Two Great Baby Tips

I had a great idea for a blog: write about three of my best baby tips. But there was a problem, I could only think of two tips. So here you go. Two never-fail, good-advice-in-any-situation tips! Seriously, everybody in the universe who takes care of a baby should use this advice!

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1. I remember my mom pinching my tummy in the zipper of my footie pajamas. In high school a friend caught my lip in my zipper as they zipped up my coat collar. Here is a way to never zip your baby’s skin in their footie pajamas.

Pinch the zipper handle between your thumb and index finger. Bend your middle finger around the top of the zipper head (the part that slides), planting your finger pad firmly on the base (the part that fests against your baby’s skin). As you slide the zipper up or down, your middle finger protects baby’s skin from getting zipped.

I used to only follow this trick while zipping up and I thought my kids would grow o a ripe old age without me ever having zipped them. But just this morning my wiggly toddler got pinched as I was unzipping him. So from now on I’ll be holding the middle finger guide in place both up and down.

2. I was having trouble finding the diaper rash ointment, we call it booty medicine, in my diaper bag and also in the basket where I keep diaper supplies. I didn’t want to root for it, so I’d start without it then when it turned out I did need it, ugh, it was somewhere at the bottom . Yada, yada, yada. So I thought to myself, “Why can’t I just keep the wipes and the booty medicine together?” AHA! I taped the ointment tube to the side of the pack of wipes! It has been working great. Be sure to tape it so the ointment lids opens away from the wipes (mine is a flip lid). My wipes go faster. So when they are gone, pull of the tape and tape the tube to the new package.
There you go. Enjoy a slobbery baby kiss! Live is good.

Two Great Baby Tips

I had a great idea for a blog: write about three of my best baby tips. But there was a problem, I could only think of two tips. So I didn’t write the blog. But these two tips are too great to keep to myself. Two never-fail, good-advice-in-any-situation tips! Seriously, everybody in the universe who takes care of a baby should use this advice!

Three months old!

Three months old!

1. I remember my mom pinching my tummy in the zipper of my footie pajamas. In high school a friend caught my lip in the zipper of my coat collar. Perilous things these zippers. Here is a way to never zip your baby’s skin in their footie pajamas.

Pinch the zipper handle between your thumb and index finger, thumb on the bottom. Bend your middle finger around the front of the slider. Plant your middle finger pad firmly on the base of the slider. As you slide the zipper up or down, the first joint of your middle finger stays between the zipper and baby’s skin.

I used to only follow this trick while zipping up and I thought my kids would grow to a ripe old age without me ever having zipped them. But just this morning my wiggly toddler got pinched as I was unzipping him. So from now on I’ll be holding the middle finger guide in place both up and down.

2. I was having trouble finding the diaper rash ointment, we call it booty medicine, in my diaper bag and also in the basket where I keep diaper supplies all together in one spot Hint; do this if you haven’t already!). I didn’t want to root around for it, so I’d start the changing without it then when it turned out I did need it, ugh, it was somewhere at the bottom. So eventually I thought, “Why can’t I just keep the wipes and the booty medicine together?”

AHA! I taped the ointment tube to the side of the pack of wipes! It has been working great. Be sure to tape it so the ointment lid opens away from the wipes (mine is a flip top). My wipes got gone faster so I pulled them apart and taped the tube to the new package.

There you go. Actual fantastic ideas. Now go enjoy a slobbery baby kiss! Live is good.

Sharing a Memory

There is a backyard in California where time stands still. I lay down across a giant tractor inner tube and squint up at the bright sunlight shining dappled through the leaves. The grass is green and a bit too long. Odd fences crisscross the yard, remnants of dog breeding attempts. But right now I’m all alone, eating a hot dog with mustard, kicking my bare feet, and channeling my mother.

This yard is the only place she and I have shared, the same place, the same ages. Generations melt away, and I know that we are for once sharing the exact same experience. I hear the traffic driving by that she heard, the same frog sounds in the pond across the narrow dirt lane. I smell the grass and blackberries she smelled, and taste he same French’s mustard. I cold hot dog leaves the same greasy coating on the roofs of our mouths. We feel the sunburn on small spots of our skin where branches let the molten sunlight through. We both avoid scorching hotspots on the dull black tube.

Nothing in my mother’s life paralleled my own except this one summer afternoon in this yard on La Barr Meadows Road. She who married at 16 and finished high school, GED, at 35. Six older siblings and no dad, living always in California with rain and plants growing wild. Me a mom at 30, college graduate, oldest of four, and boy did I have a father in my life. Growing up in deserts, nothing grows by accident or of its own volition. Rain is still a fascination to me now, I’m 41.

And her life wasn’t sunshine, but I got to see her carefree and happy when we shared a sunny afternoon when we were both 12.

Bedtime Blessings

Baby sleeps in his own bed 2014I have a deep dark secret.

My two youngest kids sleep with me.  Now, I love sleeping with a newborn baby. Is there anything more luxurious than to cuddle up to that soft warmth and that clean baby smell? Listening to their quick steady breath simultaneously relaxes and revitalizes. There is just nothing better.

But. Yes here is the but. Things get problematic as this bundle of joy grows into a cyclone of tossing arms and legs and demands for midnight drinks. And I wake up immobilized in a sweatbox of my own making. DD5 sneaks in every night. Sometimes she doesn’t even wait till I’m in bed. And DS2 has slept with me since he was born. And I still might not mind, but Darling Baby is due in May, and I need space, mobility, and air circulation. I need to make a change.

