If evolution had really been working the way it was supposed to, then the placenta would have doubled as an instruction manual for how to care for that new crusty, screaming, half-blind pile of need the nurses just dropped onto your chest. Sadly, we're left to our own devices, the well-meant advice of friends, or - terrifyingly - the internet when it comes to figuring out how to keep it together and get that baby from screaming newborn to functional adult in eighteen all-too-short years. Writer Anne Lamott attempted it at the age of thirty-five as a single mom, and in Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year ($12), chronicles the challenges and joys of the seriously wild experience. It might not count as that manual you wish you had, but it'll sure help you know you're not alone.
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