tasty morsels of goodness on open platforms, developer relations and motherhood 2.0

Monday, February 11, 2008

working parents tip #4: keeping your sense of humor

working parents need to maintain their sense of humor so they will root for each other, stay sane and not kill each other or the kids. here are some of my favorites.

books: Baby's First Tattoo memory book and Baby, Mix me a Drink be of use guide

clothing & gifts: Wry Baby: i'm partial to the Wheel of Responsibility - " Have Fun! Stay Un-Divorced!"

music: Rockabye Baby!: lullaby renditions of Metallica, Coldplay, Radiohead and more.

youtube overture of motherhood phrases you never thought you'd say, but do:

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Friday, February 08, 2008

working parents tip #3: surviving without sleep

when you're trying to work productively without sleep, it is a crusher. your child often tries to make up for the time you're gone by saving their alert time for when they see you -- at night. exhausting doesn't cover it. welcome to being a working parent.

but the end game for sleep, as my friend, alix, mother of a 6 and a 3 year-old, recently reminded me is not to get your kids to sleep through the night. that's right. even though that used to be one of the mid-century hallmarks of being a good mother (along with getting your child eating solids and out of diapers as soon as possible). sleeping through the night in the long-term is a parenting myth, a phantom ghost from your life before kids. medically-speaking, sleeping through the night is 5 hours at a stretch (my former twenty-something self always gets a kick out of that), and various things like illness, teething, developmental milestones will KEEP waking them up well after infancy and well into grammar school. you may get cocky at the beginning when you get a couple of weeks or even months of sleep for 8, 9, 10 hours. don't get used to it.

the end game as a working parent is to eventually get your kids to 1) fall asleep and stay asleep by themselves, and 2) have sleep be an enjoyable, relaxing state they look forward to, not dread or fear or eventually require ambien to attain enough of later in life. for working parents, the best advice shared with me revolves around a short, 20-30 minute bedtime routine that provides bonding time, but doesn't revolve around elaborate, lavender-infused bathing and massage rituals that you won't be able to maintain. a bedtime story, pajamas, share your favorite part of the day, then kiss goodnight is simple, nuturing, and reassuring - and blissfully manageable when you're getting almost no sleep yourself. that and a half-caf drip with milk no later than 10AM gets me through most weekdays. what about you?

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Monday, February 04, 2008

working parents tip #2: swaddling

every new parent knows that the art of swaddling a baby is both essential and elusive to master. how come the nurses at the hospital can wrap them tight as a burrito in less than 10 seconds? basically, the working parent who can swaddle the quickest and tightest will generally have the calmest, cooiest baby most quickly. good for working parent nerves. while dads tend to be better at swaddling b/c tend to be stronger, we found through experience that the blanket, not so much the technique, is the key to the perfect swaddle.

ironically, most baby blankets are terrible for swaddling. the are cute and fleecy and soft -- good for strollers, in the sling or while holding them. but they do not hold a swaddle wrap worth a darn, nor or most of them long enough to do a complete swaddle wrap.

tip #1: for the daytime swaddle:

get yourself a swaddledesigns blanket specifically for swaddling. buying 2 is better, for the inevitable times when the first one gets dirty. they are worth every penny for the extra naptime they will buy you. their secret is that they are extra-large yet thin material, and also made of 100% cotton. even a rookie swaddler can get a baby swaddled in one of these bad boys very quickly, and baby won't get overheated being wrapped up so tightly in pure cotton.

tip #2: the nighttime swaddle:

how much would you pay for 30 minutes longer sleeping time at each stretch at night? how about an hour? yes, newborns generally get up to feed every 2-3 hours anyway, but in a tight swaddle, you can extend those glorious minutes of sleep time easily 30-60 minutes at a stretch. this is where you bring in the big swaddling guns - the kiddopotamus swaddle me infant wrap.

we didn't find them so useful during the day when you needed to unswaddle more frequently for feeding, changing, etc. but when you want them to stay swaddled for hours at a time at night to reinforce the message "nightime is for sleeping", these things are great. they have a little pouch for the legs and then you velcro the arms in place for the duration.

we tried both cotton and fleece, small and large. i would recommend the fleece ones only if you gave birth to a winter baby (in the late fall through february), and need a little extra warmth at night. otherwise, cotton is preferable to avoid overheating. also, if you've got an average sized newborn, you'll grow out of the small size and into the large size in about 2 months, so you might want to buy both sizes up front. from personal experience, there's nothing worse than growing out of the small size and not having this available at night until you buy the larger size (which you can get at ebay for good price, but need to wait for up to a week to ship). there are sleepless nights and then there are SLEEPLESS NIGHTS. the kiddopotamus swaddle me will help you stay in the former category.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

working parents tip #1: cradle cap

for my first tip in honor of working parents month, i'm employing the time-saving caveat that i won't be defining most of the terms in these posts. not enough time. as the daughter of a librarian, while growing up i heard all the time from my two working parents as a response to my endless questions, "go look it up". which in my childhood meant go to the leather bound encyclopedias in dad's office and look it up. here, go look it up here means google it or wikipedia it.

tip #1: cradle cap

both of my children were blessed with full heads of hair. which makes them photogenic and cute when most babies are bald. but it also makes them susceptible to cradle cap. after scouring my usual sources for information on how to rid my babies of this benign, but oh-so-maddening scaly skin condition, through trial and error, i have found a good solution - jojoba oil.


- not petroleum-based like baby oils made from mineral oil
- not olive oil, which was on the right track, but too gooey, didn't absorb well into the scalp and didn't seem to prevent it from coming back
- not an adult-shampoo like selsum blue or head & shoulders that can get into and irritate baby's eyes
- widely available and inexpensive at trader joe's ($6.99) or local health food stores

how to:

1) drip jojoba oil on your baby's head and lightly rub it
2) let it sit for at least an hour
3) wash baby's head with washcloth and baby shampoo. you can do this quickly by holding baby's head under the kitchen sink faucet with lukewarm water without undressing/doing the whole production of a baby bath. you working parents know what i mean.
4) dry vigorously with towel
5) use softbrush to brush out sebum flakes and encourage scalp circulation

repeat nightly for one week or until cradle cap is gone. once gone, repeat every 3-4 days to prevent return.

cradle cap is also common behind the ears and along brow line, which makes the skin very sore looking and even crack in the creases. do this scalp treatment on all affected areas to treat and prevent.

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february is working parents month

in the spirit of making it so, i am declaring february working parents month. this is the first day of the last month of my maternity leave, so i'm going to spend february posting as many of the helpful tips i received as a working parent as i can in between feebly short newborn napping times. please excuse the copy editing and brevity of these entries as i try to churn them out.

i received all of my tips from two sources: 1) word of mouth recommendations from other busy working parents, or 2) books or websites that were recommended by other busy working parents. if you are a working parent, please chime in with tips of your own.

as a working mama of 2 kids under 4 years old in a two-parent working household living in an expensive city with no family in the area, i know from experience that your very survival depends on sharing this knowledge freely. b/c it probably ain't gonna come from your fictitious extended family you've created in your wishful mind of nearby grandmothers, aunts and cousins who are always available for great parenting advice and free babysitting.

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