Some mildly diverting, mildly amusing appreciations of mothering--Mackintosh's three sons are now ten, eight, and four--somewhat the worse for jovial-to-smug dicta on gender differences. For example: ""Little girls are so aware of feelings early. . . because they spend so much time maliciously hurting each other. Little boys inflict physical pain on each other and seldom bear grudges."" Or: ""How can I explain why a little baby girl thoughtfully examines a blade of grass while my baby uproots it by the handfuls and eats it?"" But there are many pleasant excursions into the byways of kid culture: TV--OK for occasional sedation when adult gab is in the works; food, pure and junk--do your nutritional best, then allow for a lapse or two (""TV dinner! Yipeee!""); Christmases--your own childhood Noels are beyond reach, but today's Christmases have their own crazy cacophonous joys. And there's that treasured inside view of your kids' outside life discovered while chauffeuring the gang--the wider glimpse of school and the social pecking order, the pipeline to theological discussions and lessons in comparative anatomy. Other chapters ruminate on pregnancies, the deliciousness of tiny babies, the surprising shifts in sibling relationships, old and new neighborhoods, and the trials and triumphs--and camaraderie--of hapless modern householders without electricity for days. At the close come loving portraits of the author's three boys. Agreeable recognitions, overall, for those who share her views and forget that sneakers thunder just as loudly on small female feet.