"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Important Post

The Important thing about Evan is that he is a Thinker.

He is a knower and a learner and and a discoverer of Facts and Information. When interested in a topic, he reads and reads and reads until he knows everything he wants to know. If you engage him in a conversation about Star Wars, World Wars 1 or 2, military weaponry, animals, Greek mythology, Ancient Roman military strategy, Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson, plan to stay put for a bit...until he's had a chance to share All He Knows with you. He is detail-oriented. He is a Thinker.

Evan is also a big brother. He is a story-writer, an illustrator, a Lego-builder, a puppy-snuggler, a Minecrafter, a baby whisperer, a book-devourer, and a pretend-player. Fairness and justice are his Core Values.

He prefers to figure out his own way through life and does not appreciate suggestions or advice on how to conduct his own business, thankyouverymuch. He takes his time, watching and learning, mentally rehearsing new skills before attempting them. Once ready to try, he has already nearly mastered the skill. Evan is not swayed by the movement of the crowd. He chooses his own path with confidence and remains on that path with unwavering determination. His will and his mind are strong.

Evan is my first-born son. The child who made me a mother.

But the Important thing about Evan is that he is a Thinker.

***

The Important thing about Max is that he is a Feeler.

He is emotional and expressive and he wears his heart on his sleeve. When he's angry or sad, he draws or writes until his feelings have been softened and his message has been delivered. When he's happy or excited, he is in constant motion, unable to contain his feelings to the inside of his body. He hugs tightly, sings loudly, speaks every word that passes through his mind, and cares deeply about the feelings of others. Max's eyes betray his every thought and emotion. He is an open book. He is a Feeler.

Max is a little brother and a big brother. He is a creator, a singer, a dancer, an accessorizer, an imaginer, a dreamer, and an artist. Kindness is his Core Value.

He knows who he is and has an innate understanding of the Way The World Should Be. Other peoples' negative actions disappoint him greatly. He is thoughtful and considerate of others. Max's heart beats compassion. He is brave, sensitive, and joyful. He is playful and full of ideas. He fills his world with sparkle.

Max is my middle child. The bridge between his siblings.

But the Important thing about Max is that he is a Feeler.

***

The Important thing about Molly is that she is a Doer.

She is constantly surprising me with the Big Kid abilities that come from her tiny little body. She writes and speaks and pretends and has the sass of someone much older than not-yet-four. She can keep up with her brothers in their level of play and sense of adventure. She sometimes leaps before looking, but not without giving it a passing thought, and never without the confidence of someone who knows she's Got This. She is brave. She is capable. She is a Doer.

Molly is also a little sister. She is clever and creative, patient and persistent. A puzzler, a Lego-er, a painter, an I'll-Do-It-Myself-er. Perseverance is her Core Value.

The Olaf to Max's Elsa, the Ahsoka to Evan's Anakin, Molly plays the role of the trusty sidekick well. But be sure to include her in the game or she will make her usually-tiny voice heard, largely demanding a role. She is a vegetarian by choice (with the exception of bacon, who can blame her?); a lover of all things furry. She is funny and dramatic and kind.

Molly is my Baby. The last chapter in my book of becoming a mother.

But the Important thing about Molly is that she is a Doer.

***

The Important thing about me is that I am their Mother.

Yes, I'm other things, as well. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. A writer, a reader, an over-thinker, a careful decision-maker, a learner.

An introvert, an agnostic, a liberal.

A rule follower. A list-maker.

A labeler.

But the Important thing about me is that I am their Mother.

Lesson Learned:

I don't always pigeon-hole my children into distinct personality-types, but when I do, it's because I've been inspired by a children's book.

With respect and gratitude to Margaret Wise Brown, author of one of my favorites, The Important Book.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

DIY Fairies!

Super quick and easy SNOW DAY CRAFT alert!!!!

Molly wanted to make her classmates Fairy Valentines this year, so I've been trying to figure out a way a 4-year old can make fairies for her seven friends relatively painlessly. 

This is it.


I made this one, just to be sure it could be done. Molly's will likely be wearing a scribble dress rather than one with pockets but, whatevs. It'll be adorable. 

