My new goal: make hot chocolate and serve it to my child before school at least once in his life
I was very gung-ho on reading parenting books before I actually became a parent. I enjoyed reading them and gathering tips and ideas for how I would one day raise my own children. Now that I am actually responsible for guiding a real, live, human being into becoming a happy, healthy and productive member of society, the parenting books have gone the way of my completely unused birth plan. You can dream and think and plan, but in reality, life may go in a different direction and you gotta roll with it.
That doesn't mean I'm not keeping up with what the hot, new parenting books are. I'm still very interested in them. I continue to place holds for them and eagerly check them out from the library and take them home. And then four weeks later when they're due back to the library, I look at the cover and think, "Hmmm. I kinda wanted to read that one."
But I had a friend who was reading Bringing up Bébé at the very same time I had it checked out from the library. She told me it resonated with her and reinforced a lot of what she already thought about parenting. My friend and I are similar in a lot of ways, so I made it a priority to get this book read. It resonated with me, too, and reinforced a lot of what I think about parenting, as well.
This is what I took away from it:
- French babies sleep through the night very early on, sometimes as soon as 2-3 weeks. I value sleep A LOT. I do not get much sleep and if I had paid more attention to what is described in this book as "The Pause" there might be a lot more sleep going on at my house. No guarantees, of course.
- Saying hello, good-bye, please and thank you are extremely important in French culture. This is important to me, too.
- The French like to dine out. French children behave very well in restaurants and their palates are extremely well developed. I am proud that my toddler is eating spinach tortellini. I can't imagine getting him to enthusiastically eat leeks, but I would like this to happen. And I would like to dine out without a million little snacks and books and toys in tow.
- Childcare and support for parents as well as the actual work culture is different in France, or at least in Paris, where the author was living with her children. There was a lot more flexibility and free time. I cannot imagine getting my act together enough to have homemade hot chocolate and fresh bakery available before school. But it's a goal. In the meantime, cereal and a banana will have to suffice.
No parenting book is one size fits all, but if you like or value some of the above points, you will probably find much more wisdom in this book.