What inspired you to write the first edition of the book?
“After the initial hectic and mostly housebound period of figuring out our new lives, I wanted to make the most of the remainder of my year on parental leave. We found it difficult to discover what is available in Calgary for new parents. Information came mostly by word-of-mouth from other parents, and sometimes we received it too late to take full advantage of it. Paula came up with the idea and we decided to create a handbook for other parents to provide information on what is available in Calgary during parental leave focusing on babies under one year of age.”
Where did you find the time to write the second edition?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! Paula was working part-time until July of this year, and so she was able to do most of the research with her children. They had a lot of fun checking out the new places to be added to the book, especially the toy stores. After returning to work fulltime, most evenings, after the kids had gone to bed, were spent writing. Paula tried to steal time to write whenever she could, she found that ten minutes here and there could lead to a lot of writing.”
Where can someone buy this book?
The second edition is currently out of print. The third edition will be available in late 2014.
Who would you recommend buy this book?
“This is a great book for expectant parents or those with infants and toddlers under 24 months.”
What advice would you give new mothers?
“Enjoy this time, it is fleeting.”
Why do new parents need this book?
“This book is the ultimate reference guide on what to do during your parental leave and beyond. It will save you time and money. It provides information on activities, resources, services in the Calgary and surrounding area that ease your transition into parenthood and allow you to make the most of your parental leave.”
What is different about the second edition from the first?
“The second edition is almost 140 pages longer than the first edition! The scope of the book was expanded to include children up to twenty-four months old. The region being covered has been expanded to include Airdrie, Okotoks, Cochrane and Chestermere in addition to Calgary.
Three new chapters were added; ‘Toys, Books and Games’, ‘Preschools’ and another called ‘Just for You’ which emphasises on you as a parent and how to manage through the transition. Paula had experts contribute their knowledge in the area of breastfeeding, paediatric physiotherapy, caring for baby’s teeth, preschools, and selecting books for your infants.
We’ve kept the same layout and format, but all of the information has been updated.”
How long did it take you to write the second edition book?
“Paula started updating the book in February of 2007. She had help on some of the research and also with a team of fact checkers. Elena Rhodes (co-author of the first edition) assisted in editing the second edition with Cindy Mintz. The manuscript was completed by the end of September.”
How did the first edition go?
“The first edition was a huge success. Playgroup Books printed 1,500 books initially and we thought we would sell about 500 per year. We were sold out of the first 1,500 books within six months and reprinted another 1,500 books. Most of the sales were through word of mouth and our book was available through independent retailers where mothers and fathers would be going anyway. The retailers that we had were fabulous to promote a local author with our first book. We were on the McNally Robinson bestseller list for 2006 and a regular on the weekly bestseller list in 2007.”
How has Calgary changed for parents since the first edition was launched?
“The main things are that prices have gone up by around 30% and the number of businesses and services has increased. Courses that used to be $13 per session are now about $17 each. The baby boom has certainly impacted Calgary; daycares are at capacity; preschool registration has long line-ups; even music or swimming classes need to be booked early to get a spot. Another big change has been the proliferation of on-line Mommy forums on the web. Mothers want to be connected to those that are in the same life stage.”
Is there anything specifically you want to point out?
“Our website has a page specifically for community sales. Parents can find out when and where children’s toys, clothing and equipment sales are. This is a great money saver during this expensive time.”
What feedback did you receive on the first edition?
“The authors received fabulous feedback from parents and especially from mothers who had felt isolated being home with their newborn. The book provided them information on what was available and how to meet other mothers. Since new parents are rarely well-rested, or have a lot of free time on their hands, the book could be easily stuffed into a diaper bag and referred to quickly. Parents indicated that they did not need to spend hours doing the research; it was now at their fingertips. One of the best things was being able to help so many moms that were suffering from postpartum depression. Paula was able to direct them to assistance that is available in the city.”