Before Hollis was born, I think I bought every pregnancy and baby book published in the free world. I could have started my own resource library. Most of them, frankly, sucked. Everyone has conflicting advice: Dr. Sears says you shouldn't let your child cry and wear them whenever possible; Dr. Ferber says you should let them cry it out (as did my mom!). This conflicting advice continued in the hospital with the nurses and lactation consultants. Once we were out of the hospital and discovered Hollis had some health problems, we got conflicting advice from doctors.
Only when Hollis was about 16 months old (and Holden was about 2 weeks) did I really learn to trust my gut. In the hospital, everyone let me do what I wanted because it was my second child. The assumption was that I knew what I was doing. I still needed some advice, but I tossed all of those parenting books because their preachy manner and unreasonable advice just pissed me off. (Seriously, who has time to feed a baby with a dropper, pump for 30 minutes, store the milk, and sleep before starting all over again? A bottle with breast milk in it for a day or so is not the end of the world!)
Even now, I could still use some advice on how to handle Hollis's nightmare 3 year old tantrums and how to get Holden to stop head butting everyone he meets. (Damn Finding Nemo! He thinks knocking heads and saying "noggin" is a sign of affection.) I refuse to go back to useless parenting guides, so I basically rely on the advice of my friends and family.
Enter the Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting. The author, Brett Berk, was a pre-school teacher and director and is now a research consultant for "producers of kids' media, toys and consumer products." I'll forgive him for his transgressions in marketing crap to my kids because his book is so funny. Seriously, go read this guy's blog. The book is just as funny.
More than entertaining, the G.U.G. is chock full of actual concrete, real life examples regarding toilet training, discipline, food issues, sibling rivalry, etc.... And Brett (can I call you Brett, G.U.?) actually tackles the hard cases rather than simply making general statements about what we "should" do. This is practical advice for handling the preschool set and it's wonderful.
The book will be a bestseller, right up there with the Girlfriend's Guides. Or at least it should be in my opinion. And we all know that my opinion is the only one that counts, right? Right?
Anyway, I'm giving this book out as gifts to my friends with toddlers.
In a Lawyer Mama Review FIRST, I like this book so much I'm going to give away the extra copy the publisher sent me on my blog. I usually pass on my extra copies (if I get any) to a local friend for a second opinion, because I'm too lazy to mail out stuff. But I like this book so much, I'm going to give one away.
In the comments, tell me what burning toddler question you wish advice books actually answered and I'll draw a person at random to get the book. I'll leave the drawing open until next Friday, March 14th.
This review is brought to you by Mother Talk.