Go Play With Yourself. And Don’t Lick the Minivan.

One of my favorite writers has a new book out. She’s Canadian, eh?* The book’s been out for a week or so up there and is totally smoking Calgary as we speak. Today is the US release date, so to celebrate I’m giving away a copy. And I’m listening to Rush while I’m writing this. That’s like, Canadian squared.

You’re welcome.

Leanne Shirtliffe’s new book is Don’t Lick the Minivan- and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids.

That’s a change from the original working title, which was Get That Train Off Your Penis. (Man, if I had a dollar for every time I said that. . . ) Fret not, there is still a chapter with that title.

Leanne rocks because:

  • She writes with the unique perspective that only a parent of twins who gave birth to them in Thailand could have.
  • There is a complete absence of mean-spirited snark in this book.
  • There is an abundance of ironic, tongue-in-cheek, smart humor that comes from a genuine love for her family.
  • It’s hilarious.

Did you know the rule stating that subjects of passport photos must have their eyes open also applies to newborns? She can tell you all about that.

Here are some other gems I learned from Leanne’s book:

  • If you maim your child, your spouse will help you out more.
  • If you need assistance while changing a baby’s diaper in an airplane bathroom, light a cigarette.
  • Lazy parenting creates kids who are self-starters.
  • Never tell your child that the ice cream truck sells ice cream. Tell them it sells vegetables.

Leanne also writes about depression. The post-partum kind that shows up late, and then returns again even later. How real it is, and how she deals with it. It’s more prevalent than people are owning up to, and you don’t have to just be a bio parent to experience it. Most importantly, it’s not the end of the world. Leanne’s book is as full of hope as it is humor.

Oh right. The giveaway!

In a fit of total unoriginality, I have decided that to enter the giveaway you should leave a comment in the comments section about something you have once said to a kid, or heard someone else say to a kid, that you never thought anyone would–or perhaps should– say to a kid.

Here’s mine:

When we first got custody of our kids, within six weeks I was out of town on an extended trip to open a show booked long before all this happened.

I was standing downstage center with the rest of my crew, rigging up the center cluster to hang when I got a call from #3.

She was having a rough day for an eight-year-old. She was being forced to do chores along with everyone else when she didn’t want to. She was sure she was the most oppressed little girl in the world, that her life was completely unfair. She said CC had told her to finish cleaning her room and then – of all the nerve!– was forcing her to go to the park with the family.

#3: Nobody understands what it’s like to be me!

I’ve been there. Sometimes you just need to be alone. In my mind I was picturing her at the park and activities she could do by herself while still keeping her father off her case by going with the family. Swings, maybe, or hobby horse.

And in a lull in the activity around me, downstage center surrounded by stagehands, I said to my new step-daugher:

Maybe you should just go play with yourself.

Damn prepositions.

no lick

What have you said or heard that you never thought would be said to a kid?

Leave a comment in the comments section through Friday, May 24 at midnight EST and I will pick a winner purely on whatever the hell I feel like doing. If you don’t have a funny story and you’re just a desperate mom who needs a laugh, put that in there. If the winner lives in the US, they have a choice of hardcover or electronic version; if they’re outside the US, it’s electronic.

Go buy Don’t Lick the Minivan!

*not to be alarmed, they took all the errant u‘s out in the book. That’s why I can still say she’s my “favorite” and not my “favourite”.

WINNERS UPDATE: I decided to award two books, because I felt like it. One goes to Alexandra-who-needs-to-start-her-own-blog-because-she’s-funny and one goes to Misty from Misty’s Laws because I was afraid she was going to sue me  she really needs this book. If you didn’t win, please go buy the book because it’s truly fantastic.


36 thoughts on “Go Play With Yourself. And Don’t Lick the Minivan.

  1. I’m training to be a Geography teacher, so I sometimes hear (and say) things much like that to the kids who have an unfortunate habit of being absolutely merciless when you say something wrong. This happened when I was on classroom work experience.

    We had been using sticky labels with countries written on them as a starter activity and one boy had decided to stick his label to another (female) students shirt. Up goes the hand and:

    Pupil #1: Sir! Pupil #2 keeps putting his sticker on my shirt!

    Me: Why don’t you just take it off?

    I immediately realised how they wold interpret that and corrected that I meant take the label off of the shirt, not take the shirt off. They absolutely fell about with laughter, the little monsters and that’s still one of the greatest lessons in clarifying exactly what you mean when talking to an 11 year old that I have ever been taught.

    Context is key!

