Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bringing Up Bebe Book Review

Lots of young families are reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. My own daughter, who is about to give birth in a week, has read it and spoke highly of it. I decided to read it myself and offer a review.

Pamela Druckerman is an American journalist, married with 3 children, living in Paris. She began to notice how different French children were than her own kids. When she and her hubby were in a French restaurant, wanting to enjoy its gourmet food, they found themselves gobbling it down to get out of there because their daughter was carrying on, making a mess, complaining loudly about the taste. As they dashed out the door, she noticed the French children sitting quietly with their parents, eating the strange mix of vegetables and French flavors.

Next, she learned French babies sleep through night practically from the get go. How do they pull THAT off? And when she would take her kids to the playground she noticed French moms dressed to the nines, sitting on the park benches chatting with their friends while she was on her kids' heels supervising their every move.

As a journalist she did an excellent job researching, interviewing, and observing everything she could on the differences in American and French parenting styles. It is a fascinating read. Here are some of her conclusions:
* French parents make use of The Pause with their newborns. They don't rush in to pick up their baby for at least five minutes. Soon the baby learns to settle herself and by four months she is sleeping through the night.
* When the baby is about six months and it's time to introduce solids, French parents don't start with rice cereal. They start with spinach and squash, introducing new flavors each day. When they reach school age, the menu always includes three courses - usually a vegetable starter (such as shredded carrots with vinaigrette dressing), then the main meal (such as pork tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes), and then a dessert, which is always some kind of fruit. Food is an essential to the culture.
* French parents give their children lots of time to "awaken" or "discover". Children are not pushed into too much stimulation. They don't give their toddlers swimming lessons nor their preschoolers reading lessons. Instead, instruction is limited to mastering the oral language, and opportunities are offered for children to explore and discover.
* French mothers are of the philosophy that children are not going to define them. They quickly get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, dress fashionably so as to still turn their husbands' heads. They enjoy visiting with friends and don't let the children's schedules interfere. Children learn to entertain themselves.

Now here are my thoughts on French parenting. There is so much here that would be very beneficial to implement, such as helping your baby sleep through the night as well as raising eaters who aren't picky. But as far as refraining from over-stimulating young children I would say there needs to be a balance (somewhere between Bringing Up Bebe and Tiger Mother). Children must be supervised on the playground and mothers should not be distracted by long and involved conversations with other moms. And while giving children opportunities to "discover" and "awaken"  are important, I think early education helps keep America on the global scene.

A big piece of parenting is about relationship. At the end of the day we don't want to be tiger mothers who beat perfection into our kids, nor do we want to be so calm and uninvolved that we don't have a relationship with our kids (the author notes that the French are known for being the most unfriendly nation in the world). But somewhere in between we can stimulate our children and make learning fun thereby raising kids who love to communicate and simply enjoy being with their family. With that thought in mind, I highly recommend reading this book.

And now for a refashion...

Here is a new twist on a necklace. It is made from strips cut from old T-shirts.

And here's how I did it...

First cut off the bottom hem, and then cut off several strips, going through both layers at once. 

 I wanted a little green to add to the mix so I did the same with a green T-shirt.

Next I stretched the strips which naturally curled up and became almost string-like.

And now for the fun part. Add beads (I used ones with wide holes so I could get the thick T-strips through).

Put them together and then wrap them with another strip of tee.

And there you have it! I made 2 of them - one with a little green (see above) and this all white one: