To Make You Feel My Love

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Last night I drank 3 cups of iced Lipton tea before bed and could not fall asleep all night. Zoey and Idrissa went to sleep at around midnight/1am. After tossing and turning alone in my plight against sleep, feeling too hot then too cold, unable to clear my head of thoughts, and occasionally checking the clock to see that more time has gone by without any sleep than I would like, hearing Zoey’s first little morning squeaks and stretches telling me that she wanted to get up for a diaper change was music to my ears. Finally! Someone can keep the insomniac company for a while.

I got up and got her bottle started in a cup of hot water, set it on the nightstand and took her for a diaper change. She stretched and squeaked and peeked at me with half-closed eyelids during the change. I whispered, “I see your snorkel button” to her, which I always say at diaper changes. Her belly button looks a little bit like a snorkel from that popular 80’s TV cartoon “The Snorks”. Not as much anymore, but it did stick out quite a bit when her umbilical cord fell off, giving it a snorkel-like appearance. Yesterday, she smiled at me when I said, “I see your snorkel button!” in my sing-song voice to her.

Night time is a little different. We don’t play or sing or talk in sing-song voices because night time is for sleeping. So I whisper to her. Sometimes about her snorkel button.

I sat on the bed with her in my lap on a pillow with my blanket wrapped around us both in the dark. We stay as quiet as possible at night so as not to wake her father, who goes to work in the mornings. I put one earbud from my ipod into my ear and set the other one on the pillow next to Zoey’s ear. We listen to Alecia Dixon’s “To Love Again” and Lady Antebellum’s “Ready to Love Again”. (We were listening via YouTube search, and it was on the results page.) I was planning on doing a search for Zee Avi’s “Honey Bee” when Zoey finished her night time bottle. We sometimes breastfeed and then finish with a bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula to make sure she is full, but we sometimes just go straight for the bottle.

So, this morning after only 3 ounces of milk and 2 pop ballads, I leaned back and pulled her to my chest to burp her. She fell asleep curled into a little ball with her legs drawn up to her belly and feet crossed underneath while I played Adele’s “To Make You Feel My Love”. It was then that I realized that someday I might miss these middle of the night feedings. The frequent spitting up on my bare chest in the middle of the night? Probably not so much. But the sweet sleeping baby smelling of Johnson’s shampoo curled up in a ball just under my chin…yes, I think so.

New Mom Basics

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Little FeetLittle HandsMy little angel – Zoey Lynn Tiemogo – was born on Feb 10th at 5:07pm. It took me a few days to get things together enough to have time to get online and post anything to the website. During the past 2 weeks of being a new parent, here is what I have learned:

1. Huggies diapers are 100 times better than Pampers. They have a wetness indicator that actually works. They have a notch cut out for the umbilical cord. The little latches on the sides are made of a velcro-like material so that they can be unlatched and then re-latched easily. They cost the same at WalMart.

2. Avent bottles (the expensive top-rated bottle) are horrible. They leak. Some babies have a hard time drinking with their nipples and have milk spilling out the corners of the mouth – like my baby.

3. Formula is really expensive. I’m eping (exclusively pumping and feeding my breastmilk in bottles) and supplementing with formula where needed. Formula is $25 for a big cannister…which really isn’t all that big by the end of the week…

4. Newborn mittens are always too big. The Gerber newborn mittens are so big that they just fall off of my baby’s hands. By the time her wrists are big enough for her to wear them, she won’t need them anymore. This is the case with all of the mittens I’ve seen in the stores, unfortunately.

5. Breastfeeding sucks. Unless you have nipples of steel, it’s going to hurt for the first 2 weeks, no matter how well your little one latches on.

Life After Pregnancy Part 2

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I’ve been approached with a lot of questions about how I will continue with my music goals after the baby is born…and a few people who are downright sure that I can’t do live performances anymore now that I will be a mother.

While it is a very special time for me and I am looking forward to motherhood, I don’t intend to make this an end to my involvement in music. The CD I’ve worked on for the past year will be mastered and printed as planned. I will still be doing random performing live. I will still teach private piano lessons.

