during feedings. Here's hoping her weight catches up significantly between now and Thursday's weight check! This is a baby with a history of stalling in her gaining, only to suddenly pack on nine ounces in two days. I am counting you, Belle.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3 mos

Belle is slowly outgrowing her "Newborn" clothing. She started growing longer (22 inches as of two weeks ago!) before growing fatter (7lbs, 15.5oz last week!). Her length falls in the middle of the "0-3 mos" size on the Carter brand size chart. Her weight, however, hasn't caught up. "Newborn" clothing still fits her, despite her length. Last night's "0-3 mos" pajamas fit Belle perfectly. Today's "Newborn/0-3 mos" onesie practically swallowed her whole. I had to switch her to a generously cut "Newborn" sized onesie.

I am excited to dress Belle in her new size, with new colors and patterns. There are baby gowns included among those items in her "0-3 mos" wardrobe. I am equally excited to pack away the "Preemie" and "Newborn" sizes, keeping only those milestone items (Baby's 1st Christmas bib, onesie and PJs, for instance). I am keen to take those items to a shop across the island that accepts gently used baby and toddler items for more clothes, equipment or toys. Baby clothes are like currency in that respect.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I miss my mother now more than ever. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night calling or crying for her out loud. I expect her to appear in the dark doorway of my room. If she were alive, we could compare notes. She could offer me the moral support that I feel I need from her. It saddens me that neither Belle or I will ever know her.


I spent nearly thirty-five weeks pregnant with Belle and blissfully unaware. It happens! It happens more often than you might think. There is an entire television show devoted to this phenomenon. I used to watch and wonder just how a woman could survive an entire pregnancy and not know it. Then it happened to me.

I had the shock of a lifetime when my water broke. Having never observed a pregnant woman up close (I have no sisters. All of my friends with babies gave birth far away from me.), it took me a couple of hours to put it all together and get myself to a hospital. Belle came quickly and relatively pain-free. My entire labor and delivery, from water breaking to birth, lasted less than five hours.

Sadly, my birthing experience was akin to a police interrogation. I know I was racially profiled. Doctors and nurses offered neither sensitivity nor compassion. It was assumed that I had been with a married man and had been ashamed to face the facts. It was assumed that I had been the victim of domestic abuse, and that me and my new baby were not safe. It was assumed that I would surrender my baby for adoption. Certain agencies were notified. There came a moment when I thought I would be separated from my baby.

I gave birth alone, to make matters worse. I had no family or friends flooding the waiting room. I had no one to call and no one to advocate for me. My own parents and grandparents were long deceased. I had no siblings. I had ended my relationship with Belle's father many months before her birth and had erased his phone number. It was just me and my new baby against the world.

Belle lost more weight after we returned home and regained it more slowly. The pediatrician we were assigned to offered no breastfeeding support. Instead of immediately directing me to the resources I needed to facilitate a successful breastfeeding relationship, where the baby thrives solely on mother's milk, the doctor scolded and accused until he ordered Belle into the hospital.

I had more questions to answer once we arrived at hospital. I wasn't feeding my baby, for all they knew. Lactation and nutritional consultants blasted my efforts and ordered my baby be put on formula. I even had someone assume that I, a university educated woman, a degree holder, was not capable of following the simple directions on a can of infant formula. I was heartbroken when I was informed I had lost my chance to exclusively breastfeed my baby.

It took six weeks before tensions simmered down. It took an understanding social worker to finally realise I am not that sort of young, irresponsible [black] woman who has a baby in the streets by a man she doesn't know and goes back out there. You know, the type of woman who leaves her baby with whomever, or, worse yet, leaves her baby home alone, while she goes out partying?

Today I am a proud baby-wearing, breastfeeding mom. I finally receieved the breastfeeding support I needed from Belle's new [woman] doctor. The milk is in! I am very hands-on and very interested in my infant daughter. I fall in love with her each time I look at her. I may have gone to Maui during my pregnancy, but that doesn't mean I am not fit for motherhood. Belle is well cared for and well loved by me. I will never let anyone tell me any different.

Deliberate creation.

