Baby Book Club

My daughter is part of a book club now, which I assume I will also be soon since I think it’s what housewives do. Mabel’s book club is really just a half hour program at the library where we parents can bring our children so that somebody besides us will read to them for a change.

There’s not much I’m sure book club is really good for five-month old kids. It’s nice to have a reason to get out of the house so I don’t have to tell my wife she watched 10 hours of SportsCenter. Also, I read in a memoir by Neal Pollack of the plight of having his son pick out crappy books to read to him at night, so I figured I’d start brainwashing her with stuff I can tolerate early. So I’ve strictly been checking out Dr. Suess books. And I’ve read them so much, now I’m thinking like him now. As I took Mabel for a walk yesterday, I thought to myself for no reason at all “Out in the street, the Everywhere Street, where Everywhere boys kick balls with their feet…” This is apparently common among parents.

All book club is really good for is for parents to network and hopefully I could learn something from them, seeing as how Mabel is one of the youngest there and I still haven’t read any parenting books.

We read a book today, and though I don’t recall the title, it was a captivating tale about a brown bear who saw a red bird who saw a yellow duck and so on. The plot really fell apart when the white dog saw a blue horse who saw a purple cat. I mean, I know it’s fiction, but my belief can only be suspended so far. This is definitely not one I’ll be bringing back home.

After the half hour was up and I had the realization there were still six and a half hours to kill before mommy gets home, I stayed after to socialize with some of the parents who had kids old enough to play with toys. Possibly unprompted, I started bragging about my daughters sleeping abilities because that’s what I have to brag about now. I may have thrown in how I play guitar for her in her swing to lull her to sleep. Subtly, but noticeably. Upon hearing this, one of the mothers (I’m the only guy) said “Wow. Your baby must be one lucky girl to have a father as talented and dedicated as you.” This was a lady who exists solely in my head. An actual lady asked “Why does she sleep in a swing? Does she have acid reflux?”

The actual lady has now assumed that I know a few things. 1) What acid reflux is and how to diagnose it and 2) that a swing would fix that. She obviously thinks I know what I’m doing. Not wanting to shatter that notion, however incorrect, I decided to lie. Well, not really. The answer to the question really is is “Because it works,” but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I just didn’t want her thinking I didn’t know what I was doing. She said something about her daughter’s sleeping habits that sounded innocuous enough and didn’t seem to be intentionally demeaning at all. I still figure it’s best to avoid her in the future should I say something else that prompts any tough questions about things I should probably know already.

So now instead of going there and trying to pick the brains of people who know more than I do, I’m pretending to know more than I do to look like I fit in and I’m going to intentionally avoid the person who seemed most willing to share her knowledge with me.

Parenting is hard.

28 thoughts on “Baby Book Club

    • I will, but unfortunately not for a while. Apparently, the only lady that can tolerate reading these silly books about blue dogs to adults while their children wonder what the hell they’re doing during their normal morning naptime is leaving for North Carolina and nobody else on the staff is willing to suffer through half an hour of this. 🙁

  1. I’m typically not a comment-leaver….I’m more of a blog-lurker….but this post deserves a reply – you are rockin the daddy bloggin! 🙂 The “actual lady” event is hilarious – and “because it works” is the wisest reply – don’t let those over-prepared moms intimidate you…they are now whispering amongst themselves trying to figure out if you know something they don’t about the power of swing-sleeping. 🙂 AND….Brown Bear, Brown Bear is the book you read…although I’m disappointed that you missed the deeper themes of this rich text….I promise that you will realize the brilliance of this book when Mabel “reads” it for the first time. 🙂 Keep the posts coming!

    • Wow. I had no idea how much respect Brown Bear, Brown Bear garnered in the elementary education community. I’m definitely going to look up the cliff notes for this and see what the deeper themes of this text are. I didn’t really get Billy Bud either.

      And I doubt they are whispering to themselves about my secret parenting knowledge after putting her in the car seat upside-down (OK, that never happened. Yet).

      And thanks. I’ll try. 🙂

  2. I love the idea of a baby book club! Next you’ll need to develop a GoodReads circle where you and other parents you like share kids books that are fun, have good pictures, and good language development. Talk about a dedicated Dad! 😀

    • Thanks for giving me credit for something I didn’t do yet, but I’ll certainly look into it. As I’m in a Creative Writing grad program, I feel like I’ve avoided GoodReads as long as possible. Maybe I’ll dip my toe in the pool over winter break. Thanks for the advice and raising the bar on my parenting duties. 😉

    • Thanks. That’s kind of the plan, assuming the internet will still be around when she’s old enough to care about reading stuff that her dad wrote about her when she was this age. My professor who writes memoir about her family on a biweekly basis has told me they’re not really interested in their parent’s writing until around college. At $12 a year for webspace, that’s seriously cutting into her college fund.

