Saturday, December 30, 2006

Attachment Parenting

Last night, I finished reading Attachment Parenting (by Katie Allison Granju). It is part of our LLL Group library. None of the content was new to me, but I still enjoyed the book for the most part--made me feel like I'm doing pretty good as a mother :) I think it would be a good book for more people to read *before* they have children, though, sadly, I think few people actually would read it before having children--there is a certain "preaching to the choir" element of the book that makes me feel like the only people who would pick it up would be AP inclined anyway. My specific critiques of the book are that it focuses very heavily on breastfeeding (did you ever think you'd see the day that I'd critique something for focusing heavily on breastfeeding?! LOL!)--I feel like there are plenty of excellent breastfeeding books out there and so a several chapter rehash in this book, though good information, wasn't that necessary. There wasn't enough information to make buying an additional breastfeeding book unnecessary and yet there was so much as to leave little room in the book for other attachment parenting information. My second critique is that the book ends very abruptly and also has no index. You get to the last chapter (Breastfeeding Past the First Year), read along, get to the last paragraph of that chapter and BOOM the book is over.

A quote that I liked from the book (in which the author is quoting an AP family):

"My partner & I are working hard to create a family based way of life. We want home, parenting, work & our relationship to all be part of a seamless web, not separate & compartmentalized boxes. It's exciting!"

I share this sentiment--we are striving for an integrated life together instead of divided up little realms.

Speaking of attachment parenting, I got a really cute magnet in the mail a couple of days ago from Attachment Parenting International (I'm an unchaptered member). I love their colorful people-all-in-a-row logo which is on the magnet (I'm not sure if it is really their logo or not, because they have a very different one on their newsletter and other materials, but this people logo is on a lot of their CafePress stuff and I just really like it.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

At Knit's End

A few days ago, I finished a cute little book called At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. My mom lent it to me and I now have renewed appreciation of her lovely gifts of hand knit socks :-) Before, I didn't really understand why she was a bit agitated when I neglected to wear slippers with the socks, now I get it better! I also feel like knitting something...

Back to the book though--It is a "meditation of the day" style of book. Each is one short page (a couple span two) that opens with a carefully slected quote, then a short application to knitting, and closing with a meditation/affirmation/thought for the day type of thing. Anyway, it is SO cute, funny, and TRUE! I loved it (I don't even consider myself a knitter--I think many people would enjoy the book, regardless of their knit-commitment). The quotes she chose to open each page were gems and her own thoughts were pretty great as well. I intended to copy some of the quotes I liked so much here, but my baby is fussing and I need to get him instead of typing!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Wise Mom

Last night, I also read the most recent issue of The Wise Mom, the newsletter of the Holistic Moms Network (of which I am an unchaptered member). It made me think again about starting a chapter in my area (instead of a chapter of Families for Natural Living, which is what I had decided on). HMN's newsletter is vibrant and full of life and news and makes me feel like, "this is an organization that is going somewhere!" FNL seems inactive and as if it might being shutting down. I feel like hitching my wagon to a more shiny star (please excuse the mangled analogy/metaphor/whatever). There was an article in The Wise Mom called Moms Making a Difference, that led me to ponder where I might be able to volunteer with a baby and 3 year old in tow. Food pantry maybe? I miss the connected volunteerism that used to be such a large part of my life. I have LLL now, but I am such a "lone agent" here--in several ways I like going in to work at an organization better than *being* the organization on my own!

Pathways to the Spirit

Yesterday I finished reading Pathways to the Spirit: 100 Ways to Bring the Sacred to Daily Life. It was a small book and a quick read and was also inspiring in many ways. It has no particular religious affiliation and does a nice job blending together various elements from different traditions without ever being offensive and/or exclusive. My problem is that I rarely actually implement the fabulous spiritual insights I have when reading and then have to read new books that basically say the same thing--and I think, "yeah, yeah! I should DO that!" etc. etc. Examples include: daily meditation, creating a sacred space in your home, yoga, prayer, gratitude journal, etc. I maintained a daily yoga practice since 2002, but lost my groove after my second baby was born in May and have not managed to get back into the routine of my daily practice. I seriously miss it. However, I somehow mange to, say, check my email each day, so, why not yoga?! Maybe I need to straighten out my priorities!

Back to the book, I loved the following verse she shared by Thich Nhat Hanh:

I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here.
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Marie Claire

I confess to having read an issue of Marie Claire yesterday. It came in the mail a few days ago and I couldn't resist having a peek at what the non-simple folk are up to lately. I haven't read an issue since I was in college and acquiring this one was sort of unusual--I won a magazine subscription some time ago from taking a survey online. I chose "Budget Living" (ha ha! What a joke. Articles about things like, "how to buy a great couch for only $1000!"). After a while, Budget Living stopped coming and "Shop, Etc." started coming in its place (no comment on that one, except for how bizarre to think you could actually make a magazine like that as well as the irony of replacing a Budget Living subscription with a magazine that is actually one big series of magazine advertisements!) Anyway, no surprise, Shop, Etc. is now history and has been replaced with Marie Claire, apparently. I wonder how long they will keep changing and/or coming to me?

Partners for a Healthy Baby

Last night I skimmed through a free book I got a couple of years ago called Partners for a Healthy Baby: Home Visiting Curriculum for Expectant Families--Before Baby Arrives. It has cool illustrations, but that is about it. I think I'm going to get rid of it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

ICEA Guide for Childbirth Educators

This evening, I finished re-reading ICEA's Guide for Childbirth Educators. It was written in 1988, but doesn't seem particularly out of date. ICEA's philosophy and style of childbirth education is different than my own, but I still was reminded of several teaching ideas while re-reading the book. They have a heavy focus on information/physiology of birth and my focus is evolving towards an emphasis on emotional preparation for birth and parenthood and on trust in birth (basically, on overcoming birth fright!). I'm struggling to remember to talk less and listen more--I think this will help the people I work with much more than all of the "information junkie" stuff I tend to offer!