  2. I want this book, I NEED this book, I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK, JM!!

    But much like on Jules’ giveaway, I am void of things I’ve said to my kids. Oh yes, I often do entire posts on the ridiculous things THEY say to ME. But in trying to think of one to enter a contest for an amazingly coveted book? Nada, Zip, Bubkis. Damnit.

    Show a little mercy on my brain dead self!! Enter me anyway, ok? 😉

      1. No pressure or anything, but I was just wondering if you ever drew for this prize. Did I miss it? I didn’t see it, but I miss many many things in life, so there is a chance . . . Just checking.

  3. The stories themselves aren’t all that amusing, and perhaps not the comments either, but my submissions are:

    Son, please don’t lick the wall.

    Get the eyeballs out of your nose…no, don’t put them in your ears either!

  4. Get your toe out of the ranch dressing.
    How many times are you going to bite my elbow today?
    Strangling your sister will not solve your problems.
    Do not use a spoon to pick your nose.
    Yes, I am the meanest stepmom on the planet but I’m also the coolest. (JM, I didn’t know you existed when I said that.)

  5. Okay, first off, what a beautiful new blog template you have!! It looks fantastic and I LOVE your About me pic. That insane hot yoga…SIGH, you / that pic make a good case for it.

    I’m so jealous you’ve already read Leanne’s book. I just ordered a copy. So, it wouldn’t be right for me to enter this awesome giveaway. Instead I guess I’ll just go play with myself.

    1. Umm. . .I pretty much swiped YOUR template. Yep. So…thanks? As for the pic, I really needed one I was wearing clothes in. It was time. I am just happy my eyes are open in it. You are a very good case in point of a person who is not a parent who is totally going to enjoy this book! I know we both follow her blog and you know what? She’s been holding back. It’s awesome. No go play with yourself.

  6. “Before we can make a Teddy Cyclops, we need to draw patterns. Before we can draw patterns, we need to find a picture. Before we can look for a picture, you need to practice your guitar. So the sooner you get your guitar out, the sooner we can have a Teddy Cyclops.”

    (Let’s just say that I am awesome at video games, particularly at easy games like Skylanders where I make a very patient, very understanding supporting player; and I am moderately skilled with a sewing machine so I make little toys now and then. I am also big on nipping the “I want one”s in the bud with a can-do, go-getter comment like “I bet we could make one.” That usually shuts that right down.

    So when the Teddy Cyclops we found in Skylanders inspired five minutes of oohing and cooing over how awesome it was, I thought nothing of employing my usual “We could make it if we really wanted to.” That was a month ago. They are still asking when we are going to make it. This weekend 7 actually attempted to draw patterns for it on his own; I woke up to a bunch of arms and legs and eyeballs being thrust at my face. I guess I sort of did this to myself. In my defense, all other desires have always faded into obscurity about two seconds after I suggested we make one, so I really couldn’t have known that this would end up with me testing the drape of various brown fabrics or dreaming up different ways to accomplish the eyeball, or with 3’s friends asking to see the Teddy Cyclops approximately once every single hour that he is at daycare.

    FYI there ARE no pictures of a Teddy Cyclops in the whole of the internets, but I found a Youtube walk-through and took a screenshot, to work from, so if you are dying of curiosity, voila: http://imgur.com/Wjm5ri0 )

    That is almost certainly not the strangest thing I’ve said, but it’s in the running for this week, at least. “I know port-a-potties are gross, but don’t ever wipe the inside of the toilet clean with your bare hand ever again,” is probably the runner-up. There are some things even Purell can’t fix.

      1. Yeah, I have that effect on people. In real life you hardly see me, much less hear me; you can ask anybody on any show I’ve ever worked on – if I ever write my memoirs I will call them “Underfoot and Out of Sight” – but give me a keyboard and a household chore to do, and suddenly I just cannot say enough. And then waiting on an apprenticeship makes for a very slow few months of work, and it seems the less I actually DO, the more I have to SAY. Funny how that works.

        I really should get my own blog, and stop crashing at other people’s! Ironically, I have no idea what I’d write about.

        The porta-potty incident definitely did me in too, by the way. Horrifyingly, we still had 1.5 hours left in 7’s Little League game, and not a sink in sight. We also do a picnic lunch after the game every Saturday, before racing off to the next activity. Basically, I’m still trying not to think about it.

        I’m fairly certain that I have washed my hands more in the last year than I have in all the previous years of my life combined.

