We’ve all seen the Parenting “How-To” books… you probably bought some before your little one was even born, or others may have given them to you as shower presents. After hearing about the misadventures of parenting from others, we attempt to avoid the same mistakes by endlessly preparing ourselves with an arsenal of tools, like diaper cream, and information. When disaster strikes, we reach for the weapons we’ve carefully collected, including these beloved books, to solve the problem at hand.
Trouble with Potty-Training your son? Your sister will recommend her favorite book on the subject.
Have a colicky baby that screams for hours on end? You’ll buy and read every single book that the women in your Mom’s Club recommend.
You’ll likely find a few helpful hints between those covers, and it’s certainly comforting to know that you’re not the only one with a baby that acts like it’s possessed by demons. It’s kind of like trying to find the manual for your TV in a library, without having the slightest clue about which model you own. After chatting with a group of ladies at a fun Mom’s Night Out this week, I began to realize that it’s not just the parents that are frustrated in parenting situations. The kids, babies in particular, are more than likely equally exasperated with their parents because they have limited ways of expressing themselves clearly to get what they desire. I can imagine one of my children watching me flail and scramble to meet their demands as an infant and him growing more and more irritated as I botch it…. I must look like an idiot. What if little kids had the ability to research, purchase and read books on how to alleviate their frustrations with their parents? What would they want to understand better about us and how to deal with their keepers? Here are the titles I think we would see on the bottom row of a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble in the “Parent Behavior” section…. The Books Babies Would Buy.
1) A New Mom By Friday
Julie at I Like Beer and Babies caught her little man reading this one…
“Are you being held hostage by a grumpy woman who snarls when you keep changing your mind about which Elmo DVD you want to watch? Does she explode when you need yet another snack? This book can save you from a prison of juicebox-less hell and have your Mommy singing showtunes and tap dancing her way to a more enjoyable life for all of you. Chapters covered include ‘Rewarding Good Behavior: Wine selection and pairings’, ‘Sleep When She Sleeps’, and ‘Avoiding Embarrassing Diaper Blowouts in Public’.”
Lauren of Lo-Wren.com discovered her son reading this while relaxing on the potty…
“Are her bad habits ruling your life? Does she refuse you “quiet time” in your room to relax and vent your frustrations to your stuffed animals, endlessly popping in when you make a noise? This book will teach you the ways to enable her independence as a Mom and give you the peace and quiet you deserve.”
3) What to Expect the First Year: Infant’s Edition
Mandy, owner of Crossfit Intrique (and my Sister-in-Law!) found her son reading to learn what craziness he should expect out of her soon…
“This book presents a month-by-month guide to understanding your parent’s growing abilities as your caregiver. Watch them grow from a crying, confused mess into a person confident and competent at meeting and understanding your ever-changing needs. Milestones highlighted include ‘Successfully Administering Liquid Medication’, ‘Diffusing a Meltdown in Public’ and ‘Peeing while Holding a Baby’.”
4) The Parent Whisperer
Amber, top Realtor in my area (and Birthday soulmate to the Herd Manager) spotted her curly-top reading this book, presumably to better understand her mother’s behavior patterns.
“Learn how to communicate with your parent by understanding his or her personality type. Is she an Angel, Touchy, Spirited, Text-Book Predictable or Grumpy Mom? Anticipating their reactions will teach you the importance of timing in making your requests. Waiting until proper caffeination has occurred upon waking before demanding breakfast, and give her a chance to have a glass of wine before launching into your evening exhaustion-based tirade. Knowing their behavior style will enable you to get what you want and lead to being put in fewer timeouts.”
5) Happiest Daddy on the Block
Meredith at The Mom of the Year came across her baby girl studying up on how to have a harmonious household relationship with her Daddy.
“After nine months of watching your Mom’s tummy quietly grow, your Dad is shell-shocked after your noisy arrival! By learning to use the comforts available to you, your personal happiness (and silence) will also be soothing the frustrated, exhausted man that’s had his life turned upside down. Take the time to luxuriate in your comfy crib, listen to your white noise machine and suck on a pacifier. When you are quieted and content, he can enjoy the coziness of his recliner, take in the soothing sounds of football on ESPN and guzzle a beer. Remember, Sleep shows LOVE to those around you!”
6) The Strong-Willed Mommy
Look what MY wild child was reading….
” Having a Strong Willed Mom has tons of advantages… you will learn, first-hand, how to take the world by storm and make it your oyster! But letting her know that your wishes are important, too, is key. Negotiating skills are discussed, such as listening at the reading time she selects, but bringing the book YOU want to read to her lap. Showing her your desires may initially lead to her fighting against your wishes, but don’t let that stop you. Eventually she will embrace your independence and come to appreciate it.. especially if another baby joins your family.”
(And yes, that’s my kid in the bottom picture, but we are NOT expecting another baby.)
What I’ve come to understand is that no matter how much I read about raising children, the only way to learn how to do handle things is by actually doing it myself. Children are ALL so different, even when raised in the same household, and no two tactics or books would’ve worked for all of mine…. I have to think it would be the same way if babies could get outside counsel on dealing with their parents, because none of us are alike. And God help my poor children… they could read a thousand books and still never gain any insight into my muddled mind… unless the book told them to point me to the Scotch and a Bible in times of trouble… I’d welcome that tactic anytime.