This week is very exciting: I’m gearing up for our annual beach vacation to the Outer Banks with Steve’s family! HUFFMANIA 2012 starts on Friday night and I can’t wait. So many extra hands to hold and play with Will!

He can’t wait either.

I’ve started my packing list (both mine and baby’s) and will start packing tomorrow or Thursday. Preparing to travel with a baby is no joke.

In the meantime, I’m amassing my vacation reading list. I plan to take full advantage of the extra help by getting a lot of quality time reading. And knitting. Since Will was born I have actually gotten to read a couple of books on my iPad, most recently Bringing Up Bebe.

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Overall I thought it was pretty good — Druckerman explains French parenting philosophy in a way that contrasts it strongly with the helicopter parenting style more typical of upper-middle-class Americans. One of my great ambitions in motherhood is to not be a helicopter mom; I want to give Will as much freedom and autonomy as he can handle, and reading more about how other parents manage that is interesting to me. She does make a lot of generalizations about American parents (in order to prove her hypothesis that French parents are on to something, I suppose) but it’s refreshing to read about the French style — children being served the same foods as their parents (I DO NOT want to raise a child who lives on chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers), parents maintaining personal lives that are separate from their children — and mostly not being afraid of their children. Not being afraid to say no. As a mom I want to be able to say yes as much as possible, but I certainly don’t want Will to grow up unable to cope with hearing no.

There are a lot of key differences between French parenting and my own parenting (three whole months of it) — for instance, I breastfeed and I stay at home with my baby. It seems that most French moms formula-feed starting almost as soon as they get out of the hospital — I guess because they think breastfeeding is unattractive or unimportant. And I have to admit, it stung a little to read that French women basically think stay-at-home moms are lazy and unambitious. (It’s a sensitive topic for me right now.)

But anyway. I finished Bebe with perfect timing to choose some beach reads! I am bringing some or all of the following with me next week:

The Brightest Star in the Sky (Marian Keyes): I am an unapologetic lover of chick lit, and I’ve had this book on my shelf for almost a year. I bought it when the Borders near my dad’s house closed and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ve loved the other ones of hers that I’ve read so I am really looking forward to it!

Choosing Happiness (Alexandra Stoddard): Admittedly, this has great potential to be a cheesy self-help tome, but it’s been a while since I devoted any reading time to the subject of happiness. At Anthropologie the other day I saw a book called Zen and the Art of Happiness, and that is the book I really want to read (I’m very interested in mindfulness and zen philosophy in general at the moment) but the library doesn’t have it and I don’t really want to spend the money right now. So I’ll try this one out and see how I like it.

I don’t know about this.

And speaking of zen, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M. Pirsig): I don’t actually know that much about this book, but it’s a classic from what I hear and I hope I like it.

I love the minimalist cover, but I doubt it’s the copy I’ll get at the library.

I doubt I will have time to finish even these three (along with the issues of Marie Claire [I can’t help myself], Yoga Journal and Runner’s World I’ll be taking along), otherwise the list would be even longer — but I am headed back to the beach in August so I’ll get more reading time then. My reading list is getting very long and I’m glad to be able to make a dent in it next week!

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