Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Book Reviews

I am such a bad blogger, but I am happy to say that I have been doing something worthwhile at night instead... reading. It has been so hard for me to find time to keep up on books that I want to read since becoming a mama. Some moms say that they read a lot while they nurse, but I am not coordinated enough to fully concentrate on a book while nursing. Here are some of the books that I have been reading over the last couple of months, and my oh so professional opinion on each one.

The Vital Touch-Thanks for the recommendation Marianne. This books was great. As stated in the title, the whole gist of the book is how vital touch is for human beings. I liked this book, because it validated many things that I already feel maternally as a mom that are not necessarily supported by our culture. Cultures around the world touch their babies so much more than we do here. The book describes how our babies are in "things" (carseats, swings, walkers) most of the day, and how many other women carry their babies in slings most of the day. From the time we bring our babies home from the hospital here, we are trying to foster independence.. but interdependence is a better concept. The other thing that stood out to me in this book was the idea that in our culture, you can feel very alone as a parent. We live in our own houses, many times in separate cities from our families.. and it is so easy to be isolated and feel overwhelmed by parenting (any mom who has been staying at home in this rain knows what I am talking about). Around the world, most cultures are very community oriented and a baby is being passed around constantly by friends, aunts etc.. This part of the book made me wish that I lived by all of my siblings, but since I don't it made me think about how to create my own tight community here. I don't think that in our culture it is realistic to carry our babies 24/7, but after reading this book, I have made a more conscious effort to carry Gabe in the ergo, and I now have more of an appreciation for the wonderful bond of nursing.

The Attachment Parenting Book-Many of you are probably already familiar with attachment parenting, but it is a great parenting philosophy. Dr. Sears wrote this book, and he is a great resource for a more nurturing parenting approach. This book was also nice to read, because it again validated many things for me that I feel maternally. I will say that I feel like this parenting style taken to an extreme seems a little indulgent to me. I don't think that Dr. Sears means for this style to be indulgent at all, but it is easy to see how some parents may interpret parts of this book to mean "your child will dictate every part of your life without boundaries." Like I said, I really like this approach, but I guess that I don't follow every ounce of advice from any parenting book, because I am me, and I have my own personality, values, and ideas.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby-Okay, so it may look as if I have an obsession with parenting books, but part of the reason I like to read them is so that I can be up to date for the "Live and Learn with Your Baby" class that I teach (and obviously for my own parenting as well). I was weary of this book at first I must admit, because I am not into "sleep training," especially for small babies, but it was actually a pretty good book. Using this approach will definitely involve some crying (which I am not persoanlly willing to endure a lot of at Gabe's age), but the thing I loved loved loved about this book is how it gave research and background information on how vital sleep is for a baby/kid. How much sleep a kid gets correlates to their health, behavior.. everything. Since reading this book, I have been putting Gabe down for the night at the same time as Sofia(usually around 7:00), and I have also been trying to be more in tune with the sign he gives me during the day to show me that he is ready to take a nap. He still wakes up at night to nurse, but at this point, I honestly don't feel like that is a problem for me. This book was good for me, because although routines and schedules are hard for me to implement with my personality, just the little ideas from this book that I have applied have helped me be more in tune with my kiddos. As I said.. the book is a little harsh for style at some points, but I definitely think that it has some great ideas.

The Kite Runner-I just finished this book a couple of days ago, so it is still very fresh in my mind. Everyone has to read this book.... I can get a little choked up just thinking about this book. This is the story of a boy growing up in Afghanistan who later moves to the U.S. with a past that haunts him. This book is about integrity, loyalty, and friendship. Not only was the message of this book powerful, but it was so well written, and I love how the author was able to weave the characters' lives in such a believable way. This book also brings us to the reality of what life is like for people in Afghanistan. I don't even know where to start with this book.. just go and read it.

The books that I am working on for my next review are: "The Vaccine Book", and "A Thousand Splendid Suns." Let me know if any of you have read any of these books and what you though. Oh, and I just ordered a new camera, so I can start posting more pictures soon!!


Jeff or Amanda Nemelka said...

I know a lot of people have read the sleeping book around here. I definitely believe in routines and schedules. I really notice a difference with Chance when he is 'off' schedule. It does put a damper on your own social life sometimes, but in the long run...much happier overall.

I started reading the Kite Runner and was loving it, but for some reason stopped and switched to Eat Pray Love...neither of which I finished. I seriously don't have time.

5 days to ready for me???

juliette said...

I just finished Eat Pray Love, and despite my cynical attitude upon first picking it up, (oh, you poor, brokenhearted, successful thirty-something, marriage didn't work out and you had to sell your extra apartment in Manhattan and get paid to travel, boo-hoo) I actually ended up really liking it (and the author) by the end of the first chapter.
I would love to read the kite runner and the sleep book (I need that one!), and if you own them, I'm begging to borrow them.
I liked a thousand splendid suns a was a cultural eye-opener for me. I'm desperate enough for reading material to be rereading the Mists of Avalon, one of my favorite big fat winter reads, again.

Heather said...

The sleep book helped me so much, too. Same as you, I didn't really use his techniques, but I took in all that sleep information - how much is needed at what age, and hints about catching the first signs of sleepiness and getting them in bed before they're psycho with tiredness.

Dr. Sears - his ideas are great and make perfect sense - a lot of common sense - but like you said, they can be taken to such an extreme. I also feel like he pours on the guilt if you don't do things his way (I saw an interview of him and he made moms and dads feel BAD for the simplest things)

Loved the Kite Runner and Thousand Splendid Suns - definitely felt like I needed to read happy books afterward.

I loved carrying my little one around. I'm sad that she's starting to hurt my back at 30+ pounds. Wanted to let you know that it can be overdone. A cousin recently carried her second son around in a sling so much that it put him very behind physically - he was really weak at about 7 months. So, she ended up having to keep him out of the sling and spend as much time as possible working with him on the floor reaching for things, sitting, etc. It was pretty brutal.

Kara's Blog said...

Finish the kite runner!!
I wanted to read Eat Pray Love, so I am glad that you liked it. The sleep book and the kite runner are both from the library (and both overdue), so if you check them out after tomorrow.. it should be there :)
Baby wearing can be hard in my home too since Gabe is over 20 pounds at 6 months, but with the Ergo it is easier. I am probably acting like I wear him all of the time, but I don't... that's why I wanted to make a more consious effort to hold him. That situation with your cousin is interesting, because that book says that in countries where babies are carried more, they actually walk the same time as our kids. It would definitely be interesting to see more research on that.

Jaime said...

Kara, Ok, I have read the kite runner and I loved it. wasn't it awesome. sad, a little heart wrenching but awesome. they are actually making it into a movie right now.
And I am just about to start 1000 splended suns, but all who have read it that I talk to just rave about it.

E said...

Hey you -
Kite Runner made me cry and I can't think about it without getting upset. I read that sleep book too and liked the science parts but I like the practical parts of another book better - "No cry Sleep Method" or something like that. Good post - I need to find a good book.

Marianne said...

Heather, read The Vital Touch.
I like Dr. Sears and I don't think he trys to make people feel bad he just has an opinion and thank God he does, if I have to read a stupid politically correct article out of Parents magazine or anything again I'm going to gag. "Oh let's not be judgmental to the way a mother (fill in the blank)"