One of the things I'm planning on doing here at The Diamond in the Window is offering up some books for parents. Now, it's all a bit hazy in my brain as yet, so some of this may change, but here's what I'm thinking: it's not going to be great novels and that sort of thing. Because, well, I just don't think it will.
It will be books that have some sort of relationship either to parenting or to kid reading or to, I don't know, whatever I feel like, basically.
First I must note my long and storied history with parenting books (and my conflicted feelings about advice books of any stripe).
When I first had children, lo these many years ago, I bought some books. And I was given others. And others somehow found their way into my house. Until I had a fairly healthy stack (about 10?) of books that purported to tell me what the hell was happening with my baby, why, and how to stop it.
Now, part of the problem of having a baby when you're over 30, I think, is that you have some vague sense of the world as a somewhat rational place where, if things suck a lot, you can sort of fix them, or leave, or alter the situation somehow so you're a bit less miserable. At least, sort of.
But, as many of you no doubt know, this doesn't work with babies. Which is why they're so wonderful/horrible. And so, when they're first born, and they scream and scream and scream and scream (if they're like my babies), you naturally go look in a book to see what is wrong and how you might fix it.
I looked in a lot of books.
As is my nature, I got maybe a little too invested in what the books were saying. Which is odd, because nothing they ever said helped at all. Except maybe the part in Dr. Spock about not throwing the baby out the window. Even so, I used to pore over those books, looking and looking for something that might tell me what the hell had gone wrong and what the hell was I supposed to do about it. For years. Years.
Until the day when I was reading something in Dr. Sears's book about how maybe I wasn't meeting my baby's needs, and that's why it was screaming and screaming and screaming (I believe this was the second baby) and I was, very calmly and logically as far as I remember, discussing with my husband the ways in which I might be failing to meet the needs of the caterwauling maniac in my lap. And then he took the book away, put it on top of the stack of all the parenting books, and took it out of the house and put it on the sidewalk. Then he came in and said, "They're horrible. They're stupid. They make you think you're doing the wrong thing all the time. They Are Not Helping. I've gotten rid of them" And then he went outside again, and took all the books up off the sidewalk and dumped them in the recycling bin and came back inside. "I didn't want some poor pregnant person to pick them up and be tortured by them either." And I said, "Wow." And then, (it may have been sometime later) I said, "You have freed me from their torturing shackles," (or something along those lines) and we lived happily ever after.
So what I mean is, the books I feature here are NOT going to be books like those, to the best of my ability. But I will feature some. So look out.