With both a second book and a second baby on the way, it’s shaping up as another milestone year for Raglan-domiciled baby whisperer Sharlene Poole.
The 42 year old breathed a sigh of relief recently when she pushed the ‘send’ button on her computer and – just like that – her latest manuscript was off to the publishers.
“Book 2, first draft…can’t believe I’ve made it to the finish line…well almost!” she posted on her Little Miracles Facebook page.
Now six months’ pregnant and with toddler George teething, Sharlene can’t exactly put her feet up. But the anticipation of her new baby mid year, and the publication of ‘Keep On Whispering’ later this year, is motivation aplenty to carry on.
Even so Sharlene admits it’s been a bit of a struggle putting together her follow-up guide for new parents, and is grateful her publishers Penguin Books New Zealand extended the original deadline.
“It’s hard earning enough to pay the bills as well as trying to write,” she reckons.
Sharlene confidently took on the Penguin contract when baby George was just six months old but as both a new homeowner and a new mum then, going it alone, she reckons she definitely had a nagging guilt while doing other things like planting her veggie garden in what little spare time there was.
“I felt I should be writing,” she says.
So it was an “immense weight off my shoulders” when she was finally able to send her 173-page manuscript off to Penguin. Now being edited, it will to and fro until Sharlene and her editor are happy with the result.
And all going well maybe there’ll be a book launch in Raglan later this year, she hints.
Sharlene’s first baby whispering book back in 2012 was all about caring for a newborn through to a one year old. ‘Keep On Whispering’ picks up where that left off and deals with the child from one to five years.
Arguably the country’s leading baby expert – with many seminars, instructional DVDs and for a time a regular TV slot to her credit – Sharlene was a preschool teacher before focusing on babies.
And she’s had plenty of exposure to toddlers and preschoolers meantime – through work and family commitments – to draw on for a new book which she concedes “covers so much”.
Everything from parenting to screen-time, toilet training and setting boundaries gets a look-in this time round. At 20 months George has also been going through the toddler stage and boundary-setting is to the fore right now in the Poole household, Sharlene laughs.
Like any working mum Sharlene finds daily life quite a juggle at times. Her mother arrived from the Coromandel on Wednesday last week to look after George for a couple of days while Sharlene headed to Auckland for a seminar and a home visit.
“I try to jam in as much as possible,” she says of her fortnightly trips away which are interspersed with daytime consults back in Raglan – when George is asleep – that keep her baby whispering business ticking over.
There are also phone and Skype calls to clients, both here and overseas.
The sleeping and feeding schedules of 4-month olds to one year olds are her biggest line of work. “A lot of mums are going back to their jobs (then).”
Sharlene’s big on establishing good baby/toddler habits. After all it’s only by keeping George to a strict routine, she points out, that this multi-tasking mum has been able to time those all-important consults with his daily sleeps.