When I first uttered those words to my nephew, I immediately thought of Leanne Shirtliffe.
I should point out that Leanne wrote a book called Don’t Lick The Minivan (and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say To My Kids).
Even though I don’t have my own children to say crazy things to, I had really been looking forward to reading Leanne’s book about raising twins.
Then I went on vacation with my sister and her family. Including two teenagers, a five-year-old and a two-year-old. And I heard myself saying a lot – A. Lot. – of crazy things.
That’s when I realized this book is for everyone whose ever been around kids ever. In the supermarket. On the street. In church. If you’ve ever so much as thought a strange comment in a kid’s direction, then you’ll relate.
As a fan of Leanne’s blog, Ironicmom.com, I know she’s a funny lady. And from my interactions with her on her blog and other places out there in the webby world, I know she’s funny, kind, smart and generous with herself. And did I mention she’s funny? Because she is.
In Don’t Lick the Minivan, Leanne is all those things I’ve come to expect and more.
She shares stories of her struggles with perfecting motherhood in an open manner, including “the lost year” of postpartum depression. Eventually throwing out all of the parenting books (turns out it isn’t a job you can actually “perfect”), she took the DIY approach to motherhood, and we get to go on that rollercoaster ride as well.
Leanne tells so many stories that make us laugh at her kids antics, without ever making them subjects of ridicule. Where some writers would go for the snark, she manages to be kind with her reminiscences of her kids licking, well, lots of stuff, peeing in bicycle helmets (on dolls, on the lawn…) and wanting to do crafts.
She knows how to laugh at herself and her husband too, recounting stories of those first crazy days of parenthood (if you’ve ever woken a baby up just to make sure it’s still alive, then you’ll know what I mean), and then all the crazy days of parenthood to follow. There are laughs everywhere, but you get a real sense of family in this book – you’re laughing in the way that makes you feel a part of the family, like you know these people. And you genuinely like them.
So, a few other things I liked about Don’t Lick The Minivan:
- each section ends with a letter to one or both of her kids, a sweet addition to this humor memoir (laughter through tears is my favorite emotion)
- sections are broken into smaller essays that are easy to consume on a work break – or whenever you get a moment of peace from your kids
- the Index
- Leanne’s “Parenting Tips”, super funny (don’t try this at home, kids) parenting strategies sprinkled throughout the book
Don’t Lick The Minivan is so often a laugh out loud funny book, the kind where you feel compelled to tell everybody in the room what you just read. But it’s also sweet and honest and tender. It’s definitely a book worth sharing.
I suggest you pick up a copy for yourself and your parents (It might be nice if you wrote an apology note inside, you know, for all the stuff you did when you were a kid. Just sayin’.) and for anyone you know who has kids.
And keep an extra copy on hand for the next baby shower you’re invited to. It’s the only book on parenting they won’t eventually throw out.