Thursday, June 18, 2009

Burning through the books

Under Japanese tradition, I am still in confinement. Isn't that funny? Your due date is directly translated into "date of confinement" here. Confined with your baby inside the house for weeks...it varies depending on your family's opinion, I guess. I think (but I am not exactly sure) that my confinement will end this weekend, and I will be expected to start picking Ailin up from daycare every afternoon, with Luka in tow. That means, I can also start doing other errands.

Well, in defense of confinement everywhere, I will admit that when Ailin was born, I wanted to show her off to the world, and I couldn't wait to get out of the house after she was born. In fact, I felt like a prisoner. My husband would accuse me of going outside if he noticed that the newspaper had been brought up. I would put her in a sling and take a short walk to the neighborhood dvd rental store, then I would pick up a dvd or two. I, of course, hid the rented dvds from my husband so he wouldn't accuse me of going outside.

This time, I actually looked forward to my period of confinement. (Oh, it sounds like something only princesses get to do.) Last year, going back to work and then getting pregnant and having to work plus take care of a toddler left me so exhausted. I looked forward to confinement only because it would give me a chance to rest. For the first time in two years, I have actually been able to read a steady stream of books. All those purchases from Amazon that have been gathering on my bookshelf over the past 2 years, they are finally getting read.

I used to have this personal policy that I would read one non-fiction and then one fiction and so forth. I've been enjoying the non-fiction lately though.

The Discipline Book by Dr & Martha Sears
I am now a big fan of Sears, as I have alluded to before. They are great people who write great books, and I quite enjoyed this one because Ailin is going through her Terrible Twos stage. I probably should have read the book BEFORE this phase started, but indeed, it did give me some ideas for dealing with her picky eating and her temper tantrums.

Letters to my Daughter by Maya Angelou
This was a gift from my mom. Very very fast read. It took me one day to read it. Basically, it is short stories about turning points in her life with a few poems thrown in. It reminded me of my idea to scrapbook some pages about pivotal moments in my life, and I did manage to do one page, but I forgot to do the others. I need to get on that soon.

How to Teach Your Baby to Read by Glenn Doman
Yeah, right is probably what you are thinking. It sounds crazy. Especially since the cover shows a mom with an 18 month old on her lap and she is showing her a huge flashcard with the word "Mommy" on it. The book was recommended by some other AFWJ moms who wanted to teach their young children to read English before they would begin elementary school and be inundated by kanji. This reading program is geared towards kids under 5 and involves mainly flashcards eventually moving on to books.
This book was published in the 60's and it has not changed much since. I guess the methods work, but I would have liked to see his methods updated with how-to instructions for making flashcards on your computer. Isn't that what most people would do nowadays? Anyway, he warns people not to waste time making flashcards using stencils, and I was like, "stencils? What?" In any case, I am trying to order the deluxe kit which supposedly includes a whole slew of already-made flashcards.
By the way, I did make some cards on my computer and started this reading program with Ailin (and with Luka, but for babies, it is like one word per day). She seems to enjoy it so far.

Outliers by Malcolm Galdwell
My dad recommended the book and then sent it to me. It's great. It's all about how some people end up being successful and others don't. It then goes into cultural differences and why some culture's people are successful at certain things while other cultures fail. I am halfway through and really fascinated by it.

AudioBooks
I am America by Stephen Colbert
I listened to this 4 times while in the hospital, and it was so funny. He is just hilarious, isn't he?

When you are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
I've read 2 or 3 of his other books, and I am also a fan of his sister (actress), Amy Sedaris. I really get a kick out of his stories especially about his family. In this book, he talks more about his life with partner Hugh in France and a little bit about his siblings. It's more of a smattering of events and no real theme threaded through out the book.

Next up:
I downloaded My Life by Bill Clinton.

Blogs:
I discovered a blog called Write.Click.Scrapbook. which is a collective blog maintained by many of the women who previously worked for Simple Scrapbooks magazine. They invite readers to post lay outs on their gallery at Flickr. I am such a geek, but this is really exciting to me.

2 comments:

Girl Japan said...

I should start following your personal rules to "reading", all I have been inundated with is work manuals, school books, ahhhhhh

I had to "giggle" at you sneaking out to get dvd's, I thought that story was utterly cute.

stacy said...

OK, so I do have a google account, just forgot about it, so now I can enjoy commenting on your blog!

I just want to say that I've been reading baby books and manuals galore too, no to mention checking things on the net. Best book so far - Diaper Free Baby written by a lady who lives in Tokyo. It makes intuitive sense to me.

I'm becoming stubborn about what I think is "good" for baby given all my research but I'm sure it will all go out the window soon. For example, I read in so many places that baby shouldn't be bottle fed sugar water at the hospital within the first few days (I'm determined to breast feed) but the midwife says it's either that or he'll die or get sick if he loses more than 10% of his body weight in the first week. hmmmm I know babies usually lose weight after birth... anyway, I am sure sugar water never really harmed a baby since it's a pretty common practice in Japan.

I found a better/cheaper way of getting English books than through Amazon so want to let you in on it. Check out www. bookmooch.com. I traded off about a 12 books and have had a constant stream of packages coming in the mail with books I've mooched from others. It's a great system.