I deliberately manifested Belle. I began listening to Blog Talk Radio, an internet based forum where virtually anyone can broadcast their views by renting airspace, in November 2010. I discovered, on Blog Talk Radio, Carl Munson, The Barefoot Broadcaster. He had author Maggy Whitehouse on as a guest in the days immediately following American Thanksgiving (Carl Munson and Maggy Whitehouse are UK based.). I called in just to listen and found myself an active "on air" participant, commenting on my weekly work with the law of attraction.

As the year slowly came to a close, Maggy Whitehouse suggested we ditch the typical New Year's resolutions and try what she called a "Round Robin" letter, addressed to any person, living or deceased. Maggy Whitehouse said to dream big in this letter and to date it one year ahead. She said to write it, put it in a safe place and re-read it one year later to see what in the letter has been accomplished. I wrote my Round Robin letter to my [deceased] mother, dated January 6, 2012, The Feast of the Epiphany (The Catholic feast day in honor of the baby Jesus' meeting with The Three Kings.). I placed this letter on a table near a picture of my mother and forgot about it.

I wrote my mother with news of personal and professional success I had achieved in 2011. In 2011, I had moved into a rich working life as an in demand intuitive tarot reader and regular contributor to The Barefoot Broadcast and other internet radio shows (which I did manifest through early Spring of 2011). I had become a sought after public speaker, writer and workshop leader. I organised events and distributed press releases in promotion of the various causes, people, places and things that touched my heart. Everything had fallen into place in my life, especially after marrying my sweetheart and delivering our baby.

I attended a baby shower for one of the employees at my beloved neighborhood Mexican restaurant about two weeks after I wrote my mother this letter. While I enjoyed myself at this baby shower, I secretly longed for it to be for me. I brought home the various plastic trinkets from this shower and playfully created a honey jar around them. A honey jar is a magical tool said to sweeten something or someone to its maker using a container of honey or some other sweetener, handwritten prayers and other articles pertaining to the desired intention. I crafted my honey jar around home and family, particularly a new baby. I even added in the plastic baby I'd found inside a King cake back in 2010. I set this honey jar on my dressing table and forgot about it.

I spent the rest of January and February 2011 clearing out clutter, recycling old papers and erecting ancestor tables with family photographs visable throughout my home. I took very indulgent prosperity baths with crystals, gem stones, gold glitter and various oils, all of which allegedly work to create abundance in one's life. I committed Psalm 23 to memory. I learned a powerful affirmation, which I recited daily, even hourly: I give intent to receive abundance in all its forms, love, joy, peace, prosperity and health. I started seeing Belle's father by the middle of March. I wasn't trying to get pregnant. He disclosed from day one the vasectomy he said he'd had rather early in life. I was okay with that at first. I wasn't trying to get pregnant. Still, I asked myself if I could lead a life without children if need be.

I confronted G about his vasectomy one month into our relationship. He'd made some comments about a married friend of his who had yet another baby on the way. That's when reality hit: I was in the wrong relationship if I really wanted marriage and children. Our relationship ended just weeks later. I remained tense for months afterward. I could feel the familiar pre-menstrual cramps, but without the normal flow. I thought perhaps I just needed to relax about the things in my life I could not control, thereby giving my flow the chance to return. When I started to feel intermittent pains with little trace of a period (and very little physical changes that would otherwise indicate pregnancy), I feared my family history of gynecological problems had caught up to me. I hesitated making an appointment because I didn't want bad news.

Abundance in all its forms manifested in my life when I delivered my baby on the evening of December 7, 2011: love, joy, peace, prosperity and health. I remembered the Round Robin letter, the honey jar and all the prosperity work I had done all year. I didn't marry the sweetheart I'd written my mother about. That ship had sailed long before I started dating G. In G, I had attracted the right man to myself to facilitate my own re-birth as a mother. I am now interested in everything pertaining to mothers, babies, children and families. Those things I wrote my mother about are becoming true in a different way than what I ever dreamed possible.

