WHOLE CHILD/WHOLE PARENT by Polly Berends

WHOLE CHILD/WHOLE PARENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whole Parent/Child might be a more appropriate title as Berends is concerned here with the oneness of the relationship--and don't forget the similarity of the word whole to hale and holy--a relationship which, as soon as you realize it, will solve your feeding problems; ""the ideal food for fostering the ideal growth of the ideal child must be love."" Similarly decorating the baby's room will take care of itself if you maintain an awareness of the ideal child, not the actual one, if you handle discipline by the removal of ""personal sense"" from parenthood (?). As for toys, you don't really have to buy anything since love is enough--however, puzzles, building blocks, soap bubbles and books about machines all help the child experience the principle of unity. To show the spiritual significance of even the ""meanest momentary details"" Berends intersperses quotations, or ""rafts for crossing"" (from the Bible, Buddhism, Taoism, e. e. cummings, Walt Whitman, etc.), with details as mean and momentary as where to send for maternity clothes, how to select diaper pins, and how to knit muk-luks. Thus a chapter on Beauty (ending ""Eye and my Father are one"") is full of nursery craft suggestions and one on Truth lists beginners' dictionaries. (""If you have to buy only one book in the first two years"" make it Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever-so much for Beauty and Truth!) Re the subject of baby oil there's an ""ointment meditation""--an allegory about ducks and pollution, love and purification. With her warning that breast feeding shouldn't become cultist but should instead ""be valued for what it signifies about ideal reality"" and her sappy corruption of Heidegger and the ""existential issues"" behind each aspect of the child's room (floor: security, freedom ground of being--! ! !), Berends' appeal will be limited to those already ""spiritually aware"" young mamas who turn out infinite love, organic toys and tie-dyed crib sheets with equal fervor and dewy-eyed commitment.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row