Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book review and giveaway: The Rookie Mom's Handbook

Once upon a time, I was a rookie mom. Not one of the Rookie Moms, mind you, but a freshly c-sectioned woman with a squalling lump of baby to call my own. I filled those early winter days of maternity leave by breastfeeding to season after season of the Gilmore Girls and The O.C. on DVD, unaware of the other, more interesting, ways I could be spending time with a baby.

Not Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss. The two Berkeley friends were so committed to leaving the house every day that they started a spreadsheet tracking all the fun stuff they could do with their new babies. That spreadsheet turned into a blog, and that blog's just been expanded into a highly-giftable book, The Rookie Mom's Handbook: 250 Activities to do with (and without!) your baby.

The entries range from basic (#2 get to know your gear) to moderately ambitious (#60 design your own baby clothes), but my favorite suggestions include step-by-step instructions for basic functioning that seem incredibly obvious now but highly intimidating at the time. Stuff like how to take a hot shower when no one's there to hold your child. (Answer: Strap baby into a bouncy seat or shower at the gym while junior's in child care.)

My top five favorite activities from the book are...
#43 go on a little date with your mate while baby's small enough to nap in her car seat (seriously, I tell this to every new mom)
#114 use the Internet for errands (I don't even set foot in shoe stores anymore)
#148 meet friends for brunch at a restaurant (it really is the best meal to eat out with kids)
#165 make a cheap-o rattle (done it!)
#179 save old sunglasses and dead cell phones to distract baby from the real thing (I've even bought uncut keys from Ace Hardware and put them on a keychain)

Rookie Mom Whitney was kind enough to send me an extra copy of The Rookie Moms Handbook to give away. Want to win it? Leave a comment before May 6th. If you don't have a blog where I can find you, you might want to also send me an email with your contact information.