This one made me cry and laugh! Therefore it is good. I found myself identifying with the author's neuroses and anxieties, repelled by her materialismThis one made me cry and laugh! Therefore it is good. I found myself identifying with the author's neuroses and anxieties, repelled by her materialism and traditionalism, inspired by her honest and funny and tragic story of her pregnancy and her mother's struggle with cancer. This book helped me see how much I utterly do not care about passing on my specific genetic material, and how much I really am not interested in medicalizing my own experience of procreation. But while my partner and I will travel a different route, I'm glad I read this account of Marlyn and Faith's journey. It's made me surer of our own choices, and helped me along toward future motherhood, showing me how strong women can be when bringing a child into the world, against all obstacles.
Contains some very non-vegan-friendly moments, but I found them bearable. They're honest, at lease there's that....more
I really liked this book and recommend it to all parents and folks who care for children! Weil has carefully crafted a humane education curriculum toI really liked this book and recommend it to all parents and folks who care for children! Weil has carefully crafted a humane education curriculum to help kids learn how to make compassionate choices, and this book shares the best of what she's learned from her experiences. It's packed with complex examples of challenges that parents run into with kids of different ages, showing very clearly how parents can help their children learn to make decisions for themselves with great kindness and wisdom.
I take issue with the author's use of the word "reverence" (as in "reverence for life") because I think it gives her book an air of religiousness that may turn off some readers. However, she means it in the most open, broad way possible - if you can imagine being awe-struck by seeing a redwood forest, you'll be fine with the way she uses this term.
If every parent (and prospective parent) and educator read this book, I believe we'd have a better world. It teaches us not to force our values onto our children, but rather, to help our children self-actualize into compassionate, critical thinkers so they'll be able to create a more peaceful world in the future....more
I love Rebecca Walker. She gathered together these essays to help her chart a course for her own family, and she's helped us all in the course of it.I love Rebecca Walker. She gathered together these essays to help her chart a course for her own family, and she's helped us all in the course of it. The stories are from all different kinds of families, and really validate the efforts of those of us who eschew tradition for hard-won equality and open communication and all the other wonderful things that can make even the messiest family a nurturing, lasting arrangement....more
This is a very helpful book. It gives a great overview of the history of how we've handle babies' toilet needs, revealing the cultural and social aspeThis is a very helpful book. It gives a great overview of the history of how we've handle babies' toilet needs, revealing the cultural and social aspects of how we treat babies, and what we think about their intelligence and physical capabilities from country to country. American and Europeans appear to be far behind women in China and Mali and India and many other countries these days, and this book is meant to get us up to speed. Bauer is a sensitive and compassionate person and you can tell as you read her book how much she loves children - she really advocates for them and encourages adults to trust them and follow their lead instead of trying to control them.
The book includes helpful photos and anecdotes showing how to hold your baby and various potty choices, and how to handle special situations like travel, little ones who've been adopted, physical challenges, and families with many children. I like that it also encourages parents to de-stress, take time for themselves, reconnect emotionally with their baby, and seek support when needed.
Bauer practices attachment parenting and is able to take a lot of time to communicate with her baby in what seem to be idyllic surroundings. I think she could have included even more anecdotes from different mothers with different work and living and family situations - more perspectives would be helpful and would make this book more accessible.
I also take issue with the author's repeated, somewhat enigmatic references to intuition and psychic communication between mothers and infants. While I recognize that women can really learn to see and hear what their baby is thinking, I think that's based on subtle body language and sounds and expressions, not on telepathic communication. The inclusion of this aspect of the author's experience cast some doubt on the rest of the book for me. I imagine other readers might have similar reactions, which is a shame, because the rest of the material seems very sound....more
This book is awesome. It's full of clear instructions and useful diagrams and photos showing how to use symbolic gestures to communicate with your babThis book is awesome. It's full of clear instructions and useful diagrams and photos showing how to use symbolic gestures to communicate with your baby before your baby can use spoken language. This speeds spoken language acquisition, increases bonding between parent and child, builds self-esteem and self-confidence, and helps prevent a lot of frustration and stress.
It's not a very vegan-friendly book, but the authors appear to be sensitive to other issues and they encourage families to make up their own signs, so this didn't keep me from liking their message generally.
Baby Signs has an interesting relationship with ASL - it borrows some signs and replaces others with easier-to-make, more literally symbolic signs that the authors say will be easier for babies to learn and use. They view Baby Signs as a stepping stone toward spoken language and note that most children abandon their signs when they learn enough spoken words to use instead. I wonder if children would perhaps be better served by learning ASL, a second language that could be of lasting use.
Besides these quibbles I loved the book. Everyone should read it - we'd all have a lot more respect for babies and their abilities!...more
I loved the first few chapters of this book but found the rest of it to be rather repetitious. It might have been better organized by the age of the cI loved the first few chapters of this book but found the rest of it to be rather repetitious. It might have been better organized by the age of the child, rather than by issue / concept; as it is, it's hard to find what you're looking for.
I also had a hard time with the voice of this book - it swung back and forth between grimly listing statistics and assertively making suggestions like "go to church", and it's not entirely clear what portions are coming from research, and which are coming from the author's culture and beliefs. I found it troubling that the book so carefully analyzes parents' contributions to their children's developing psyches, while so blithely assuming that all kids are (and should be) sent off to religious institutions and mainstream schools.
No alternatives (unschooling, Montessori, etc.) are presented. All families are assumed to be straight, and all parents are assumed to be traditionally gendered. The book recommends kids dress and act like their peers, rather than being secure in who they are. It also includes a long section on how to get kids to understand money, suggesting that parents pay their kids allowance and even give them interest on saved money. This emphasis on conformity was odd, given that the book also quotes Kalil Gibran (very progressive!) and seems to be coming from someone who digs attachment parenting and other child-centered practices.
Maybe it just needs another edit? Overall it was worth a read, full of great ideas - but skim it and read the parts that you like, don't feel like you should read the whole thing....more