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The 10-year-old's reading


  • MoxieTopics
    Short PDF ebooks on specific parenting topics, in-depth and focused

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This is one of my favorite books. I read it before I had kids (I had already read her writing book, Bird by Bird) and amazingly, the descriptions of Sam's colic didn't scare me away from parenthood. When I was in that stage of early parenthood, I kept remembering her words and taking comfort in them.


I love this book as well and your description is spot on. I went to hear Annie Lamott speak recently when she came to Seattle and we all got to meet Sam. He is now a tall, handsome college student which feels surreal.


I read this book years ago and loved it - in fact I have loved all of her books. I have actually been looking all over our house for this one since I want to re-read it, and will probably end up buying it again. It's that good. Bird-by-Bird is my second favorite. She's a wonderful author and if you have the chance to hear her speak, you should do it. She's very entertaining and approachable. A great read for all moms, not just new ones.


I gave this as a shower present once. The mom-to-be was awfully offended that I would think she had anything in common with a less than perfect mom. I love it anyway.

Karen C.

A new friend gave this to me when my son was first born, and I devoured the first part of it very quickly during nursing sessions. Then I realized I was noticing the things her son was doing, checking his age, and calculating how long it would take MY son to do that same thing! I put it aside for now, but look forward to picking it up again someday soon when my son (14 weeks old today) is doing more...Anyway, Lamott rocks ;-)

Catherine Pellegrino

I'm so glad you reviewed this book - it's one of my all-time favorite parenting books, and really the one that pushed me over the fence and got me thinking that maybe, just MAYBE I could actually do this mom thing. Baby's due in September, so we'll see how I feel about it then, but I expect it'll be a great comfort to me to re-read it after the baby's here. I'm now trying to get my husband to read it in preparation as well.


So funny--I was just looking for this book today at the bookstore. I've wanted to read it for a long time since I love Bird by Bird. It was a used bookstore and they didn't have a copy, but now I'm thinking about just getting a new copy--thanks!


I read this while pregnant with my twin girls (now 13 mos), and loved it but wondered why she was so... negative at times. My mom suggested that I reread it a few months after the babies were born, and what a great idea that was! The book resonated with me like I couldn't believe. It's a definite must-read for any new and/or expecting mothers!


Me too, me too, to what everyone else said. It was my favorite parenting book when I was pregnant -- so reassuring and funny.

We saw Lamott speak a couple of months ago. She writes exactly in her own voice. And SHOCKINGLY, Sam is in college now. College! Operating Instructions is a book that ages so well. :)


Delurking to say that this book was amazing and should be a must-read for all new parents. I'd already read all of Anne's fiction, so I knew I'd like this book, but I didn't expect to relate to it so much. I read it just after my son was born 6 months ago, in small doses while I was, ahem, trying to get my intestines to start working again after my C-section. It was the perfect way to pass the time and reminded me that all new parents struggle, and that it would get easier.
PS- Moxie, I LOVE your blogs and your advice is spot-on! Thanks!


I lurve this book. I adore her humor, and her mix of snark and compassion. There are little tidbits all over it (not to mention the big broad themes about love and forgiveness and baby barf) and in Bird By Bird (which is another great read): I pick them both up when I need to be reminded to stop "mindf*cking" or when I need to hear Pammy's voice saying, "Annie, I really don't think you have that kind of time." Thanks for the review.


This is also a favorite of mine. Actually, any book by Anne Lamott is a favorite of mine - I just finished her newest one.

I've read Operating Instructions at least three times, and my twins are just 1, and have lent it out to friends.

She spoke at a conference I attended two years ago, and has continued to inspire me in so many ways.

grubby scholar

I read Operating Instructions like a fiend when I came home from the hospital with my newborn (firstborn) last August. I had a very rough time of it: severe baby-blues depression, days with no sleep, high anxiety (why, mother nature, why?) and I found her book central to my well-being, what was left of it. Her words reassured me that I was not alone and they gave me hope that things would get better -- not easy, but better -- and they did. I love that book and will probably re-read it sometime soon! Thanks!


