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Saturday Book Review: Is Your Child Bipolar?; Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years; Body, Soul, and Baby

June 21st, 2008

Some books are going to make a person hyperventilate, and that’s just the way it is. This is why, in between reading the seventy-odd self-help books that have recently come my way, I’m making sure to break it up with a good dose of fiction. To wit:

On the nightstand:

I’m also reading “Where Time Stood Still: A Portrait of Appalachia,” by Bruce and Nancy Roberts. (Non-fiction, great photos, great stories.) And granted, the Michael Korda book is non-fiction, too, but it is entertaining in the way of good fiction. The characters are lively, and some of the situations he and his wife, Margaret, find themselves in in their circa-1785 house (in upstate New York) are just zany. Sociable pigs, competitive horses, overly-possessive snow-mobilers and a handyman who loves to annihilate the foliage — what more do you need?

You need to find research bipolar illness in children, apparently, because that’s where I headed next.

Wacky Girl: “Am I bipolar?”
me: “No.”
Wacky Girl: “Is my brother?” (followed by “Dad?” “You?” “The cat?”)
me: “Yes, I can safely say that the cat is bipolar.”

Good to keep the dialogue open and communication flowing. In theory. What family doesn’t have crazy in it? We sure do. And I have had concerns about my kids inheriting that particular bit of the family DNA. (Please God, let them not have the crazy.) It is a serious topic, and not one I feel like discussing with the Internets, or (at this point, anyway) with my own kids. This book deals well with the topic, and includes a sizable amount of information on what the authors call the “Diagnosis Tangle.” (Multiple diagnoses — what to do when bipolar is coupled with learning disabilities, anxiety, ADHD, etc.) They make an extremely scary subject manageable — and let parents know they’re not alone. This is a pretty amazing resource for parents who are concerned about their kids’ mental health.

Great book — but you might want to stash it away and read it privately when the kids aren’t in the room.

“Body, Soul, and Baby” gets into healthy pregnancy, including “pre-conception,” and addresses “the sex” more than “the crazy.” It made me recall labor almost fondly, it was so la-di-da about it. “Stay at home as long as you can” and “write a birth vision statement — not a birth plan,” etc. Even back labor doesn’t sound so bad. Eh — maybe I am just imagining that it was searing, burning hell with no hope of escape.

“Ask for an over-the-counter pain reliever if the pain is prolonged and intense. Your baby will not be negatively affected.”

How about morphine? Cuz that’s what they gave me, and it frickin’ didn’t help. Honestly though, the labor isn’t the hardest part of parenting, you parents-to-be, believe me.

The hardest part is worrying about the crazy, and when they start leaving the house without telling you where they’re going. And when they steal your car. I’ve heard that back labor sounds like cake compared to that.

As for “Practical Wisdom for Parents…” here’s all I needed to know, right on page 252:

* Send a positive, empowering message to your child.
* Don’t give up
* Try not to take steps backward
* Keep raising the bar

Drop the puck! Let’s… Play… HOCKEY! Happy Saturday, y’all.


Today’s books:


  1. wacky cousin says

    I always laugh (now) at the pregnancy advice. My pregnancy was the first thing in my life that I thoroughly regret learning about from any outside source. I think that the best advice for me would have been “For God’s sake, stop reading about it!” Maybe I would have had less stress.

    June 23rd, 2008 | #

  2. wacky cousin says

    And yeah, the family thing. I worry. SO much.

    June 23rd, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    I do wish someone would have explained to me (perhaps while I was in labor?) exactly what “back labor” is. That would have been helpful. The rest I could have done without.

    I’m okay with crazeee but worry about true crazy.

    June 23rd, 2008 | #

  4. edj says

    I loved Adrian Mole! So funny and so sad, too.
    I was lucky in my labours. I am a Baby Producing Diva. No back labours, no drugs needed, just quick and easy and almost fun. Too bad to shine so at a skill with such limited use. Sigh…maybe it’s not too late to try for 10? Whaddya think?

    June 23rd, 2008 | #

  5. WackyMommy says

    It almost sounds like a picnic, Edj, the way you describe it. Did you make sure to shave your legs before you left to the hospital? (Internets, I happen to know — she did. Her legs looked just GREAT during labor.) (And this was with twins, mind you.)

    Why not me? WHY GOD???? I’m awfully glad we’re not trying to get a quiver full over here. I don’t think they make enough morphine for that.

    June 23rd, 2008 | #

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