August 15, 2012

Book review – Bringing up Bébé

Posted in Books, Parenting at 2:33 pm by lifebytheday

I finally got around to reading Bringing up Bébé (I recently decided that I didn’t have much of an excuse to still be reading the crap that I used to read to “relax” while working/pregnant/etc.) and was extremely gratified to realize that I’m somewhere in the middle of the French and American contingency.  My goal in raising my kid(s) is like the French cadre – strict limits about certain things with a lot of freedom in between.

I believe strongly in independent play, manners, and helping your children become good eaters (more French than American per the author).  However, I’m a proud breastfeeder, and am also completely guilty of narrating A’s actions and praising their results (all good things I think, albeit more American).

I think the author does a good job raising questions and topics for discussion without making many judgments of her own.  And as anyone already parenting knows, all your great ideas and good intentions go out the window once you’re dealing with a real person and their personality. 😉

I still think that it is a good idea to have goals though.  A lot of the things I had already been doing (or trying to do), but the book made me realize how much I still rely on things like snacks and A’s pacifier to prevent shrieking and meltdowns while in public.  So that’s my new goal – help A try to get more words so he can express himself without screaming, and not just shove food into his mouth to shut him up. 😉  If you hear a toddler yelling from across the store or restaurant, think of me and wish us luck, okay?

Also, will all you readers out there send me some book recommendations?  Any parenting books that you’ve found particularly helpful or other new fiction/non-fiction that I should read.  Thanks!

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April 12, 2011

Reflections on hypnobirthing

Posted in Books, Pregnancy tagged at 4:35 pm by lifebytheday

After getting revitalized by Saturday’s childbirth class, I decided that it was time to get back into reading and researching, so last night I read a Hypnobirthing book (The Mongan Method) that I had borrowed from a friend.  I initially had been really interested in this method, but after reading the book I have realized that it is NOT for me. 

There are a few things that I took away from it that I think will be really valuable – including some relaxation techniques and visualization exercises – but I just can’t get behind the entire program as a whole.  I know that it works for some people so I don’t want to be too judgemental, but it is just waayyyy too fruity for me. 

A big part of the hypnobirthing program is a language adjustment (“uterine surge” vs. “contraction”) which I understand the goal of, but just seemed really fake and forced to me.  Hypnobirthing proponents also do not believe in the idea of pushing and do not acknowledge that labor will include pain and hard work.  Just because you don’t acknowledge something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist! 

Another big part of the program is to help woman release their fear about labor – which might be important for some people – but as crazy as it sounds, I don’t feel!  I know that it is going to be difficult, but I’m not afraid of the process. 

One thing that I did really like though was the idea of a birth “preferences” document, versus a birth plan.  I think the word preferences better acknowledges the reality of what may happen, and is less likely to alienate the doctors and nursing staff. 

So now I need some help from my readers!  Can you please send me recommendations for good books on natural childbirth that are less “fruity”?  And tell me what kinds of things you are putting in your birth plan/preferences??

November 19, 2010

Book review – pregnancy “bibles”

Posted in Books, Pregnancy at 2:58 pm by lifebytheday

On the day we found out we were pregnant, my good friend loaned me her copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”...and a few weeks later, I bought “The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy”.  I thought that I’d take a moment to share my impressions of both of my books, and which I would recommend. 

I had heard all the standard complaints about What to Expect…, that it was alarmist, old-fashioned, etc…but my experience couldn’t be more different.  I really like how it is organized, and the amount and type of information that is presented in the weekly updates.  And each month’s section includes several FAQs based on what you may be going through, thinking about, etc. that are extremely helpful, and I think, reassuring.  I mean, if you’re looking for a book that tells you it’s okay to drink during pregnancy, this isn’t it, but I think this really is the only book you’d ever need to have a healthy and well-informed pregnancy. 

I bought the Mayo Guide based on several reviews on A.mazon, but I haven’t been as impressed with this one.  It doesn’t include as much information on a monthly and weekly basis, and all of the FAQs are in a big chunk at the back so it’s hard to find – or even know! – what you’re looking for.  The two things that are good (and were the main reasons that I bought the book) are the “when to call” sections (listing individual symptoms and identifying which are normal and which may be a concern) and the in-depth “decision guides” (prenatal testing, choosing an OB, whether to breastfeed, etc.).  I haven’t used these sections much (thank goodness on the first count!), but I’m reassured to know that I have that information if I ever need it.

I think the bottom line is that any pregnancy book has to be treated as a guide and not as an absolute, which I think is the most important lesson that any mother or mother-to-be has to learn.  There are always going to be suggestions and recommendations, some of which will be appropriate for you and/or your baby, and some that will not! 

