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. 

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Week seventeen

January 4, 2008

I can’t promise anything lengthy, but if I’m going to hold up my side of the bargain, than I’d better write sometime this week.  I’m feeling rather emotionally overwhelmed today, but it’s induced by an overly emotional book (and hormones don’t help, either).  I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard or so much as I did reading the book I just finished.  And there are four more in the series.  With any luck, I’ll be able to pick up the next three tonight.  Just after crying my eyes out and nearly giving myself a headache, Jenny came into the kitchen and took the open box of Corn Pops off of the counter (without me noticing).  I was doing something on the computer and then calling Mike at work when she came back into the kitchen, handed me the box and said, “All gone.”  Sure enough, the box was empty.  It was definitely not empty the last time I had poured cereal out of it.  I went into the living room to turn down the TV and expecting to find a huge mess all over the floor (all this time, waiting for Mike to get the phone at work).  Instead, I found a bowl completely full of cereal and a handful on the floor.  Jenny knew what she was doing, anyway.  I told Mike on the phone and we both had a good laugh over it.  Weeping tears over a fictional story one minute and cracking up over my two year olds antics the next makes a person feel a little out of whack.

In other news, I went to the doctor on Wednesday and everything is good (no surprise there).  My doctor did the doppler thing and then said the heartrate was 128 BPM – and if I believed old wives tales, I was having a boy due to the low heartrate.  I don’t think so.  I feel more like this is a girl than a boy, and when I looked back at my journal entries from when I was pregnant with Jenny, her heartrate was frequently around 130, so I’m not buying into it. 

I am feeling quite pregnant most of the time, and certainly looking it.  I look a lot more pregnant than I am, but that’s just the baby pushing up on everything above it and making it all stick out.  I simply cannot suck it in anymore.  My sister-in-law is four weeks ahead of me and has a decent belly, but it’s low down and obviously all baby.  Mine is high, but I know that baby is way down low.  People are starting to rub my belly and make comments, even, but it’s a farce…baby is not where they’re touching.  If they touched where baby was, they’d be a little low for my liking. 

I’m also pretty certain I’ve been feeling movement for quite some time now, but it’s very sporadic.  Reading a journal from when I was pregnant with Elias, I guess he didn’t move much early on either. 

I said I couldn’t promise much, and I was right.  I’m working on some fiction when I have time, which I suppose makes my non-fiction/journaling/blogging not nearly as entertaining as it could be.  However, if I could ever write a book like I’ve thought of doing for as long as I can remember, it would actually bring some revenue, whereas the other type of writing may never pay off (other than that dream job – writing a weekly editorial from home…ahhhh).