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BOOK REVIEW:
Early Fatherhood Development
by Jeff Yoder

Hysteria Publications
1998 Available from LLLI, 20-7, $8.95.

Reviewed by Brandel Falk
Jerusalem, Israel
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 16, No. 6, November-December 1999 p. 224

Jeff Yoder's book, Early Fatherhood Development, will have mothers and fathers nodding, smiling, and laughing. In the preface, he informs the reader, "Fatherhood is more than wonderful, but let me tell you, in case no one has clued you in, it's also total lifestyle shock." He discusses fatherhood from pregnancy and labor ("if you have a choice, you definitely want to be the man during labor") through food ("two- year- olds never eat sitting down") and finances (the "hidden costs of parenthood" include "guilt tipping" and "temporary parental insanity"). He includes a short chapter on sex and an even shorter one on mothers-in-law ("I have one, and she can read").

Each chapter of the book ends with a quiz, but with a characteristic Yoder twist, he reminds readers, "remember, you can always cheat. The answers are a, b, c, or d, not necessarily in that order... Besides, there are no right answers."

Early Fatherhood Development is quick and easy to read. It is highly compatible with La Leche League philosophy, although there is one brief mention of formula. Yoder tells us about "breastfeeding 'advice' pamphlets" put out by formula companies who "seem to have altruistically overcome the profit motive to be sure you are fully informed about nature's perfect food." Instead, he suggests, "if you are in fact looking for breastfeeding information, and you are the person in the family with breasts, the place to get it is clearly La Leche League."

The reader is also informed about diaper changing ("the female of the species can no longer be relied on to shoulder the entire infant waste management function in society") and the cloth or plastic debate. Yoder discusses "The Zen of Stuff" and presents "The Dead Mouse Time Prioritization System." He teaches us that "your children are going to learn by your example, but they get to choose which examples."

The final chapter is a collection of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about fatherhood. Perhaps the entire book is best summed up at the end.

"Fatherhood is probably the greatest thing you will ever experience. You'll find everything I said in this book is true, but it won't matter. You will totally love it. It's hard to explain." Early Fatherhood Development demonstrates the proposition that a good sense of humor is an essential component in the adventure of parenting.

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