The Mommy Manual is a must read for all mommies of young children, particularly those of toddlers or soon-to-be toddlers. I am usually drawn more to parenting books with a definite theological bent or a discipline/training bent, but this one was given to me by a friend who has 9 children...so I figured it was worth a read! It looked a tad cheesy, but as soon as I started reading, I was hooked. To emphasize that, let me tell you that I first read this during the first two months my twin boys came home from the hospital (and I had an eighteen month old running around at the same time!)!! I'm rereading it now (twins are almost 10 months old, toddler is almost 28 months old) and realizing anew how much I like this book. I didn't realize all that I was absorbing when I read it first, but I can look around now and see the impact it made on me (things ranging from hanging artwork at my toddler's eye level to slowing down to show her how to carry her cereal bowl to the table). The author is a mother of 12 children, so she definitely has lots of experience. She used to be a Montessori teacher and uses that training to show how we can enrich the lives of our toddlers--to make the most of this valuable time of learning. She discusses areas that are particularly open to development during the toddler years (including self-control, independence, concentration, and service among others) and gives some wonderful, practical tips for encouraging your toddler's development. She is a Christian and talks a lot about the big picture: raising godly men and women who will also be good parents themselves. She is so encouraging and so realistic. She has fabulous perspectives on when it's good to lower our household expectations in favor of our children, when we should raise our expectations in regard to our children and their behavior, how we should nurture a heart for service, how to spend some quality time together as a family.... One thing I particularly appreciated was her willingness to use technology in its proper place. Rather than banning TV or the computer outright (or embrace them too much), she gives some great suggestions for ways technology can enrich the family's joint experience when used well. All in all, it's a great book. She also has a blog: www.mommylife.net.
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