For Brian Leaf, author of Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi: Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting, fatherhood is not what he imagined. It’s harder. It’s less… enlightened—and more enlightening.

With an arc that includes the idea of baby all the way through some of the high and low points of parenthood—pregnancy, labor, birth, sleeplessness and the nuttiness of napping (or not), plus, of course diapers, the secret life of toys, and social dynamics at the Parents’ Center—what we also read about here are the engagement between idea—this kind of parenting, this philosophy of how to do it right—and reality. How do you get your child to sleep? How do you instill attachment and playfulness and independence in areas of toileting? Having sought enlightenment—that’s the yogi part—this author is willing to read about any parenting method that might help him reach Mecca, the Holy Grail of enough sleep, energy for his spouse and his work, moderately well-behaved yet creative offspring, and some sanity intact.

Hint: no one book, not even this one, offers all that. Leaf’s humor, both for the punch line but also about the endeavor itself, shines through. That’s because parenting requires a leap from the sublime to the ridiculous. Dads (I am sure) and Moms (this one, as test case) will laugh through the small set pieces that are strung like beads (or sometimes pearls) of wisdom. This is the slightly silly but not silly, slightly sentimental because, of course it is, somewhat crunchy, because, read the title again book for a Dad who would do well with some laughter and self-deprecation to reassure him there is no one right way to love your child, there is really only ample opportunity as a Dad (or any parent) to love—you just have to let yourself fumble, and magically, your efforts are rewarded.

Find me on twitter @standshadows


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