Baby Barbells is a cutesy gift, perfect for a first-time father who has no idea what he’s in for. Its author, Joshua Levitt, describes himself as a naturopathic physician and certified human jungle gym. He’s also a father of three, so he’s been around the block a few times. In this board book, he shares some of the knowledge he’s gleaned along the way, from working out to nutrition, marital advice, and bonding with baby. His writing is full of funny quips, but with them is the profound acknowledgement of how involved fathering changes a man’s life and how incredibly rewarding it is. Rather than coming across as preachy, Baby Barbells is a fun, light-hearted read with lots of good advice. For example, on maintaining a happy marriage, he suggests “showing the love.” “It’s not enough to feel it,” he writes. “More than ever now…tell her how cute she is, send her a fiery email, rub her feet.” On healthy eating, his bite-sized bullets include cautions to stay away from partially hydrogenated foods, avoid high fructose corn syrup, and refrain from eating food with ingredients you cannot pronounce. It’s sensible stuff, and simply put. Baby Barbells contains lots of suggestions for exercising with baby, taming fussy infants, and maintaining a balance between work and family. One of Levitt’s most valuable pieces of advice comes right at the beginning, in his five action steps for involved fathers: “Pay attention to your attention,” he says. “Your email can wait. During Daddy time, keep your child at the center of your attention.” Amen to that.
Lauren Kramer is a Vancouver-based journalist, wife, and mother with a lifelong passion for literature. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writing and reported from many corners of the world. Read more of her work at www.laurenkramer.net.