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Guranteed to make you neurotic and insecure
on 1 October 2012
I borrowed this book from the library. It's so awful I feel compelled to warn other parents. (Bear in mind, I have an earlier edition, so there will be some changes in this newer one, but it won't have been re-written from cover to cover, which is what it needs.) The first half of the book is done on a month-by-month basis, like most pregnancy books, and the second half deals with more general issues. The advices is so unrealistic and impractical, it's guaranteed to make anyone who takes it seriously feel like a failure. The best way to explain is with excerpts:
On p. 170, The Twentieth Month: "By the end of this month your toddler should be able to dump an object in imitation (by 19 1/2 months), use a spoon/fork (but not exclusively), run. Note: If your toddler has not reached thsese milesstones or doesn't use symbolic play and words, consult the doctor or health visitor. This rate of development may well be normal for your child, but it needs to be evaluated."
ARE YOU KIDDING!??? If your child doesn't dump and object in imitation (whatever that means) by 19 1/2 months, see a doctor??? Good gravy. Here's another:
p. 478, Safe Food, Safe Water: "Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly." Fair enough. "Wash the rind of a cantaloupe with washing-up liquid, hot water and a brush when you bring it into the house (the rind can harbour salmonella, which can harbour serious illness). Wash an surface that the melon touched before it was washed and be sure it's been washed before you cut into it. Also wash the brush you used to clean it in hot soapy water or the dishwasher."
You've GOT to be kidding me. And I could go on. If there were space here I could type example after example of paranoid, neurotic, guilt-inducing advice, because no one could physically follow all the guidelines laid out in this book, nor should they try. The section on eating lists weights and measures of every food known to man so you can have a religious experience with your scale weighing out every grain of brown rice your toddler eats and then panic when half of it ends up under the dining room table anyway, which is inevitable. It's just bonkers.
For a good text on child development I recommend Penelope Leach's "Your Baby And Child."
For advice on eating I HIGHLY recommend Gill Rapely's "Baby-led Weaning." (Still applies to toddlers.)
And for advice on toddler behaviour I recommend Dr. Christoper Green's "Toddler Taming" which is lighthearted, realistic, and encouraging, everything What To Expect is NOT.