Archive for May, 2011

must-visit gift and paper store in Reno carries “my book” for moms-to-be

May 29th, 2011

Thanks to Ali Z at Designalicious I discovered the Reno, Nevada, city guide at Design Sponge. Thanks to the Design Sponge guide I discovered The Paper Moon, a well-curated paper and gift store with lots of fun girly stuff—all with a distinct design point of view that I loved.

Thanks to the the Paper Moon Facebook page, I got 25 percent off my whole purchase—tie-dyed scarf, patchwork headband, letterpress thank-you notes, glass rings, sticky notes with illustrated stilettos, etc. If you’re in Reno, go visit The Paper Moon. The store is in the shopping center at 550 West Plumb Lane, not far from downtown.

Lesson learned: From now on when I travel, I will check to see if Design Sponge has a city guide for my destination.

A huge thrill for me was seeing that Paper Moon carries my book Parenting magazine’s Pregnancy Planner: Essential Advice for Moms-to-Be, a journal-format book I spent two years editing. (Sorry, the photo I took was too blurry to post.)

Whenever I say a book is “my book,” the inevitable next question, which the lovely store clerk asked: “Did you write it?” The answer is, I’m not the author, but…With the beautifully illustrated books I work on, it’s hard to explain how much creativity and hard work the editorial, design, and production teams invest in a book, how much we collaborate, and how proud we are of the final product. It’s ours. Buy a Pregnancy Planner for an expecting mom, and you’ll see what I mean. And if you’re Reno, you where to find it.

Spot goes to school in PJs—why it’s good I don’t dress my son

May 18th, 2011
Pupp Spot (aka Carter) and Mommy on Halloween 2010

Puppy Spot (aka Carter) and Mommy on Halloween 2010

Carter is perfectly capable of getting himself dressed in the mornings. Yesterday, he put on the Dalmatian-print flannel pants from his Halloween costume, usually reserved for PJs. Some parents might disagree with his choice, but I didn’t care. I’m not a morning person, so I’ve been overly sympathetic to Carter when he’s a sad sleepyhead, like Mommy. Even though I know that I shouldn’t, I’ve even dressed him on particularly late, weepy mornings. But this week, I’ve been managing, though not happily, to get myself up and out of his way. I forced myself to practice what I preach in parenting books: Step back, stop nagging, and tell Carter that I trusted him to get himself ready.

And he did. Good puppy!

Why every parent should read the book Why Gender Matters

May 15th, 2011

Often to the chagrin of my husband, I’ve been reading (and quoting from) a lot of parenting books lately. One that should be required reading for all parents and teachers: Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD. If a teacher tells you your child has ADD, do not pass go, do not fill a prescription, read this book immediately.

Why Gender Matters describes the physiological difference between boys and girls, and how those differences affect children, particularly in how they learn. According to Sax, age and gender are the “two great organizing principles in child development.” For example, boys and girls develop different parts of their brains at different times. “Trying to understand a child without the role of gender in child development is like trying to understand a child’s behavior without knowing the child’s age,” Sax writes.

Boys and girls play, fight, see, hear, speak, think, and learn differently, but that doesn’t mean that nature trumps nurture. Sax helps you understand gender differences and then gives you practical advice about how you can best help your son or daughter learn. Here are a few issues he addresses:

• In school, overly academic kindergartens can set boys up for failure from the get-go, while girls more likely will feel the negatives of “gender-blind” education in middle school and high school.

• If you have a son who’s a daredevil, saying “don’t do that” isn’t going to cut it, so find a safe outlet for that energy. On the other hand, there are ways to encourage your daughter to take more risks.

• A boy, whether 6 or 17 years old (and I’m guessing up to at least 46), may really not know how he feels, much less be able to talk about it, whereas your daughter more likely has the awareness of her emotions and the vocabulary to describe them in detail.

Most important, boys and girls are different—neither are better. As parents, it’s our job to understand that, let go of the illusion of gender neutrality, and embrace the differences.

My friend Robert, who went back and earned his teaching credentials through Stanford University, recommended that I read Why Gender Matters. I’m glad I did. Do yourself a favor and read it. Then do a friend a favor and pass it along.

Why do I care so much about the book The Happiest Mom?

May 8th, 2011

Happy Mothers’ Day! Except for asking (aka pestering, nagging, begging) everyone I know to buy the book The Happiest Mom (Parenting Magazine): 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood ($8.22, 45 percent off at Amazon today). I’ve been mostly off the grid the past several months. Tweeting @bakingwithc, but not blogging (a story for another day). So why do I care so much about this book? I’ve edited dozens and dozens of books, but this one is different. The Happiest Mom published with Parenting magazine (the book includes a one-year subscription) struck a personal nerve with me. I’m going to cheat and share an answer I gave when Freelance Success, through which I met the author, Meagan Francis recently interviewed me for its newsletter.

Q: What makes this project so special for you—you say you really put your heart into it?

A: Heart and soul. I know from personal experience how powerful the support from other moms can be, especially when you have young kids (my son is 6). This book gave me the opportunity to counter some of the recent less-than-enthusiastic press motherhood has gotten and offer practical and emotional support to moms everywhere.

Meagan’s pitch was perfectly timed. I had just read I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids for book club. The book’s message is: motherhood is miserable, but we can get through it together. Worse, there was a growing trend of blogs and books with a similar message—and this was all before Tiger Mom!

Well, we book club moms disagreed. We like being moms. I felt the world needed a different message: being a mom is wonderful, but challenging. By sharing the good times and supporting each other in the not-so-good times, we moms can enjoy motherhood together.

Meagan’s message that you can say “happy” and “mom” in the same sentence resonated strongly with me, and I knew it would with a lot of other moms. The Happiest Mom offers realistic advice that can have an immediate impact on your happiness. This book also gave me a chance to inject some personal advice—how to say “no,” (politely) brush off busybodies, and make a don’t-do list. You know, all those things that nag at you because you “should” do them? Put some on a “never do” list and others on a “don’t do now, but might do later” list. You’ll feel instant relief. Also, look for the “two-minute” rule inspired by Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. It will change your life.