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Meet & Greet with Padma Lakshmi

Huggies® partnered with Baby Loves Disco and Padma Lakshmi to celebrate squirmy babies everywhere with the new Huggies® Little Movers Slip-On Diapers and an afternoon of dancing and wiggling for both parents and their little ones.

A group of local bloggers and I caught up with the Top Chef host to see how's she handling motherhood with her 10-month old daughter Krishna and get her take on some of the toddler issues we're currently experiencing. Here's some of the transcript:

Padma Lakshmi, Jill Seiman, Ilana Wiles, Adam Cohen, Serena Norr

Serena, Mama Goes Natural: How do you maintain the work/home balance?
Padma Lakshmi: It’s really hard. My schedule isn’t regular in the sense that sometimes I’ll be working on the show and filming flat out [Top Chef] for 6 weeks and then I’m full on. In one way I am lucky because I have it easier than most full-time working mothers because I’m home more but on the other side, it’s hard to plan so everyday is different and the way I balance it is every morning I think about what I have to get done today and what’s the most important and I just prioritize that list. So even you don’t get to everything, you make sure you get to whatever is most important first.

What do you feed your daughter and how do you get her to eat well?
Padma Lakshmi:Now it’s a problem to get her to sit still long enough to eat. I’m very lucky because she has a great appetite and she’ll tell me, “I want to eat.” I never gave my baby baby food. I never gave her…she doesn’t eat any store bought packaged food. The only thing she does eat that’s packaged now is yogurt, cheese, and Pedialyte Popsicles but other than those three things, I always made my own baby food. And I made it in the morning, very simply. At first I was using a handy blender but now she eats everything, she just doesn’t eat meat. She eats eggs and seafood but no lamb or animals- nothing with wings or legs (chuckle). She always ate close to regular food. She’s on an Indian diet. She eats a lot of lentils, a lot rice, a lot of vegetables and it’s always some savory porridge-like thing and it always has Edamame or black eyed peas. She loves bell pepper and she loves cauliflower and the way I do it is I tell her, “Look at this baby flower.” And so she kind of loves cauliflower because of the way it looks to her like it’s a baby flower. And now she’ll eat raw cauliflower as a snack and the same thing with bell pepper. I’ll say, "It looks like a bell, see the shape?" And now she’ll eat spears of bell pepper as a snack. And I always did that. I think it’s hard to get kids to go from baby food to adult food. I just did that because that came from my culture but I know girlfriends who are American who are finding it hard.

She doesn’t eat sugar. We went to my cousin’s house and my cousin has an 8-year old daughter and she said, “Oh, I got this chocolate.” And I said, “Put it away.” She doesn’t know what chocolate is and I don’t want her to find out. I mean I’m sure she will when she goes to nursery school. She gets to eat birthday cake once and awhile but I don’t even give her grapes after 3 or 4pm because she freaks out, you can tell that it affects her. She’s very sensitive.

Ilana, Mommy Shorts: Do you take your daughter to restaurants and how do you deal with that?
Padma Lakshmi: I take her to restaurants all the time. I won’t take her to really fancy restaurants often but if it’s a really fancy restaurant like Marea…we made a total mess. But we went at lunchtime. It’s best to let them know you’re coming. Find out if there’s the baby seat and I go when it’s not like 8:30 pm on Friday night. And I think that she’s okay in restaurants…I mean, she still makes a mess, there’s just no stopping a certain level of mess but I think she behaves well because she wants to be grown up and she wants to be at that table and I think if you always expose them…if you get kids used to normal life as early as possible then they have tendencies familiar to them. They’re used to being in that environment.

Adam, Dada Rocks!: What’s your biggest challenge now that you're a mom?
Time management. Bar none time management. Everything takes me longer! Time and space. I live in new York City. There’s a Fischer-Price orgy in my living room that I’m not sure how to decorate around. Even the puppy mats that come out, I don’t have them. I have carpets I have area rugs because I don’t want to look at green and blue and yellow all the time.

You can buy mats that are kind of brown and a sage green and a little more natural colored. The space thing…well I was always a great packer from my mom but now I’m even more efficient. I can pack for two weeks in a little bag because I need the space for her stuff.

I want to preface everything I’m saying with...When people say, "What’s your best advice..." When a question starts like that, which a lot do now, that it’s a lot of pressure.

I always say my best advice is to not follow everything you read, rather ask the women in your family or ask your relatives who are much older and have done it a few times because every family is different and every culture is different. There are certain things I want my family to do because we have a historical precedent for it that may not be applicable if your normal diet is steak and potatoes you may not want to give that to your 10-month old. Our normal diet is rice and vegetables and lentils and that in puree form lends itself to baby food.

I think it’s always terrible when you see celebrities who have been mothers for 2 minutes and all of a sudden they’re experts. I’m by no means an expert. I learn every day and I fall flat on my butt every day too and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.

Padma Lakshmi: Who’s Sebastian’s mom?
Glamamom: That’s me!

Padma Lakshmi: Your son was born early September? I was born on the first, my grandmother the second, my mother the third.
Glamamom: Wow, Virgos, that’s intense!

Padma Lakshmi: So hopefully he’ll be as neat as Virgos are.
Glamamom: We’re not there yet but hopefully he’ll change (chuckle).

GIVEAWAY: Having arguably the most slippery toddler in the universe, I'm thrilled to offer 1 Glamamom reader a 3-month gratuity coupon supply of any Huggies® Diapers, plus the Huggies Baby Loves Disco Party Pack including: a cool Baby Loves Disco child’s t-shirt, fun stickers and a CD to hold their very own family disco!

We've been using the Slip-Ons for over a month now and they're great. As soon as Sebastian started walking, diaper changes became difficult and we went through a long period where he would become hysterical. He wore pull-up water diapers all summer at the park and the beach so the Slip-Ons were an easy transition. They make the process more interactive and don't require that he lie on his back. They feature easy to tear tabs for removal, an adorable Winnie the Pooh design, and the HUGGIES LEAK LOCK® System for absorbancy.

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For additional entries:
(2) Sign up for my blog via a FeedBurner subscription and confirm your subscription.
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I'll randomly select a winner on Monday, November 14th. Open to US readers only.

UPDATE: The winner is Kelly Tillotson. Congrats!

Huggies® provided me with free Huggies® Slip-On Diapers, a 3-month gratuity coupon supply, three complimentary tickets to the Baby Loves Disco event, a Baby Loves Disco CD, t-shirt and stickers, in exchange for this reader giveaway. However, my opinions on the product are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Huggies® or their products. Photo via Huggies®.