      • I was just thinking a similar thought – you will definitely have to save them in a document on your computer because you would NOT want to lose them if pages change in some way – I have a similar problem with Facebook – some cute little stories about my kids that I should save for posterity – but Facebook really doesn’t work like that. Although any advice on the existence of a method to print out my own statuses would be helpful!

        Love the new daddy blog!

        • I actually set up a gmail account for mine. I send him emails and pictures when amusing things come up. I also encourage family members to do the same during his birthday and Christmas each year by email from his account. I figure if gmail decides to implode I’ll have time enough to print them all off. 🙂

          • Kinda like that one google commercial. Actually, exactly like that one google commercial. That’s actually a pretty cute idea. I thought it was a nice minute-long movie before but now that I’m actually a parent, it’s practical too. Well, done google. Please don’t implode.

        • Yeah, trusting facebook to chronicle your life is likely not the best method, but I’m sure you know that and that comment doesn’t really help. It would take a lot of cutting and pasting to grab all your statuses and if you really want to do it, I recommend doing it soon before it gets even more out of hand. But it’s probably already going to be a huge project based on the age of your little ones.

          Best of luck and thanks so much for visiting. 🙂

  3. Kids books are insane. Have you read “Goodnight Moon” ? It’s supposed to be a classic, but I swear it was written during an acid trip.

    For the record, swing sleeping is still sleeping so there is nothin’ wrong with that.

    • No, we didn’t get to Goodnight Moon yet. I think that was taken out of the curriculum because of the religious overtones. PG County is a little progressive.

      And sleeping is as sleeping does.

  4. Great post. Just to give you something to look forward to…as I read your post the thing that stuck out to me the most was that you had the animals out of order from Brown Bear (and yes I understand that could have been on purpose and doesn’t impact your point/story). I have a feeling that details like the order of the animals in Brown Bear will be etched into our minds forever or at least until we are lucky enough to reach a taste of senility.

    • The misrepresentation of the order was not intentional, but it was also not heavily researched. You are now the second person who knows of this book which is both disturbing as a person who would like to see a higher quality of children’s book and encouraging as an aspiring writer.

      I’m sorry if I’ve offended you with the lack of attention to detail. 🙂

  5. These are great! Is it wrong that I am taking notes for our Baby that is on the way? Notice I didn’t say whether they were notes on what to do or what NOT to do. However, so far there are more in the what to do column! Keep up the good work, and if they end up helping me I would be more than willing to pony up $12 to keep the site alive for a year, any more than that and it would cut into my own kid’s college fund though!

    • If you’re reading this and taking notes for things to do with your impending child, then one of us has missed the mark. I’d almost always defer to Meghan and Keith before looking at my playbook. But I guess we’ll find out in 18 years or so if my lazy non-book reading, swing-sleeping, ignoring other’s advice method of parenting paid off.

  6. I’m sure it will interest you to know there is a sequel to this fine book, “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?”.

    • Is it any more believable than the first? Or do they hear an “oink” only to find a purple pig? Attention to detail, Brown Bear. That’s all I ask.

      • And don’t leave out the classics Baby Bear, Baby Bear and Panda Bear, Panda Bear! 🙂

        And since you are into Dr Seuss…have you done Fox in Socks yet?! You will never be the same after that one!

        • I’m realizing that the word “classic” has a different meaning with reference to kid’s books. I’ll put them in the queue. And I haven’t gotten to Fox in Socks yet. I’ll try that one next trip to the library. Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. Yay, Dustin! As a librarian who used to read storybook times, I can tell you with absolute certainty that you will continue to be the only dad there. That makes you the BEST dad, so feel free to brag at sporting events and various other manly functions. Your signature style of simultaneous self praise/deprecation always makes me laugh. Glad to see you writing about a topic so near and dear to your heart!

    • You get me and I appreciate that more than anything. And thank you. I do brag at sporting events about my parenting style. It falls on deaf ears, but i still brag and enjoy it. And I thought of you when the lady left the library and said no one else wanted to run that program. Glad that you put your time in at some point. Thanks again.

  8. Hi Dustin, Not sure where you’re getting the energy for your multiple writing outlets on top of child care, but they’re great. Just one thought about these books… I hated Brown Bear and Goodnight Moon, couldn’t believe these were classics, and then, as my kids got older and started responding to them, I was forced to reevaluate. I think they love the images and repetition of Br Bear, and there is a lyrical sound of the words in Goodnight Moon. Bottom line though, as I see you’ve learned, is that whatever works for my kiddos is good for me! Good luck in Daddying, sounds like you’re a natural.

    • Well as I mentioned in the post, I read about a dad who had his kid always pick this book he didn’t like to read to his son. I’m going to try to avoid that and hopefully surround her with books she’ll respond to that I’ll be able to tolerate. But I’m aware that may have to be reevaluated as she gets old enough to actually share an opinion one way or another. Besides, I doubted David Sedaris and Stephen Colbert are going to really get through to a toddler.

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