Monday, May 26, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Biggest Bed in the World by Lindsay Camp and Jonathan Langley. Sorry no link because this book is out of print. I paid 20 dollars on half.com for it. This book is great. It is about a family that has a baby who sleeps in their bed instead of his crib, then they add like 5 more kids to the family. All along the way the dad gets or makes a bigger bed. Everyone sleeps in the same bed. Until the Dad has enough and instead of making a bigger bed he kicks all the kids out, (not in a bad, mean way) and goes back to the small queen size bed he used to have. The dad is having trouble getting good sleep and so everyone starts sleeping in their own bed and then... the bed feels empty and the dad STILL can't sleep. So they all move back into mom and dad's bed which is now once again the smaller version. Very sweet. And they all get good sleep.
As a parent who parents alternatively it is really nice to have books like this that reinforce our beliefs. I say it that way because I know some people reading this may see this as just using propaganda to support our decisions. Actually, this isn't too far off base. I was thinking the other day about all the moms who I hear complain that they feel like they are villianized for not breastfeeding, I live in a very conservative corner of Ohio. And while I do see some criticism there, about choosing not to breastfeed a newborn, I think that the messages we send our kids about bottles, cribs, regular schooling are very subliminal but strong. Using the breastfeeding example I do agree that their is a very vocal voice saying you should breastfeed for the first 6 mos to a year. But, I think the louder voice says you are bad if you do not use bottles in some way and if you breastfeed beyond a year. This voice is mostly through images and cultural portrayals. I sort of touched on this on the other children's book I reviewed. So yes, I am using this propaganda to my advantage. It is important to me that my kids feel normal. Right now we really need to find some children's books on homeschooling! This book does normalize co sleeping, or sleep sharing, or the Family Bed.
When we choose books for our children I think we are looking for images that support what we say. That help kids see what they live in action. In our house books have helped us with potty training and sharing. So it is nice to have some of these alternative books about being a family like us.
(By the way, I am not condemning any parenting. I think each family is unique and needs to use the best strategies in their house. We are very left of center in how we parent but by no ways do I think we are right! We are just doing what is best for us as parents and our personalities and how we intersect our particular children.)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I read this book during finals week. A little diversion. It was good because it was compelling enough to want to read when I needed a break but not a stay up all night and not be able to study the next day compelling. The family in this book is so messed up I can not even begin. Most of the dysfunction is close enough to home that you feel good that it isn't that bad in your life but just enough uncomfortable that you can identify. The plot is basically that a little girl who has been written off as ordinary ends up exhibiting a remarkable talent for spelling during spelling bee season. I really felt like the little girl was a heroine. She seems to be the only one tuned in to those around her and not completely self absorbed that she can't reach out to other people in her family. This in itself is sad because at her age kids are basically supposed to be self absorbed. Throughout the book she makes adult decisions with childlike reasoning. I remember doing a lot of that in a very different way growing up and really connected with her on that front. When I rated this book on good reads I only could give it three stars. I hesitated. I wanted to give it four stars. It is painful to read though, so I had to stop at three. One of the greatest things about this book is the writing. In the beginning the author gives you enough of a background story that you really know the characters. They are fully developed and she lets you in on their childhoods without giving you and extra 300 pages! Also, there were some phrases that really caught me. I liked the way they were written and how they contributed to the story. I find the older I get the more important writing is to me. I used to be able to read a bunch of John Grisham and such but, lately I need solid stories and writing not just the same watered down story and a shot of adrenaline (sorry Mag!) This book has actually been made into a movie. But, as your English teacher always told you read the book first. I can not attest to the movie, based on the trailers I felt that it didn't match the book. It looks to me that the movie focuses on the father whereas the book focuses on the daughter.
"As far as Eliza can remember, this is the first time she has ever held both parents' hands at once. She swings her arms back and forth, penduluming them the way she's seen happy children do on Kodak commercials."
"What felt like possibility has soured into awkwardness, the weight of unexploded conversations too much for the moment to bear. Saul clasps his son in a hug. It was the hug meant for words unspoken, a hug which, in their absence, feels staged."
What next, well I have Life of Pi out from the library and I am also tempted to join the online Mindless Book Club and read their selections. May's book is Eating Heaven. Happy Reading!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I liked this book because it the baby talks about all the stuff it can't wait to do when it has escaped. Like swing from monkey bars or paddle a canoe. In the end the baby decides to just wait until it is time. What I like about this book is that it gets the kids and mom excited about all the stuff the baby will learn to do. I creates a bit of expectation. It also is funny to me as a mama in gestation. I am able to avoid the things that most books have that make my kids feel different. (Believe me a four year old picks up on this.)
My favorite part comes at the end: "So, Ma, here's the plan. Let's rest while we can. I'll stay in here longer- get bigger, grow stronger. Then ready...set...YAY! I'll be comin to play! Well, that's it I guess. I've got your address. Kiss Pop for me, please...And give him a squeeze. I'll meet him soon, maybe! I LOVE YOU, Your Baby"
Our favorite book is Welcome With Love. this book is from a child's perspective about the home birth of his new sibling. Very accurate and very helpful in preparing your 2 year old for a home birth.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Mag (also a pen name) and I live on opposite sides of the country and this blog is a place for us to review some of the books we are reading. So, pull up a chair and a book and say hello! And please feel free to suggest your favorite books! Right now I am currently reading Playful Parenting, but reading non fiction is just not doing it so I need to find a good fiction book or memoir to double team!
Hi, Mag here. I live in Washington, the state not DC. I like to think of myself as a professional mother. I am interested in art and writing and also spend a lot of my energy helping with my children's co-op preschool. I've been an avid reader since I was in third grade and my teacher recommended the Little House on the Prairie books. I used to read pretty much soley fiction, until I met Meg and she recommended some great non-fiction books like Nickel and Dimed. Most of the non-fiction I read now is either related to parenting or education. I also like memoirs quite a bit, especially ones I can relate to. Last night I finished Expecting Adam and I am in the middle of Operating Instructions and Practically Perfect In Every Way. One of my all-time favorite books is Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flag--I have reread it several times when I was in need of a good laugh.
I am really excited about having a blog dedicated to books and hope to get to know others that are as passionate about reading as Meg and I are. So, like Meg said, introduce yourselves and tell us what you are reading!
Monday, April 21, 2008
I finished reading Siblings Without Rivalry a few weeks ago, but for some reason didn't get around to writing a review of it. I read it for the parenting book club that I attend. It was a really easy read and had lots of examples that the authors took from parenting seminars that they taught. There were several pieces of advice that have stuck with me since reading it and that I am trying to follow:
1) Not taking sides in an argument between siblings
2) Helping children solve their own disagreements
3) Emphasizing teamwork, not competion among siblings
4) Not casting children into roles within the family
5) Valuing each child fo their uniqueness
Some of this stuff may seem like it is for people with older children than mine, but I want to take a proactive approach on this issue. I would rather be educated early on so that I can prevent as much sibling rivalry as possible. I want my children to be good friends and I hope this is not too much to ask for. I don't want them to see the other one as their competion for attention, love, etc.
This book also made me realize that it is not too late to develop a closer relationship with my brother. The authors describe how many of the people in their workshop ended up having revelations about their own relationships with their siblings and went on to try and repair those relationships. My brother and I are five years apart and have totally different interests and have never really been close. However, I think if I just made more of an effort to stay in contact, we could be closer than we are now. Especially since we share the bond of both being parents now.