Here is the cover for CERTAIN GIRLS, the twelve-years-later sequel to GOOD IN BED, which I was all set to unveil with great pomp and fanfare, until I realized that it’s already online on Amazon.com (damn those bastards!)

Anyhow. Here’s Joy, all grown up and ready for her bat mitzvah! And Cannie, older, wiser, and seven pounds thinner than when we left her at the end of GOOD IN BED! Also, it is pink!

I like it a lot. I hope you do, too. I also hope to have the first chapter posted at some point in the new year. The book itself will be out on April 8.

In other news, things are going well with Baby the Second. I’m not sure whether this is a result of Number Two being a different kind of baby than Number One, or due to her parents actually sort of knowing what to expect and what they’re doing, but we’re settling into the newborn groove pretty nicely (and I’m knocking on wood and hoping I didn’t jinx everything and doom myself to a week of sleepless nights by saying so).

This time around, I’m actually taking the advice that every parenting book in the universe gives you, which is to let go of the idea that you’re going to be doing anything other than feeding the baby, staring at the baby, and possibly dozing yourself when the baby nods off for at least the first few weeks. If I write a few thank-you notes, make the bed, take a shower and watch fifteen minutes of Gossip Girl during a twelve-hour stretch, that’s a good day. I’m also lucky enough to have friends who’ve dropped off all kinds of delicious stuff for dinner…and ridiculous amounts of help, both hired and volunteer.

I’ve also discovered the Mobywrap.

I bought a bunch of slings the first time around, but, generally speaking, they’re not made for plus-size or big-on-top mothers, and even the one-size-fits-all would usually end up with the baby’s head nestled somewhere in the vicinity my nose. Not good. The Mobywrap is basically a ten-yard piece of slightly stretchy tee-shirt jersey. You have to wrap it around your waist and over your shoulders in a way that looks extremely complicated but isn’t, after you’ve done it once or twice, and it’s by far the most comfortable and supportive wrap I’ve tried, and it's not too expensive, either. (And no, they’re not paying me for saying any of this…I just really like it).
Another thing that I can wholeheartedly recommend: Ruth Ozeki's second novel, ALL OVER CREATION, which is a fantastic read: funny and provocative, with flawed, fully-realized characters, including a prodigal daughter, her proud, potato-farming father, and an unlikely eco-activist named Frank Perdue.
I loved Ozeki's first book, MY YEAR OF MEATS, but didn't even know she'd written another book until I stumbled across it in a used bookstore near the Penn campus, where I went to stock up the week before giving birth. I bought mostly things to re-read, figuring that my concentration probably wouldn't be where it normally is, what with the sleep deprivation, but the Ozeki book just sucked me in and now I can't put it down. It's fantastic.
(Oh, and one more recommendation...if you have a four or five-year-old and are expecting a new addition, get yourself a copy of HOW TO BE THE BABY (BY ME, THE BIG SISTER), which is hilarious and invaluable in helping the older kid get ready for a baby in the house by enumerating all of the things that a big kid can do/eat/play with that a baby cannot. Lucy loves it, and I can't imagine a kid her age who wouldn't).

Best wishes to everyone for a happy holiday and a peaceful, joyful New Year, and I’ll be back in January with updates from Babyville and a sneak peek from the new book.

Jen