Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Books I've been reading

I originally heard about The Vow because I was interested in the movie (by the same name) that came out a few months ago. When I learned that the movie not only came from a book, but was based on a true story, I knew I had to check it out.

This story is about two young people who fall in love, get married, and 8 weeks later endure a terrible car accident. The husband is badly injured, and his wife sustains head trauma that results in a complete loss of 5 years worth of memories. This includes all her memories of meeting him, falling in love, and getting married.

The road they travel is a rough one. They take life day by day as they depend on their stalwart faith in Christ, the support of their family, and their commitment to a vow that only one of them remembers. This is a fantastic story about the power of God in difficult circumstances, and I highly recommend it. Why read a fictional romance, when there's a true story better than anything on the fiction shelf?

I started this book with some misconceptions based on other's reviews of it. I expected it to be a harsh version of childrearing that involved a lot of "crying it out" and forcing the baby to conform to the needs of the family, without regard to the baby's own needs. I was definitely wrong.

Babywise emphasizes Parent Directed Feeding. The basic idea is that as humans we thrive on flexible routines and schedules. Babies are the same. A baby will be healthiest and happiest if they have a set routine and learn to live life in context of the rest of the family.

This does NOT mean that the  baby's needs are ignored. One of the most repeated phrases in the book is, "If your baby is hungry, FEED him!" Regardless of where you are in the routine. The routine is merely a set of guidelines, there to be a help, not a burden.

I found this book to be very useful, and referenced it often in the first two months following Tirza's birth.

Similar in content to Babywise, Baby Whisperer is my favorite baby book. A British nanny, Tracy Hogg seemed to work magic with babies earning her the title of "the baby whisperer." In this book she passes her lessons on to her readers.

Tracy emphasizes showing your baby respect and treating them like a "human being." In other words, your baby has feelings and opinions also, and they count. She points out that all humans do best when on some sort of a routine, and strongly encourages parents to provide their babies with an orderly environment and routine.

In several places she has charts which are very helpful. I found the charts describing various baby cries to be particularly useful, and referenced them many times in the first few weeks after my girl was born. If I could only recommend one book to a new mother this would be the book I'd recommend. If I could recommend two I'd pass on this one and BabyWise, as the two are generally complementary.

I picked this book up because I'd heard John Medina's original Brain Rules. I enjoyed this book as well. Medina had some interesting suggestions that I never would have thought of doing with my little girl. He also had some wonderful insights into the developing brain of a baby from conception through toddlerhood. This book is definitely worth a read, before birth if possible. If your baby is already older, though, that's fine. All parents of littles will find this useful--even if your little is a little bit older.