This is the 5th book in the, I Just Want to Pee Alone series and it did not disappoint. BDYD, is a series of essays written by some very funny people, about the rigors of being a parent. You always have anxieties as a parent, no matter how much experience you have, but when you’re a new parent, the prospects of doing or saying the wrong thing, that results in your child losing the power of speech, so they just point to a picture of you to their therapist for the rest of their lives, is palpable. What if I raise a serial killer? What if my child joins a ska band? These are legitimate fears, especially the latter.
Before the birth of my first child, I read everything from Penelope Leach, to yes, Dr. Spock. (not the one from Star Trek unfortunately) Most of the information in these books, although informative, either isn’t practical, or doesn’t fit your situation. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read books on parenting, because some facts come in handy, like in the essay, “Me, My Inferior Boobs and My Green Baby,” where the author, Elizabeth Argyropoulos, notices when her water breaks, that it’s tinted green, which is a sign the baby might be in distress. Overall though, the information in the books, isn’t going to help you at 3:30 in the morning, when your baby is projectile vomiting and has diarrhea. Most parenting books are, ‘how to’ books, where as BDYD, is more of a, ‘how the hell?’ type of a book.
I grew up back in the days before safety was invented. Like most of us, I didn’t wear a helmet riding my bike and seat belts were optional. I managed to live through it all, which is also the premise of this book and the title comes from a response, that author Jen Mann, gets from her mom, after criticizing her parenting methods, mainly not putting sunscreen on her at the beach, and stuffing her under a beach chair instead. Her mom’s reply was, “Well, but did you die?” And there you have it, this was the gold standard of parenting when we were growing up. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.
What I love most about this book, is that not only is it funny, it’s totally relatable, because I have faced similar mortifying situations. Granted, I never caught my baby’s shit in my hands, so that the couch doesn’t get stained, as author Mike Cruse did in, “Parents Catch ALL the Shit,” but that’s because I would catch scorpions being hurled at me, before I’d catch shit in my hands. These essays, let you know that you’re not alone in your parental faux pas. You’re not going to do everything right; you’re probably going to nod off at your daughter’s dance recital, after watching 80 kids before it’s her turn. All parents dread children’s birthday parties, because if you check under their fingernails, they will be bloody, from their attempt at trying to claw their way out of a Chuck E. Cheese, like some kind of Edgar Allan Poe character, whose been buried alive. You are not by yourself, things happen and life doesn’t exist in a vacuum, even though it may seem like it from that one (or two or three) annoying friend on FB, whose family seems perfect and is always posting how her kid is a prodigy and can whittle a house out of a block of wood. Meanwhile, your kid is poking the cat with a stick. Just take a deep breath, because chances are, even if your friend’s kid can whittle a house out of a block of wood, they are probably also poking the cat with a stick.
But Did You Die? is a wonderfully hilarious book, filled with truisms, that kept me entertained at every turn of the page. I highly recommend buying the book for yourself or as a gift to a friend, who has kids. It’s a book that every parent can appreciate.
But Did You Die?: Setting the Parenting Bar Low is available on Amazon. http://amzn.to/2fP2Lpj