So here's what you'll need:

wooden "doll" clothespins
Sharpies to draw face, simple dress design
fabric flowers
glue
glitter
coffee filters
washable markers
spray bottle filled with water

First, prepare your wings. Scribble all over a white, circular coffee filter with washable markers (if they're not washable, they won't run together in a tie-dye effect). Spritz with water and let dry (you'll want to lay them on a paper towel...the colors will bleed).

While the coffee filters dry, draw the face and dress on the clothespin with Sharpies. Glue fabric flower (or jewels or other adornments) in place. 

Next, cover the head in a thin layer of glue. I used Elmer's Glue-All. 

Then, dip the head in glitter! Gently tap off on rim of glitter container to remove loose sparkles, then let dry. (I stuck them around the rim of a plastic cup so they could dry upright.)

When the coffee filters are dry, cut them into wing shapes. I folded the coffee filter so the wings would be symmetrical. I was able to fit four sets of wings on each coffee filter, so plan your size and spacing before you cut!

Finally, glue the wings onto the fairy body!

It's SO EASY!!

***
Thanks to Google Images, and a number of crafty websites, for the inspiration for this craft!
***

Lesson Learned:

If you're on the east coast, stock up on these simple materials today so you can spend your snowmageddon happily crafting. Stay warm!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

my favorite Resolution ever

I know that I'm not alone, as a parent of more than one, in wanting more one-on-one time with each of my kids. Aside from the hours they're in school, they're with me. They are not currently involved in any after school activities (more about that and why I'm happy about that another time...) and play dates typically require my presence (more about Evan's first ever "drop-off" play date later, too). But after school, it's ALL of us...plus the puppy. It's quality family time, it's just not quality Kid plus Mom or Dad time.

I get plenty of "time" with Molly, and just Molly, as she is only in school two mornings a week. But more often than not, I squander even that time. We run errands. She plays while I clean. I turn on a Magic School Bus episode while I catch up on my latest Real Simple or my inbox (or, let's be honest: Instagram).


One of my New Year's Resolutions was to find a way to spend more time one-on-one with each of the kids. I came up with Parent Date magnets so we could make it a point to fit this time into our monthly calendar. At the beginning of each month, the kids each stick his or her date magnet up on the calendar and it's Official: What The Calendar Says, Let It Be So


Let me just say, we're off to a great start. It's my favorite Resolution ever.

Well, with only one real hiccup:
We gave these magnets to the kids on Christmas Eve. We brainstormed a list of possible activities...we could go out to lunch, or grab a smoothie. We could go on a hike or take an archery lesson. We could...oh, I don't know, go see a movie. A new release that isn't appropriate for the whole family, maybe, but would be perfect for you, my dear First Born. Maybe it's something that you've been obsessed with for over two years and that you have, somehow, gotten me hooked on as well, despite the fact that I was able to avoid its cultish lure my ENTIRE LIFE.

Let me spell it out for you, Evan: You could go see THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE. With me, your loving and devoted mother, who has learned all of the characters and knows the entire storyline, INCLUDING where and how the Disney animated series, The Clone Wars, fits in with the original six episodes, because it is interesting to you and therefore interesting and worth learning about to me.

Your mother.

Who birthed you.


"I know!" Evan said, wide-eyed. "For my Parent Date, I want to go see the new Star Wars movie!"

Mwah-ha-ha! My master plan worked!!

"...with DADDY!"

Wait, what?

Apparently, it was awesome. I wouldn't know.

But that's okay, because Molly invited me to go with her on HER Parent Date. She picked....the library. Yup. The library. I added lunch out at our favorite local cafe because...the library? Really, Molly?!


Max wanted to go out to brunch. A boy after my own heart. He invited me, mostly because I told him about a wonderful little French bakery in town that I knew he'd love. I knew this because I had been there before ("...and Daddy probably doesn't know where it is, Max, so, oh I don't know...I could take you!"). 

Sometimes being an evil mastermind is worth it because they have mugs of hot chocolate as big as your face and those homemade marshmallows? What can I say? I'm a Brunch Gal.


And it turns out Max is a pretty big fan of the meal, too.

Photo Credit: Max, age 6
Photo Credit: Max, age 6

"Mom. Would you LOOK at that chocolate croissant?! We HAVE to get a picture of this!"

