Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Books on my night stand.

At times, I wonder how one's interests change with time. I have oscillated from periods of being an avid reader to a light one with intermittent phases of reading just filmi gossip or even meaningless entertainment on the internet at times. There was a phase right after my marriage where I stopped reading completely even though I had all the time in the world at hand and Ashwini had bought some good books for me knowing my interest before I came here. It just didn't interest me; probably I was much too occupied dealing with the huge changes in life. I started reading again at a time which most would consider very unlikely to begin again. When Vansh was born and the initial months when I felt I was feeding/putting him to sleep for at least 20 hours out of 24, gave me lots of time and after mastering some balancing skills, at least one free hand to be able to hold a book. So there I was holding a new baby in one hand and 'Da Vinci code' in the other (first book I read when I started again). I devoured one book after another and loved it. Most of them were bestsellers, current or previous; few of them were books on parenting ranging in issues like feeding, sleeping, routines depending on the phase Vansh was going through at that time. There were good times where I checked out from the library books like 'Games to play with your child'; and there were tough times where I checked out every possible book on sleeping issues (reading them, ironically, at a time which I could have otherwise spent catching up on some sleep). Time passed and the number of parenting books I was reading slowly started taking precedence over the other kind of books to the point where it is today where all you'll find at my nightstand are books on 'Disciplining a toddler'!! Huh!! Ashwini jokingly teases me that by now I should be writing parenting books myself. Some day, may be !!

As of now, let me just pen down some of the good books that I have read on several issues:

Feeding

Both the following books were recommended by Vansh's pediatrician.

  • Feed Me I'm Yours by Vicki Lansky - A cookbook for parents of tots and toddlers contains some of the most popular recipes for baby food, finger food, snacks and desserts. It includes information on sample servings for young children, when to introduce new solids and which to try first, vegetarian baby food options, handling and storing baby food, safe uses of microwaves, foods likely to cause allergies and how long to delay introduction of these foods. It also provides time-saving, trouble-saving, and money-saving tips.

Getting your child on a routine

By far, on of the best books I have read. I always swear by it, one because it taught me the importance of having a routine for the child and two because it gave very practical advice to get on one. One shortfall, in my personal opinion was, the method suggested for putting baby to sleep. I am not sure about how effective that is. Personally I am a die hard fan of the Ferber method of putting the child to sleep. After much research and practice and many many sleepless nights, that's what finally worked with Vansh. Well, coming back to the book.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

Activities/ Play

Gymboree - The Parent's Guide to Play (Gymboree Play & Music) by Wendi S Masi and Roni Cohen Leiderman - This has a pretty good collection of ideas for play and games ranging from newborns to 3-4 years.

Child Psychology/ Discipline/ Mental Development

  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish - This is an excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by the authors. The methods have been explained in an easy to understand and adopt step by step approach.The "Reminder" pages and cartoon illustrations also improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with children.

  • NO: Why Kids of All Ages Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It by David Walsh - I read this one after attending a very impressive talk by the author on 'Boy Brains and Girl Brains' and the book is very good as well. Walsh advocates on why we need to say 'No' to our children and ways we can do it. The book has been divided into different sections catering to different age ranges starting from very young to adolescents. Walsh's approach fosters such qualities as perseverance, patience and commitment, emphasizing a balanced parenting style that is neither predominantly negative nor permissive. In age-by-age chapters, he chronicles the developmentally appropriate use of the word, revealing how it helps children grow into self-disciplined, well-adjusted adults. It is peppered with anecdotes of other parents' struggles as well as examples from raising his own three kids.

  • Supernanny: How to Get the Best from Your Children by Jo Frost - For despairing moms and dads everywhere, "Supernanny" Jo Frost may has no-nonsense rules--not tips, not advice, but rules--for consistently managing one's offspring leave no room for arguments. She's in charge, and ready to instruct all wishy-washy parents how to lay down the law in their own home. She offers her "top ten rules" for setting boundaries, managing mealtimes, even surviving toilet training, and it's mostly rock-solid. (For parents who obsess over their toddler's every meal, she warns: "It doesn't take long for them to work out the obvious: you can't make them eat.") Frost may not have a degree in child development, but she has 15 years' experience taking care of tots, which puts her way ahead of most parents. She may be firm, but by setting definite boundaries, she sets the stage for parenting to be more of a "joy" and much less of a "slog."

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