Book Review: Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

by Pamela Druckerman.

Bringing Up Bebe I’d seen mention of this book around the blogosphere for awhile, but had never picked it up. Between my penchant for fiction and not having or really being around many kiddos, it didn’t seem super relevant. But now, with impending aunt-hood, and more importantly potential motherhood in the semi-near future, it felt like a good time to finally read it.

This was a fascinating read. The author moved to Paris from New York and when she became pregnant, started taking note of parenting practices and resources around her in France. She couldn’t help but be struck by the vivid contrast between how American children and mothers behave, and how French children and mothers behave. So she set about learning the ‘secrets’ of French parenting, and trying those methods with her own children. Even the ideas she was skeptical about. And lo and behold, most of them work like a charm.

She covers everything from the French outlook on pregnancy and motherhood, to getting infants to sleep, to child care, to teaching kids manners and behavior, to getting kids to eat, etc. For each subject, she combines her own observations with interviews of French women and families, experts, and references to various studies, and then the results of how it went when tried with her own children, including any misgivings or hiccups. It is an entertaining and compelling read that is still full of useful information. I not only thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but it’s given me many new ideas to consider regarding parenting.

Some Americans might say that the tips in the book are common sense and practiced here, too. And I’m sure there are cases where that is true. But by and large, American children are unruly little tyrants, and American moms tired, harried messes. So clearly something is getting missed.

I, for one, would much prefer to have a kid who slept through the night by 3 months old, behaved politely in public, and didn’t kick up a fuss at meal time. And to maintain my status as a woman with my own interests (and time to pursue them!), not just a mother. When motherhood rolls around for me, I plan on referring back to this book and the French parenting mindset often.

I give it 4.5/5 stars.

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Bringing Up Bebe

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Book Review: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax tells the story of accident-prone 9-year-old Louis Drax, who is now in a coma. It’s told alternately from his point of view, and the point of view of the doctor hoping to wake him up. The story begins shortly after Louis’ most recent accident, which left him comatose and his father missing. The only awake and available person who knows what really happened is his mother. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that things are not as they seem – and not always explainable. […]

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Book Review: The House of Shattered Wings

The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen #1) by Aliette de Bodard. The House of Shattered Wings is a story of fallen angels, strange magic, warring houses, and the ever-shifting balance of power between them. A great war has left the world in ruins. In Paris, survivors band together in houses for protection. The book weaves together the story of: Selene, head of House Silverspires, desperately trying to take the place of her mentor (Morningstar) as the House sinks further into disarray; Isabelle, a newly fallen angel who is nonetheless extremely powerful; and Philippe, a foreigner who sees […]

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Honeymoon Recap: Art

Warning! Possibly NSFW, lots of artwork with classical nudes coming up. I am a designer, with a pretty good studio arts and art history background, so it’s no wonder I like to visit art museums. The surprise is that Ian, a very math-and-logic engineer type, LOVES art museums. So of course, on his first ever trip to Europe for our honeymoon, we had to fit in some of the art heavy hitters: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Louvre Museum in Paris. There of course is art everywhere over there, but here are some highlights. Again, lots of pictures, […]

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Honeymoon Recap: Scenery

Ok, the scenery is by far the biggest category in my honeymoon photo recap series (if you missed Food, it’s here.). So I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking. There are captions on each one if you mouse over, and clicking will open up a lightbox viewer. Have you ever been to Europe? What’s your favorite place?  

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Try the World

A few weeks ago I got wind of a new subscription box that intrigued me. It’s called Try the World, and every two months they send you a box full of gourmet foodie goodies representing a particular city around the world. They call it ‘A Taste of the World in a Box’, and for those of us not rich enough to be jet-setters, this seemed like the next best thing to taking a trip. So I signed up, and awaited my first box, which was all about Paris. This is what I got: It comes with a handy list of […]

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