That's my boy.

So, by January 9, our first month of Dates was over. All the better, though, because now we have plenty of time to decide where our February Dates will take us.

Lesson Learned:

My word of the year is Time. I'm going to use it wisely and spend it well. And I'll keep reminding myself of that every day if I have to......

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

You Should Get a Dog. Here's Why.

I was So not a Dog Person.

I actually may still not be one...but I am a Jake Person.

I mean, look at this face!


How could I not be?

I would never try to convince someone who is adamantly opposed to the idea that Getting a Dog is the right thing to do. It is a huge commitment, a lot of work, and costly. But maybe you're on the fence about getting a dog. Maybe you need a reason or 26 to push you in the direction your heart is leading you. 

I'm here to help.

Here's why you should get a dog. 

1. The looks on their faces...


2. You will hear your 8-year old say "I love you." It's to the dog, not you, but it counts. 
3. Dogs make good nurses when you're out with a fever.


4. This...

5. You'll walk. A lot. Sometimes with the kids and the dog, which has its perks, but sometimes it'll just be you, the pup, and Pandora and it will be perfect. It will be cold sometimes and not always convenient, but you'll do it anyway because the dog needs it and you'll realize how much you did, too.

6. Genuine smiles for the camera.


7. Your kids will willingly go out to play in the rain, the cold, and even the dark when the pup is acting crazy and needs outside time. They will run and get the fresh air they needed as much as the dog.

8. This...

9. Puppies make good nap buddies, especially for Uncle Jack, who just came off his night shift as a big city police officer...


10. You'll explore new parts of your neighborhood and your town that you hadn't before you had a dog and a reason to Get Outside More.

Like the dog park!


and fields for off-leash running!


11. Having a dog next to you makes long car rides go faster. (Stinkier, but more fun.)


12. The tenderness that you'll get to witness from your kids.



13. You'll lighten up a bit on your need to have a perfectly clean house (which was hard enough with three kids living here). Yes, you'll be mopping up water slopped out of the water dish and you'll be diligent about wiping his paws as he comes in from the back yard, but you'll realize that it actually isn't Crucial for Survival that the glass on your patio door be spotless. It won't be. Every time he needs to go outside, he'll nose and lick the door as his way of communicating his needs. It's better than pee on the floor, of course, so you'll learn to live with it. Hopefully, you'll have a dog who is as easily house-trained as Jake was and who, like Jake, doesn't shed. You'll recognize this easing of your Standards of Cleanliness as a good, healthy thing.

14. This...

15. Having a dog really is a great way to teach the kids responsibility and putting others' needs before your own. From feeding him, playing with him, cleaning up after him, and attending to him before getting a snack or turning on the computer after school, the kids have really done a great job recognizing and handling this new responsibility.


16. You'll get to see a whole new side of your adult siblings, who come over to play with the dog.

 

17. It'll remind you of what it was like to have a newborn. The up-all-night parts, yes (but only for one night in Amazing Jake's case), but also in the Look How Fast He's Changing way. It sounds ridiculous, but it really is beautiful to watch his personality develop as he grows. 


18. This...

19. Hikes are more fun with a pup.


20. This...

21. You knowingly married a Dog Person and he knowingly married a Not a Dog Person. After thirteen years, you'll finally have found a way to shock him.


22. Like babies, puppies are great conversation starters. Especially with a highly-recognizable, relatively uncommon breed like a Weimaraner. We have met so many fellow Weimaraner owners/lovers on our walks around town. And everyone, Dog People or not, have to comment on the size of our little monster's paws.

"He sure has a lot of growin' left to do!"
Yes. Thank you for the reminder.

23. This...

24. It's more fun to watch football with a puppy than without one.


25. This...

26. Before you know it--within hours, really--he will feel like a part of the family. You'll forget what it was like before you had him and your heart will feel the happy fullness of completion.

