It’s been a while since I’ve written in this space. Since that time, I’ve had a child, Little A (not his actual name, of course, just an internet nickname to protect his privacy), who is edging closer to toddlerhood every day. Luckily, he seems to enjoy books as much as his mama, so I hope to use this space to share books that we are both enjoying on a regular basis.
Little A’s Current Favorites:
Clap Hands by Helen Oxenbury
Little A is learning to clap his hands (his is more of a brushing his hands together excitedly, which is cute beyond words), and he loves to copy us when we clap. This classic is short and sweet and has a tiny trim size, perfect for little hands to hold.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This is the first book A pulled off a shelf (at the bookshop) all by himself. Baby has good taste! And taste it he does–for some reason, this is his favorite book to chew on. It is also one of the few story-driven books that he will sit still for, and he loves the bright, contrasting colors.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
I love this one for its simple language–since I am starting to teach A sign language, it is easy for me to sign “mommy,” “daddy,” etc. as I read along with him.
Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
So far, this is his favorite Haughton (and mine!)–as he is trying out new sounds, he loves to copy the “shh” sound, though with only a couple of teeth it’s more of a “sss.” Adorable.
Peekaboo by Guliano Ferri
I checked this out from the library a few months ago, after A took to playing peekaboo constantly. This was the first book I saw him really delight in, laughing when each animal is revealed and getting so excited for the big finale when his face is revealed in the mirror.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
I have been reading this book to A every night before bed for the past six months (I can recite the book by heart now), and just a month or so ago, he really started to react to the story. Every time I turn the page to the spread where the animal arrive at Amos’s house, A looks up at me, and when I read, “Hooray, my good friends are here!” His face lights up and he gives me a big grin. I always yawn when Amos does before his nap, and this also makes A smile.
My Current Favorites:
You’ll notice a theme here: motherhood.
Things That Helped: On Postpartum Depression by Jessica Friedmann
While I have not suffered from postpartum depression, I did have some serious baby blues and postpartum anxiety. More people need to talk about it and more people need to hear about it so that we can reach more mothers suffering from postpartum disorders. They are so common, but should never, ever be brushed aside as a “normal” part of new motherhood. Friedmann’s memoir moves between symbolic items that helped her piece herself back together after postpartum depression shattered her and the ways in which her life as a new mother intersects with larger issues of race, class, and gender identity. It all reads like talking to a deeply thoughtful friend who has seen the darkest days and wants to steer you toward the light.
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
I am reading this now–I planned just to thumb through it to see if it was interesting, and I ended up not wanting to put it down. If you hate reading pregnancy guides (yes, me, I HATED them all and their judgmental perspectives) and anything regarding pregnancy/birth/motherhood on the internet (also YES), this is THE ONLY book you need to read while pregnant. But it’s also a fantastic read if you have already given birth, as she covers some important postpartum issues (breastfeeding, pelvic floor dysfunction) as well. Garbes tangles with hard scientific data and the anecdotal experiences of mothers she knows and gives readers a straight-talking, woman-centric guide that doesn’t pull any punches (she describes precisely what happens during a c-section, y’all), she also empowers readers with knowledge both personal and political.
Look How Happy I’m Making You: Stories by Polly Rosenwaike (out March 19th)
Pregnancy and motherhood can be the most isolating, lonely experience, and Rosenwaike expertly captures that feeling in her stories while simultaneously making the reader feel less alone and more understood than they have ever felt before. Pure magic.