Monday, October 4, 2010

SGW: What to Expect When You Buy Those Stupid Books

Happy Monday! Today we're handing over the reins to Mom In A Million. She is famous in these parts for her killer book reviews and the creation of the word "douche-nozzle".  She got all chatty one day about her library of parenting books in her house, and Lydia was all, "You mean those things that hold the doors open and keep the table from having a seizure everytime someone puts their elbow on it? I love those books? Oh, you read them? Never mind." And Kate doesn't like the idea of anyone being smarter than her, so she abjectly refused to read them.

Seems the IHPs didn't care, because they came anyway. So there, authors. Of course, her doctor was all, "Have you been exercising your kegels?" and she was like, "Yes, but it's a beagle." And then he explained what he meant and she immediately got a new doctor. Anyway, the point is, there are all these books and article and magazine all about having babies and taking care of babies, and raising babies into kids and she. read. all. of. them. so. we. don't. have. to. Which possibly makes her way smarter than us and possibly makes us feel like we really are happy it's keeping our kitchen table stable.

Enjoy! xoxo Kate and Lydia


When I was pregnant, I read books about being pregnant. Because that is what women in my neck of the woods do: we research every topic under the sun to death so we can feel like we are controlling the world around us by harnessing the power of information. Also because many of us formed our identities in graduate school where status was based solely on the ability to pull an epic assortment of facts out of our butts on a moment’s notice. [Editor's Note: As opposed to pushing an epic-sized baby head out of our...yeah. -Kate]

That is why I have a dog eared copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (which should have been called The Worst Case Scenario Handbook For Pregnant Women) and multiple copies of The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy that were all given to me by girlfriends who apparently thought it was perfectly fine to pass along a book whose author advocates wearing stirrup pants. I can only hope they skipped that part before they gave it to me because, what? stirrup pants? No. Never. Can I hear an amen, Kate? [Editor's Note: Do you even need to ask?? They're named after something that exists in my gynecologist's office for the love of Maude. You may as well ask me if my shoes are recycled speculums. Speculums? Speculi? Either way...NO. -Kate]

After the baby came, there was a slew of parenting books, parenting message boards on the Internet, and parenting magazines. I did not read any of them for the first months of my son's life, mostly because they contained words. 

But later, when the ability to read, think and comprehend complex sentences returned, I started paging eagerly through all the colorful pages bedecked with pictures of smiling children and apple-cheeked babies in the hopes that I would find the magic answer to raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted, charismatic, intelligent, musically gifted, athletic, compassionate, child with a love of all mankind. Also, puppies.

What I found was message boards full of moms who would cut a B for suggesting sleep training and glossy mags with suggestions for cupcakes themed to every given holiday, and books that dealt only in broad generalities of an average baby that resembled my son not at all.

So, it should come as no surprise that I now completely eschew parenting literature in favor of celebrity memoirs. Because whatever else you say about Kendra “I Boinked Hef” Wilkinson, she never admonished me to add healthy ingredients to cupcakes. [Editor's Note: Can I totally have fun with the fact that you used the word "eschew" in the same sentence that you talk about Kendra Wilkinson. She's probably *trying to* read this and being all, "eww, she ATE the book? Hey! I wrote a book! What? Ooh, look at my boobies. Hank eschews those too. What?" -Kate] I mean, they’re cupcakes people! They are not health food! They are not vehicles for vegetables! They are vehicles for icing and that’s that!

[Editor's Note: You guys heard Snookie got a bood deal, right?  Unless its about self-tanner, bump-its or unwanted infections I'm going to assume she had help.  With the word parts. - Lydia]

Anyway, I was recently in an airport, which we all know impairs judgment, and I saw an issue of some parenting magazine with a headline reading “End Toddler Power Struggles”. Yes! I have toddler power struggles every single day! Surely this magazine would have really good information, perhaps on how to do some sort of Vulcan neck pinch that would render him compliant with the hand-holding rules I’ve
established to prevent him from getting run over by a bus.

Well, silly me. There were no tutorials of wrestling moves in the article at all. Instead the author wrote in a tone that made me feel like I was a toddler, an unreasonable one at that. She carefully explained that if your child won’t sit at dinner, don’t stress, just model healthy eating and don’t give in to them. Which
sounded suspiciously like a lead-in to an explanation for how to hide vegetables in a cupcake. Grrrrr.

There were some other articles in there too: the kind designed to scare you to death about pediatric health problem you never knew existed. Can someone please explain to me the compulsion among publishers to scare the pants off of mothers? Because while it’s nice to know the symptoms for common illnesses like croup or coxsackie (an illness whose name never fails to transport me into immature giggles) I don’t need to be lying awake at night worrying about the kinds of things that affect 1 in 40 bazillion children. That way lies projected hypochondria of the worst possible kind – the kind that sends me rushing to the pediatrician’s office often enough to cover his next boat payment through my copays. [Editor's Note: Coxsackie. -Lydia]

Distressingly, the parenting magazine genre has expanded to include such offerings as Couture Baby or Baby Couture, I can’t remember which. It featured a cover with Kourtney Kardashian wearing something filmy and holding her darling baby boy who looked like he wanted to beg the photographer to take him away from the madness. I didn’t look inside that one for fear of finding articles about baby vajazzling or something equally suicide-inducing.

And even that old chestnut Real Simple has gotten in on the action with Real Simple Family. I grabbed a copy of that the other night and flipped through it when I got it home. Every article seemed to be in list form. And there were no cupcake recipes, with or without hidden veggies, which was refreshing. But then there was a feature about ways to make your house more fun that suggested installing a swing. Indoors. Hanging from the ceiling. Am I wrong, or is that the only kind of thing that only people who know nothing about kids would suggest? Possibly Kendra Wilkinson?

All this reading only confirms for me that I would be infinitely better off re-reading the Twilight saga because I stand a better chance of being turned into a celibate, sparkly vampire than I do having a magazine-worthy playspace populated by joyous, non-power-struggling children happily eating veggie cupcakes.

And that’s just fine with me.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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