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Introducing the Science of Parenthood | hilarious holiday gift for parents

It’s that time of year when everyone will be posting gift ideas for loved ones and dear reader, I’m no different. This month I’ll be posting items of interest for the writer and reader in all of us. I’ll also be posting on my Facebook as well, so keep an eye out for that.

To begin the series today we have a couple special guests: Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler authors of Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations.

This book is a hilarious take on parenthood broken down into subject groups giving tongue-in-cheek explanations for behavior from the dreaded Cranial Inhalation Compulsion-the impulse to huff the smell of freshly bathed baby to defining real irrational numbers in math- like how kids will say they’ve been reading for 20 hours, but have only been playing video games for five minutes. (Something isn’t adding up, kid…) You don’t even need to be a scientist to get it.

They visit us today via the magic of the interwebs to tell us more about this delightful guidebook through parenthood.

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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.

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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.”

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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.)

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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.

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“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 currently sold-out at Amazon, but is available at Barnes & Noble:
And you can always find Science of Parenthood on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Instagram.

About The Authors

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(L: Norine Dworkin-McDaniel; R: Jessica Ziegler)

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.

For more information, or to interview the creators of Science of Parenthood, please contact Joanne McCall at joanne@joannemccall.net or 503-642-4191.

Find book covers and author photos online at www.scienceofparenthood.com/press/

If you would like Norine and Jessica to visit your book group, contact Norine at norine@scienceofparenthood.

2 Comments

by | 12/02/2015 · 4:50 pm

Last Day of NaNo | Win, Lose, or Draw?

Aloha everyone!

As I predicted, I’ve let some dust build up here as I worked on my novel for NaNoWriMo. Let’s knock down the cobwebs and dust off this place, shall we?

2015 winner

I won NaNoWriMo! I won the day before Thanksgiving during my #writestuff virtual write-in that I hosted with Burgess Taylor and Amy Tasukada. Here’s our write-in. If you still have some words to write, you can write along with us. Or you can check out my awesome (which is pretty debatable) victory dance.

I’m kicking around the idea of doing a weekly video of my editing process for this novel. Would y’all be interested in seeing that here? I’m still debating it, but leaning toward- sure. It’ll keep me accountable and I think it’ll help me to realize what works for me and what doesn’t. I edited my poetry collection and The Reverie Journal’s collection, but I haven’t edited an entire novel that was mine. I’m excited…and nervous. I talk about it a bit more here:

I also, verified my novel on camera, showed off some of my baking skills, and basically was all smiles for Thanksgiving and turkey day eve. I hope if you celebrate Thanksgiving that you were surrounded by loved ones and good food. (I suppose that’s just a good hope in general, Thanksgiving or not.)

That about lets you know what’s been happening on this little bit of the island for the past few weeks If you want to ask me questions for a Q&A video, plop your questions in the comments. I’d like to do a Q&A video sometime later this month.

How did your NaNo go? Did you refocus your energies on something else? Did you hit your goal? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing about your journeys.

Aloha, y’all

 

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Tips, writing

Rough Week 1 NaNoWriMo

I’ve had a pretty harsh week, but I’ve kept up with my vlogs. That’s something, I suppose. Right now I’m behind 846 words for the word count, which I’m definitely not loving. I’m hoping tomorrow will bring a brand new mindset and a brand new day.

Here’s some videos to let you know what’s, what on the islands.

I co-hosted a virtual NaNoWriMo write-in, you should check it out:

 

This is when the day got horrible and I tell you a little about it.

And this is when I decided that I’m not going to let bad days steal my shine. Bad days are going to happen. But what I decide to do with it is what’s the most important:

Also, I go against the norm here. I don’t think all rough drafts are crap. Just because it’s conventional wisdom, doesn’t mean it works for me. Here’s how I think of it:

How did your week go? Are you writing? Are you reading? I hope next week is a fantastic one for you and I’ll be updating you soon.

Aloha y’all! 

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Filed under writing