I don’t really read parenting books. That’s more my wife’s area of study. She’ll read and learn things, come up ideas that we’ll both talk about and then we team up to implement them. In my head it’s like that Will Smith song “He’s the DJ, I’m The Rapper” though I don’t think it’s a very good metaphor.
Anyway, for Christmas two years ago when Em was still pregnant, her parents gave me this book called Be Prepared A Practical Handbook For New Dads By Garry Greenberg & Jeannie Hayden. The book won me over with the first two pages. The first page features a nice drawing of baby that looks cute and lovely with a huge title across the top that says “What Your Newborn WON’T Look Like.” You then flip the page to see what a newborn baby really looks like, albeit a drawing of one and that sold me because it was just honest. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of bullshit out there when it comes to parenting advice, so it was refreshing to see something that just laid it all out there right off the bat.
I read the first 90 or so pages that Christmas right there in the living room and I never went back to the book. I honestly forgot about it after the baby was born, but the part I read was definitely helpful (by the time I remembered the book, which had fallen behind the bed and was only recently rediscovered, I kind of figured I had a pretty good handle on things).
The beauty of the book is how simple and easy it is to read and that it also doesn’t get too preachy or try to sway you to a particular style of parenting. The book honestly tackles the subjects of breastfeeding, changing diapers and even sex after the baby’s born. Heck, there’s even a section about what to do at your desk to help you keep awake after returning to work, which has been helpful, even though I don’t work in an office or even at a desk. I’ve also tried the methods in the book about how to get a kid to fall asleep or get rid of hiccups and even the part that says that kids like reggae, though I haven’t found that to be true for Lu (she seems partial to disco, punk and country).
So, yes, I do highly recommend Be Prepared for any dude on his way towards fatherhood. It’s informative, honest, clever and helpful to the point where I actually still remember bits and pieces that I haven’t actually looked at or read in a year and a half. Go out and get yourself a copy or you can borrow my half-read one if you want.