My mom lent me a novel called Knitting and I finished it last night. It was surprisingly engaging. It is the story of Sandra, recently widowed, and uptight, repressed, and controlling. She is also smart and does research on textiles and "women's work." She meets a very skillful knitter, named Martha (who is sort of strange, a little mentally ill, and also friendly and warm), and they develop a sort of odd friendship and plan an exhibition together of text and knitting ("Texturality"). It kept me turning pages, but I don't think I'll necessarily remember it a few months from now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Catching Up...

It is sometimes hard to keep straight when I finished reading things, because I go through them quickly. So, during the previous week, I read:

Winter 2006 issue of The Compleat Mother. I started getting this magazine when I was pregnant with my first son. It was a little on the "radical" side for me at that point and I got hung up on the sometimes poor editing/typos. I let my subscription end after getting it for two years. Well....I've become more radical myself since then and I recently purchased a bulk subscription with four of my playgroup friends. So, now I totally devour this magazine as well (I still get a little peevish about the typos). It is a hardcore "natural mothering" almost zine-like magazine. (I'm an Area Rep now too, so if anyone wants to buy a one year subscription, Paypal me $12 ;-)

The excellent feminist classic: Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience & Institution
This book really clarified for me the "institutional" elements of motherhood that I sometimes find so oppressive and binding--it isn't the children themselves, in the climate of motherhood in which I find myself. I got a little ranty about the patriarchy and how it is holding me down and then felt depressed and oppressed. Got a handle on myself fairly quickly though. It was a great book and made me think about many issues, as well as feel a bit despairing...

I also read my newsletter from Attachment Parenting International, my newsletter from Mothers & More, and my alumni magazine from UMR

I borrowed Not Buying It from the library. It was an interesting memoir. Some of the reviews on Amazon were a little harsh--I do not think she promised anything other than what she delivered. It was a semi-journal type account of her "year without shopping." She did not pretend to be an expert on simple living, nor to give you fab tips on becoming one. It was her documentary of a personal experiment basically. My mom had checked out The Memory of Running at the same time, so after I finished my book, I read hers as well. It was fiction and I just gobbled it down. I usually read nonfiction, so some fiction is kind of a treat--I have a much easier time putting nonfiction down. When I read fiction, I get glassy eyed with having read "too much" and actually feel a little ill. It was an engaging story--loserish guy takes off on his bike to LA after losing all the members of his family. Loses weight and "finds himself" along the way. The character was one of those "unlikeable" characters that you enjoy anyway.

I know I read some other things as well, but the children's patience is waning greatly, so I'll have to catch up later (or not, I have many things in my to read pile, so I may just go forward in time from here).

Edited to briefly add two others I remembered: Breastfeeding Your Baby and Pregnancy Day by Day. Both by Sheila Kitzinger, both a little on the older side. I got them free from a stuff-swapping playgroup friend :-) They are both heavily illustrated--the breastfeeding one has some very nice photos. Probably the most photos of any breastfeeding book I own thus far. I'm taking back to playgroup to swap to someone else though, so I guess I won't own it for long! Hmm. Maybe I should rethink my plan. Making gingerbread houses with playgroup tomorrow--taking L's leftover parade candy to contribute to the bounty.


On Monday, I finished reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini. It started out slowly, but really picked up the pace and I had trouble putting it down by the end. Now, I'm antsy for the final book in the trilogy. It was a little formulaic and predictable, but overall a fun read.

I also got my newest issue of one of my most favorite magazines of all time: Brain, Child. I couldn't help myself, I devoured it in one sitting. It only comes four times a year, so I should savor it more skillfully, but I can't resist. I totally adore the magazine. Plus, one of the last sections in each issue is "The Reading Chair" and I always get good ideas of future things to read from that.

First post!

Yesterday I re-read Presenting Unexpected Outcomes. This was required reading for my childbirth educator certification program (ALACE) and is about talking about loss, complications, grief, etc. during your childbirth classes. I decided to read it again because I'm planning two news series of childbirth classes this winter and I wanted to decide which material to include. I have mixed feelings about it--as the book itself says, people deserve to be prepared for the possibility of unexpected outcomes and 90% of women express some feeling of loss after birth of one thing or another. On the other hand, I feel like we live in such a culture of "birth fright," that it is unnecessary to add to it. Part of the whole purpose of my classes is to promote trust in birth and confidence that women can DO it. Dosn't then having a whole class specifically devoted to the "unexpected" and statistically small negative outcomes negate what I claim is my purpose? Will I be empowering them with knowledge and coping skills and do I have an ethical responsibility to present the information? (as the book says) Or, will I be contributing to the cultural view of birth as flawed and dangerous and women and babies are in need of rescuing from it?

I also read A Difficult Decision. This book is about abortion (the subtitle is "a compassionate book about abortion") and was on my "to-sell" bookshelf. I hadn't really planned to read it, but I got an email from Citizens for Midwifery about a summit by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and in that email it referenced the devisiveness of the abortion issue and their rationale for including abortion dicussion during their upcoming summit. I had the book on the shelf and decided to read it. It was short and informative.

I read two issues of Missouri Conservationist as well. I am several issues behind. There was an interesting article about glade restoration and also one about various constrictor snakes in Missouri.