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Sunday, August 14, 2011

a few good books... August

(image from Google)

A few interesting books this month...

YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to Having a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy by Michael Roizen and Mehemet Oz
This was a great book. Very detailed information about a wide variety of pregnancy, trying to get pregnant and babies. It is written also in a funny way with cartoons for pictures. Written by doctors it's definitely got tons of great medical information.

One great page in this book, page 212, gave the top 10 things you need to know about preterm contractions and cramping. I have not seen something like this before in books, at least not this easy to read and try to remember. A few points the authors wrote, "In the second and third trimesters, if cramping comes along with diarrhea and back pain, it could be a sign of preterm labor," and "Dehydration can cause contractions. Drink plenty of fluids." The docs recommend that it's never bad to call your doctor when worried about contractions.

Another great page, 130, gives a detailed picture and instructions on swaddling your baby. Again, something I have not seen in many baby or pregnancy books. The authors wrote, "...the major reason swaddling is so important is that it helps limit the startle reflex, so babies don't wake themselves up." My son hated being swaddled, would not let his arms stay in there, but many babies really love it. The nurses at the hospital will show you how to do this, too.

Instructions for swaddling, according to Roizen and Oz:
"Fold down the top corner of a blanket and place baby in the middle, with her feet pointing down toward the middle of the triangle. Pick up a side corner and wrap it over baby's opposite shoulder and tuck it under her back. Fold the bottom corner of the blanket up to baby's stomach or chest. Fold the last remaining corner over baby's other shoulder and tuck it under her back. Instant cocoon!"

A good, informative book to check out!

(image from Google)

Waiting for Birdy - a year of frantic tedium, neurotic angst, and the wild magic of growing a family by Catherine Newman
This was an interesting read. It was the first book I have read so far in mommy book reading about a mom who currently has a toddler like I do. It was so great to finally read a true book about all the silly things toddlers do to drive we moms crazy. It was also an interesting book because it's based on the preparation her family does while waiting for baby number two to arrive.

The author is witty, charming, hilarious and brutally honest. She writes about potty training her 3 year old, wondering if her newborn baby has Cystic Fibrosis, and all the things in between. She wrote a lot about the intense love she feels for her babies and how it is always there despite her frustrations and lack of patience at times with her toddler who knows how to push her buttons, especially when she's 9 months pregnant and tired.

At some points I got bored with the tedious day-to-day minutia of her story, but honestly that's what makes this a good book, too - how real it is. The author is from New England, too, which is always fun to read a book from someone you could imagine passing on the street someday. It's a light read, interesting and funny. I'd recommend it, at least to skim like I did with the half mom brain I have these days!

This author wrote a lot about her anxiety and worry about her children and about bringing home another baby. On page 30 she wrote, "But it's more than worry, I have to confess. It's more than crisis and management. There is also your own pounding heart that wakes you up at night. That wakes you to watch your child's face, to inhale his sleeping breath, and to feel luck coursing through your veins like a drug. There is the love that balloons so enormous and breathtaking that it lifts you up, past sleep, into some other kind of place, where joy is immeasurable, and fear is everywhere. Where 'bittersweet' is always the flavor of the day."

I loved what she wrote about anticipating what it would be like to be a mom of two. I wonder this sometimes myself, after having watched my sister-in-law have her second baby just 5 weeks after I had my first, realizing every step of the way it was totally different for her than for me because she had two. On page 61 the author wrote, "That's what I feel like now: like I'm excited but nervous, and I'm studying the faces of the people with more than one child, trying to figure out how the ride has been."

Newman described a toddler to a T. I love it! On page 117 she wrote, "But as exhausting as Ben is in all his threeness, I also find myself buoyed by his enthusiasm. If I had Ben's passion and energy, I could translate War and Peace into Sanskrit, and still have time before dinner to become ambassador to Greece."

On the birth of a child, Newman wrote on page 134, "Mistaking the birth of the main event is like thinking that the floral arrangements at your wedding will somehow determine the quality of your marriage. You don't realize that the hard part - the real part - comes later." So true. I love that metaphor.

(image from Google)
The Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Your Groove Back - Loving Your Family Without Losing Your Mind by Vicki Iovine
LOVED this book! I admit I skimmed it, but seriously that's the way this author writes all of her books - so it's easy and mom-friendly to read (ahem, skim!).

This book is about the author's experience and advice based on talking to other moms about surviving the period of time when your kids are old enough to be done with potty training and sleepless nights, yet aren't yet teenagers off on their own driving themselves to parties. It's about that time where you realize you don't have to pack diaper bags or sippy cups or 10 snacks, but your kids still need you. It leaves some moms wondering, who am I? Who did I used to be before kids?

Not quite the stage of motherhood I'm in yet, but I definitely could relate to the feeling of wanting to get back to myself (see the post titled those words "getting back to myself" from May on my blog.). Motherhood is all-consuming, which truly is what I expected and is wonderful most days. However, some days you just want to be YOU, the you that you remember being before babies came into the picture. It doesn't mean you don't love your kids or that you wish you weren't a mom. Still, all moms like to get a pedicure, pee without someone in the room, and shower every single day.

The author wrote about the goals of getting your groove back, including, "Finding a personal style that is as good as that of someone you admire," and "Rediscovering the Girlfriends who brought you this far and reaching out to the ones who will help you the rest of the way," and "Accepting that you may not be perfect, but you are more than good enough." My favorite one of all, #2, "Saying a gracious goodbye to the girl you used to be and hello to the woman you have become since sacrificing your body and mind to motherhood." Iovine's whole concept is about reinventing yourself even though you feel like Mom is all you are some days.

On page 93, Iovine wrote, "One of the best insights into getting your groove back is realizing that how you get through your day today is not a life sentence." I love this! Some days I feel guilty because I didn't spend enough time with my son because we had too many chores to do or I worked a really long day, or because I didn't get him to eat as healthy as I'd wanted him to. It's nice to be reminded that one day of mess-ups doesn't mean I'm a bad mom or my child will not be well adjusted.

The author wrote a lot about your relationship with your partner and your marriage. Parenting no doubt affects them. On page 180 she wrote about trying not to nag your spouse, "One of the most important parts of getting our grooves back is learning to make peace with our own imperfections and embracing them in those we love."

It's all about what we anticipate and putting life into perspective, according to Iovine. On page 238 she wrote, "The secret to getting our grooves back is to maintain realistic expectations."

Iovine ended the book with The Ten Commandments of Grooving, which included, "Be humble and grateful for every day," and "Tell your kids how much you love them, at least twice a day," and "Tell your mate how much you love him at least three times a day," and "Be the grown-up." It also included reading for pleasure, laughing with the family, and getting an annual pap test and mammogram once a year. Very good advice!

Overall, I liked this book. I have read most of Iovine's Girlfriends' books (currently reading the toddler one) and they are all written in her sassy, brutally honest, girlfriend type way. I love them and definitely recommend them as a baby shower gifts or first birthday party gifts for the moms.

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