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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Secret Garden Books

It’s Mom’s Day week and my new book, Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers,  is on the shelves coast to coast! Here’s hoping it helps moms everywhere find some new time-savers, money-savers, or (perhaps most important) sanity-savers. I’ve always wanted a cheat sheet from other moms, a chance to sneak a peek into their houses to figure out what works for them–and what doesn’t. This book comes pretty close to that goal. Moms from all over the country told me what makes their lives just a little bit easier, and I’ve wrapped it all up into this cute little package (with thanks to Chronicle Books)!

I’d also like to give a big shout-out to my neighborhood indie bookstore, Secret Garden Books, for giving me this awesome window display! If you’re in Seattle, swing by the launch party on May 5 at 7pm.  Bring the kids, have a cupcake, and enter to win free books. Thanks for all the support!

Finally, I’d love to hear from YOU with a little lifesaver that’s making life easier at your house this week. Share it! (You can also share it on Chronicle’s blog to win a free book; click here.)

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“Socialization”: It’s a big buzzword with parents these days, held out as the primary reason to pack up the baby or toddler and all their assorted gear, get in the car, write a check, and participate in anything from organized playgroups to enrichment classes to daily pre-preschool. It’s what people seem to do. However, our feeling is that all babies and toddlers really need to learn “socialization” is time with their family and neighbors, doing the usual stuff you do—the grocery store, post office, visits to friends, outings to the park. In general, babies like spending time with familiar people in familiar places doing familiar things, with the occasional new playground, story hour, or bakery thrown in for variety. And as any parent quickly finds out after three or four trips to the zoo, usually the garden-variety pigeons and other kids are way more interesting than the lions.

Still, somehow, many new parents start to pack their lives with expensive classes and structured playgroups. Not to mention that “special” outings that used to be a really big deal when we were young–to the children’s museum, zoo or aquarium—are now on many moms’ weekly rotation, along with classes in tumbling, music, and language immersion, at hundreds of dollars a pop. Of course, if you have the time and the means and you’re someone who likes to fill your day with some concrete plans–go for it! But for those just getting used to life with baby, you really don’t have to succumb to the pressure. It is totally okay for your baby (and you) to spend all day in your pjs, exploring the wonder of your own house.

So, our question is this. Classes for babies: Do they need it? Did you do it with your first or second child? Why or why not?

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Whether you have one child or five, tell us…what would you do differently during the first year with your baby, if you could have a do-over?

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At some point in your life, there was probably someone who you loved dearly but wanted to change. Then you probably had a realization that while you might be able to influence or alter certain behaviors, you simply can’t change who a person is. No matter how long that took to sink in, the result was a big life lesson learned, right? Time to do it again, new parents. The biggest parenting eye-opener for me, so far, is that a baby is an individual from the get-go—and will quite likely have a different temperament, emotional makeup, and way of looking at the world (and certainly a different body clock) than you. Linking yourself inextricably to this little stranger is part of the wonder, mystery, personal growth, and sometimes crushing frustration of parenting. With two very different kids underfoot, I’m still reminding myself to ride out the phases, open my mind, and adjust my own expectations (or our family’s schedule) instead of trying in vain to change my child. In other words, she is who she is, not who I might’ve pictured her to be, and growing to know her, accept her, and celebrate her is at the heart of the beauty and wonder of any real relationship.

I don’t expect I will ever be perfect at this. I often hear myself say (out loud or in my head), “Why can’t you be more like…”. But on good days, I can feel myself starting to internalize the essential truth: that I want my kids to be the best Piper and the best Molly they can be, and not anything—or anyone—else.

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