Lesson Learned:
Hooray for Jake! Especially because of the No Shedding. I'm pretty sure this list would have been a lot shorter if I was currently watching tumbleweeds of dog hair waft across my kitchen floor. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Word of the Year

I've never really made New Year's Resolutions. It's not that there hasn't been anything about me or my life to change or improve upon: I've often whispered promises to myself that I would cut back on my near-daily beer consumption or Better Control The Volume of My Voice as we're getting ready to leave in the morning...but I make these promises knowing that they'll be broken. Come 5:15 on January 2, I'll be reaching into that fridge for a delicious, locally-brewed IPA. And we all know that on January 4, as the kids head back to school, I'll be back to barking directives.

Why can't kids just put the damn shoes on their feet?

This year is different.

I still have things (both small and Big) in my life that I'd like to change. What's different is that, for the first time in a long time, I have the Time that is required for change to happen. Parents of Young Children, listen to this: There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when showers, once again, become a daily occurrence. You will sleep through most nights and you won't be indispensable at bedtimes. You will make dinner without holding another person on your hip. You will drink a whole cup of coffee, hot to the last drop. I know it sounds made-up, but trust me...you will enjoy glimmers of independence again. 

I'm there.

My baby is nearly four.

It's crazy how endless and at the same time, fast-as-lightning my life as a parent has been...I'm already, yet finally, There. 

And with my new found independence and time, this year I plan to take advantage of just that: Time.

Resolution #1: Dates with the Kids
On Christmas Eve, Sam and I gave the kids Parent Date magnets ("Evan + Mom," "Evan + Dad," etc.). At the beginning of each month, we'll sit down with our calendar and each kid will pick a day for their Parent Date (Sam and I will rotate dates with each kid). We'll stick the magnet on our Holy Grail, the white board calendar in the mudroom and, come hell or high water, we'll make our special Together Time happen. Each kid will get to pick an activity for their one-on-one time with Mom or Dad (we retain veto power, of course)...maybe it'll be going out to dinner or a movie...maybe an archery lesson or a hike...maybe we'll go to the library or a smoothie shop. Who knows. Who cares. It's not the what that matters, it's the Together. 

I. Can't. Wait.

Resolution #2: Family Give Back Days
In addition to our Parent Date magnets, we have a Family Give Back Day magnet. In December, our family participated in a local event called The Big Give. We joined several other families and dedicated a whole day to giving back to our community. I loved the impact it had on our kids. I didn't want to wait until next December to get into the Spirit of Giving again. I want it to become part of our regular routine.

Each month we'll pick a day (or maybe just an afternoon...when schedules get hectic) to Give Back. We'll donate supplies to an animal shelter. We'll pack boxes at the Food Bank. We'll pick up trash in our neighborhood. We'll deliver dinner and dessert to our local volunteer fire fighters. We'll bring cookies to friends or shovel snow for our neighbors. We'll make it a point to dedicate Time each month to others...in little and big ways...as a family.

Resolution #3: Time for Me
I love my family. I really do. They, quite perfectly, complete me. 

But sometimes I need my space from them. I have realized this about myself very clearly this year. I feel guilty about it but, it is what it is. I can't be with them without giving everything of me to them...which can't sustain itself...so sometimes I need a break.

I'm going to take My Time this year. I'll write the stories I want to write, I'll read the stories I want to read....but under no pressure to Accomplish Anything. If I don't sell another article, that's okay. If I don't read every bestseller to hit the shelves, I won't feel pressured to keep up with the literati. I'll do what I can, but I'll make sure I carve out the time I need to read and write what I want to...for the joy of writing and reading...for Me.

Resolution #4: Time with Friends
Another way I plan to take time and Make Time for me is by going back to class...sort of....

I volunteer in the third grade art class each week with a good friend of mine. Recently, we started talking about how we each took an Art History class in college but would have loved to have taken more. "I'd totally sign up for an Art History class," she said. "Me, too!" I agreed, "Let's do it!" We decided that the only thing better than actually attending a college course just for fun would be enjoying a college course at home, with friends, over a glass of wine. I found a great introductory, fairly comprehensive European Art History course on DVD through The Great Courses. I got a great deal on it right before Christmas and I can't WAIT for class to be in session. There are 48 lectures in this course, so we'll watch a lecture or two at a time, a couple of times a month, and wrap up in about a year. Who needs to bitch about the kids or spread gossip at Girls' Night? This year, my Girl Time will be spent getting cultured. Time well spent.

