10 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With One Hand
feed a pet
wrap a present using a mini-shopping bag, tissue, and a stick-on bow
brush an older child's hair
fold baby clothes and put back in drawers
repot a plant
write thank-you notes
whip up a smoothie
tend to husband's personal needs (if you know what we mean)
Happier Hair Washing
Turn this often torturous process into something your toddler will look forward to: Treat her to a salon visit right in your own home, suggests Parenting Mom Squad expert Denene Millner, of Snellville, GA. What to do:
1. Talk in a fancy voice and ask her to lie down on the kitchen counter, with her head hanging over the sink, just like she would if she were sitting in the shampoo chair at a salon.
2. Roll Up a towel and ut it under her neck for support.
3. Let her lean back and enjoy. Use your fingers to give her a head massage while you shampoo.
4. Rinse, wrap hair up in a turban.
5. Accept kisses as tips.
Better Bangs: The unfortunate hallmark of an at-home trim is poorly cut bangs. The secret? Don't cut them from ear to ear. Instead, trim them in from the outside edge of each eyebrow.
Car Seats on the Fly
Many a parent has suffered a long flight with a crying baby only to discover that she can't get the car seat out of the airplane seat. Because airline seatbelts open with a pull lever, the belt can easily get wedged in the car-seat back once it has been tightened. If you can't pull the lever, well, you're stuck. Avoid this problem with two solutions that are FAA compliant: Ask your airline attendant for a seat-belt extender, suggests Troy Lanier, coauthor of DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood. The extender attaches to and lengthens the belt so you can reach the buckle when deplaning. If you can't get their attention in time, simply turn the buckle over so that the clasp opens in a different direction.
How to Defuse Road Rage
We've all been there: You're making great time on a trip home from the mall and then, bam!, traffic. Your child, who was happy moving at 50 miles per hour, is hysterical when your speedometer drops below 10. Some quick tricks to avoid crying jags.
Turn on cool tunes As soon as you see a stream of brake lights ahead, pop in a customized CD that sings your child's name in every stanza ($14.95 to $19.95; mymusiccd.com). "When my girls hear their names in a song, they instantly stop crying," says Tomlin, who's the author of Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms of Multiples' Guide to an Organized Family and mom of 3-year-old twins, Peyton and Sydney.
Dial it in Low-tone cell-phone ringtones can be calming, says Catalano. And that's why when Nancy Caron's 18-month-old son, Parker, is inconsolable, she whips out her cell phone and plays tones that are heavy on the drum and bass. (If she's in the driver's seat, she pulls over first!)
Stash some magnets Dig out an old metal cake pan or small cookie sheet and load it up with large magnetic pictures or letters (they should be larger than 1 3/4 inches in diameter). The magic of magnetism can keep them entertained for hours (okay...many, many minutes).