This book, quite literally, saved my life. When my second born nursed all day and stayed awake all night, it was Lamott I turned to to get me through the anxiety and depression and general madness.

Her honesty and humor got me through.


My favorite mom memoir ever. I loved every word and think of something from it almost daily. Like Moxie, it's my shower gift to non-Republicans.


I liked the book, but didn't love it, because one thing that keeps running through my head is, "How in the world can she not brush her teeth for days (and when her son's much older, at that) when she has so many darn people helping her out?" I'm not a single parent, but have very little help with my baby (aside from the couple of hours my husband takes over a night), yet I still manage to brush my teeth twice a day. I guess good oral hygiene is important in an author!


I adored this hilarious, poignant book, and I'm not a mom and won't be for another few years most likely. Just fabulous. Lamott rocks, as someone up there said!


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Deborah versus DelilahMy name is Deborah. It’s a Biblical name that means “prophetess,” one who tells the futrue. That’s pressure, telling the futrue. So we prophetesses plan to prevent catastrophe. I don’t remember ever not planning for anything. It is a major character defect this lack of spontaneity.So, I will create a character. Let’s call her, Delilah, which means “desired.” Deborah and Delilah are struggling to prepare for a trip to Turkey in four weeks time where they will sail along the Turquoise Coast. Delilah is delighted; Deborah is desperate. Let’s listen.Deborah:Damn, another dreary day in northern California. I wonder if it will be unexpectedly rainy and cold in Turkey? Are they having the same dismal start to summer that we are? Maybe I should find a long-term forecast. I’ll take along my foul weather gear just in case.Delilah:Oh, for god’s sake. Who ever heard of weather other than sparkling blue skies over shimmering blue water in the Mediterranean in July? It will be bathing suits every day, my dear. Hot, hot, hot.Deborah:Every day? How am I supposed to wear the same swimsuit every day for a week? I suppose I had better get something with interchangeable tops and bottoms. Where on earth will I be able to find that without hit-or-miss ordering from every online catalog store? And what if they can’t deliver in time?Delilah: Then, go without.Deborah:Without a suit? Are you crazy? Turkey is a Muslim country. Women are expected to cover themselves modestly at all times, especially in public. I’ll need to pack layers and hiking shoes for trekking to the ancient monuments along the way. I’ll probably need a bigger suitcase.Delilah:Suitcase? On a boat? A carry on duffel bag is more like it.Deborah:Carry on? Aren’t there restrictions? This is international travel, you know. I’d better check to see if I need a visa. I suppose that will need to be paid for in local currency. Do you know where I can get Euros locally? What about liquids? Will they take my allergy nose spray away from me again?Delilah:The only liquids I’m interested in are local wines. Local wines served with grilled fish and vegetables on a table in the sand with a view of the sunset.Deborah:Sunset? How are we going to be sure to arrive in a safe harbor well before sunset? What time zone in Turkey in anyway? Will my cell phone automatically adjust and let me know the time of day? Wait! What if there is not cell phone service on the coast or my battery runs low and I can’t recharge it? A backup battery pack, that’s what I need.Delilah:Your head examined, that’s what you need. The sun, my dear, the sun will let you know when to rise and shine and when it’s time to say goodnight. Just follow the rhythms of nature.Deborah:Follow? What if I have to lead? How will I know where to go or what to see? I need an itinerary and a good guidebook to show me the way!Delilah:Follow your nose. Your senses, I mean. Follow what smells delicious, what sounds enchanting, what draws you into a secret cove with hidden views down the centuries.Deborah:Centuries?! I haven’t got centuries. I’ve got exactly four weeks and that reminds me, I need to check our flights, the transfers from the airport, our rooms in the city, the …Delilah:You have all the time in the world. Relax and discover what will happen. Just be patient, be flexible and be happy.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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