Things to read

February 11, 2008

I realized today that there are a few books that I think every parent should read (or in some cases, every mother).  I figured I’d make a list, although right now I only have three books to recommend.

 To read while pregnant with your first child (preferably): 

First-Time Mom by Dr. Kevin Leman

Kevin Leman is the birth order guy.  If you’re not familiar with The Birth Order Book, it’s also a good one – it does a lot to explain personality traits that are common in firstborn, middle and lastborn children.  It also talks about the challenges you might face if you are, for instance, a firstborn married to a firstborn.  The First-Time Mom book touches on some of this as well, but relating to the relationship between mother and child.  If you are a firstborn or only child, you may have specific challenges to deal with when you have your first child.  I read the book when I was pregnant with Jenny and found it very helpful in giving me a heads up about the emotional side of parenting where the typical pregnancy books primarily dealt with the physical and mental side of parenting.  I’m sure that this book can be read after having your first child or even after having a few kids, but the way that it is written suggests that you will get the most out of it if you read it before you’ve even given birth to baby number one.  If you read it at another time in life, it may still give you insights into your relationship with your firstborn.

A book to read anytime:

Child Rearing for Fun by Anne Atkins

This British author does a fantastic job of showing you how to “Trust your instincts and enjoy your children.”  One of the main points aside from all the humour was to remember that you know your kids better than anyone else does – better than doctors and teachers and “experts”.  The world we live in today often suggests that it would be better if we left the child raising to “professionals” in the field: qualified daycare teachers who have studied early childhood development, preschool teachers who will make sure your children are ready for kindergarten, public or private school teachers who will make sure your children get a balanced education and maintain a high self-esteem.  Doctors and counselors who will tell you which medications will help fix your child’s mental or physical problem, even magazine articles that suggest what kind of discipline is still okay to use.  Anne Atkins has raised five kids – one who was diagnosed with Asberger’s syndrome and at one point attempted suicide, another who was diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and more of her children who were severely depressed.  She has also been through five miscarriages.  In the end, she is able to say that what she was able to do for her kids in just loving them and enjoying them was more effective in helping them to be “normal” than anything any expert could have told her.  I got this book just after I had Jenny – at the time, the nursery at church was giving each new mom a free book and this one jumped out at me.  I’m very glad to have it – it’s very humourous and puts society in its place regarding who will be the best parent for your kids.  Most of all, I think it serves to remind the reader that kids are fun, even when they’re not as normal as other kids appear to be.  Even through mental illness, she sees humour and fun in her kids – as should we.

This one’s a gem and good for a laugh any time:

Babies and other Hazards of Sex by Dave Barry

“How to make a tiny person in only 9 months, with tools you probably have around the home.”  If you’re not familiar with Dave Barry, he is a humorist author, and this book was his second work of non-fiction, written in 1984.  It feels a bit dated at times, but it is still hilarious.  The book is full of cartoons depicting the look of a pregnant woman, what babies looks like when they are born, what the various baby necessities will look like, etc.  A little taste of what’s inside: on page 13, in the chapter entitled Pregnancy, there is a section of answers to common questions about pregnancy.  Question 1: “What will happen to my body during pregnancy besides that I will become huge and tired and throw up a lot and be constipated and develop hemorrhoids and have to urinate all the time and have leg cramps and varicose veins?” Answer: “Many women also have lower back pain.”  Dave Barry has taken pregnancy and childrearing and extracted all the funny and uncomfortable parts and made them ridiculous.  Satire abounds in this one, and it’s a good read if you’re expecting a baby, thinking about having a baby, in the process of giving birth (okay, I’ll be realistic – maybe not then) or already have kids.  The book can still be found on Amazon, both in a release from 2000 and in the original 1984 edition.  It’s also part of Dave Barry’s Guide to Life from 1991, along with three other non-fiction pieces.  It does have a few slightly less than tasteful things in it, so if you’re sensitive when it comes to jokes about sex or bodily functions, you may want to avoid it.

If I come up with any others, I’ll throw them in here somewhere.  For now, those are the ones that jumped off the shelf at me. 

Now I think I may have to go puke again.  Or at least find a way to not puke.  I’m a little concerned that I may have the flu, since I haven’t been sick to my stomach because of pregnancy for awhile.  All I know is that my stomach is in turmoil this morning and it also happens to be the day Mike has started his new job and is no longer home to watch the kids while I sleep or puke.  I have to do some problem solving, anyway.