This is the first David Sedaris book that I've read cover to cover. I've read bits and pieces of a few of his books and saw him in Raleigh almost 10 yThis is the first David Sedaris book that I've read cover to cover. I've read bits and pieces of a few of his books and saw him in Raleigh almost 10 years ago now, and I don't think I've laughed so hard since. And of course, I've heard him on NPR many times. With that background, I was a little disappointed in Naked. The writing was excellent, in my opinion, but the first several essays didn't leave me laughing as much as they left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Had they been outright fiction, I might have found them more amusing, but the stories he told about himself and his family just felt too revealing for my comfort. I know that nonfiction is fictionalized to some point, or at least rearranged to place the emphasis where the author wants to place it, so I didn't take it as a factual account in that sense. But just when I was on the verge of feeling amused, I started wondering just how much was "true," and that kind of took the fun out of it for me.
That being said, I thought the last half of the book was really phenomenal. Funny, quirky, and informative (I've never hitchhiked nor have I been to a nudist colony, and I feel like I've learned a lot). "Something for Everyone" left me a little uncomfortable, but it was a discomfort I appreciated because it seemed to be a result of being drawn into the story so well. I spent about an hour feeling like I'd done something wrong that I couldn't explain my way out of. I couldn't figure out what it was I'd done and then I finally realized it wasn't anything I'd done, it was just a residual feeling from the story. I wonder if it's odd that I appreciate that......more
Overall, I've really appreciated this book in my seven-plus years as a parent. The most useful portion of the book for me was the large section devoteOverall, I've really appreciated this book in my seven-plus years as a parent. The most useful portion of the book for me was the large section devoted to "normal" or "needs attention" ailments in infants and toddlers. I first used it when my daughter was an infant seven years ago to look up the dosage of infant fever reducers, which never are listed on the medications themselves. It helped keep me calm and out of an unnecessary ER visit several times when my daughter had croup as toddler, and I referenced it just last month when my son started "whooping" during coughing fits. He's vaccinated, so pertussis wasn't really even on my radar, but when I looked up "persistent coughs" in the book and saw the paragraph describing whooping cough, I knew I needed to call our doctor. (Even then it took two doctor visits and a huge amount of time watching pertussis videos online to reach the pertussis diagnosis and get appropriate treatment.)
The conventional "baby in another room" parenting books didn't work for me with my first because I had a baby who refused to be set down or to sleep unless she was in direct physical contact with me. I would think back to my vast experience babysitting and think, "Isn't she supposed to, you know...sleep?" Conventional parenting books only made it worse; my baby didn't do any of the things they said she was supposed to do, and it was clearly my fault. But if I'd had my second child first, those kinds of parenting books might have seemed perfect for us, and I might have found the Sears's book weird (my second is a child who will let me set him down and accepts---and even demands---routines).
I had learned about attachment theory before I'd read The Baby Book, but the book offered helpful suggestions about what attachment parenting might look like. More important, it suggested that maybe it wasn't horrible---and might actually be "normal"---that my baby slept only on me or my husband, and it provided the support of reading about a family who'd lived it (not only with the children they'd birthed but also with their adopted children). I especially liked the section about infant massage and the section that describes the unique comforts that a father can provide to his infant, like a broader, flatter chest on which to rest, a resonant voice to soothe a fussy baby, and confidence in trying off-the-wall holding positions to relieve tummy complaints. And the information about food allergies was integral to identifying the root of the problems my daughter was having and giving me the confidence to change doctors when ours wasn't listening to me.
As much as I've liked The Baby Book, it didn't always accurately reflect what was going on with my child, either. There was one section in which Dr. Sears assures us that if our toddler doesn't want to go to sleep, we shouldn't worry. Just leave him alone for a while and soon we'll find him asleep in the middle of the living room floor. Whenever we were up until all hours with my daughter, my husband and I would joke with each other, "Don't worry. She'll be asleep in the middle of the living room floor in a few minutes."
For the diversity of real-life experiences I needed to witness to make my own choices about day-to-day parenting issues, I relied on the moms I met at the monthly La Leche League meetings I attended. They were the moms who finally taught me how to wear a sling. I swear, I threw that darned thing in the trash half-a-dozen times only to fish it out again and sit down with the demonstration video and try it all again. It's difficult to practice babywearing, no matter how much you buy into the idea, if you can't figure out how to do it.
Basically, I find The Baby Book to be a great reference, but like with parenting advice from any source, you can't rely on it as your only resource. Each child is different, and the dynamics of each family are different, so no advice is going to be helpful (or even reflect reality) for everyone. But if you're able to take what works for you, leave the rest, and look around for support from a variety of other sources, this is a great resource to have available....more
We listened to this on audiobook on a recent family road trip. It was only my second time with Sorcerer's Stone, but my daughter had recently read itWe listened to this on audiobook on a recent family road trip. It was only my second time with Sorcerer's Stone, but my daughter had recently read it on her own (twice) and had her father read it to her once and even after all of this, she was still engrossed in the audiobook.
It's not my favorite of the books (thankfully, unlike so many series for kids, this is one that got noticeably better as the series progressed), but it helped get us through a 2.5-hour wait at the border crossing at Niagara Falls. Who knew that so many U.S. citizens would be trying to get into Canada on the 4th of July?...more
We listened to this on audiobook during a recent trip, and I was struck by just how much the opening scenes were like an episode of Bewitched. Or maybWe listened to this on audiobook during a recent trip, and I was struck by just how much the opening scenes were like an episode of Bewitched. Or maybe like one of the later episodes of The Flintstones where there was that little spaceman causing mischief....more