Spoonful Test Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi: Book review

When Brian Leaf contacted me about doing a review of his new book Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi, I was excited; I love reading, and the tagline of the book is "Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting."

CLOTH DIAPERS!

You all know that I love cloth diapers.  And this book was written by a dad...I definitely wanted to see what he had to say about parenting, and especially about diapers!

I was only slightly sad to note that there is only one chapter on cloth diapers.  Lucky for me, I enjoyed the rest of the book, too!

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi functions (for me, at least) as both a hilarious memoir and a truly informative parenting book.  Brian alternates telling stories about his family with chapters about decisions that he and his wife, Gwen, made when their children were young.  He touches on circumcision, home birth, breastfeeding, elimination communication and several popular parenting styles.  While I didn't find myself agreeing with Brian about everything (I would never wash my diapers with only vinegar and water!), I did learn a lot from him.

Some of Brian's stories made me laugh out loud...he's a great writer with a terrific sense of comedic timing!  One of my favorite chapters was the story of how Brian tried to sneak out of bed to meditate (and pee) at 5:00 in the morning while his wife and baby slept in his bed.  Any parent who has shared a room with a baby knows this struggle...sneaking out of the room without waking them up is a huge feat!

One of my favorite things about this book is that Brian didn't try to portray himself as a perfect parent.  He openly discusses struggles that he has had, which I really appreciate.  One of my favorite parts of the book happens when Brian has taken his son, Noah, to the doctor and was asked to hold him down to get eye drops:

I was sure I could have found a less violent way to get the drops in.  I had overpowered Noah physically and felt I had betrayed him.  But then a friend reminded me that my job as a parent is not to model being perfect but to model being human and compassionate and forgiving.

When we got home, I apologized to Noah and told him that I would never do that again.  Which I think is valuable.  I don't need to model getting everything right.  That would be too neurotic.  It's okay to mess up.  I just need to model taking responsibility, apologizing for my mistakes, and forgiving myself.

After all, kids learn from what we tell them, sure.  But even more, they learn from what we do.  So if I can do this, if I can forgive myself, well, then, Noah will likely learn to forgive himself.

And that would truly be something worth passing along (p. 84-85).

For me, that chapter was a good reminder that parenting isn't about being perfect.  There will be times that I mess up, because I'm human.  It's the way that I react to these things that matters.

I wanted to know more about Brian's experience with cloth diapers, so he agreed to do a Q&A!  Since cloth diapering is a different experience for everyone depending on what works for their family, I love hearing about others' experiences!

Q: What are your favorite cloth diapers?  If you could have only one kind of diaper in your stash, what would it be?

A: I have to ask Gwen which are my favorite cloth diapers. She usually lets me know the answer to this sort of thing.... Turns out Fuzzy Buns are my favorite. 

Q: What kind of pants fit best over your boys' diapers?  Or were you like me and have them in just a t-shirt all day?

A: In summer a t-shirt, but in New England for most of the year, we need more. Cotton or wool pants with an elastic waist. No zipper, button, or snap, and no big pockets. Function over fashion.

Q:  Did you and your wife both want to cloth diaper from the beginning, or did one of you have to be convinced to try it?

A:  Gwen made the final call on this one since she'd be dealing with the diapers more than I would. But I was thrilled that we were doing our part to keep disposables from the landfill. I had also heard that cloth helped kids transition away from diapers faster and more easily than when using disposables. It was only later researching for my book that I discovered the many other benefits of cloth. 

Q:  What was your favorite thing about using cloth diapers?

A:  I loved cloth wipes. Gwen's mom cut up some fabric and made us the wipes. In winter we kept a Thermos with a pump (like a coffee dispenser) so we'd have warm water handy to wet the wipes. 

Q:  How many poosplosions did you experience while your sons were in diapers?  Tell me about the worst one!

A:  Many poosplosions. I'll just say that projectile poop is real. The worst poosplosion? We were visiting The Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. They had just installed a new carpet in the cafe. We had to call the custodial team and Noah went home wearing an extra shirt from the diaper bag as his pants. 

You can buy Brian's book on Amazon, or go to his website for more information!
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Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Brian's book to review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are my own!

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