"What to Expect When You're Expecting" is still an indispensable guide for many soon-to-be parents, selling an astonishing 14.5 million copies since it was first published in 1984. In the decades since, Murkoff has expanded the franchise, to include a baby's first year, and also year number two. Early Show News Anchor Jeff Glor spoke to her about her latest.
JeffGlor: What inspired you to write the book?
Heidi Murkoff: Motherhood has always been the mother of invention (and inspiration) for me - starting with my own expectant motherhood, in fact (true story: I delivered the proposal for What to Expect When You're Expecting two hours before I delivered my first baby). Since then, I've been inspired by other moms, dads, babies - and this time around, toddlers. I love to watch toddlers at work - investigating, exploring, discovering, always busy, busy, busy. As small as they are - and as unevolved as they are physically, socially, verbally, emotionally - they're absolutely larger than life. Big in their emotions, huge in their personalities, outsized in their egos - and brimming with what I like to call "joie de toddler", that bubbly, effervescent toddler essence you almost wish you could bottle (and splash behind your ears every now and then). Every age and phase of childhood has its charms - but toddlerhood is pure, unadulterated (how perfect is that word, now that I think about it?) magic.
JG: What surprised you most during the writing process?
HM: How important a little parental perspective is. Toddlerhood, for all that unchecked exuberance and unbridled joy, can be challenging for parents (think meltdown on the frozen food aisle, followed by car seat mutiny, a pre-dinner cookie coup, a bedtime sleep strike). I should know - our daughter Emma was textbook toddler, one moment achingly adorable, the next moment ... well, a headache and a half. But take a step back, take an objective look at those trying toddler behaviors, and you'll see that they're actually an essential part of your little one's evolution into a unique little person all his or her own - as inevitable (and as developmentally appropriate) as those first steps and those first words.
Now if only I'd had that perspective handy the day Emma threw one of her sneakers into the half-frozen fountain outside New York City's Natural History Museum (we retrieved it months later, after the spring thaw).
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
HM: I've been doing what I do - and loving what I do - just about my entire adult life. But if I were to quit my day job (who am I kidding - my day, night, and weekend job), I'd work full time on the mission of the What to Expect Foundation: to help every mom know what to expect, so every mom - no matter what her socioeconomic profile, no matter where in the world she lives, no matter what her literacy level - can expect a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery, and a healthy, happy baby.
JG: What are you reading right now?
HM: I actually just finished "The Nasty Bits", by Anthony Bourdain, since - well, my husband and I really love eating everything, including (and especially) the nasty bits. We just returned from visiting our new son-in-law's amazing family in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where we enjoyed lots of nasty (and very tasty) bits.
JG: What's next for you?
HM: The next step in What to Expect: What to Expect the Preschool Years, hopefully due to arrive some time next spring or so (I try to deliver about once a year - though I definitely wouldn't try that at home!).
For more on "What to Expect the Second Year," visit the Workman Publishing Company website.