The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis

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The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis

Category: Home and Family
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: A comprehensively unhelpful, advice-free look at life with young children. Just like it says on the cover. Recommended as a parachute when coming down to earth with a new baby.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 250 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Square Peg
ISBN: 978-0224086264

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All in all, having kids is an intense rollercoaster ride. It plunges up and down, and there’s lots of screaming and vomiting involved. So that pretty much sums it up. Advertised as: a comprehensively unhelpful, advice-free look at life, the authors talk about Antecedents and Behaviour, without (fortunately) going too deeply into the Consequences of several dozen baby-related topics. But this definitely isn’t the rocket science of a parenting manual, or the touchy-feely of a misery memoir, rather a blackly comic gallop round pragmatic parenthood, instantly recognizable by anyone who’s been through the mill themselves.

Hopefully it will help to scotch some of the rubbish first-time parents collect along with the growing bump. How I wish my kids had read The Aargh to Zzzzzz of Parenting before idealistically jetting off from Australia with a three month old baby to visit us. Listen to this: Holidays … masochistically relocating the tedium of parenting to somewhere where it will be so much more physically challenging … working twice as hard to care for your children in a hostile environment … Yup.

The entries range between the laugh-aloud, the wry, and the semi-serious. Birth, baby and toddler periods are mixed up, although on some pages, a ramble on one subject tends to amble into another in the following entry. I particularly liked the summary of weaning methods: Instead of rudely assaulting your baby’s delicate mouth and unsuspecting palate with various flavours of slurry, simply let him forage for scraps from your dinner plate … (but) don’t beat yourself up about it. Whatever you do, by the age of three, he’ll be super keen on sausages, but highly suspicious of spinach. The authors also hit the spot on baby slings and attachment parenting: And you’ll enjoy it, too … for the first ten minutes. Until you try to wipe your bum without dangling your child perilously over the toilet bowl. Or until the baby weighs 12lbs-plus. Or until you want to baste the Sunday joint.

Maybe it’s not all side-splitting, but there are plenty of sympathetic goals as the authors trawl through the drawbacks of child-rearing from a woman’s point of view. There are pertinent comments about society’s attitude to children: As a new parent you may feel that society has sold you a bit of a porky, banging on as it does about how jolly rewarding having kids is, when you’re finding it an overwhelming slog with only tiny snatches of joy thrown in.

Oh, and there’s a great section on Birth Plans, reality of. Apparently only 47% of women have regular, uncomplicated deliveries under the NHS, blowing the other 53% of soft, fluffy Birth Plans straight out of the birthing pool. Hopefully, you’ve now got the picture about this book: eclectic wry morsels, tastefully arranged in alphabetical order.

As a grandparent, the up-date’s proved really useful. I nodded wisely and input information humorously before collapsing on the nearest sofa when they left. I sent the review copy back to Australia with them. As for the reality check that’s the real strength of this book: well some things never change, do they?

The Bookbag would like to thank the publishers for sending this book.

Further reading: My new parents loved another humorous guide which I couldn’t find on Amazon, but there are nearly 400 alternatives under Parenting – Humour’’. Therefore in this extremity, when your very survival is threatened, I’d recommend going for any title’’ that makes you laugh out loud.

Buy The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting: An Alternative Guide by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis at Amazon.com.


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