Thursday, January 18, 2007
Well at least I'm actually succeeding at ONE of my New Year's resolutions.
More reading and less channel surfing.
I managed to read a few books so far this month, and for me that's quite an accomplishment (at least these days.)
First off, I read "momfidence" by Paula Spencer.
Now normally I'm not really into parenting books at all.
I think the only parenting books I've ever read was The Baby Whisperer (which was actually really helpful despite the cheesy book title) and the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. (which ended up just freaking me out and giving me more anxiety before I had Lulu)
But both were hand-me-downs from friends.
I tend to consult the internet, my mom, my mother-in-law and friends for tips and advise.
So when someone sent me a copy of "momfidence" I figured I would get to it eventually, but it wasn't jumping off the bookshelf.
But This book was quite funny and provided down-to-earth accounts of raising confident and healthy children.
And really involves nothing more complicated that trusting your instincts, using common sense, and above all, hanging on to your sense of humour.
A nice light read that had me chuckling out loud.
No "The Memory Keepers Daughter" by Kim Edward's is not another parenting book.
Quite the opposite actually.
It's a story about Dr. David Henry who is married to a woman named Nora, who is pregnant with their first child. Her labour begins on a stormy winter night in 1961. Due to the weather, they could only make it to the clinic where he practised medicine, not the hospital, and only Caroline, the nurse, arrived to help deliver the baby. David delivers his own child, a perfectly healthy son. But when Nora continues her labour, David realizes she is carrying twins;
(in the days before good ol' ultra sound- what a shocker that must have been..) but the second child, a girl, is born with Down syndrome. Wanting to protect his wife from the devastating news, David gives the child to Caroline to take to an institution, asking her never to reveal the secret. Caroline takes the baby and disappears. Unfolding the plot over the course of 25 years, Edwards tells a moving story of two families bound by a secret that both eats away at relationships and eventually helps to create new ones.
A great read for a cold winter night in January (but maybe not if you are pregnant...)
Finally, I just finished The Glass Castle a memoir by Jeanette Walls on the weekend and I still find myself thinking about it.
Once again this is NOT a parenting-how-to kind of book.
Far from it.
well sort of.
Jeannette Walls grew up with very eccentric parents Rex and Rose Mary Walls. They had four children. In the beginning, they lived like gypsies, moving from town to desert town and camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
When the money ran out, the Walls retreated to a West Virginia mining townwhere Rex was originally from. When they moved there Rex Walls drank, he stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so amazing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
I loved this book and could barely put it down.
As I soaked in a hot bubble bath while reading it, I felt eternally grateful to my parents for everything they had provided me with over the years...