Lesson Learned:

My Word of the Year 2016 is TIME. I will spend it well, with the people I love. I will take it and give it back and make the most of it. I will be present in it and respectful of it. 

It's going so fast, this Time...I think this is my way of trying to control it. 

I can be so Type A.

What's your Word?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Year...or, Not So Much

This was going to be My Year.

For the first time in over eight years I was to have time for myself that didn't not require the Putting To Sleep of a Child. Free time! ME time!

For seven hours each week, all three of my children are in school. Seven HOURS! Imagine what I could accomplish in SEVEN hours!

I was going to do yoga four times a week.

I was going to broaden my dinner repertoire to include more and different recipes that my whole family was going to love.

I was going to meet friends for coffee and conversation.

I was going to catch up on the laundry.

I was going to read. Books. Lots of them.

I was going to drink a cup of coffee, straight through to the last drop, still hot.

I was going to write.
...not just on this little blog.
...not just on other blogs...
...but really write...the collection of stories that have been swirling around my brain and in my heart for the last two years.

But I'm finding that I don't, actually, have seven hours to myself. Not really.

I rarely drop Molly off at precisely 8:30 and, even if I do, I nearly always stay to chat with her teachers for a bit. (6 hours 45 minutes)

I signed up to be a volunteer in Max's kindergarten class during Guided Reading because kindergartners are the greatest kinds of human beings on the planet. (5 hours 45 minutes)

I also signed up to be a volunteer in Evan's art class because third graders are, well, um...also great? And art is super fun. But mostly because how the hell else am I going to know anything about anything that happens in third grade what with the whole Evan Is Less an Open Book and More a Locked Diary thing? (4 hours 45 minutes)

And, also, I signed up to be the Room Mom for both classes because ha ha ha ha ha! No seriously. Had I had a drink or two before Back to School Night or something because What? Who does that?! (3 hours)

So, basically, Tuesday is a total wash. There's still Thursday for the yoga and the cooking and the reading and the catching up with friends and the writing, right?!

Oh, right.

Then we got a puppy. (Negative 1,000 hours)

This isn't the year I thought it would be for me, but it's okay. I love volunteering at school, I love this puppy (yup, more to come on this, but I'm smitten), and my friends understand because they're all just as busy or busier than me. The books will eventually get read, the dinners won't get eaten regardless of how long I've spent preparing them so I might as well just bake some more chicken, and the stories in my head and my heart can marinate a bit more before hitting the screen.

But you know what can't wait? What doesn't understand? What does need to happen Right Now and doesn't care that we have a new puppy?

Christmas.

Christmas used to happen during nap times, which are long gone. Or after the kids went to bed, which is now Puppy Time. Or while Sam played with oblivious little kids in the backyard while I made like an elf in the makeshift Santa's Workshop of our basement storage room...not anymore: they'd be on to us.

It was December 12 and I was Not Ready for Christmas. I know for most of the world, this would not be a problem. You still have 12 days, you're thinking, 13, really. But I'm not like most of the world. I am so Type A when it comes to Christmas that our Christmas Lists have lists and they live in Excel. I'm so Type A that I re-decorate the tree after the kids have had a first pass at it. (There are roughly 4,000 limbs on that tree, Molly. You can use more than the bottom 15.) I start baking and freezing Christmas cookies the week after Thanksgiving. My Christmas shopping is done early, save for some wiggle-room in the budget for last-minute, magic-making, wish-fulfillment. Presents are wrapped, little by little, over the course of December and I coast into the holiday, organized, prepared, and as stress-free as a Type A introvert can be leading up to the Biggest Holiday of the Year.

At least, that's how it usually goes.

And I needed to get back to that serene place, in which I felt festive and fun rather than stressed and short-fused.

So I did what I always do when I reach my max...I demanded some alone time.

I sent Sam and the kids and the puppy away for a day. I sent them off with packed lunches, snacks for days (just in case), and an alibi: I have some writing to do, kids, so go visit your Grandmother and Grandpop with Daddy!

I had about six hours. That's it. But it was enough.

