Month: March 2010

Sleep deprivation

 - by Sarah Lipoff

The other morning I woke up and didn’t feel like I’d slept.  This had been happening quite a bit lately, and I was turning into a grumpy, ornery, confused mama. It wasn’t so much that the baby was keeping me up, she was actually starting to sleep through the night.  Her uber-early morning wake up around 4 am was the problem.  I could get her back to sleep after a couple times of playing put-the-paci-back-in-the-mouth, but then I couldn’t fall asleep.  The husband snores, the cats want to be fed, and I start thinking and thinking.  This means I average about 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. Not a good recipe for the perfect mommy.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem for new moms, and it can affect your health and ability to be the great mom you want to be.  I learned a couple things over the weeks that have helped me get back on track.  Just because they worked for me doesn’t mean they will be lifesavers for you, but when you are sleep deprived, anything is worth a try.  Sooner or later you will find what works for you, and a good night’s sleep will be achieved by all.

First off, exercise.  I am not joking.  Every morning I spend at least 10 minutes doing some sort of cardio exercise, many times in the enclosed comfort of my home while my daughter watches from her high chair.  My eyes may be crusted shut and my hair might be sticking up all over the place, but getting regular exercise is good for you, and it gets your body moving in the morning.  This helps you have a healthy heart start to the day, and will encourage your body to sleep better at night.

Secondly, have a cup of coffee or tea, whatever you like.  Even if you are breastfeeding, a cup of coffee isn’t going to be problematic to your breast milk.  Caffeine in small amounts won’t hurt baby, and it gives your body a lift in the morning.  Keep it to one cup, though.  More could lead to drinking caffeine all day, which will make getting a good night’s sleep challenging.

Third, sleep when the baby is sleeping.  Seriously!  That means if baby falls asleep regularly at 9 pm, then it is time to think about making bedtime 9 pm.  This can be a hard one, but if you want to get 8 hours of sleep again and you know baby sleeps from 9 pm to 6 am, then you need to sleep from 9 pm to 6 am.  When baby is napping, don’t be afraid to lie down and get some shuteye.  Even if you lie down and close your eyes but not sleep, your body is having a chance to relax and recuperate.  Take this time to go over any worries you might have or concerns you are dealing with.  You will feel better after.

Fourth is to ask for HELP!  This is hard for new moms, as for some reason many of us feel that we can do it all on our own.  You are not a failure if you ask for some assistance.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for some time out by having your partner, friend, or family come and baby-sit while you get some sleep.

And fifth is to start a routine or schedule where your partner gets involved in the evening or morning baby’s sleep or wake up time.  Preferably, the morning is the best time to try to set this up.  Pick a morning that works for you and your partner and have them take over the morning routine.  This means they are in charge of baby during wake up, changing, clothing, feeding, bathing – whatever happens – for at least 2 hours one morning a week.  Close the bedroom door, pull the pillow over your head, or play some music to keep yourself relaxed and asleep.

I found the best thing that worked for me out of these 5 sleep slavers was adjusting my sleep times. I felt pretty silly getting cozy in bed at 9 pm, but if it means I am going to get some sleep, it is worth it.  Some nights I stay up late until 10:30 or so, and feel like a teenager again.

Good luck and good sleep!

The dressing room

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Trying on swimsuits can deplete even a hotty’s body image. Who knows anyone that goes into a dressing room with a selection of swimsuits and comes out prancing about all proud of their selection? I sure don’t. And, if you do, make sure NOT to bring them along when you decide it’s time to venture into the world of swimsuits.

I signed my baby up for swim classes because my good friend signed her daughter up and using the excuse that I haven’t worn a suit in over three years just didn’t seem to hack it. Even for me, the master of excuses, I knew I had to do it. I had to get over it and buy a swimsuit.

Not only did I set off on the swimsuit purchasing venture with the baby in tow, but also the husband. I wanted to go at it alone, but there is no one (NO ONE) more critical and honest than my husband. If a swimsuit passes his test, then I know I wont be making a fool of myself when I am forced to jump into the kiddie pool with all the other moms during swim class.

After trying on hundreds and millions of suits – well, really about 10, I made a selection and the husband gave my choice a somewhat favorable nod. I couldn’t believe it. The amount of pasty white skin shining back at me was almost blinding. But, I was determined. I WOULD wear a swimsuit and be proud – kind of.

With my purchase tucked under my arm, I even braved the though of laying out in my new swimsuit on a sunny afternoon to lightly bronze my extra-white skin. But then the fear of one of my neighbors seeing me brought me back to reality.

Do you think anyone will look at me funny if I wear my clothes in the pool?

*notice there isn’t a picture to accompany this post. I’m not sure if I’m ready for a swimsuit photo shoot quite yet.

