The author: Jen SInger
The history: Jen Singer is famous (and a bit notorious) as the founder of MommaSaid.net and the Founder of Please Take My Children To Work Day. And her name is Jen. Therefore she is awesome. (I'm not biased, just leaning..)
The task: Read and review her book.
The reason: Sprite, 2 1/2 years old, a toddler, notorious for zeroing in on helpless dogs and demanding ad nauseum renditions of "Sing 'I know you!' "
The ambition: To thwart the child ("Sprite") in her evil toddler schemes before someone or something gets hurt or broken. Or both.
The time frame: Until patience is lost. Or hair. Or both. (Would prefer neither.)
I've heard Jen Singer's name through the blogosphere before and even recognized her by line in several Parenting magazines which I have a lifetime subscription to (yet seem to spew the same three tips over and over) and was genuinely interested in seeing what she had to say, although I wasn't too optimistic, considering I had already read a few blogger turned author parenting books and have yet to finish one of them due to interruptions and just plain boredom. (Not naming names..)
I brought the book everywhere with me for the last week and read it every time I had a few minutes. The book is broken down into simply read chapters that are only about 20 pages each, include real snippets from fellow moms who have had "that mom" moments, and covers the gamut from "The transition to toddlerhood" all the way to the day he runs instead of toddles off to preschool with everything from the sibling wars to tantrums to potty training (Ugh! The dreaded potty training!!) in between. The layout of the pages made it easy to tune in directly to where I dropped off last time and tune out when something important like a dog's tail was in jeopardy.
I even taught Sprite how to blow her nose in minutes just from this book! She forgot the next morning and I had to teach her again, but someday soon, she won't need the reminder anymore, and I won't need the BULB FROM HELL.
The departure from the same old every day advice you read in the parenting magazines is that you're getting a wide range of toddler issues that rise up at some point during your kid's progression and (your subsequent regression) through the toddler years. You're also getting a pretty good laugh with it. There were several LOL worthy moments in this book and I even had it with me during a trip to the ER. (The Pediatric nurses raised a few eyebrows to see me walking Sprite through the hallways with a parenting book tucked into my diaper bag, but I let them speculate.) (Sprite's fine now. There's a post- or two- coming soon about that.) The book kept me smiling in a situation where concern and honest fatigue had already chipped away my sanity which kept me from chipping away at the nurse's sanity with my endless questions. (And we all know the parents are worse than the kids when it comes to hospitals.)
The other departure from the parenting magazines is the tone. Jen's message throughout the book stays the same. Just love the kid and accept (and maybe even embrace) that perfection shouldn't be striven for, that the parenting brass ring is merely an illusion. Accept that not every moment will be farting rainbows and Goldfish crackers over a childish yet artistically drawn picture suitable for fridge framing. Accept that the vision of traipsing through the sprinklers on a warm summer day and cooling off with a popsicle that mysteriously doesn't drip may just fall short of the reality of your two year old cutting a gash into his toe with the sprinkler head you told him time and again not to kick at, the same sprinkler head which fought back with it's in-animation and won, and then calling it quits when he steps in dog poop left by the neighbor's cocker spaniel. Oh, yeah. And you're out of popsicles.
Jen also reminds you that everyone will most likely go through the same growing pains you are. Just consider it a learning moment, laugh about it, and then get yourself a blog so others can laugh
at with you too. (Honestly? The "fail" stories are so much funnier.)
So, yeah, this book gets a pass from me. A "pass it on" if you will. I'm opening the comments until Saturday at midnight (EST) for you to win your very own copy! That's right! Just leave a comment on this post, once please, and you'll be entered. This book is perfect for those just leaving the baby phase with their kids and still looking wide (and maybe a bit wild) eyed at the impending walking, talking, talking back phase. It's also great for those who seem like they need a life line while treading water in the woes of a Wonder Pets marathon.
Remember, on Saturday, midnight to be exact, the comments will close and I will pick a winner using the always fair and never impartial Random.Org generator to select the winner, and then maybe select the winning numbers for the lottery.
Oh, yeah! I need a pull quote! Every reviewer has a pull quote, right? You know, like "Sprite's Keeper gives it four star stickers!" or "Sprite's Keeper says, 'I laughed, I cried, I mopped up the grape juice spill with it!' " Or maybe, "Sprite's Keeper says, 'Who said toddlers didn't come with training manuals?' "
Let me know which one is best and maybe Jen will take pity on me.
(Oh, yeah. This will not be the same germ infested book that made it through the bowels of the ER. I heard that germs don't travel well anyway..)