Life With Ladybug: Raindrops on roses

By Shannon Magsam, Ladybug’s mom

My husband’s niece, Kelly, and her husband just announced this week they’re expecting a baby. The family’s all a-twitter and Kelly and I have been e-mailing back and forth (she’s a lawyer in Philadelphia).

As we ping-pong messaged, I shared a few things with her about my pregnancy days:

  • I once threw up while driving down the road and almost wrecked my car.
  • I remember sitting in a greasy truck stop trying to write a story about a horrific bus accident that killed several students. I don’t know how I filed that story. The regular pregnancy nausea plus the terrible sadness of the event made it nearly impossible.
  • I was sick for weeks before telling anyone at work I was pregnant and making frequent trips to the bathroom to hug the toilet. My editor took me into the conference room one day and told me with much sympathy:  “If you’ve got cancer, you can tell me.”
  • 100px-capncrunch.pngMy male coworker didn’t come to work one day, telling our boss over the phone: “I think I’ve got what Shannon has.”
  • My husband and his buddy cooked hamburgers at our house one day and I had to drape by an open window in our bedroom just to breathe and to maintain my lunch. Let’s just say me and the Mr. “had words” that night.
  • I went days where all I could eat was Cap’n Crunch. Strangely, I still like the cereal.

The list could go on and on, of course.

batsatbeachsm.jpegInstead, I want to tell you about being the “Mystery Reader” in my daughter’s second-grade classroom. I brought Bats at the Beach, one of Ladybug’s favorites (the kid loves bats, what can I say?). We had a little time left after that, so I also read Bats at the Library. Then my sweet daughter volunteered me to sing. I declined, but decided to go on ahead after those little faces looked up at me expectantly.

I quickly chose My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music and by the end we were all singing together, “And then I don’t feel soooooo baddddddddd.”

I felt like Julie Andrews. Except I think that’s probably when one of the kids slipped me some strep throat.

After my reading time was over, Ladybug begged me to stay until school was over. Her teacher helpfully said that was fine, so we held hands to the fourth-grade class where the older kids would do “math games” with the younger ones.

We moved to two different classes. When we got to the second one, I decided to pick up a classic from the fourth-grade bookshelf: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret“. Wow. I hadn’t read that one since … well, maybe since fifth grade.

I must have read for longer than I realized, because when I looked up, there were no second-graders in sight. I asked the fourth-grade teacher, who was now lecturing at the front of the room, if the second-graders had gone back to class. “Yes,” told me, then: “Are you a second-grade mom?” I said yes and she added, “I was wondering who you were with.”

Red-faced, I slunk out, got lost in the hallway (I could seriously use a GPS for Christmas), then finally made my way back to Ladybug’s room.

I told her teacher that I had been reading and hadn’t realized the kids had left.

appleindex.jpg“Sounds familiar,” she said with a big grin, and I was reminded that in a recent parent-teacher conference she said Ladybug will sometimes daydream to the extent that the rest of the class will be lined up at the door and she’ll still be sitting at her desk.

Apparently my apple doesn’t fall far from her mama tree.


  1. Hi-
    Thanks for blogging BATS AT THE BEACH and BATS AT THE LIBRARY! I’m thrilled that Ladybug likes bats–they’re definitely undervalued critters, and can use as many “batvocates” as they can get.

    Happy reading, and “HI!” to Ladybug…

    Best wishes,
    Brian Lies

  2. Brian,

    Thanks so much for the kind comment! Ladybug will be THRILLED that you sent a message 😉

    I told the school children that you were the author AND illustrator of the books, which is really cool. And my daughter couldn’t wait to show them your upside-down picture in the back! They all laughed out loud when they saw it. “Like a bat!” they said.

    Ladybug has always loved bats and your books have made great presents. They’re very well done.

    Thanks again,
    Shannon Magsam

  3. I second that! Thanks for your comments Mr. Lies. When we visited Disneyworld all the other kids had stuffed Mickies or Donalds. Ladybug went straight to the stuffed fruit bats in Animal Kingdom. Batty still is one of her favorite stuffed animals.

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