I’m also hoping that DS2 already having his own bed will lessen any resentment he might feel. So we’ve started rearranging sleeping situations. And tonight is night one of operation Empty My Bed Before the New Baby Comes. So far, as you can see from the picture, so good.

I’m cautiously optimistic. DD8 and DD5 are crashed downstairs in the “girls’ room.” I’m not taking wagers on them making it through the night. But sometimes we moms have to take the win that we get. I’m off now to celebrate my roomy bed with some much-needed sleep. Good night.

What’s Stopping You?

Our little local museum has a fun "please touch" table. That and the caboose are always highlights.

Our little local museum has a fun “please touch” table. That and the caboose are always highlights.

Sometimes I don’t do things I should. Now that I’m an adult I report to myself quite a bit of the time. This makes it easy to slack off. So what’s a woman to do when she’d like get back on track? Stand by for truly profound and life-altering advice:
Do a little bit.
I know. It’s astonishing. But it really can be that simple if you let it.
I have fallen into a trap of indecision paralysis. You might be familiar, you can’t quite decide what would be best so you do nothing. I’m also prone to over-whelmed paralysis: where a task seems so daunting that I plain flat don’t start it.
And once you procrastinate something, it becomes a big, fat, hairy deal. But the opposite is also true. Take your first bite out of the task before and you’ll likely discover it wasn’t as bad as you’d told yourself on the sleepless, worried nights.
Take our family for example: We’ve got the homeschool year underway, I’ve done some of the “get ready for winter” list, mostly wardrobe related, and I am sort of semi-prepared for this month’s pack meeting tomorrow. Yay, me! What was I worried about?

Alright, next time we feel our steps slow with dread, we’ll take heart. Remember (Mary Poppins was it?) “well-begun is half done.” And half-way done is a good start on any project!

The Power of the Uni-Task

So much to do, so little time. That is often my attitude in general. I used to be a fantastic multi-tasker. I never sat down in front of the TV without papers to proof or my latest crochet project.

But the last year or so I’ve started to appreciate the value of doing just one thing. I think I can credit my children for this change. Let me brainstorm my reasons:

  • I am always one second away from catastrophic distraction. Seriously, you never know what might happen next, anything from blood to floods to broken eggs or just the unfounded piercing shrieks that punctuate our day.
  • I’m in a half-stupor more than I realized was possible. I worked a lot of overnight “sleeping” shifts throughout college, so I was no stranger to interrupted sleep, but boy-howdy my kids (and hubs, let’s be real) have taken that to a new level, a walking sideways, dreaming of diapers level where I can’t always tell real from imagined come morning.
  • Teaching things to kids is hard. You don’t want them doing anything other than what you say when you say it. I find it is a bazillion times easier to work with them if I’m not trying to do ten things, or even two, at once. I can focus, and so can they, sort of. And I won’t find them in their underwear, swim flippers and overcoat wandering into the bathroom with a peanut butter sandwich.
  • But mostly I want to grab snatches of joy where I can get them. Never have I had more reason to be happy. I always wanted to be a wife and mom. But now that I’m here and now that there are people whose lives are affected by my whim and fancy, I find that cheer is an elusive butterfly that I just don’t even think to catch and carry with me until after I’ve stormed all over somebodies fun day parade.

I still love the washing machine, because I s long as it is running I am always getting two things done at once. But I’m learning to follow Ecclesiastes “To every thing there is a season, and a time . . .”

Let each activity have its time. The things I get done will be more meaningful and less often burned. Maybe I can learn this lesson while I still have children. Otherwise I’ll have to practice it on the grandkids while their harried mothers follow my frantic, crabby example of motherhood. Ouch.

Hallelujah for Endings

We agree on the best way to spend a snow day.

We agree on the best way to spend a snow day.

Today was the last day of school for DS9. It was also his last day of weekly Cub Scouts and twice weekly Taekwondo lessons.

Let me tell you I am ready for a break! The only person more ready than I am is DS9. And he is not really the reflective grateful type (yet). So I’ll think about my gratitude more often than he does.

Now I’ve given this some thought. “How can I be so happy for these endings?” Well first, I could so use a break from reminding, re-reminding, checking up, and physically prompting him every day. Or as he sees it interrupting, annoying, prying and spying. Okay, I’ll still have to do this, mainly for dog duty and dishes. But we won’t be on a schedule.

And second, these endings are temporary. He isn’t graduating or getting married or anything permanent and life changing. We still have time together. I can take a deep, oh so deep, breath and relax and just enjoy my son.

I love him. I like him, too. I want to revel in that. Now if I can relax my uptight personality and embrace the joy-that-is-ever-present-when-you-care-to-look. Does that sound like a summer vacation plan?

I think I’ll have to make three summer lists:

Work To Do’s—yeah there are things that need doing.

Fun To Do’s—because if you don’t schedule them in these fleeting summer days will
pass us by and in December the kids will ask me yet again why we didn’t make
ice cream.

And

Love To Do’s—this will be my stop-and-smell-the-baby’s-hair-and-don’t-you-dare-
take-off-those-rose-colored-glasses-cuz-you-know-you-wanted-nothin’-but-to-be-a-
mama-since-you-was-a-girl-and-girl-this-is-it.

Thanks, guys. I get my best ideas when I’m thinking through, because it’s for you.