Diaper drama

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Every morning I hope to encounter a happy and excited baby that is ready to take on the world. Most mornings I find a wet, ornery, and wailing baby. She is soaked through, sometimes up to her armpits. It literally breaks my heart.

The diaper drama has been ensuing for several weeks now. Through experimenting with various diapers, changing the amount and time of liquid ingestion, and just crossing my fingers, I have found that nothing works. The baby still wakes in a puddle of pee.

I have layered diapers on her, purchased super-expensive-extra-absorbent diapers, and withheld liquids after dinner. I have scaled down the final bottle feeding of the day (and considered eliminating it altogether), and avoided watery dinner items. I am about ready to duct tape a towel around poor baby hoping she will be dry as a bone come morning.

So, the diaper drama saga continues on. Maybe using three diapers will be the solution.

I’ll try that tonight and let you know how it turns out.

Art and your baby

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Taking care of your baby is lots of work and sometimes finding the time to do something creative can be overwhelming. The dishes need to be washed, the laundry done and the shopping taken care of. Don’t neglect doing an educational and fun activity with your babe! Not only will it encourage your baby’s developing skills, it will help you bond with your little one!

Finger painting is a super easy way to do an art activity with your small child and also have a nice finished art product. Use red, yellow and blue finger paint on a small piece of finger paint paper taped to a table or the tray of your baby’s high chair to create a fun (and messy) art project. Protect baby’s clothes with an old t-shirt or put a bib on her. Hose baby down when you’re done or coordinate finger painting projects on bath day and toss her into a soapy tub when finished. Place the finished finger paintings in a decorative frame for an adorable display.

Create a digital picture collage with your baby. Do a quick photo shoot with your little one while they are enjoying a fun activity or eating their favorite food. Take several shots of them close up, making sure the pictures are in focus along with action shots and pictures from afar. Print the pictures out from your photo shoot and collage them on a large sheet of paper. Make sure to include a date on the collage to memorialize your photo shoot! Hang the finished artwork in baby’s room so they can enjoy looking at themselves and learning all about the parts of their face and fun expressions.

Hand and foot prints are a fun way to document how big baby is getting. Using a plain white onesie and some fabric paint, you can create a memorable print, as well as a fun outfit. Lay the onesie out flat with a sheet of paper between the front and back. Paint baby’s hand or foot with fabric paint. Press the hand or foot onto the onesie and quickly remove. Make sure to clean off baby! Allow the fabric paint to dry and then follow fabric paint directions to finish.

If you aren’t ready to tackle a full on art project with your little one, strap them into the stroller and head out to the local art museum. A walk through a gallery or art museum introduces your baby to the arts and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

No Matter what simple art projects you enjoy with your little one, know you are helping them to explore the arts and cherish them for years to come.

I am not a model

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Today my husband had a photo shoot set up and ready to go. A local jewelry artist (Aine Carlisle) needed some photos taken for an event and for use on her upcoming website. There was a model coming, jewelry to photograph and a child to wrangle all at the same time! So exciting!

Although my husband takes the pictures, I assist helping make sure the flow is groovy during photo shoots, props are used (if needed) and everyone is happy, which can be challenging at times. Adding an active babe to the mix is hazardous, dangerous, crazy! But, my husband and I were ready to get back to taking pictures and decided to give it a go.

Things started going awry when the model cancelled last-minute and my dear husband suggested I stand in for the model. Wait, what?! I am not a model. Nope. Not a model. Jewelry was the focus of the shoot, so I scrambled into the bathroom, powdered my neck and shoulders and smoothed my hair.

The baby was wailing, my husband was clicking away and the jewelry was beautiful, stunning and gorgeous. I wanted every piece the minute the designer put it on me! Before I knew it we were done and everyone had survived.

I would love to say the pictures turned out crappy, but can’t. I am not a model and as much as I would love to focus on all my “faults,” the out of control fantastic jewelry makes the photos – and the model didn’t do such a bad job after all.

The toilet bowl brush is NOT a toy

 - by Sarah Lipoff

While attempting to have a proper conversation on the phone my adorable daughter wobbled into the room wielding the toilet bowl brush with glee. Without thinking I told her the toilet bowl brush was not a toy and tried to continue my phone discussion. I almost fell over my comfy house pants trying to wrangle the newfound toy from my child’s hand!

Along with the toilet bowl brush, shards of wood meant for the fireplace and potentially eye-popping utensils have found their way into my daughter’s tender little hands. I’m not sure how this has happened as I have spent countless hours baby proofing the house. My child has a talent for finding ways to play with danger.

As a new mom there are times I find myself saying or doing something absolutely absurd. Nobody thinks they will one day spend hours obsessing over the best odor eliminating diaper pail or whether to allow the baby to eat cereal off the floor. These are the days of my life, the questions I conquer, the issues I face.

