So, here we are again...recalling the books that we've started or finished over the past month. You need to share because we're all looking for some good books to read...or tell us what isn't worth our time. There is a linker thing below!
Here's what I've been up to:
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Ah, yes, an old favorite. I read this back in the day (ya know, when my thighs didn't touch) and I still love it. The feelings of sisterhood, togetherness, and camaraderie that is hard to find in today's world comes right through on the pages of this book. I love the charm of the southern women as well as their well hidden cattiness. It almost makes me want to move even further south of the Mason-Dixon Line...almost.
Here are some lines that stood out to me for some reason:
She developed the capacity to take the temperature of a scene, a character, a conversation, a single gesture, and to gauge just what was needed and when and how much.
She flew over the German irises with their pale gray-green spikes, above the brown waters of the bayous with their silent cypress trees; over the swamps; over the cotton; over the shotgun houses, where the tired black men and women who stooped to pic the cotton slept; over the rice and sugar cane; over the swamp myrtles; over the millions of tiny estuaries; over the crayfish in their beds of mud.
There is the truth of history, and there is the truth of what a person remembers.
Liminal moments, those moments apart from time, when you are gripped, taken, when you are so fully absorbed in what you are doing that time ceases to exist.
I thank God for not giving me an ugly child. It's so much easier to love them when they're beautiful. I made good babies.
I love this book (and these are only like 25% of the quotes I highlighted on Kindle...have I mentioned how much I love Kindle???)
You Cannot Be Serious and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom by Elizabeth Lyons
Elizabeth Lyons is also the author of Ready or Not...Here We Come! The REAL Experts' Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins and I enjoyed that book thoroughly too. She is a very easy person to read because you "get" her. She makes sense. She speaks to you as a person. I also love that this book is separated into "rules" because it really makes it easy to read a little here and a little there.
Here are some parts that captured my attention (no easy feat these days):
Choosing happiness is one of the few actions in life over which we have constant and unrelenting control.
I need Xanax. Or a stiff drink. Or both. It was all I could do to just relax and remind myself, "It's just paint. I can fix it," while having intensely disturbing visions of paint flying everywhere.
The quickest way for a parent to get a child's attention is to sit down and look comfortable. - Lane Olinghouse
I talk to myself. I've learned that I'm not the only one by a long shot. Moms everywhere are talking to themselves in the stores, pretending that they're talking to the kid they have in the stroller or the grocery cart. But I know better.
Low expectations: they aren't pessimistic; they're realistic.
The Wedding Girl by Madeline Wickham
This book was so weird! I love Sophie Kinsella and her Shopaholic books, so I was hopeful for this, but it just fell flat. There were too many elements to this story (marriage to keep a gay man in the country, forgetting about said marriage, rich boy hates rich daddy, sister bangs rich daddy and get pregnant, and more). Enough! Stick to one story and go with it! I just wasn't into this one.
Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
I'm currently ready this one...young girl gets abducted and forced to live in a room. Has a son and they now live there together. The book is written from his perspective...very interesting, no?
Now, for the main attraction - 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.
In my opinion, this book brings some of the common sense back into parenting. It reminds parents that we are basically training wild animals...and if you have ever watched toddlers, you could see how that comparison works. The author sticks to a no-emotion/no-talking form of behavior (for us...the adults...imagine that!) while in the middle of a tantrum and it really works. All you have to do is count for the behavior and then issue a consequence. You don't have to yell, scream, argue, negotiate, cry, throw things, get mad at your child (let him get mad at himself), lose your temper, or hit (which does happen sometimes...let's face facts). All you have to do is remain calm, allow the child to take control over his/her own behavior and maintain.
You may grit your teeth a lot though...God knows, I am. It is working though. Husband and I have noticed that we have had significantly fewer time-outs and the kids are really thinking about their behavior before acting (especially if they've already received the first count).
It discusses the three jobs of parenting (controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening your relationship with your children) in a way that makes so much sense. It also goes into "stop behaviors," "start behaviors," and actually getting to the point where you "like" your children.
The stop behaviors have gone pretty well. There have been some times that I try to negotiate or that I forget to count or that I lose my temper, but I'm still learning, right? There is also a section on the six types of manipulation that kids pull (and we've pretty much seen it all at this ripe age of 2.5) and how to avoid it...brilliant! Some things that don't even seem like manipulation actually are and I was being fooled by my sweet little angels! The horror!
The start behaviors have been a little easier for me. We have tried setting a timer for cleaning up or coming in for dinner ("I'm setting the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, I want you to come in for dinner.") and it's worked wonderfully. I can't even tell you...it's amazing. Husband was skeptical at first too, but he actually picked up the book and read words from the pages after seeing some of the ideas work. He tried to quiz me on something the other night...WTF?
We are pretty good at the relationship thing and liking our children, but it does get more difficult as they get older and this book really does cover a range of ages and behaviors (from throwing toys to homework and technology). It also has some sections on ADD/ADHD kids, ED kids, ODD kids, LD kids, and so on.
All in all, this is definitely going to become one of those parenting references that we use often. It's already become part of our daily language and Husband and I are on the same page (don't you just love when that happens?). Highly recommend this book...if you couldn't tell ;)
All images are courtesy of Amazon.