Monthly Archives: August 2007

When the Aardvark Parked on the Ark, by Calvin Miller

I must have bought this book for my sister sometime in the late ’80s, but the fact had been wiped from my memory until recently, when I ran across it in my parents’ home while looking for something to read to my daughter at bedtime. I find it remarkable that these whimsical poems reminiscent of Shel Silverstein could come from the author of such venerable and contemplative works as two series of poetic allegories (The Singer Trilogy and The Divine Symphony–which I have read) and The Table of Inwardness and Into the Depths of God (which I have not). Continue reading

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The Carpet Wars, by Christopher Kremmer

I usually am not fond of travel writing, but I found Christopher Kremmer’s work more interesting than some others of that genre that I have encountered. Kremmer’s wry wit accounts for at least part of the entertainment value of The Carpet Wars, even eliciting a few chuckles, a somewhat rare occurrence. (Don’t analyze that last statement–it isn’t meant to indicate anything except my appreciation of Kremmer’s humor.) For example, Kremmer (who does not otherwise give any indication of being particularly religious) relates an incident in which he became exceedingly frustrated with an Afghan taxi driver:

My hand was lifting, drawn up by the power of a psychotic urge to batter him, when suddenly a loud voice rent the sky above the stranded car:
‘Leave him to me!’ cried the voice of the Almighty. ‘For he is a driver and they are a stiff-necked people.’
So I heeded the word of the Lord and let him be (346). Continue reading

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The Gospel According to Matthew

In the absence of an established career (“freelance writer” doesn’t count–even if I could consider myself established), I have experienced some difficulty explaining my identity for much of my adult life. But this has recently been resolved. I now have a Master’s of Arts in Comparative Literature (don’t ask me what kind of prestigious profession comes with it), and, more significantly, I am a Mother (a recognized role, even if not a highly esteemed calling in certain circles).

But one of the points that impressed me during our most recent reading of Matthew is the difference between what God looks for in people and what I often look for. God is not interested in, for example, an advanced degree, my profession, how eloquently or wittily I express myself, how I look, how clean my house is, how many “constructive” tasks I have completed today, or how highly my peers regard me. Rather, God is more concerned with how I regard other people, whether I am willing to part with my money and possessions to meet a need, how ready I am to go out of my way for another, whether I am quick to forget an offense or whether I dwell on it for days. Continue reading

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Infant Sleep: The Experts Compared

In my two previous posts, I reviewed three popular books on infant sleep habits. My preferred author for general parenting philosophy is William Sears, as explained in the last post (Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part II). However, all three experts have merit, and different approaches are better suited to different families. Below, for the sake of comparison, I have identified a few of the issues common to the three books and briefly described each author’s position. Continue reading

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Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part II

When my daughter was first born, I thought she would never wake up. She seemed to sleep all the time. Then at three months it seemed she opened her eyes, saw the world, and decided she liked it so much she never wanted to sleep again. Thus the sleep battles began. In spite of much yawning and rubbing of eyes, she would alternately writhe in our laps in the rocking chair or lie smiling and cooing and swiping at our faces. Once soundly asleep, we would put her down and she would wake up ten minutes later.

This led to much frustration and reading of books on my part. At six months we are making some progress toward restful sleep for the whole family, though this may be due in equal parts to our daughter’s developmental maturation and implementation of the knowledge gained through my research. But having invested so much time and energy in the pursuit, I decided to share my thoughts in the hope that others might profit from it as well.

In the previous post, I discussed helpful information I gleaned from March Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Tracy Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, as well as the points on which I differed from each author’s position. The parenting author whose overall philosophy I have found most helpful, intuitive, and sensible is William Sears. (His wife, Martha Spears, RN, is listed as co-author on most of his books, but as they are written primarily in the first-person from his perspective, I will refer to him as the author.) I appreciate Sears because he emphasizes attachment and respect for natural processes, while he has the scientific background and knowledge of an experienced MD.1 Continue reading

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Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part I

Many parents have told me they found sleep deprivation to be the hardest part of new parenting. And indeed, being tired and, potentially, grouchy (and having a tired and grouchy spouse … not that I would know anything about that…but my husband might) makes every other aspect of life more challenging. The proliferation of books and articles promising to help babies sleep better is thus no surprise. We, too, have fought the sleep battle with our now six-month-old, and I have had a chance to review a few of the popular publications on the subject. Continue reading

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