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Parent’s Nighty-Night Book Sprinkled with F-Bombs

Parent’s Nighty-Night Book Sprinkled with F-Bombs

Short of being a children’s book author, I feel I am an authority (as I am sure many parents other could say the same) in children’s books. I could say with confidence that I have now read significantly more children’s titles in the past five years than I have read adult titles in the nearly four decades I have been alive (it is probably a 8:1 ratio). I have cut my fingers on the best of books (The Lorax, Ladybug Girl, etc) and the worst of books (Clifford Goes to Washington, Star Wars: What is a Wookie? etc) and have grown to deeply appreciate how a solid piece of children’s literature can illuminate the struggles and respective bewilderment of childhood. These books imprint meaning, humor, and perspective onto the chaos and confusion, while entertaining and enchanting (this is a far cry for the near-sadistic morality tales that passed for children’s literature a century ago). And while the parenting section of bookstores are sagging under the weight of a million or so titles that try, as they might, to illuminate the existential struggle of parents, most miss the mark. But there may be hope.

The interweb has been all a flutter (and a twitter) over one such upcoming book that holds the promises to address the parental frustration of having a sleep challenged child, and it is quite appropriately titled, Go the F**k to Sleep. Now in fervent pre-order mode on Amazon, this blunt title, by author Adam Mansbach, is a sort of bedtime book for parents, in the style of so many other “good night” books that hold the promise of delivering sleepless children to a land of serene napping animals and muted rainbows. However, although this book is written in verse and approximates the cadences of Goodnight Moon and the like, it is decidedly honest, profane and droll, in a way no other children’s title would dare to be. To be sure, this is not really a children’s book, but more of an adult pacifier in the fashion and manner of children’s lit. As an example, here is a passage from the upcoming book:

“The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
How is it you can do all this other great s**t
But you can’t lie the f**k down and sleep?”

This is certainly not the first book of its kind to tackle the exhaustion and cumulative fatigue of parenting with a keen sense of humor. Baby Mix Me a Drink, by Lisa Brown, attempted to craft a baby shape and color book that also did double-duty as a primer on mixing basic cocktails. But it is safe to say that this eagerly awaited title by Mansbach is the first to attack the subject of sleep-deprived parents in quite this manner.

What other aspects of parenting do you feel can, and should, be addressed in this way? Do you find that this sort of humor helps you through even the most trying or infuriating aspects of parenting?

Read more: Babies, Children, Family, Parenting at the Crossroads, , , , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

71 comments

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7:20AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

I love it! I bought it as soon as it came out. Everyone gets frustrated at some point in time. I love the blatent honesty. I hope parents are wise enough to realize this book is for them and not their children. Loosen up a little people. Have some fun and laugh!
T :)

7:38PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

I don't find this sort of humor appealing at all.

7:37PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

LOVE IT. MY DAUGHTER ORDERED IT.

1:42PM PDT on May 31, 2011

Ha.

7:28AM PDT on May 24, 2011

This is for adults, not for children, of course. It's funny. As another article in care2 points out, cursing can relieve our pain. Cool article.

7:19PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Well said, Eric Steinman, Kathy Perez, Shawn S, Carol Phillips and Lynda G - we as humans should behave has humans and not allow such disgusting language to rule our vocabulary which seems to have become 'a way of life' for many! There are so many other words that can be used to describe things rather than using such offensive words. I have not read or even ventured into looking for this disgusting literature but am thankful for a person such as Eric Steinman who has brought this to our attention!! Hope that many other people would voice themselves against such language!

10:43PM PDT on May 16, 2011

I think that this sh** is funnier than hell. Just because I became a parent doesn't mean I have lost my sense of humor. If anything, it's been enhanced by having a child. So much more material to be "droll" about. Love it. Parents who can laugh at their frustrations are less likely to to direct them towards their children. Laughter: a wonderful alternative.

10:16PM PDT on May 16, 2011

WE have lost our civility to road rage and now to sleep deficit...at the expense of the next generation. We have lost our sense of decency and decorum. Not that either are necessary to survive but certainly to thrive. When we break open champagne over the death of Osama bin Laden(albeit a terrorist murderer) without trial and now sing our little ones to sleep with the expletives that we have learned from our leaders...we have lost our civility and are no better than our detractors who believe that we are the devil incarnate...and you might see their reasoning when you have a look at us through their eyes. In Canada we paid good tax dollars to an ad agency to create an ad campaign called FLICK OFF (they uppercase was used with a cursive 'L' set close to the 'I' !) as a ploy to engage youth to save electricity. This appeared everywhere, billboards, TV, radio...when the leader in charge was challenged by outraged tax payers...She said: "I wasn't us it was the ad agency!) Sound like a 14 year old...NO an adult in charge of government spending and without much wisdom....
Is it any wonder our children have little faith in this generation of parents? We have too busy making money to buy stuff to stop and think and teach our children the benefit of civility.

10:00AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Wow. What happened to literature being enlightening and instructional? I wouldn't haver this book in my home. I may occasionally say a curse word now and again, but NEVER around my child. A child brought up in a household where such language is used (be it spoken, written OR read) they will grow up thinking it's okay and that this is an appropriate way to express yourself. It has nothing to do with having a sense of humor (I definately have one). Since when did having a sense of humor mean filling your mind with curese and profanity? I would rather stick with my own brand of TRUE literature and not waste by time with trash like this. ALSO, for those who need to sleep, have you tried warm milk, a bath, or calming music? How can you teach your kids not to use foul language when you are reading these sorts of things?

5:51PM PDT on May 15, 2011

I haven't read the book but just reading this article describing it has made me laff! I hope it helps those who need it, to take the edge off the amount of frustration they may be experiencing with their child/children :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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