WL author takes on sibling rivalry
Julie Carr helps brothers/sisters deal with new members
Julie Carr is a gift to mothers and their pre-teen children. Carr won't tell you that, but what mom wouldn't want to do everything in her power to prevent the rivalry and jealousy so often seen when a new baby comes into a family?
As a sequel to her first book for mothers, 'Countdown to a Miracle,' Carr has written a book for the developing baby's big brother or sister.
The book, 'Making Me: The Pregnancy Activity Book for My Big Brother or Sister,' is essentially a conversation between the developing fetus and its sibling(s).
Carr has cleverly created a calendar book with daily statements telling the 5-10-year-old sibling(s) what is happening during the 40 weeks of growth and development of the baby inside the mother's womb. That information includes a daily activity designed to engage the child and aid understanding.
Activities include writing, drawing a picture, coloring, taking photographs, measuring or taking a quiz. The book comes equipped with coloring pencils and measuring tape.
The book is designed to either be read by the child or read to the child, in the case of a kindergartner with a small vocabulary. It opens up dialog between the mother and child, Carr says, but more important is the fact that the child is a part of the process.
Children see their mom's belly get larger, Carr said, but they have no idea what's going on inside it.
'This book involves the sibling in the pregnancy,' said Carr. 'It's all about involving everyone (in the family) in the pregnancy.'
Each day's information and activity always relates to the older sibling - to help the sibling identify with the growing baby.
'This page,' Carr said, '(for example) says: 'My taste buds are beginning to form on my tongue, and pretty soon I'll be able to taste things.' Then the activity is to list (the older sibling's) three favorite things to eat. The activity always relates to what's going on (in the life of the sibling and his or her family).'
Each page shows how many days the fetus has been growing and how many days that are left before its birthday. Each page also has a car drawn on a road with numbers showing where the car is in its journey from conception to birth.
To be able to write these books, Carr has done a lot of research. She also has had her writing fact-checked by a medical doctor, pediatrician and child psychologist.
One of the first to check out the book was a pregnant neighbor who asked to borrow a copy of the unpublished manuscript.
The neighbor, who had a 5-year-old in the home while she was pregnant, is a pediatrician. What better person to put the concept of her second pregnancy book into practice before it was published?
One of her customers, Mike P., sent Carr an e-mail after using the book for a month; 'My wife and I have found this to be absolutely wonderful,' he wrote. 'This will be our first child, and with all of the volumes of reading and learning we have done, this simple item has been our favorite.'
Carr was inspired to write her first book while she was pregnant with P.J., her first son. The idea came down to a single phone call from her mother.
'I was talking to my mother about my first pregnancy,' she said. 'The conversation was all about me. And (my mother) said, 'What is happening with the baby?' And I said, 'I have no idea.' All the books I had been reading talked about me and my pregnancy symptoms.
'I thought somebody should write a book that focuses on the baby. And so, after P.J. was born, I wrote my first book to help moms understand what is happening.'
Carr actually didn't have a chance to use the book in her family because P.J. was too young when she was pregnant with Ben, her second son.
But Ben helped edit the second book, suggesting the kind of language that a 5-year-old would use or understand best.
In the aftermath of her writing and publishing, Carr is finding out that there is a popularity and a readership that she hadn't anticipated.
'One e-mail I received from this woman said she had bought over 20 books and had given them as gifts to all her pregnant friends,' Carr said. 'Some mothers will buy three at a time. They keep one for themselves and they give one to each of the grandparents - so they can follow along through the pregnancy. Grandparents love this book.'
Another happy reader is Robin Malinosky-Rummell, Ph.D., a child clinical psychologist and author.
'This book is packed full of engaging, age-appropriate, multi-sensory activities,' she wrote, 'that are perfect for children of all ages. With everyone invested in the process, the whole family can create lasting memories of this special time together.'
Another professional touting the book is pediatrician Jodie Oltmans.
'Making Me is a creative, one-of-a-kind daily calendar that teaches siblings about fetal development in a fun and interactive way,' she wrote. 'My own 6-year-old loved doing the activities in anticipation of the birth of his sister.'
In the future, Carr has plans to write a book for fathers, with the developing fetus telling its dad how it is growing. She's thinking about writing weekly, instead of daily, conversations with dads, since they might find it difficult to read something on a daily basis.
'This could be a how-to manual,' Carr said. 'The (fetus) could be guiding the dad through the process.'
Meadowbrook Press is publishing Carr's first book under the slightly revised name of 'Countdown to My Birth.' It is being marketed in other countries and translated for foreign markets. Her second book, 'Making Me: The Pregnancy Activity Book for My Big Brother or Sister,' is available in Lavender Bleu and Spoiled Rotten, both in West Linn, as well as on the following Web sites: Amazon.com,
For more information on either book about pregnancy, visit the Web site www.mother