I deliberately created my new life and I am not finished creating. In my own words, I detailed how my life had changed only after giving birth and sharing my home with my baby and her father, my husband. While her father and I are done (I moved on from him long ago!), there will be someone in my life who will serve as a father figure for her and a partner for me. Meanwhile, I am immersing myself completely in Belle's care. I am restructuring my life to reflect this. I am getting what I have put my energy and my efforts toward and it feels good.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Storytelling for Beginners

Last night I read my fifteen week old daughter a story using tarot cards as a starting point. I put my creative writing degree, my tarot reading skills and my years of experience in comedic and dramatic improvisation to work with the hopes that I would succeed in entertaining an infant. I used my copy of the Hanson Roberts deck, a collection of rather benign images on shorter card stock, perfect for baby's ever growing hands. I concentrated and shuffled as best I could while Belle impatiently demanded her bedtime snack (I had planned to read Belle her story while we nursed). I pulled The Hanged Man, The Hermit, Page of Pentacles, King of Pentacles and Strength before I panicked.

I had an actual question in mind when I shuffled the cards. I had to eschew that to make the story make sense. I didn't know where to start. I usually throw cards in one top row of Past, Present and Future, with the bottom row as the Advice. The cards don't always fit into that particular mold. Sometimes they want to be read right to left, from the center outward or with the very last card as the answer. With this in mind, I started with the Strength card, casting myself as the fair maiden with a subdued lion as my familiar. I heard myself ramble in many parts of the story. Belle, the chubby cheeked chow hound, stopped nursing and listened intently. I eventually got to the point of the story: Poopy the eighty year old Hermit received the funding he needed from Princess Belle to release the star from the lamp, call The Hanged Man off the tree and introduce him to Princess Belle. They all lived happily ever after. Here's to my next storytelling effort!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh, Boppy

"But what is that?" I asked when the n-shaped mystery object floated past me on its way into my house. "It's a Boppy," my friends said. I assumed it was a firm pillow to soothe the new mommy. Concerned and very confused, I decided to Google it. I found images of Boppy pillows in various prints online, along with a variety of washable slip covers to protect the already richly hued pillows. A random click on one of the images revealed a Boppy is an infant feeding pillow. I judged the almost mammoth size of my Boppy against my preemie baby and looked even more puzzled. How in the world was this ever an infant feeding pillow?

I stuck my new [to me, at least] Boppy in a corner and forgot about it until my preemie hit fourteen weeks old. Internet searches had offered very little help, often showing the pillow pictured alone and with a brief description of its use. I needed a visual aid on just how to use this thing. During a surprise phone call with an old friend, I learned just how to use a Boppy: Mama hooks Boppy around her waist with the "legs" of the pillow facing behind her. Duh!

My little preemie is currently very comfortably positioned onto the Boppy while I nurse her "hands free" as I blog this. The Boppy is, therefore, heaven sent. Too bad it doesn't do windows, or, as luck would have it, change diapers. Oh, Belle!

Lip Smackers

I re-discovered Bonne Bell Lip Smackers about a week after I gave birth to my daughter. I had severely chapped lips immediately after delivery and no lip moisturizer in sight. I snagged myself a tube of Bonne Bell Lip Smacker 100% Natural Pink Guava and liberally applied. Were my lips ever supple!

My lips loved every last bit of moisture in that tiny tube. I can't say for sure if that scent is, in fact, guava, having limited experience with said fruit. It smelled wonderful whatever it was. I expected to replace that tube with an exact replica. Three whole months and a different druggist later:

I brought home the Disney Princess Lip Smacker Biggy in Vanilla Sparkle. The tube is chunky and the scent is vanilla. The lavender colored wax disappears on the lips, leaving on a soft sheen. The moisture is weightless and the taste amazing. I think I like this one better than the natural one.

Baby Lotion is a Hair Product!

I bought my baby a bottle of "all natural" baby lotion: dye, fragrance and paraben free. What about the bottles of paraben enriched pink stuff, the tried and true grandmother of baby lotions? I remembered my grandmother's sage advice and added the pink stuff to my hair care routine.

That's right!

The pink stuff is excellent on my kinky/curly Afro hair. I have used it as a leave-in conditioner to detangle and set damp hair. I have used it prior to heat styling my hair straight with a flat iron. I have rubbed my hands together and scrunched random sections to nourish and shape a natural hair style.

I look fabulous!

I called my grandmother crazy when she used the pink stuff to set my fringe on those wacky, bendy rods made popular in the late 1980s. It worked then and it works now. I simply warm some of the lotion in my palms and style away. The fatty alcohol, silicones and mineral oil add moisture my hair so greatly needs, especially now that I am a mom. It's just like any other good hair cream, really.

What products do double duty for you in a pinch?