Papa is often overlooked in this whole “Yay! We’re pregnant!/Hooray! What a cute baby!” continuum. You don’t see a lot of massage gift certificates coming his way and his life is changing too, so he could use a little love. Enter Armin Brott.


Brott has written a series of books for expectant and new fathers that are practical and pithy, good-humored but still to the point. They are not, like many entries into this corner of the market, “hilarious,” i.e. full of pretty low-grade humor that’s often kind of insulting to the dad’s intelligence, to the mom’s experience, and to a couple that’s actually functional and communicative. Also, importantly for you, the gift giver, Brott is agnostic as to parenting philosophy, so you won’t be offending anyone (unless they’re going with the “raise ’em by wolves!” thing, in which case a different kind of gift might be in order. Like a nice gift certificate for institutionalization, say.)

One thing I loved: he says right up front that he alternates gender pronouns by chapter, so boys and girls are equally covered and no gender equality bristling is required. Very practical approach to a sometimes touchy issue, as are most of his answers in the book.

Minimalist angle: Brott’s observations and recommendations are also not particularly long-winded, so a dad with very little time can breeze through the sections in the few spare minutes he has before falling asleep on the floor.

Individual titles, all about $10 at Amazon:

The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be

The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year 

Fathering Your Toddler

OR

A set of all three, New Father Series, for $10 (!!!) at Amazon

If you missed the pregnancy phase, just get the First Year and Toddler Years in a boxed set, also $10 at Amazon

Also available, The Single Father and Fathering Your School-Age Child (age 3-9)

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Baby Journal

April 6, 2012


Here’s the thing: I wish my parents had done a baby journal for me. Here’s the other thing: as the mother of one toddler, finding the time to create one so my daughter doesn’t feel the same way is, to put it mildly, a challenge. Of course, if you were into scrapbooking or doing journal type stuff before you became a mom, it might be natural and a pleasure to do. I wasn’t and it isn’t. But I’m doing a journal for Astrid come hell or high water #$(*$!!

Most expectant moms would like to think they’ll do one too. So why not make it easy for them to meet that goal by giving them one that hits all the highlights and milestones but doesn’t require them to write a novel every month of the baby’s first year of life?

The Wonder of You is the one I chose and is as good as it gets. It has a fold-out growth chart in the front, space for a few lines about a bunch of different things (how we thought of Astrid’s name, special gifts she received, read: what her grandparents gave her, and so on), slots for basic, nice-to-have-recorded info (like great-grandparents’ names), and pages for pictures new parents are already taking anyway (baby shower, first room, birth announcement). No novels required. And the illustrations are lovely.

Bonus: all the text is adoption/foster child friendly.

This paired with author Tillman’s beautiful story book, On the Night You Were Born make a great addition to a shower gift. Or an appropriate, not-too-expensive gift for that cousin or friend-of-a-friend whose tastes you don’t know well.

The Wonder of You, about $14 at Amazon