Angela Amman

The Science of Parenthood — and holiday shopping advice

I’m thrilled to bring you a little sneak peek of what you’ll find in Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, the hilariously honest book from Norine Dworkin-McDaniel & Jessica Ziegler.

Norine is offering a little insight into what becomes of the holiday-shopping angst we all succumb to — eventually — at this time of year.

Parenting books to make you laugh

The Story Behind Newton’s Third Law of (E)motion
by Norine of Science of Parenthood

This one Christmas a few years back, I really thought I’d nailed it gift-wise, that I’d found the gift to end all gifts. The home run of gift-giving.

My son had just been turned onto Beyblades — those metal-plastic spinning tops with ripcords and an anime TV show on Cartoon Network in which they battle in amphitheaters. There was a constant chorus of “Beyblade! Beyblade! Let ‘em rip!” coming from the TV.

Whatever. I’d been spending bazoodles on Pokemon cards for months when my son declared he was “over” Pokemon and was now “into” Beyblades. Which meant more over-priced plastic crap I’d be begged to buy every time we went to Target. (By the way, if you’re in the market for 1,000 Pokemon cards, DM me. I can totally hook you up.)

But then it was Christmastime, and when I spotted a Beyblade Metal Fury Destroyer Dome on sale at Target, I thought Bingo! I will SO be the hero of Christmas with this. It came with two beyblades to battle inside the plastic dome. Done and done!

Christmas morning, I could barely contain my excitement. I couldn’t wait to see his face light up when he realized he had beyblades of his own. I pictured him, enraptured, spending the rest of the morning, doing battle after battle in the dome.

We always save the REALLY BIG gift for last, and finally, there was just one box left. I handed it to my boy, then watched eagerly as he ripped through the wrapping paper. His eyes widened as he realized there were BEYBLADES! IN THE BOX!!

He turned the box over, and then his face … fell.

“Mom! These aren’t the right beyblades! I wanted …” and he rattled off a slew of names I’d never heard of.

My Christmas joy deflated like a sad balloon. Turns out that smartypants Isaac Newton was right. For every action (buying beyblades with enthusiasm, for instance), there is an equal and opposite reaction (complete and utter disappointment).

From then on, the kiddo got socks. At least that way I’d know he’d be disappointed.

Science of Parenthood

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel is co-author with illustrator Jessica Ziegler of Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, published in November by She Writes Press. Find it on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Follow Science of Parenthood on the blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Is Science of Parenthood coming to your town? Check out our tour schedule. Want Science of Parenthood to come to your town? Message us!

Getting cozy

Detroit Zoo hippoAfter I said goodnight to the kids tonight, I pulled on a pair of black leggings so old they’re starting to look gray. I pull them down over my heels when I wear them, eking out an extra bit of warmth. A hole has worn there, just on one side, so they’re almost like stirrup pants.

I wonder why it’s only happened on one side.

Unexpected stress filled today. Nothing major, but little paper cuts of unexpected hurts that took their toll by evening. I just wanted to be comfortable and cozy and warm, and I slid my sock-covered feet into fuzzy pink slippers that pick up every single piece of link within a two-mile radius.

My thoughts are all over the place tonight, and I opened my photo folder to try to focus the whirlwind of unformed ideas.

I’ll use the first photo I see as a prompt, I thought.

It showed a 4th of July image, filled with a bonfire and other people’s children. I knew I wouldn’t use the photo exactly, because I don’t post other people’s kids here without asking first. I scrolled a little further and found a zoo photo.

I wondered how many of the almost-8,000 photos on my computer show some aspect of our zoo, though I would have to really be procrastinating a project to actually count them.

Abbey and Dylan are curled up in the belly of a stone hippo. The hippo sits outside the entrance, and they always ask to play on it. I try to say yes, because they never play for long, but I don’t always. Patience and grace are easier to offer when I’m not in a hurry or bone tired from too much walking or cranky because I said no to ice cream and still got grief about not buying a stuffed animal on a stick, though I know those are the times grace is most needed.

They love the hippo, and they like to hear about how the hippo didn’t always live there. Once upon a time, when Ryan and I were young, it lived in a shopping mall not too far from the zoo. I don’t know the story about which location had it first or why it changed hands, but they like to hear me tell the incomplete story anyway.

I miss summer already, the way the light washes away imperfections, though maybe that’s just time. Today’s temperature climbed into the seventies, heaven for November in Michigan, but dampness seeped into my cotton socks as I crunched through the leaves to the mailbox. The warmth won’t stay.

The coldness will come, and all I can do is pull on something cozy and draw the curtains against darkness that comes too early. Winter warmth comes from inside, like the smile from the belly of a hippo, and it promises to get us through the coldness together.

NaBloPoMo November 2015


Books don’t spring forth, complete, from a void. Their origins seed from our experiences, the stories of the people touching our lives, places and triumphs and hurts that twist themselves into words on pages. Those words, those pages are polished and rearranged and packaged together into packages that place a little bit of ourselves into the hands of others.

This month, three books I adore are making their way into your hands, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. A novel, a guide, and an anthology: the books vary in genre and purpose, but each will touch you and make you glad to be a reader.

(I’ll be delving into each of these titles more thoroughly in the upcoming weeks, but for now, explore their descriptions, order them, read them, and come back and let me know what you think of each of them.)

