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.
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.com, InThePowderRoom.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.
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.