Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Helpful Hints

How to Sleep Better Without Pills

This is by request. A disclaimer: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking over-the-counter sleep aids. Heck, I used to take Benadryl every day as a child during allergy season; it’s not like taking Seconal or something. And drinking alcohol before bed is much worse on your sleep patterns than these kinds of medications. However, there are some relatively easy tricks for sleeping better—with or without medications. Most people know that you should have a quiet, cool, dark, comfortable place to sleep. Here are a few things that you may not know: Don’t watch TV in bed, even if you think it lulls you to sleep. Don’t read in bed if you can’t sleep; get up and sit in a chair. Don’t toss and turn if you can’t sleep; get out of bed and do something boring for a while. If you have a snoring bed partner, get a white noise machine. If your problem is waking up in the middle of the night, trying going to bed a half hour later than usual. And here’s one that many people resist: cover up your clock or turn it to the wall so that you can’t tell what time it when you wake up in the middle of the night. If you check the time, you get anxious, and then you really can’t get back to sleep. Finally, if you are taking something to get to sleep every night and want to stop, you should go cold turkey and expect to have 3-4 rough nights before you’re back to normal.

How To Childproof on the Fly

Releasable zip ties. (I have no idea if that’s a good website, I was just too lazy to get a good picture of them myself.) Discovering these was like finding the internet, only less exciting. With a little imagination, you can use these to fashion a way to keep a toddler out of all kinds of things when you’re in a hotel room, visiting childfree friends, etc. I used to keep a pack of them in my suitcase. I still have one around the knobs of the liquor cabinet. (I figure anyone who’s too drunk to operate the release has probably had enough. There’s plenty of beer in the fridge if you’re that desperate.) They’re also good for managing computer cables, keys … make your own magic!

How To Connect Almost Anything to Almost Anything

Non-releasable zip ties. These made it possible for me to put baby gates on our impossibly narrow stairs (gates that lasted years and endured much abuse without failing, despite my husband’s initial skepticism), and they are astoundingly strong. They also facilitated one of my most ingenious solutions:

How To Keep From Losing Tiny Remote Controls

Is this not cool? You can use anything large and squishy. (Note: I do not advise using a cat. A particularly well-trained dog might suffice.) I started out with rubber bands, but for some reason children must put asunder what a rubber band hath joined together.

How To Put Eye Drops Into Uncooperative Eyes

Some of us could pour a shot of Jim Beam into our eyes, but some—e.g., many children, my husband—blink and squirm and freak out over one or two drops of anything. The trick is simple: lie on one’s back with eyes closed, put the drops in the corner of the eye (making a little pool), and then open the eyes. (Gratuitous doctor’s soapbox proclamation: Antibiotic drops for “pink eye”? 99 percent of the time useless—and occasionally allergic reaction-producing. I know we all grew up doing it, but almost all pink eye—especially if it’s bilateral—is viral, usually a cold virus. And it’s no more or less contagious than a cold.)

How To Stop a Nosebleed

You can find that here—an oldy but bloody goody.

How To Keep Cats from Jumping on Your Head To Wake Up and Feed Them

Cats can understand cause and effect, but only up to a point; too many steps in a process and their fuzzy little heads start to hurt. If upon arising you immediately feed them, they will learn to wake you up, and often in creative ways. If you separate getting up and filling the bowls by more than, say, two steps, they will eventually forget that the two occurrences might be connected.

And finally: a picture in which you can see my own personal stomach-sleeping-preventing bumper:

(Levitating child not included.)