Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Babies and Lessons

Monday (last week, not this week) I conducted a “mommy” experiment and attended taught a baby-care class. In preparation for the day I allowed myself only 5 1/2 hours of sleep. In order to be ready for my helper to arrive at 6:00am I had to be up before that and only allotted 10 minutes to shower, wash my 2 feet of hair, shave, moisturize, all that stuff. The purpose of the experiment was solely so that I could share my findings with you in hopes that it would be helpful. 

My darling helper Kate:

As I am the oldest of six children and known for helping to care for babies at every opportunity, I’m mostly confident in my abilities. Of course I haven’t actually given birth yet, or had to care for a baby during the night or anything, but I think I’ve covered a majority of the bases 

I will concentrate on three different concepts, preparing food, getting ready for the day, and entertaining your baby while you get things done. Finally I will share about the success of my afternoon teaching engagement. 

Now, in many cases your baby will desire to be held a majority of the time. Believe it or not, preparing food while holding a baby is not overly challenging and requires minimal planning ahead. Begin by placing your angel comfortably either in your left arm (if you are right handed, otherwise reverse it) or on your left hip supported by your left arm. The placement depends on the age of the child and whether they are awake or sleeping. 

Once he or she is settled, gather your  ingredients. I chose to make my breakfast with yogurt, frozen berries, and granola. This was relatively simple which is what you should try to stick to at least in the beginning. Once you have everything simply place your desired amounts in a bowl and grab a spoon and water. No coffee. Bad for the baby. 

Now, the main thing to keep in mind as many of you who don’t have babies are probably thinking “What’s so hard about that?” is that everything will have to be opened, served, closed, cleaned up, and put away with one hand. The arm and hand securing your baby are useless. 

At this point Kate was both awake and hungry. Thus, once my food was at the table, I went back to warm her bottle. Now, if you are new to this, you would need to stop at this point and focus completely on feeding your baby. They always come first. Except in very extreme cases. But in the area of food, they are priority. However, as I wanted to be able to help a range of mothers and fathers I taught myself how to hold a baby in such a way that would allow me to feed myself with one hand and feed the baby with the other. As you can imagine, once you get it down, it is a very efficient system. 

Moving on to preparing yourself for the day. If possible do this while your baby is sleeping. When I started, Kate was asleep, but she soon woke up. This allowed me to explore the best way to apply makeup with one hand and straighten my hair while keeping her happy. Obviously if you have nowhere to go or your plans don’t require you to look like you are attending a dance nicer ish event, then light makeup and a top-knot would be totally fine. I chose, again, to go for something more advanced to help a wider range of mothers. (Fathers don’t need makeup and can EASILY do their hair with one hand if necessary.) 

As before, figure out the best way to hold your baby and gather the items you will need. Foundation, blush, and some of the other basics can definitely be applied with one hand. However, when you get to your eye makeup I highly recommend you place your baby on the floor or in their bed or something. (It should be evident why.) Even if they cry, it’s okay, you only need 2 minutes max to finish. 

While doing your hair you can definitely hold him or her while you brush your mane, set your tools out, and heat up your flat iron. Again though, I highly recommend you set your child down while you use the heating tool. (Burning babies is not a fun thing to accidentally do.) I would suggest you simply learn how to achieve your desired results quickly. 

Babies are known for sleeping quite a lot, however, sometimes for no apparent reason they wake up early from their usual nap or they will simply stay awake. Needless to say, nap time is probably your golden hour so when your angel decides not to sleep he or she often is interrupting your time to actually get something done and use two hands to do it. So in the event that your child decides not to sleep here are some ways to still accomplish things. 

The first option is obviously give up and do your work with one hand. If they are hungry you can learn the baby-holding position which allows you to feed them with one hand and work with the other. News flash- typing with one hand is possible and can get pretty easy with practice. Yes, it is some slower, but still.

Tummy time on the floor on a blanket is very good for babies. As is time on their back, but keeping it balanced is a good idea. So put them on the blanket by your feet and while you do whatever you need to do. Talk to them while you work! Babies love to hear your voice. They also love enthusiasm and animated faces. You would be surprised at how happy you can make them just by talking in a silly voice. 

My Monday afternoon students were a sibling group of four. Background information on them- they don’t like babies. Also they are “firm believers in learning on the job.” (Now this method does work, but when you have a baby and a willing and ready teacher...why not learn a thing or two?!) With further investigation I learned that the reason they dislike babies (typing those words is painful!) is that all the ones they have been around have been fussing and no fun. Also I deduced that because they were all born within 7 or so years of each other (ages ranging from 12 to 18) they didn’t get to help take care of each other in the same way. Kate and I hoped very much to begin changing their mind. 

The first lesson was easy. I fed Kate while they watched and did not require any assistance. (Although I did offer that help would be very nice not be turned down.) They observed how to hold a baby and think clearly (ish) as well as carry on an intelligent a conservation. 

Finally the last step for the first lesson was to try holding a real baby. I did not force Kate on anyone. I was very sweet about having them hold Kate and only required half of them to do so. Although the first victim brave young man protested with tears was a little reluctant and claimed the experience was “horrible” and made a huge mistake by calling it her an “it” (horrors!) and said she didn’t like him at all, I think this picture would suggest otherwise:

Eventually I made a deal with one of the young ladies; I’d play piano if she held Kate, and she agreed. Actually she suggested the arrangement and it was an offer I could not refuse. 

By the end of the session, the four agreed that some babies are very sweet and cute and not that bad to hold. Kate and I very much enjoyed our time of training and eagerly await the next lesson. 

Some notes about this post: If I sounded like a know-it-all, that was sort of on purpose (ish) to add humor to the post. I definitely do not know all about caring for babies. Each one is different. But I do love all babies very much. Also the “lesson” was in addition to working on editing the play script we have been working on. “We” is me and my four friends who are siblings. Everything in this post is true (I think). I didn’t purposely make anything up and I do hope it is a least a little helpful and if not, at the very least I’m sure it made you laugh. 


  1. That picture is very deceiving. I was grimacing.
    And I protested this picture being posted on the internet.

  2. That picture is very deceiving. I was grimacing.
    And I protested this picture being posted on the internet.


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