Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Mayim Bialik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wanted to love, love, love this book because I aspire to be a hippie mom of sorts (but fall short in so many ways, see part-time cloth diapering, non-organic carpet and window coverings, etc.) and am drawn to attachment parenting. I respect this book and its approach for sure, but in the same way the "cry-it-out" type books leave me feeling like I'm doing it wrong, parts of this made me question what I'm doing ... such as, should I have kept Jane's crib in our room indefinitely? But in other ways I am doing OK by this book's system (nursing, lots of carrying, spending insane amounts of time together, etc.).
This book is a look at one family's parenting strategies, and it's written by an actress with a neurobiology PhD. While some of her educational training does seep into the book, overall this is a parenting memoir (of early childhood -- her oldest is 7) and a very good one. I liked the writing and could tell she wasn't trying to talk down to people who make other decisions for their families. (Sometimes I'm not sure I'm making any decision at all though.)
Bialik lost me when she talked about vaccines. She didn't go into detail, but she did say her family chose not to vaccinate, although I do agree in the concept of choice (sound familiar?). The idea of elimination communication still seems foreign to me, but I was glad to get a first-person introduction to it.
I liked the idea of less stuff, which is a battle I fight constantly and am LOSING in terms of Jane's possessions -- although we have decided to try to rotate out toys, and I have a box of stuff put away to be opened in May. But one thing Bialik mentioned that was weird to me is "babies don't need a lot of books." I can't help it, I want Jane to have lots of books and spend lots of time with them, which she does. Maybe I'm doing her a disservice or overwhelming her with choices, but I know I won't be able to bring myself to stop. We even go to the library each week and check out more.
I love the idea of gentle discipline and am hoping to learn more and use that as Jane grows. It will go against my innate tendencies (which I know because of Owen include being short-tempered and impatient).
I also like delaying exposure to media, TV and advertising as long as possible. I know we want to keep to the American Academy of Physicians recommendation of no screen time before 2 and probably go beyond that if we can (although I cheat when we travel when Jane gets to look at pictures of herself on my iPod, and she also sees my computer screen from the background sometimes).
Anyway, Beyond the Sling gave me a lot to think about, as well as a list of other books to read (many of which were at the library and a few more were available for a couple dollars each used on Amazon). I'd recommend it if you're interested in knowing more about Attachment Parenting (the new AP in my life). And I subscribed to Bialik's blog on Kveller.
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