I went to the grocery store.
I baked a batch of molasses-ginger cookies.
I drank a cup of coffee in one sitting.
I finished painting the rainbow fairy peg dolls for Molly's stocking.
I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I ate lunch while sitting.
I watched Love Actually.
I wrapped ALL the Christmas presents.
I assembled the one Christmas present (a million-piece Playmobil set, of course) that had a shipping label stuck directly to the box, thus blowing the whole damn made-in-an-elfin-workshop charade. (Thanks for nothin', Zulily.)
I made the dough for Sunday's sugar-cookie decorating extravaganza.

And then...I waited around for my family to come home.

Six hours. It was all I needed.

I can breathe again. I'm ready for Christmas.

At least...I would be if it wasn't 75 degrees outside.

Lesson Learned:
When I get overwhelmed, when I feel like I can't breathe and I can't possibly accomplish the Something that needs to be accomplished, I often find that the solution can be found in me running away from or sending away my family.

It's not that they're the problem...it's me. It's me needing space and solitude (and, when it comes to Christmas, secrecy). I take my space, I remember to inhale fully, and, when the Something is Done and we are again reunited, it feels good to have missed my family. And to have checked something off one of my Lists.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Science of Parenthood: A Q&A with the Authors

Of all the things I love about blogging, one of my most recent favorites is that I've had the opportunity to meet some of the People of the Internet, whom are creating the excellent Content of the Internet that I've been liking and favoriting and sharing for years. What's even better, is when these people take their internet brilliance one step further...outside of the cyber-confines of the internet and right into my own hands.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler have taken their internet brilliance and hilarity beyond their blog and onto the pages of this deeply scientific and highly relatable parenting manual: Science of Parenthood



By "deeply scientific" I mean not really at all scientific.

But by "highly relatable" I mean that Norine and Jessica have put into words and pictures the moments of parenthood you have managed to survive, even if you haven't been able to tell about it. From pregnancy and childbirth, through potty training and the hell that is picky eaters, all they way up to homework and tweenaged angst: if you haven't experienced the joys of parenthood described in this book then, hold onto your hats New Mom, you will.

Read on to learn more about Science of Parenthood, straight from the authors/illustrators themselves.

*********

What’s Science of Parenthood all about?

Science of Parenthood started nearly three years ago as an illustrated humor blog. We use fake math and science to “explain” the stuff that puzzles parents every day. Things like ...
Why are broken cookies “ruined?”
Why does it matter what color the sippy cup is?
Why can’t you put the straw in the juice box without your kid having a melt down?
Why will a kid whine-whine-whine for a toy, then lose all interest in that toy once they have it? 
Where the eff is my phone?  

We’ve come up with some pretty hilarious theories.

Our book, Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, is like our blog … but like our blog on STEROIDS! We utilized the blog to road test--perhaps we should say “field test”--material, and now the book contains the kinds of cartoons and writing that fans love to find at Science of Parenthood, along with all new cartoons, infographics, flowcharts, pie charts, and quizzes that we created just for the book. About 90 percent of the book is brand new material.

Divided into four sections--biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics--the book lives in the chasm that exists between our collective hopes and dreams and expectations of what parenting will be like … and the brutal, slap-you-upside-the-head reality of what parenting actually is. We cover all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and the hilarious frustrations that come with early childhood (tantrums, picky eating, diaper blowouts, illness, sleep issues, play dates, toy creep, homework battles, and encounters with crazy parents (not you, of course, we mean other parents). And you know what? You don’t even need to be a scientist to “get” it.


Our goal is just to make parents laugh. Because when you’re a parent, you NEED to laugh. Humor is a survival tool. After your tot has gotten the top off a jar of Vaseline and smeared every surface within reach--as happened to our friend Gail--or tried to “help” you paint a room and ended up covered in blue paint--as happened to Norine’s sister Shari--you have to laugh. Or you’ll end up sobbing. Or wearing one of those fancy white jackets that buckles up in the back.


Is any of the book autobiographical?

Pretty much all of the book reflects through our experiences as parents. Take the piece “Experimental Gastronomy: A Study in Potatoes” from the Chemistry section. It’s written like a scientific paper about an experiment in which a researcher tries to determine if a preschooler who likes French fries will eat mashed potatoes. Raise your hand if you can hypothesize the outcome (see what we did there?) The piece is completely based on Norine’s inability to get her five-year-old, who loves fries, to even taste mashed potatoes. Says Norine: “I tried everything! I even offered him extra chocolate for dessert, and he still refused to take even one tiny nibble.”  