Happy April books, my friends…

Cameron D Garriepy books
Damselfly Inn by Cameron D. Garriepy

Publication date, April 13. Preorder now!

The picturesque college town of Thornton, Vermont is the perfect place to open an inn. Or so Nan Grady thinks until a late summer storm drops a tree branch through her roof and local contractor Joss Fuller into her path.

Romance has been the last thing on her career-oriented mind, but Nan can’t deny the attraction between them. Nor can she deny the history between Joss and her most important guest: a sophisticated Manhattan academic.

And then there is the mysterious vandal targeting her home and livelihood.

As summer fades to autumn and Joss becomes a fixture around the Damselfly Inn, Nan navigates the joys and complications of life in her new home town. But when the vandalism becomes increasingly upsetting, threatening Nan and her guests, as well as her budding relationship with Joss, Nan questions her place in the town, at the inn, and in Joss’s heart.


Galit Breen book
Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Now available!

Kindness Wins covers ten habits to directly teach kids how to be kind online. Each section is written in Breen’s trademark parent-to-parent-over-coffee style and concludes with resources for further reading, discussion starters, and bulleted takeaways. She ends the book with two Kindness Wins contracts―one to share with peers and one to share with kids. Just like we needed to teach our children how to walk, swim, and throw a ball, we need to teach them how to maneuver kindly online.

This book will help you do just that.

Listen To Your Mother Book

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now edited by Ann Imig

Now available!

Irreverent, thought-provoking, hilarious, and edgy: a collection of personal stories celebrating motherhood, featuring #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner, and many other notable writers.

Listen to Your Mother is a fantastic awakening of why our mothers are important, taking readers on a journey through motherhood in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor. Based on the sensational national performance movement, Listen to Your Mother showcases the experiences of ordinary people of all racial, gender, and age backgrounds, from every corner of the country. This collection of essays celebrates and validates what it means to be a mother today, with honesty and candor that is arrestingly stimulating and refreshing. The stories are raw, honest, poignant, and sometimes raunchy, ranging from adoption, assimilation to emptying nests; first-time motherhood, foster-parenting, to infertility; single-parenting, LGBTQ parenting, to special-needs parenting; step-mothering; never mothering, to surrogacy; and mothering through illness to mothering through unsolicited advice. Honest, funny, and heart-wrenching, these personal stories are the collective voice of mothers among us. Whether you are one, have one, or know one, Listen to Your Mother is an emotional whirlwind that is guaranteed to entertain, amuse, and enlighten.

Get the Behavior You Want… – A Review

Ask Doc G Book

I spent the afternoon volunteering at my daughter’s school, a fundraiser that focuses on outdoor activity. I spent my hours with one eye on Dylan becoming the dirtiest preschooler in the world in the sandbox and the other on the obstacle course. I cheered and clapped, reminded kids about what to do at each station and straightened obstacles when they were toppled beyond use. When kids stumbled on the balance beam, I reassured, “You’ve got this!” as they climbed back onto the close-to-the-ground beam.

I’ve always been proud of not rushing to help up my children when they fall. I let them try handstands, climb trees, and ride their bikes faster down hills than might be prudent. They fall. They scrape their knees and request bandaids I apply again and again. I try to balance my worry about their well-being with my desire to let them trust their own instincts about what they can do, to brush off small scrapes themselves, to realize stumbling is an important part of learning.

In this regard, I think I’m doing a fantastic job raising resilient kids.

But they’re getting older, and some of the scrapes they’re experiencing aren’t happening because of a misstep while barreling down an asphalt path. The scrapes are from words from their friends that sting or struggles with not doing things perfectly right the first time.

These scrapes? I have a harder time letting them fix themselves.

“Find Resilience Opportunities” was one of the first chapters I read in Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate by Deborah Gilboa, MD. I know it’s one I’ll read again and again as I force myself to put aside my desperate desire to soothe their hurt feelings in order to teach them to solve their problems themselves. After reading Dr. Gilboa’s chapter on the importance of resilience — and how we can help our kids develop it — I know that I can be a sounding board and a comforting hug without swooping in to solve their emotional hurts.

Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate is a parenting book by one of the most practical and loving doctors — and mothers — I know. You may have seen her online or on television as Ask Doc G, and her advice always makes me feel better. Her book is an extension of her media presence — check out her YouTube series of advice — and it’s the type of parenting book you’ll reference for years.

One of the greatest elements of the book is the straightforward, no-nonsense way she delivers her message. She offers reasons for her advice, and all of it centers around parenting in a way that will raise healthy, independent adults, which is something I think can be lost in the grind of daily parenting. Many of her chapters offer concrete examples and advice broken down by age group. It gives tired parents a quick frame of reference and is a great reminder that we can be mindful of parenting the children we have today, in order to build a foundation for the children we’ll be parenting in the future.

Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate will help parents tackle everything from picky eating and playdates to technology, relationship issues, and extracurricular activities. You’ll keep this one on your shelves until you look into your child’s eyes and realize he’s become the fantastic adult you’ve been watching take shape for years.

Follow Ask Doc G on Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / Google+

Have your parenting rough spots changed as your children have grown?

Disclosure: I received a copy of Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate for consideration for review. All opinions are my own.


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