The Table of Contents

Wow. Thank you, everyone! What a lovely outpouring of support for writing my book. It makes me only slightly less terrified to post the Table of Contents.

There are going to be two different "tracks" in the book--the chronological "this is likely to happen now" track, and the topics for discussion track (including ideas about learning to make decisions as a parent as well as the stuff that crops up as you go along). I had thought of doing two separate sections, but then realized that I'm the kind of person who would just read the chronological section and miss out on the discussions, so maybe it would make more sense to put the discussions in when they're likely to happen, as intercalary chapters.

Here's the outline as it stands right now:


Chapter 1: We’re all in this together, separately

  • Discussion of the shock of new parents
  • Sources of support and protecting yourself from anti-support
  • Importance of finding your own method and assessing the usefulness of expert advice

Chapter 2: Problemsolving for Parents

  • What are your goals? Make a mission statement for parenting to help guide you through the decisionmaking process
  • Principle-based parenting vs. rules-based parenting
  • “Safe, respectful, and kind” concept
  • How to approach solving specific problems. LIFO approach, FIFO approach, TQM, or low-hanging fruit method.
  • Designing your own framework for decision-making in the moment

Chapter 3: Sleep, Crying, and Tension, aka Anti-Chaos Theory

  • Discussion of baby sleep and what’s realistic
  • Developmental spurts and when babies go through sleep regressions (references to Wonder Weeks and Bed Timing)
  • Tension Increasers/Tension Releasers Theory
  • Characteristics of Tension Increasers and how to handle them
  • Characteristics of Tension Releasers and how to handle them
  • Sleep prognosis

Chapter 4: Birth through 12 weeks

  • First days
  • Days and nights mixed up
  • Breastfeeding: When to get help
  • Three-week growth spurt
  • What do you do all day?
  • Six-week growth spurt
  • 6-8 weeks is the peak of crying
  • Maybe, finally, starting to settle into a routine
  • 3-month growth spurt
  • Back to work/not back to work

Chapter 5: Worry

  • Normal worry vs. unusual worry
  • Persistent thoughts
  • Worry as Defensive pessimism
  • Turn worry to your advantage

Chapter 6: Is it possible that you have PPD? Let’s find out.

  • Signs and symptoms of PPD (for moms and dads)
  • For people who have PPD, ways to get help now.
  • For people who don’t have PPD, ways to keep your system balanced so you’re less likely to get it.
  • Stories from people who came through PPD.

Chapter 7: Four months

  • Sleep regression!
  • Naps are ridiculous, but improving
  • Things are getting serious now
  • Chapter 8: Anger
  • Why anger now?
  • Who are you angry at?
  • Productive ways to channel your anger
  • Allowing yourself to be angry and allowing your child to be angry

Chapter 9: Friendship

  • How your pre-baby friendships may change, and the range of emotions associated with that
  • Why now is the easiest time to make friends since the first week of college
  • Making friends (for people who are going back to work)
  • Making friends (for people who will be staying home for awhile)
  • Maintaining parent friendships through different decisions
  • Don’t make weekends “family time”

Chapter 10: Six months

  • What is exactly is going on?
  • Sleep transition time: good, bad, or just different
  • Is your child flipping days and nights? Or feeding in weird ways?
  • What’s the new normal?

Chapter 11: Your body, yourself

  • Six months out, and your body still isn’t back to the way it was prepregnancy (probably).
  • What’s the prognosis?
  • Realistic standards, realistic expectations
  • Taking care of your physical health

Chapter 12: The linear notion of time, or what does not exist

  • The old normal
  • The new normal
  • Focus
  • Learning from this amorphous phase

Chapter 13: Nine months

  • Sleep regression
  • Independence/clingy phase
  • Increased fear

Chapter 14: Doubt, and who you are now

  • Why is nine months so hard for parents?
  • Finding where you are in the landscape
  • Reality check for your capacity right now
  • Realistic timeline for improvement

Chapter 15: One year

  • You all made it!
  • What happens at one year
  • Switching the way you feed your child (if you decide to do so at the one-year mark)
  • Beginnings of toddler behavior
  • 13-month sleep regression

Chapter 16: Love and sex

  • How loving your child affects loving your partner
  • Who you are as a romantic partner now
  • What about your needs?
  • Um, sex

Chapter 17: Young toddler

  • Constant busyness
  • Opposition
  • Exercise, the miracle cure
  • Not taking it personally

Chapter 18: Independence

  • The beginning of true independence
  • Side effects of independence
  • Food resistance
  • Communication goes both ways, sort of
  • Independence for you

Chapter 19: Sleep: Yours

  • Are you sleeping through the night?
  • How much of your sleep is related to your child’s sleep and how much of it is you?
  • Nutritional needs for better sleep
  • Other support for your own sleep

Chapter 20: 18 months

  • The worst sleep regression yet
  • Defiance
  • Food refusal times three
  • A huge period of growth combined with disequilibrium
  • Communication

Chapter 21: Anger, redux

  • Why toddlers can tap into your anger so effectively
  • Managing your anger
  • Thinking about this phase as practice for later phases
  • Perspective

Chapter 22: 21 months

  • New fluency and cheerfulness
  • Communication
  • Better sleep

Chapter 23: What’s next?

  • Figuring out what’s next for you now that your child is out of the baby and toddler stage
  • Who are you as a parent?
  • Are you satisfied with your family configuration and workload?
  • Making changes

Chapter 24: Two years

  • You made it—no longer parenting a baby
  • Strong separation anxiety phase
  • Maybe thinking about having another, or maybe not
  • Oh, and there’s another sleep regression from 24-27 months

Appendix: First, do no harm: Books you can read that won’t gaslight you, websites that won’t make you feel inadequate, and other resources

  • Book list
  • Website list
  • Other resources


What am I forgetting?