Sunday, July 29, 2007
When I saw this book title at the library, I just had to check it out and read it myself: Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask)

I know it is going to be a few more months before Katie starts asks why she can't go pee-pee standing up, and it will probably be a few more years down the road before we need to have that special talk about birthcontrol options, but I like to plan ahead...

This book was actually written with quite a bit of humor. The authors are both doctors. One is a pediatrician and one is a psychiatrist. From the book, it sounds like they also do quite a bit of speaking to parents about how to talk with kids about sex. It sounds like their presentations are usually packed to the rim with anxious parents.

What is the basic concern of all these parents? The authors sum it up thus: "How can I help my daughter have a healthy attitude about sex, and how can I keep her from having any?"

The authors then list a number of "mini lectures" they feel parents should have with their kids over the years. Their perspective is that parents should start young. Junior high is time time they feel parents should be discussing the big "S" topic, because by the time high school rolls around junior has already heard a lot on this subject from someone else. And starting the conversation after age 14 just gets more and more awkward and uncomfortable for all interested parties.

The book also promotes the idea of keeping the conversation going, beyond the initial "birds and the bees" talk. So if your kid is reading Romeo and Juliet, ask him what it was those two were doing when the birds began to sing. And if your young one is assigned The Scarlet Letter, ask her what that letter stood for, anyway?

Sunday, July 08, 2007
My latest favorite book about parenting is Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You from Losing Your Mind. The book contains a whole bunch of mantras, little sayings really. Things to bring to mind during the...oh...10 or 12 difficult parenting situations that may come up on any given day. The authors, two child psychologists, then share stories from their own experiences about how these mantras have come in handy for them.

There are mantras for getting through a visit with your in-laws ("take what they can give"). Mantras for getting along with your spouse ("ignore the score"). Mantras for the working mom and for the stay at home mom ("give up the guilt"). Even mantras for coping with tantrums in public ("be invisible").

I ran into this book around Mother's Day. The title immediately brought to mind the mantra I recited to myself during the first few months of Katie's life. I'm not sure where I got the idea of reciting a mantra, but it helped me stay calm when I was feeling a little out of control.

My mantra was "I'm grateful for Katie." I remember saying this to myself in the wee hours when I'd hear Katie start to cry...again. I'd say it to myself while we were going through a rough patch with the whole car seat and driving thing. And I'd whisper it to Katie's sleeping form after she'd finally settled down for some sleep.

It was a useful thing for me, because becoming a mom was my choice. Randy wasn't particularly keen on the idea of giving up our comfortable couple-dom, and it was really me who lobbied for the idea of having a baby later in life. It was something I really wanted to do, even though I knew next to nothing about babies and kids. So it was a useful way for me to remind myself that this new phase in my life was something I'd chosen for myself. I needed a little reminder to keep those feelings of...oh I don't know, longing for the past I bay.

During the last few days, Katie's been on edge. She's got two molars working their way to the surface, and I can actually see a little blood on her gums, poor thing. So she's had a bit of a fussy mood these last few days, and bedtime can seem like it's a long way off. I know if I can keep her engaged in fun activities, the whole day goes a lot more smoothly. But then I can only work up the enthusiasm to go to the park so many times in one day. So I've been reviving my mantra again. It works. It keeps me thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing with my day.

So what are your parenting mantras?


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