As a line firmly drawn in the sand, I don’t buy parenting books. Sure, I own about a bazillion books on how to get your baby to fucking go to sleep already, but you know what? I bought them all and didn’t even read them. You know why? Books (especially like those) are written by people who don’t necessarily have much save for some anecdotal experience to back them up (you don’t need to correct me if I’m wrong: I still won’t read ’em).

I don’t deny that they don’t work, shit I really don’t know if they do or not, but those books aren’t written by someone who knows my own child, and I don’t really need to hear what they think I’m doing wrong. Seriously, that’s the issue I have with most parental books, they’re always telling me what I am doing that’s going to fuck up my kid. And you know what? I already know what I’m doing wrong: trust me.

The only parenting books I’ll ever actually read (buying them sometimes makes me feel better, weirdly enough, even if I don’t so much as crack them open) are the funny ones. The Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy helped me through not one but two very long pregnancies, and if I ever have another, I’d read that again.

I guess I was lucky when I realized that my hilarious friend Stefanie Wilder-Taylor wrote another book to help me laugh through the toddler years: Naptime Is The New Happy Hour.

Toddlers are weird creatures, not as annoying as babies or as know-it-all as certain six-and-a-half year olds that may live under my roof, but they’re strange and unpredictable. They know what they want (in theory anyway) but can’t quite tell you what that is and when you don’t know that ‘throwing my juice cup on the floor really means that I wanna go to the park, you freaking idiot,’ they tantrum.

While not the easiest age for parents to handle, so long as you keep your sense of humor about it, it can be pretty entertaining.

This is what Stef reminds you over and over. Honestly, it’s the best advice you can hear when you’re sitting and watching the clock tick and wishing it would hurry up and be naptime again so you can relax.

My favorite chapter is called “Oh The Places You’ll Go (Or Won’t)” because she finally put into words something I’ve always sort of thought: don’t bother with the fancy-schmacy museums and other educational activities unless it means something to you. It’s just not worth it to shell out the cash for something they’ll never remember. Target is doesn’t charge an entry fee and just as enjoyable.

I’ve gotten suckered into that whole “I need to do something EDUCASHIONAL with my kids or I’m a BAD MOTHER” trap before, and it was nice to have the validation from an outside source (my friend Stef) that I’m not the only one that thinks that a trip to the Planetarium for a one year old is just a bit overkill, unless it’s really for you.

(My six year old doesn’t even remember his birthday party that we shelled out major bucks to have at the local kids museum last August. If a six year old won’t remember this stuff, how can a one or two year old? Simple answer: they won’t).

In her book, Stef also addresses the issues of competitive parenting, which we all know is both very real and very irritating.

Talking to ‘one of those’ mothers/fathers is like talking to a real! live! parenting! book! with phrases such as “well MY daughter” snotty inhale “was not only SPEAKING by age one, she was DRIVING the car for us while doing ADVANCED CALCULUS.”

While this mother spoke, my own one year old was alternating between grabbing his crotch and laughing whenever he’d get a fistful of his twig and dingleberries and then examining a booger he’d pulled from his nose.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit, maybe I’m spot on, but Stef says it all way better than I do. And I think that SHE’S spot on. She might even be my hero.

One of the best parts of this book, Naptime Is The New Happy Hour is this: you can read it over and over again and laugh just as hard as Stef navigates the sometimes turbulent seas of toddlerdom; it’s well written, witty, and sometimes makes you go, “ME TOO!”. Maybe raising a toddler isn’t always fun, but Stef reminds you that no matter how few other mothers you know that are like her (and me), you’re not really alone in any of this.

I guess my point is this: if you like Aunt Becky and when she talks ever-so-lovingly about her children, you’ll REALLY like Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. I’m the Coke Light (Stef Light?) to her Real Thing.

Check out her blog, check out her book: Naptime Is The New Happy Hour, and check out her kids. They’re adorable.

16 thoughts on “Naptime Is The New Happy Hour

  1. Heavens, I would die! DIE! if my kids didn’t nap. DIE. It’s like an extra special two hour therapy session where I can sit mindlessly and drool on myself.

  2. Ok I’m cheking it right now…Funny thing, I have an unfinished blog about parenting books that don’t work. I was about to finish my post when my 3 year old gave me another reason why those books don’t work.

  3. You rock! that’s the best review I’ve ever gotten. And now I must read YOU. But first I have to shower because otherwise…I just won’t. You have to jump on those urges when you have a hundred children like I do.

    Anyway, you are too sweet. And I lurve your writing more! You are no Coke Light.

  4. I used to work for a large chain bookstore which rhymes with “norders”, and I was often left in charge of the Parenting section, oh the irony. Anyway, I made mental notes to myself as to which books looked “cool” enough – Ariel Gore is an example. I have yet to read any of them though.

    The only books I invested in were books that told me about stages, so I did break down and get “What to Expect in the First Year”. I wasn’t looking for advice per se, but rather any information on what these kid things do, as I had (have?) no clue.

    Long story not-so-short, I’ll check out the blog, and maybe even the book.

  5. I am so JEALOUS that you are friends with her and that she realizes how awesome your writing is.

    Uh, good review though. 🙂

  6. I threw out manuals and self help parenting books long ago… Because, I learned nothing can prepare you for the rollar coaster that is… PARENTING and TWO year olds… have I told you lately how much you rock! Cause ya do!!

  7. Heh, I did the same thing. Well, kinda the same, except one day I threw Babywhisperer across the room into the wall. My child NEVER slept, never napped, still doesn’t. Find me the book that deals with THAT. So really, I don’t have time to read the other crap, which I suppose I would if my baby (now toddler) ever gave me 20 minutes during the day to myself. Hmph.

    That said, I really liked Three Martini Playdate. Picked it up on title alone, but it speaks the truth.

  8. Can I admit something to you? And you’ll still try to like me?

    My kids are smarter, cuter, and better than all other kids. But, since I am not a competitive parent, I try not to tell anyone.

  9. My very wise MIL (yep, I do love her)said to me once while expecting daughter – “Don’t forget what the book says doesn’t really matter, because the BABY HASN’T READ THE BOOKS”.

    I wish I’d had that printed on a t-shirt.

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