The Week in Books 2008, No. 40

Naturally Healthy Pregnancy
by Shonda Parker may well be THE most encouraging, uplifting, and educational book about pregnancy I’ve read so far (and y’all KNOW I’ve read more than my fair share!). My friend Claire graciously sent me her copy and I devoured it (visually speaking) and filled it full of bookmarks to remind me of things to look at again.

Parker writes as a Christian and admits her preferences up front, but what I most appreciated was her explicit refusal to denounce other Christians who do things differently. She takes great pains to explain controversial topics from multiple perspectives, and states what her family does without judgment.

The real strength of the book is the detailed exploration of how different pregnancy symptoms and side effects interact, their sometimes causal relationships, and how changes to diet, behavior, and judicious use of herbal remedies can go a long way to alleviate them. I can’t tell you all how encouraged I was by what I read. I have done some research into these sorts of things, and had some inklings that many of my pregnancy problems were linked to my liver/gallbladder system, but I had no idea the extent of it. Now I feel like I can take better control of things for next time around by making sure my liver and gallbladder are healthy and supported prior to pregnancy, and taking care to keep them that way during pregnancy. Other readers will doubtless have other central issues, but if you’ve ever felt discouraged by morning sickness, fatigue, or what have you while pregnant, you might find some helpful connections in this book.

I’d highly recommend this book to you if you are pregnant or intend to become so in the near future. Thank you again Claire for your generous gift!

On Amy‘s recommendation, I read and learned a lot from Parenting With Love And Logic
by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. The authors advocate letting children learn from their mistakes and using firm but gentle techniques to diffuse situations and teach children to think for themselves so they learn to make the right decisions in life. I thought the emphasis on how we talk to our children was important, as how we word something conveys a lot to our kids aside from the general content.

One of the tips I’ve been trying to incorporate, and that I’ve noticed is very successful with my strong-willed toddler, is giving two choices that I’m ok with and letting her choose, rather than giving her the opportunity to whine or try to change my mind. For example, asking “Would you rather have your oatmeal with cinnammon sugar or with a banana” seems to almost magically prevent the response I used to get, which was “I don’t want oatmeal! I want peas and granola!” or something of that nature.

One problem I had with the authors’ approach, which may be because I have such young kids rather than older ones, was their insistence that it’s ok to make the kid wait for a punishment or consequence. Their position seemed to be that it was good for the child to think and worry about what he had done, rather than dealing with the issue as it arises. I’ve read elsewhere that it’s important to make sure that you deal with things right away rather than letting the peace and fellowship of your family be upset by long, drawn-out punishments and worrying over possibilities. Perhaps because my children are small, it seems to work better for them to see an immediate consequence, and be reassured that everything is ok thereafter. Since I have a tendency to worry myself, it’s not something I want to encourage in my children. Other families may not have this issue, but I thought I’d point it out.

Lately I’ve felt bad about getting into ruts with breakfast and lunch menus around here, and I have been bored with the same old thing every day, so I was pleased to read the ideas in Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes
by Tanya Wenman Steel and Tracy Seaman. The recipes are designed to help you make sure your kids are eating a wide variety of healthy foods (without getting into the whole “hide healthy foods!” craze). I didn’t find the recipes to be very involved or particularly innovative, but they were certainly inspiring and have helped me be more creative with breakfast and lunch this week. The ones I’ve tried so far have all turned out well and have been well received by the kids. I’d recommend this book if you’re not sure how your child’s diet stacks up nutritionally (there is a very informative section on what kids need to be eating at various ages), or if you are looking for inspiration in your daily meal plans.

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To read my reviews for weeks 1-39 of The Week in Books 2008, please click here and browse away. As always, all of the books I’ve reviewed since 2005 are available with notes from my Amazon widget in the right hand sidebar. Thanks for reading!

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