Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Reads: Don't Lick the Minivan by Leanne Shirtliffe

Ok - first things first...Leanne Shirtliffe has saved me the trouble of writing my own book on the experience of raising twins...because she raised the exact same ones.  Either that or I think our parenting strategies are so remarkably similar that we might be living parallel lives.

For example:
  • No blood, no band aid (yep - this is our rule too)
  • Snowsuits and tutus as Halloween costumes (enter the "Canadian Fairie" costumes of last year)
  • Don't drink the bathwater - that's bum water (Well, I say poo water...but close enough)
In the book, Shirtliffe recounts the tale of her twins journey to school-age.   Her descriptions of delivering twins in a Thai hospital and taking their first trans-pacific journey to visit family back home and describing the unique ways her twins contributed to their upbringing had me in tears from laughing so hard.  Especially poignant are the gems that spewed from her mouth (like the title of the book) often we focus on the "Kids say the darndest things" angle that we forget that new parents have a few of their own to share.

Scattered through the book, are Shirtliffe's "Parenting Tips" - ranging from:

"Strive to remember the name of your baby. Write it on your hand if you have to. Remembering your spouse's name is optional."


"Putting yourself on time-out is brilliant. Shackling yourself to the liquor cabinet is extra brilliant"

Her insights are brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word - even the "Sappy Files" which were letters penned to her children at various stages in their lives for use as therapy fodder.  she was also able to put to words so many of the things I noticed but would find myself tongue-tied to explain, like:

  • "A ten-month-old baby is mobile; ten-month-old twins are a roaming gang.  One moment they're there, the next they're gone.  It's a magic show brought to you by Pampers."
  • "There were enough Cheerios under the table to drive up the price of oats"

This book kept me laughing and nodding familiarly with almost everything she wrote.  It was captured so exactly - every hilarious detail. I began to think less of my kids as being oddities of nurture and instead I started to see them as being just plain ol' common twins.  I often found myself flipping back a few pages so I could read it aloud to Hubby...or bursting out laughing so hard it shook the bed, which ended up earning me the privilege of not being allowed to read the book in bed anymore.

Don't Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Kids is probably one of the best parenting guides out there.  It proves you don't need a doctor-proven method to raise your just need to do it.

I think it almost goes without saying that I highly recommend this book.   So go buy it.  Support a local author and give yourself a hilarious treat that will help you see that you aren't failing at being a just aren't looking at it the right way!

And, while you're at it - follow Leanne on Twitter at @lshirtliffe and read her blog at


  1. You would like Jenny Lawson's book Let's pretend this never happened.

    Whatever happened to lazy summer reading. I have a stack of books, calling my name.

  2. Sounds like a great book. I love her tips already!

    <a href=">Momshomerun</a>


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