Don't Lick the Minivan

Don't Lick the Minivan

And Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Kids

Book - 2013
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As a woman used to traveling and living the high life in Bangkok, Leanne Shirtliffe recognized the constant fodder for humor while pregnant with twins in Asia's sin city. But in spite of deep-fried bug cuisine and nurses who cover newborn bassinets with plastic wrap, Shirtliffe manages to keep her babies alive for a year with help from a Coca-Cola deliveryman, several waitresses, and a bra factory. Then she and her husband return home to the isolation of North American suburbia.

In Don't Lick the Minivan , Shirtliffe captures the bizarre aspects of parenting in her edgy, honest voice. She explores the hazards of everyday life with children such as:

The birthday party where neighborhood kids took home skin rashes from the second-hand face paint she applied.
The time she discovered her twins carving their names into her minivan's paint with rocks.
The funeral she officiated for "Stripper Barbie."
The horror of glitter.
And much more!

Shirtliffe eventually realizes that even if she can't teach her kids how to tie their shoelaces, she's a good enough mom. At least good enough to start saving for her twins' therapy fund. And possibly her own. Shirtliffe's memoir might not replace a therapist, but it is a lot cheaper.
Publisher: New York :, Skyhorse Publishing,, [2013].
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781620875261
Characteristics: xvi, 282 pages ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: Do not lick the minivan


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Jul 25, 2017

Entertaining take on parenting. Full of humour. The first chapter describes pregnancy as the truly awful experience I remember. (To potential moms: don't worry; it's not that way for everyone; just me and the author :-) ) The remaining chapters carry you through the kids growing up from baby stage to kindergarten age - and all the chaos that ensues.

Certainly, the author lives a fairly privileged life (nannies at certain stages, etc.) but she really isn't playing a "woe is me" card so it didn't bother me at all. If anything, it shows that parenting craziness happens to everyone. Dealing with kids puking is equally unfun regardless of the type of vehicle it happens in!

Dec 02, 2014

I stumbled on this by accident when I attended a combined Wordfest event. It was witty and funny. Bonus points - she lives in Calgary.

ksoles Jul 29, 2013

"Don't Lick the Minivan" contains mostly witty though sometimes over-the-top commentary on the quotidian ups and downs of parenting twins. Canadian humour blogger, Leanne Shirtliffe, became pregnant in Thailand where, by week 37, the combined mass of her two nurses "equaled one of [her] thighs." After a year in Bangkok with her twins and husband, the family moved to Alberta where the inevitable roller coaster ride of new parenthood ensued.

Shirtliffe provides anecdotes and reflections on everything from breast-feeding to airplane flights to fingernail cuttings and includes numerous tongue in cheek parenting tips such as, "on long trips, let your children eat whatever processed crap you can get your hands on." On one hand, this book reads a lot like every other comedic parenting memoir but, on the other, it stands out because of its interplay between laugh out loud moments and frank confessions of Shirtliffe's dips into postpartum depression. Amid her frequent self-judgements and doubts, she tries to remember that "it is all a stage...and the most important thing to do is laugh."

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