Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Therapy

I feel like I am living several lives right now...that of the mother of a very complicated but amazing four-year-old, of the mother of a very stubborn but sweet two-and-a-half year old, of a woman in the last months of preparing for a baby...of a wife, follower of Jesus, and so many others. I am navigating so many streams, and none of them seem to be converging. Perhaps that explains the variety of books I am tackling at the present time. I am usually a one book kind of gal, but I feel the need to be reading all of these.

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Three pages into this book, I knew it was what I had been needing. The author describes Calvin perfectly. I am a third of the way through it and have already learned so much about how to parent Calvin well and how to help him manage the world around him. People often don't believe me when I tell them he is different than most kids. It is so hard for people who don't have an extra-sensitive, extra-perceptive, extra-intense child to understand.

When Calvin has a meltdown or a stretch of bad behavior, I tend to blame it on my bad parenting or to get really angry at him. This book is giving me a language for understanding Calvin's unique personality, an ability to see his intensity and sensitivity as strengths to be channeled into good behavior, and methods for avoiding meltdowns and preventing discipline problems. Really, I wish I had discovered this book two years ago, when Calvin's emotional outbursts really began to show themselves. I am so glad I have it know, as the outbursts are becoming more angry and violent. I am learning to see what factors lead to an episode and to control his environment better in order to help him avoid big problems.

Great with Child: Reflections of Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother by Debra Reinstra

This book made my top 100 list for good reason. This will be the third time I have read it, and with each pregnancy I enjoy it more. It is such a fantastic meditation on motherhood and on being a woman. I love how Reinstra weaves her faith, the physical experience of pregnancy, and feminist literary traditions together as she reflects on her third pregnancy. I tell all of my pregnant friends to throw their pregnancy reference books away and just read this.

A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot

I have promised to write a more detailed post on this at some point, and I will. In the meantime, I do want to recommend it. While Pierlot's approach is a little too detailed for me, working through the book and questions has been a good exercise. I am still figuring out how to do a schedule and make charts and bring my kids along on this adventure of getting our lives more ordered. I think it will compliment what I am learning about dealing with Calvin's intensity. It will also help me to be sure I am setting aside time for those other lives: mother to Hobbes, wife, and follower of Jesus.

Family reading...
In other news, Calvin is having some book therapy of his own. My husband decided the other day that it was time to introduce our son to Tolkien. He has been reading a little of The Hobbit to Calvin every evening, and I am enjoying listening, too. I'm not sure how much Hobbes is listening, but he does love the songs. So far, the dwarves' clean-up song at the beginning is their favorite...Chip the glasses and crack the plates!...That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!

Books. I am not sure what our family would do without them. What are you reading right now? I want to tackle some fiction soon, but I have enough stacked up in my book basket for the time being.


tipper said...

Sounds like some really great books. My mother-n-law got the first one for me when one of my girls was going through a rough stage of growing up. Good parenting books always made me feel better-letting me know I wasn't the only one in the world to have a difficult child.

At A Hen's Pace said...

I never read more than one book at a time before I had kids--now, just like you, I need help in so many areas!

Your book list sounds great.

I am skimming a number of parenting books I picked up at the library, a book on unschooling I borrowed from the homeschool group's library, and a long novel called The Island of the World.

The boys and I just finished Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. What a great story! I think we're going to go through the Chronicles of Narnia next.