In Her Good Books

Hours after I’d given birth to Cricket, I took Mr. Book’s hand and told him “Next time I will make a bigger one.” Hard to know why that seemed like such an awesome thing to strive for, but now I’m just past 34 weeks and I’m measuring big. Mission accomplished! The midwife was the one who suggested Atkin’s to me earlier—yesterday she encouraged me to stop eating fruit in order to shrink the baby. I was offered another ultrasound, which is apparently standard when you’re measuring ahead at this point, but I turned it down; I’ve heard too many “They thought she was huge and forced me to have a c-section” stories that often feature the inaccuracy of the size estimates.


I’m trying to sound cheerful and competent here, but things aren’t going well with my body. It’s very odd; I’m looking forward very much to meeting the baby, but I’m still not sleeping much and it’s really taking a toll. The midwives want me to try an OTC sleeping medication, and I guess that I will; I’m not thrilled with the idea, but I’m running enough of a deficit that things aren’t working the way that they are supposed to. Just a random example: last night I had to give up on eating dinner because it was burning my throat and giving me stomach cramps. It was a mild, not spiciness-or-temperature hot pasta that I’ve had many times before, and I couldn’t eat it. I gave up and wandered away. Of course, not having a real meal yesterday can’t be helping my physical state—but maybe the midwife would be pleased from a baby size perspective.


In other news, Ruth has asked to send us parenting books as a baby gift. I was a bit taken aback, and briefly considered the part of the email when she said that she wanted to know honestly how we would feel about that, but . . . I don’t believe her, so I gave the Miss Manners answer.:


On parenting books: we in fact have a huge stack of parenting books already, but if there are books that were particularly helpful to you, of course we’d be delighted. =) I’m not near the stack at the moment, but if it helps I can tell you that we have (among others) How to Get Your Kids to Eat…But Not Too Much, the Sears baby book, What to Expect the First Year, Unconditional Parenting, Real Boys, and How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. We’re also (if it matters) going to be doing bedsharing, and are firmly anti-CIO. My mother is a little baffled by the fact that many of our intentions are so crunchy and at the same time combined with, e.g., a love for baby windex and disposable diapers. You’d think that after 28 years she would be incapable of being shocked by my weirdness, but there you go.


First, though, I spent some time thinking about my really honest answer, which would have gone more like this:


Well, we disagree about a lot of parenting things, so I don’t know how helpful that would be. In addition, I’m (at least right now!) not looking for or really comfortable with advice from you—I’ve been really hurt by your response to the pregnancy and have an irrational desire to keep a huge mental distance between you and the little bird. That’s been easier than I would have thought, overall, since you’ve pulled back. Of course, what I really want is for you not to send a baby gift at all; I want that so badly, and I know that it isn’t reasonable or fair. The truth is, though, that anything you send will probably get jammed in the bottom of a drawer or stuffed into a closet and ignored, so in that sense I guess it doesn’t matter if you want to send the Ferber book or whatever unless you plan to ask me questions about it. Which I think you do.


I guess this is what manners are for; my “honest” answer isn’t very nice, and that’s no good to anyone. But darn it, I don’t want to get quizzed on the books she will send. Oh, well.


10 thoughts on “In Her Good Books

  1. Pregnancy is so hard — I’m sorry you’re having trouble eating. I like your honest answer but can see why sending it sure won’t work. And it’s useful for me to read that paragraph, too. (Pennie’s got some challenges going on — I’m not sure if I’m helping or hurting.)

  2. Parenting books? She must be very obtuse not to have a better understanding of what might come off as condescending or Lady of the Manor.

    With that in mind, I would ask her for The Nursing Mother’s Companion. On the one hand, it was very helpful to me as a nursing mom. And on the other, take that, Ruth!

  3. Aww, I have been wondering how things are going on the sleeping front. I would give an OTC sleep aid a try as soon as you want. I hope you had a hearty breakfast this morning to make up for missing out on dinner last night…
    Parenting books. Really!! Where gifts are concerned, Ruth seems off the mark. In your response, I like that you provided concrete examples of some books you’ve gathered (sounds like you guys picked some great ones!). Everything in your honest response rings true. And it’s best Ruth isn’t picking out an actual gift for the little bird, given how she’s acted during your pregnancy. Let us know how your sleeping and eating go!

  4. SusieBook…love your blog….love your writing 🙂 I’m a birthmom and so excited to hear of your pregnancy. I hope you are feeling ok. I know it’s hard to manage stress from your mom- mine is quite a case as well- good, mature answer.

  5. It was such a diplomatic answer. In general, when people want to do something for a baby of ours & ask, I say we love reading to our kids & so a book that they love is just about the most perfect gift. And leave it at that.

    That said I can really understand just wanting to put anything sent in a drawer & ignoring it.

    Sleeping & eating are oh so important & oh so miserable when they don’t happen comfortably. Sorry. Hope as the bird drops soon digestion & sleep return with more ease.

  6. Everyone will want to give you assvice about parenting and offer you things you don’t want. You did the right thing by being diplomatic. You’ll probably be too busy taking care of your child to do much reading anyway.

    Could you send me your password? I found you through Heather at Production, Not Reproduction.

    Hope things get better for you on the sleep front.

  7. The only books people should give as baby gifts are fun books. Parenting books are just too personal and accusatory. My sister gave us one once and I didn’t even flip through it. Just put it in the donation pile! Not that I don’t read parenting books, I do. But I’m completely capable of discerning what is best for our family without her butting in. I don’t know how you can manage to be so polite sometimes 🙂

  8. I like your honest answer. It’s a great one. Good girl I am, I would send the first and be mad at myself for being too polite, but there you have it.

    Or you could say, “Hey thanks for the great thought, but we really need [fill in the blank]. You know what it’s like to have a newborn and need {blank].” Or if you have a registry, send them there.

    I get so annoyed when people mean to be nice and think they’re being nice, but there’s a painful undertone of judgment, dismissal, what have you.

    Ties that bind sometimes really suck.

    Best wishes in these fun last weeks of preparation, and I hope you get some sleep.

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