by Lara Zibners, M.D.
306 pages, incl. index
Babies and little kids can be really frustrating. They don't listen, they are emotionally labile, they can't be reasoned with or even bribed. It's a tough job, policing a kid who doesn't know any better but seems to be on a permanent path to self-destruction. Older toddlers might have a better understanding of what goes and what doesn't and might respond to outright bribery, but they are still egocentric little beasts, determined to battle for control of any situation.
Ain't that the truth. This book isn't a parenting how-to. I just liked that paragraph and the following two, in which the author (a pediatrician) says she'd "rather see you in the ER at 2 a.m. because you can't take it anymore than see another shaken baby or knocked-around toddler." Not something I would have ever thought to do -- run to the ER because the kid was driving me crazy -- but I did once shut myself into a walk-in closet, where I took deep breaths until I thought I could cope with a colicky baby who just wouldn't stop crying. Then, I went right back out and walked him around some more.
If your kid eats this book (the uncapitalized title really makes me want to lock myself in a closet, by the way) is specifically focused on babies and toddlers, beginning with a head-to-toe assessment of babies, all the little marks on them and their soft spot -- basically a once-over to let you know what's normal on the body and in the diaper (and what's not). From there, the author goes on to describe the way babies are supposed to act, eat, sleep and breathe. Then she goes back over various parts of the body and describes what could go wrong, when it's worth calling your doctor and when you should call 911.
My youngest is 17 so I'm long past mommying little ones, but I love reading health books and I had fun reflecting on all the things I wish I'd known when mine were little. My eldest, for example, has a "stork bite" on the back of his neck. I had no idea there was a name for that little red birthmark and it never upset me or worried me, but it's nice to know there's a name for it.
Of particular interest, I thought, is the info about what's dangerous and what's not (and who to call if you're unsure) if the baby ingests something, since all babies stick things in their mouths. Also, the info on fevers is really great. The one question I wish I could have asked the author is, "What do you mean, exactly, when you say cold medicines don't work?" Because I think what she's trying to say is that they don't cure colds and they're not good for babies, not that they don't at least help dry older people up and help you cope. I'd like to know. Of course, the meth addicts have made it a whole lot more difficult to get your mitts on a decongestant, so that's probably a pointless question.
What this book doesn't tell you: What to do while you're waiting for an ambulance. If you have a gray, blue or droopy child and have called 911, there's no hint what you should do before the paramedics arrive. For that, you'll need either a good course or a book on first aid -- and I personally think everyone should learn CPR and basic first aid, anyway, so this serves as a great reminder. Also, this book is specifically geared to the little bodies of babies and toddlers. It's not about older children or husbands who chop off the tip of their finger with a fancy knife in a thwarted attempt to open the little individual-sized Propel fitness water dry mix (my fun of the week -- bandaged the husband and then watched him bleed into a paper towel for three miles).
3.75/5- Very good, but with limited application (very specifically babies and toddlers) and points off for not at least mentioning some basic first aid tips.
I'll be giving away 5 copies of this book, very soon.Watch for my drawing post, probably Thursday evening or Friday morning. And, here, have a baby:
Aw, look at the sweet little thing! Mama saw me snapping away (at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan) and very nicely held the baby up, for me. Little one should be about 2 1/2 years old, now.
I changed my mind about doing a mini-review of this book, primarily to keep the contest post small. Like you care, right? I'm just keeping you informed, here.