I used to work with someone who always said to not sweat the small stuff and thought she was quite annoying. I now have to swallow my past irritation and agree that when dealing with a growing child just learning about the world that you can’t sweat the small stuff. You learn how to adapt and adjust. You make decisions about what is serious and what you can live with.

So, while I was chasing my daughter frantically trying to recover the toilet bowl brush I decided to hang up the phone and laugh along with my daughter!

Just so you know, we did take a really long soapy bath afterwards.

Yes, I was on Fox News

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I’m not a big fan of the news. It seems so full of pointless garble these days without any substantial information that pertains to me. Ironically I ended up on a short itty-bitty segment on the weekend morning show Fox and Friends.

Many of you may be wondering how I landed a gig like that, how much they payed, and how it has impacted my life. Well, the truth is, Fox contacted me, I did a minute segment gratis, and nothing has really happened since the big incident.

What got Fox and Friends’ attention? An article I wrote about praising children piqued their interest and I was contacted to have a hot debate with a famous author. How could I say no? Seriously, I thought it was a joke.

The big show came and went and I will admit to watching the segment several times for kicks. Now that the excitement has worn down, it all seems like a silly high school drama skit.

Just goes to show some little housewife can have her 15 minutes (or 2) in the spotlight, even if it is on the Fox News Network!

How DOES baby learn to dance?

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff

My adorable innocent babe was doing the bump and grind in the living room to some groovy tunes I had playing. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I stopped what I was doing and stared at her. Who taught her this? How did she figure this out? I can’t even move my hips that fast!

While I clapped insanely and laughed as she continued butt shaking and grooving out she tossed in a couple handclaps and “raise the roofs” before finishing her amazing dance routine. I was dumbfounded. She didn’t learn this from the other babes at preschool (she doesn’t go), or the bad girls at the park (we haven’t been in awhile) and I don’t make a practice of prancing around the house hoochy dancing every chance I get. How did she learn how to do this?!

I googled “how does a baby learn to dance” and found some interesting results, most I am not going to share. But it does look like getting our groove on is actually hard wired in our brains. There have been times you couldn’t help your toes tapping or your head from nodding along to the music. Well, baby has that in her too!

The minute my husband walked in the door after his long day I pumped the music and watched him watch the baby bump away. Once the music was over and all our laughing died down he uttered, “you know she isn’t allowed out of the house until she’s 18, right?”

Right.

Oh my is it really Friday?

 - by Sarah Lipoff

What day is it today? That was the first thought I had at 5:17 am this morning, which happens to be what time I normally awaken from slumber these days, and wasn’t really quite sure. Oh my is it really Friday? Not that it matters. Every day is pretty much the same in my world.

You might think the arrival of the weekend would symbolize the opportunity to let loose, tie one one, get crazy, go out, do something different to celebrate the end of the work week, but in my world the work week is every day of the week. Having a baby is like being employed by an insane boss (I am familiar with this position) and asked to do crazy things at the last minute or stay late to work on a ridiculous project.

There is no over time pay, extended vacations or lunch breaks in parenting. Yes, I am fully aware that I could hire a sitter or enroll my wee child in daycare (there is nothing wrong with this) but I am at home and available. So, Friday doesn’t cause that stir of excitement in my tummy like it used to.

What Friday does mean to me is that another week is coming to an end that was full of watching my little one grow and develop. Another week of her life progressing. Kind of bittersweet.

Wait, that just made me think of chocolate. Hmmmmm. Maybe today I will celebrate Friday with a bit of chocolate indulgence!

Enjoy your Friday.

Cake

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Cake. Need I say more? I don’t think so. Cake.

The other day box cake mixes were on sale at the grocery store. While the babe and I were trying to remember what we really should be purchasing, I snuck one into the cart. Yesterday was definitely a cake making day. There were just enough eggs in the fridge and the weather outside was cool. A perfect cake making day.

Making cake is baking. I love to cook but am not completely competent on the whole baking thing, so using a box mix is alright with me. I have experimented too many times with sad results to know if I want to enjoy eating cake to just succumb to the box. But frosting is a whole different story.

You may have noticed that the picture accompanying this post is all frosting and just a bit of cake. The truth is that cake is but a vessel for the frosting. The frosting is the true enjoyment. Really it’s all about the frosting.

Frosting I make from scratch.

This particular frosting is comprised of a random amount of fresh salted butter, somewhat the same amount of cream cheese, a good couple spoonfuls of cocoa mix (the good stuff, not Nestle with mini marshmallows) and lots and lots and lots of powdered sugar. I whipped it all into a salty sweet silliness and slathered the stuff on the plain old butter cake to create a super cake. A cake that is hard not to eat.

What’s your favorite cake?  Is it because you love the cake or the frosting? Hmmm?