Why science? Are either of you scientists?

Not at all. We’re moms dealing with the same kind of crazy stuff everyone else is. Science just makes a great metaphor for the frustration, exasperation, and humiliation that comes with everyday parenting. Think about Einstein and how he explained his theory of relativity: “Sit on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour; sit with a pretty girl with an hour and it feels like a minute. That’s relativity.” Well, that’s parenthood too. One minute you’ve got a newborn covered in goo and then next, you’re watching teary-eyed as they skip into kindergarten without even a backward glance or a kiss goodbye. And yet, when you’re into your third hour of Candy Land on a rainy day, time seems to stand still. (If you haven’t played Candy Land with your toddler yet, trust us on this. The scars never really heal.)

Where did you get the idea for Science of Parenthood?

Our “eureka” moment came when Norine’s son, Fletcher, came home from school talking about one of Newton’s laws of force and motion: An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an external force.

Says Norine: “That instantly reminded me of Fletcher with his video games. He’d sit on the couch and play games all day if I didn’t confiscate the iPad. I jotted down, Newton’s First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest until you want your iPad back. Later, I posted that on Facebook. It got a good response, so I started posting other parenting observations and giving them a math or science twist, like Sleep Geometry Theorem: A child will always sleep perpendicular to any adult laying next to them. Both of these are fan favorites and two of the very few cartoons we pulled from the blog to include in the book.

“As a writer, I’m always looking for new ways to tell stories. And in that eureka moment, it struck me that math and science make fantastic metaphors for telling the universal stories of parenting. Like scientists, we parents are always fumbling in the dark, searching for answers, wondering if we’re on the right track and second-guessing our methods. And because a picture is still worth a thousand words, I knew that these science-y quips would be a lot more popular on social media if they were illustrated. So I called Jessica and asked if she wanted to illustrate a book of these funny observations.

“Jessica was the one who saw that Science of Parenthood could be much bigger than a single book. She saw the potential for a blog and a social media presence and ancillary products. She quickly secured a domain name for us and created a Facebook page and Twitter feed. She began illustrating the observations I had already banked. Two weeks later, we debuted on Facebook; a week after that we rolled out the blog. Now we’re three years in, and along with Science of Parenthood, the book, we have mugs and magnets and posters featuring our images. Earlier this year we published two collections of humorous parenting tweets—The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets.  


Where can readers find Science of Parenthood?

Science of Parenthood is available on Amazon and in bookstores.

And you can always find Science of Parenthood on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


About The Authors

Norine is the primary writer for Science of Parenthood, the blog, and Science of Parenthood,the book. A longtime freelance magazine writer, Norine’s articles have appeared in just about every women’s magazine you can buy at supermarket checkout as well as on The Huffington Post, Parenting.com, iVillage, Lifescript and Scary Mommy websites. Norine is the co-author of You Know He’s a Keeper…You Know He’s a Loser: Happy Endings and Horror Stories from Real Life Relationships (Perigee), Food Cures (Reader’s Digest) and a contributor to several humor anthologies, including Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding(Demeter Press). She lives with her husband and 9-year-old son in Orlando.



The daughter of famed New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler, Jessica is Science of Parenthood’s co-creator, illustrator, web designer and contributing writer. In her “off hours,” Jessica is the director of social web design for VestorLogic and the writer/illustrator of StoryTots, a series of customizable children’s books. Her writing and illustration have been published on The Huffington Post, Vegas.comInThePowderRoom.com and in Las Vegas Life and Las Vegas Weekly. Jessica was named a 2014 Humor Voice of the Year by BlogHer/SheKnows Media. She lives with her husband and 11-year-old son in Denver.

Together Jessica and Norine published The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets earlier in 2015.

If you'd like to learn more about the Science of Parenthood Book Tour with Norine and Jessica, click here.
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Lesson Learned:
In full disclosure, I did receive a copy of this awesome book from the authors. The views expressed in this post, however, are my own. So go pick yourself up a copy of Science of Parenthood. And one for a friend. You can find it on Amazon here.