So with that said, and keeping in mind that I’ve only read up through the first trimester-ish in both books, I would definitely recommend What to Expect…

October 27, 2010

Book recommendation – pregnancy cookbook

Posted in Books, Pregnancy tagged , at 7:49 pm by lifebytheday

Again, THANK YOU for the reassuring comments that my baby is not going to be born with two heads.  I’m feeling better today, and just trying to think zen for the next week.  Wish me luck.  😉

I thought I would start a little mini-series of book reviews since I am now in posession of 7 (seven) different pregnancy books.  Yes, that’s a little OTT (over-the-top, as S would say), but in my defense, I’m a book lover!  Two of the seven were loaned to me by a friend, one is a cookbook, one is an organizer, one is about finding bargains on baby goods, and the other two…well, they’re more your standard pregnancy book. 

My current FAVORITE is a cookbook called “The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook – 100 recipes that adapt to fit how you feel”.  Along with a great introduction about eating healthy and whole, each recipe comes with three variations based on whether you are “feeling green” (nauseous), “feeling food” (hungry), or “feeling full” (bloated, not hungry, etc.) 

I have been lucky enough not to have any morning sickness, but I have been having a lot of food aversions, so I was surprised to discover so many recipes that looked tempting and delicious!  I tried a chicken recipe tonight and actually enjoyed chicken again!  I am so excited to cook my way through this cookbook, and foresee myself using this cookbook for many years to come.  I just need to ask Santa for an immersion blender so that I can make the soups! 😉

April 10, 2009

Friday book club

Posted in Books at 8:38 am by lifebytheday

Just finished Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips – SO cute.  It’s a satirical fiction based on Greek mythology but completely farcical…it’s full of humor, but also has a lovely plot-line that makes you feel like yes, the power of good still does triumph.

From the publisher – “Yes, the twelve Greek gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London town house – and are none too happy about it. Even more disturbing, their powers are waning.

I’d definitely recommend it! 🙂

March 31, 2009

What are you reading?

Posted in Books at 8:19 am by lifebytheday

I just hit up the library last night and got some great new fiction releases that I’m so looking forward to reading! 

In progress…Enclave, by Kit Reed – strange so far, but really good. 
From the book jacket, “The world is in chaos: war, plague, global ecological collapse. Parents everywhere seek sanctuary for their precious children, the future of mankind. For those who are rich and powerful enough, safety can be found – for a price – at Clothos Academy….Chothos will admit only one hundred children before it is sealed off – perhaps permanently – from the terrors outside.”  Sounds cool, huh??  A far cry from my usual Nora. 😉

So what are you guys reading?  Let’s pass around some ideas!

March 24, 2009

Hi, my name is J…

Posted in Books at 3:51 pm by lifebytheday

…and I’m a romance-novel-aholic! 😛 

I knew that I was pretty obsessed, but when I sacrificed getting to work on time this morning, to stop by CVS and buy a book to bring with me on the train (that left a half an hour later!)…I realized I had a problem.  😉

Besides being a total romantic at heart, I think I love romance novels because they allow me to escape.  They’re never a challenging read, so I can quickly and easily get sucked in to a world that always has a happy ending – boy meets girl and lives happily every after, and usually gets pregnant to boot! 

I was in need of some major escapism this morning – I was trying to snap myself out of my depressed mood, and all of the books that I’ve been saving to read required too much thought or sadness – so I stopped to pick up a Nora Roberts’ book, and it absolutely did the trick!  I arrived at work (albeit, an hour later than normal) a happier person than I left home.  Thanks Nora. 😉

February 26, 2009

The Year of Living…

Posted in Books tagged , at 8:37 am by lifebytheday

I started reading a great book yesterday – The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs – and yes, it was a coincidence that I started it on Ash Wednesday.  I’m sure many of you have heard of this book, and as of page 150 or so, I can definitely say that it doesn’t disappoint.  Besides being very funny – one of my favorite parts so far is based on his discussion of not being able to touch women when they are “impure,” which leads to one of A.J.’s co-workers providing him with an Excel spreadsheet detailing her cycle (!) – it’s also very thoughtful.  I hope that reading this book will help me re-connect with my own faith.

I think that part of the reason I’ve been feeling extra down lately is because I’ve let my faith slip.  I am a pretty liberal Catholic, but I generally enjoy, appreciate, and value my faith, and in the past few months, I’ve foregone attending Mass in exchange for those few extra hours of sleep or time with S.  I went to AW services with my Mom last night, and left feeling such a sense of peace and hope.  I have some definite plans for Lent and I’m hoping that they will help get me in a better mental and emotional place for when we’re ready to start our next round of IVF.

Interestingly enough, A.J. and his wife also went through IVF, so there’s a lot of discussion in the book as to the moral consequences of that decision.  I don’t think I’ve reached his final word on the subject, but at the moment, A.J. and I agree that the commandment “be fruitful and multiply” justifies any means necessary. 

Wishing all of my fellow IF-sufferers peace and hope this Lenten season.  Here’s to “being fruitful”!