Title: Самоучитель для продвинутых родителей: Счастливый дитёнок – без запар и пелёнок.
Author: Милана Касакина
Source: Veddma library
Notes: The books carries on with the metaphor of a child being a “device” you acquire and this book serving as a manual to learn to operate that device. The metaphor is somewhat poor and the author over-stretches it by using computer user jargon everywhere possible, whether it is appropriate or not. It also involves a discussion of a child as a financial project. The fact that the book starts with that and brings up material reasons for having a child leaves a bad taste: as if most people who are planning or wanting to have children look at them primarily as a financial burden or a way to gain materially.
The author makes several swooping generalizations that make it hard to take the book seriously and undermine the sensible statements. Among those generalizations are:
– all illness in babies is because of the parents (the example here is author’s ears hurting in childhood because her parents were arguing all the time causing this psychological illness);
– babies should never cry (aside from pure communication that gets attended to immediately) – if they do it is the parents’ fault;
– babies must and do love being in the sling all the time;
– babies fall asleep easiest when placed right next to the mother in bed (have you ever tried it with a baby that wants to play/kick/talk or cannot fall asleep and gets increasingly cranky because of it?);
– everyone (except for those genetically disposed to obesity) recovers their pre-birth weight easily in about 2 months without fitness or diet (several models are brought up as examples); and so on.
Add to that the constant equating of a woman in the family with the housewife role (cooking and cleaning) and the man with the breadwinner role, as well as the overall style of the book being that of Internet writing (with capitals for emphasis, deliberate misspellings of words, smiley faces, etc.) and the book ends up resembling a blog full of ramblings by one woman, radical in her approach and preaching a narrow set of values.
The author also regards the practice of women working for years on their dowry as a very sensible way for a young bride to behave and the dowry being the primary factor in selecting a wife. She lovingly discusses the marriage as arrangement between the parents of the couple, and the family being the “mafia” that always stands behind its members and in which everyone helps everyone, working together for the good of the entire family. She revels in the families with many children, describing how great it is when brothers and sisters help each other in life and their parents in old age. This, she claims, is the only way to have a functional family. Although, somehow, when praising a family for having 10+ children, nothing is said about what the mother’s life is turned into, with constant housework and childrearing. That, apparently, is a minor point not worth mentioning.
Putting aside the statements mentioned above and the writing style, the book does cover some good parenting practices: breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, not constantly saying “no” to the child, exposing them to nature, teaching them about responsibility and self-reliance, not being obsessed with hygiene by sterilizing everything, not using pacifiers, not lying to the child, and not overloading them with educational material to raise a genius.
Overall, not a great book: it would be OK as an online series of articles, but to be a good book, it would need more information about the author’s background except for separate anecdotes of her childhood, more research, better justifications of particular practices than “it’s the only (or the best) way”, useful references (as opposed to “google it”), and of course the literary style needs work.