Maybe what people mean is that now that I’ll be a mother I will never be a “Lady Gaga” or a “Mariah Carey” or a “Taylor Swift”. Who says I wanted to be those people? I want to be Sara Tiemogo…it’s so much easier to be myself. :)

Life After Marriage and Pregnancy

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OK, so this post is somewhat unrelated to music – and yet, I am posting it on my website that was meant to be for music. Keep reading, and I’ll make a connection here…maybe.

After getting married, I still kept up with my previous activities of spending time with girlfriends, spring-breaking, going for drinks, and other weekend activities that single women normally do. My husband is very reasonable, and never gave me a hard time about going out or occasionally leaving him leftovers instead of a fancy dinner. He also never minds when I go to hear live music or play my own gigs.

Why is it so difficult to maintain friendships after marriage, then? I must admit that some friendships have been easier to maintain than others. I’ve read on so many websites that married couples exclude other people from their lives in an effort to spend all of their time with each other. While this may be true for some relationships, it certainly isn’t the case with my husband and I. We like spending time together, but I’ve never canceled a girl’s-night-out just because I couldn’t bear to be away from him for an evening. Also, upon reading other articles about the difficulty of keeping friends after marriage, I’ve found that many of these postings were written by the single friend. While it was nice to get a deeper understanding of how the friend on the other side of the relationship may feel, some of the assumptions aren’t true – and there seems to be a lack of understanding about the married friend’s situation.

Firstly, there is an issue of finances. There comes a time in a marriage where accounts become joined and incomes become jointly used. That means that when I teach a piano lesson and leave the cash on the kitchen table, my husband is free to take it and use it. It also means that if I go to a restaurant with a girlfriend and pay for my meal with the debit card, that comes out of our joint account. For some couples, finances can be a topic of argument. This has never been a problem for my husband and I because we are both very honest about what we’ve spent while out, and we both limit our spending so as not to make anyone feel taken advantage of. BUT, just because my hubby doesn’t give me a hard time about spending doesn’t mean that I want to make it into a topic of argument by spending a lot of money while I am out with a girlfriend!

Besides that, the bills must be paid! Over time, married couples typically build assets together – and those assets mean an increase in bills. If you purchase a house together, there’s a mortgage to pay. If you purchase a car together, there’s a car payment. If you just finished college, it’s time to pay off the Stafford loans.

What all of this means for friends is this…if we have to go somewhere expensive every time we go out, we won’t be able to go out together very often. It has nothing to do with the desire to stay at home with my beloved. If you’re a friend who is under the assumption that I can easily cover the bill since my husband has a decent job…well, chances are I just can’t afford you as a friend.

Another complaint that I’ve seen on websites is that married women are “always talking about their relationship” or “always talking about their pregnancy”. This sounds like a jealousy issue to me. When my single friends get engaged, I am more than happy to talk about their upcoming wedding…it’s an exciting time! When a friend meets a new guy and is head-over-heels in love, I have no problem¬† spending a great deal of time talking and finding out about this guy that has stolen my friend’s heart. But if I want to talk about my prenatal exams or the side effects of pregnancy while I’m 8 or 9 months pregnant, some friends give me a feeling of withdrawal. That isn’t always the case. I have friends who ask questions about the pregnancy and enjoy letting me share my latest stories…but for the friends that need me to spend an entire evening focused on them…it’s a bit draining.

Lastly, be aware that plans can change. When you’re single you have much more control over your schedule and can make more solid plans without having to consult with a spouse. When you share a vehicle with your husband and are busy with other projects, the possibility of cancellation greatly increases. If I back out of something important…a wedding, a gig…you can be upset. But if I have to cancel a dinner date because I’m exhausted, don’t have the car, or I don’t feel like dropping the cash…suck it up.

Playing music for my belly…

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Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve been practicing ,¬† giving lessons, playing music, and of course singing – and it still makes me giggle when I feel our baby, Zoey, wiggling around inside of me when I play music for her. The guitar and ukelele seem to get the most response – probably because the resonant body of the instrument is directly against my belly, so she can hear it well. She was moving and kicking the whole time I recorded the guitar parts for the upcoming 2011 album in the studio.

This morning I made a ukelele medley of “Over the Rainbow” and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” while hanging around on the couch after breakfast. When the song changed, she wiggled around in my belly. Apparently, like most little girls, this one already likes Taylor Swift’s music. :)