My Photo
Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Baby Blog Book Tour: Why Babies Do That by Jennifer Margulis

Why Babies Do That: Baffling Baby Behavior Explained
Jennifer Margulis
Willow Creek Press, 2005; $15.95

I'm so excited today to be blogging about Jennifer Margulis's recent addition to the world of baby books: Why Babies Do That: Baffling Baby Behavior Explained.

Jennifer is the author of Toddler: Real-life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love, a mom to three kids, and an editor for Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in Ms. Magazine; World Pulse Magazine; Parenting; Newsday; Mothering; Brain, Child; and more.

Now, I will have you know that I personally know Ms. Margulis and once in an email she told me that I was "beautiful," but the fact that she is a literary celebrity who gives good compliment did not taint or in any way influence how I feel about her book. (The framed picture of Jennifer I keep on my nightstand? That's another story.)

Besides being beautiful, I'm no dummy, and I understand there's no such thing as a dumb question. Yet, when I was sitting at home on my hemorrhoid pillow with itty bitty, newborn Emily, I often felt that all of my questions about her behavior were just that: dumb. I certainly thought that when I looked around at other moms who seemed to know it all and who had no questions, dumb or otherwise. One "dumb" question I had was why Emily said dada before she said mama. Did it mean she loved him more? How could that be when I was the one who fed her, changed her, bathed her, and had sacrificed my perky breasts for her? When I asked a mom friend about this, she gave me a look that suggested it was the dumbest question she had ever heard. In retrospect, I know why she gave me that look. It's obvious she had no idea how to answer my question. She probably was just as baffled as I was.

The moral of this story is don't be like me. If you are pregnant or at home pinned to a glider with a newborn, do yourself a favor, go online shopping, and get yourself a copy of Why Babies Do That. Jennifer knows parents have questions and she gives you the answers in a way that won't make you feel dumb for asking. After you read this book, your baffling baby will baffle you no more.

Let me give you some examples of questions new parents have but are afraid to ask. Notice Jennifer's kind and gentle yet authoritative answers.

Frantic new mom: Why does my baby have zits?!?!
Baby acne is one of those tragedies that affect most babies but that leave a hormonal postpartum mom thinking that surely, her baby must be the only one on the planet who looks like a pimply teenager. Why had nobody warned you about this?

Jennifer's calm reply:
"The definitive answer to why babies get acne is still being debated but most experts agree that it has to do with exposure to a surge of fetal hormones passed through the placenta to the baby before birth and during labor." ... "As strange as all of this is for a new parent, it is perfectly natural."

Frantic new mom: Why does my baby bang his head against the crib?!?!
Before you think that head banging in infancy guarantees a life filled with Metallica concerts and dope smoking, read what Jennifer has to say and stop imagining your child as a juvenile delinquent at the age of 8 months.

Jennifer's calm reply:
"The prevailing theory about why babies bang their heads against the crib is that it's a way to soothe themselves. Like thumb sucking, the rhythmic rocking that accompanies head-banging is lulling to the baby and helps him fall asleep or calm down after being upset."

Other questions she answers include "Why do babies like to play with their own poop? Why do babies learn languages so easily?" and my personal favorite: "Why do babies plaster pasta on their hair and mash bananas into their cheeks?"

Jennifer is not a doctor, but as an experienced parent and writer, her common sense answers reveal that she knows about what she writes. If appropriate, she does indicate when exhibited behavior may require attention from a doctor or other parenting expert.

With photographs by Paul Franz, Why Babies Do That is a great gift idea for a new or expectant mom. But don't let the cute baby on its cover fool you, this book is filled with lots of good information that will certainly make your life easier as you navigate the diaper aisle in Target with your bobble-head, acne-prone bundle of joy.

But here's a warning to new moms: go easy on your uninformed friend when she asks you one of those "dumb" questions as you balance your newborns on your knees during baby yoga class. Like Jennifer does in her book, inform your friend gently and with a touch of humor that most babies--not just her little Aidan--say "da da" before they say "ma ma," and that her baby actually is not saying "daddy," (and thereby proving he loves daddy more than mommy) "but rather saying 'thing' and using the word 'da da' as a generic catch-all."

Like a newborn baby, Jennifer's book is cute and just begging to be picked up. If you're still wondering what to get those new moms or those expectant moms (preggos deserve to celebrate, too!) this Mother's Day, wonder no more. Here's the Amazon link to Why Babies Do That. You can call me beautiful and thank me later.

Technorati tags: , , ,