  7. “get that train off your penis” reminds me of when I had to explain to my son why we don’t sing “Old MacDonald had a penis….E-I-E-I-O!” while in the Target bathroom.

    Her book sounds hilarious! and boy, do I have experience with PPD, unfortunately.

    I also have to say holy hotness on your new ‘about’ photo. I’m not sure I want to be seen in public with you in the futur

  8. While talking with my 14yo after the Newtown, CT shootings late last year, my daughter tried to correct me on a few facts on the way to school. I asked her, where she heard that from, she said (in her typical teenage voice), “Mom, I saw it on Instagram,” Well, in that case… it MUST be true. Just so you know, she was wrong… 🙂

  9. Unfortunately, I recently said, “Maybe you should NOT give your phone number out to strangers on Instagram” to my 12-year-old niece. Scary.

  10. First, ditto on the blog design.
    Second, about ice cream. So I always told my son what my mom told me. When the ice cream truck came down the street, I’d get excited and say, ‘hey, it’s the music truck!’
    But then when he started to read, my husband would tell him the ice cream store was the poison gas store… it didn’t work…

  11. I’ve once said to a child

    “Don’t worry, life is only going to get worse”

    Yay for optimism! Hahaha. No I am not a parent (and nor should I be for a long time yet!)

  12. Really hope I’m not too late to join the party — but have to share this! At a family wedding this weekend, my 31-year old stepson (whom I’ve had since he was 14) came all across the room to tell me that he remembered when I told him — after a long, bitter exchange about how disgusting my homegrown organic arugula was — “Son, I guarantee you that someday you will be paying $8/pound to impress the crap out of a girl with this stuff.” And he was laughing because of course, he loves arugula now and is, indeed, paying dearly for it, and trying to talk his girlfriend into liking it, too. So … happy endings are possible, it just takes a decade or so!!!

    1. That’s a truly beautiful and touching parenting moment right there. And you didn’t even have to say “I told you so!” He said it for you!! That’s brilliant.

  13. I’ve actually had to say, “Stop licking the van” to my son. I’ve also had to stay, “Stop grabbing my boobs,” “No naked bums allowed on the couch,” and “No I will not sing about your penis.” I’ve also frequently told my son to “go pee on the chicken.” We have a garden statue of a chicken in the corner of our yard which has become the designated, outdoor, urinal.

    1. Oh, yeah, I find myself having the “breasts are private parts on girls and women, remember? It’s not the same as with boys or with daddy,” conversation a lot. “Yes, even if you only meant to count the polka dots on my shirt.” My position as The Household Member With Breasts gets re-discussed a couple times a month. I get it. They’re pillowy, they stick out, and they’re pretty much right at eye level, for the kids. A perfect storm.

      I make an exception for the 3-year old when he is sleeping wedged next to me. He frequently flails a hand out in his sleep and grabs on. Not gonna lie, it weirds me out a little bit, but when it’s 2am I figure that whatever just keeps him asleep is fine by me.

  14. “Put down the knife.”
    When my son was between 2 and 5, we used to have to hide everything on the countertops because he was like a monkey and would climb up and get it.
    One day we had a lovely couple over for dinner and I was telling them all about how they should raise their new baby-to-be, when my boy runs into the living room, giant carving knife in hand. It was like a hostage situation – do I rush him and take it or try and talk him into giving it to me?
    Long story short, he’s 17 and heading off to university. He lived.

  15. I have a few of them…the one that seems to come out at the most inopportune time is “We DO NOT shoot unarmed people in this house!”
    We all have Nerf guns and frequent Nerf wars…but the rule is, no shooting unarmed people…sounds so innocent writing it here…but try shouting it for the umpteenth time (you know, gritting your teeth) while you are on the phone with the Pastor from church…not pretty!

  16. There was the time when oldest was about 5, came walking out of the bedroom of the friend’s house we were staying at wearing his youngest brothers shorts…which made us start singing the “who wears short shorts” commercial theme while he awkwardly shuffled through the living room trying to adjust his junk…never thought that one would happen…

  17. I have, more than once, heard myself saying, “Keep your hands on your own penis.” In a million years I would not have seen that coming.

  18. I love your comment about the absence of snark. That alone makes me more excited to buy the book than anything else you could’ve said. I’m usually reluctant to pick up humor books because so much of the humor is at the (unpleasant) expense of someone/something else. I’ll be picking up this book now, thanks to you.

    Also, I tried commenting on your “best compliment” post to no avail. I’m going to try again later, but if it doesn’t work, I loved that, too.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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