Go The F**k To Sleep. This genre-busting parody was originally intended for an October 2011 release date. But it became an Internet sensation this past spring as a PDF version was leaked to the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of exhausted parents across the nation.">
Unless you've been on some sort of media fast for the past month or so, chances are you've heard the buzz surrounding Adam Mansbach's expletive-ridden faux-bedtime story, Go The F**k To Sleep. This genre-busting parody was originally intended for an October 2011 release date. But it became an Internet sensation this past spring as a PDF version was leaked to the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of exhausted parents across the nation.
Within the month, GTFTS had reached #1 on Amazon in pre-sales, prompting the publishing company to move the book's release date up to last week. And it's huge. An audio version featuring the voice talents of the master-of-the-f-bomb Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane, anyone?) has just been released. And the 31-page book has been supposedly optioned for (an R-rated and very short?) film by Fox 2000 .
The book, which is sure to be the novelty baby shower gift of the summer, has certainly raised interesting concerns about Internet piracy. It has also raised hackles over the appropriateness of profanity in a book whose cover could be easily be mistaken for Good Night Moon by your average 3-year-old. Some of the most interesting on-line discussions I've encountered have been about what the popularity of such a jaded book says about contemporary parenting culture.
But feel as you may about the book, Mansbach has clearly hit a nerve as well as the jackpot. Sleep (or lack thereof), both theirs, and ours, is a major struggle for parents.
From the moment he came home from the hospital, my oldest son had absolutely no interest in shuteye. Call it "healthy lungs," call it colic (my husband was dying for a "diagnosis"), or call it a nightmare, he wouldn't sleep for more than 45 minutes at a stretch, ever. Many of my slightly-better-rested mom-friends swore by the tactics of Chicago pediatrician and self-proclaimed sleep superhero, Dr. Marc Weissbluth. His book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, they claimed, was sure to teach me everything I needed to know about how to get my new baby to sleep peacefully--both during naps and through the night.
I read the book, not once, not twice, but three times. My husband read it a handful of times as well. I even read it to the baby hoping it might get him to drift off, even for a little. The good doctor's advice was pretty simple. We just needed to let our infant son "cry it out"--essentially let him scream bloody murder until he was so exhausted he'd have no other choice than to fall asleep.
Both my husband and I were staunchly committed going into that first night of "sleep training." Weissbluth promised that if we could just bear two to three nights of fuss, our little guy would be sleeping like, well, a baby, by day four. It is possible the technique works---we gave in long before we could find out. After two hours of straight shrieking, our son ended up in our bed that night. And every successive night for the next two years.
Still scarred from our earlier experience, we didn't even consider any formal "training" for son #2 until his first birthday. This time we opted for the Ferbermethod -- a kinder, gentler version of Weissbluth. Now, the rules said, instead of letting him fuss on his own until he gave in to sleep, we could at least visit our baby in his agony.
It went something like this: put him in his crib and listen to him cry for 10 minutes. Then, go into his room, stroke his back for a minute or two and tell him reassuring words ("don't worry, mama's here") and leave. Then repeat.
It was a continuous cycle of cry, soothing words, and cry again that went on for hours, despite the recommended increasing intervals of "cry time." Soon Ferber became yet another "F" word in our house---and son #2 ended up in our bed (at least son # 1 was out of it by now).
Our third child, a daughter, slept well from day one. But only in her car seat, never the crib. At her eight-week check-up I was relieved that our sympathetic pediatrician gave this alterna-bed his blessing. I'll be honest, even if he had told me that letting her sleep for so many hours in the curled up position that infant car seats induce would permanently stunt her growth, I'm not confident I would have done anything different. Finally sleeping through the night was just too great a gift to toy with it.
Our infant sleep issues morphed into the toddler "Jack-in-the-Box" sleep issue immortalized in Mansbach's book. But by the time each of them hit age three, things got better. And stayed better for quite some time.
But I have some potentially bad news for parents (are you listening, Mr. Mansbach?) who think that once they've won their pre-school sleep battles that they've actually won the war.
My oldest is now 14, goes out with friends and stays up way later than I do.
I am thinking about writing my own book.
I plan to call it, "It's Past G$d D#%n Ten, You Better Get Your A$% Home Soon, I Want To Go The F**k To Sleep."
Any ideas on who should do the audio book?comments powered by Disqus
This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition. It was my husband who had originally signed up to chaperone the event, thinking that spending a few days with his 11-year-old daughter and her compatriots would serve as an excellent anthropological experience. But when an unexpected work obligation made it impossible for him to attend, it was me left holding the bag
It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.
I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.
Some clever-clogs is playing Rachmaninoff on the piano at a party, and there it is again, that oft-heard adult lament of lost opportunity from a dejected onlooker: "I wish I could play. I wish my parents hadn't let me quit music lessons. I was just a kid -- how was I to know?" It's a reasonable complaint.
If you're checking out summer camps for your child, there are many issues -- some obvious, some less so -- to keep in mind. Here's a list to keep handy when you contact camps and camp directors, looking for the perfect spot for your kids to have fun, relax, and learn this summer.
I know, in the grand scheme of things, that my kid issues, when it comes to dining out, absolutely pale in comparison to those of parents whose kids have special needs. Many kids, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, are disturbed by changes in their routine, or anxious around noisy places. They may not be able tolerate waiting for a table or standing in line. So unfortunately, many of these families just avoid eating out at restaurants altogether.
It's weird to admit this, especially in a city surrounded by as much outdoor beauty as Madison. But frankly, I'm just not that into nature. I'm more of an indoor kind of gal. Give me an afternoon at the Chazen or the Wisconsin Historical Museum over the Arboretum or Olbrich Gardens any day.
Lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders -- 10 boys and six girls -- enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.