The Weird Science of Parenting

SWP_TextRemember What to Expect When You’re Expecting? I mean, c’mon. Who am I kidding? Of course you do. If you’re a mommy of a certain age, you knew that book like the back of your still-young hand. Like the recipe you used for your famous seven-layer dip. Like the sound of your own baby’s cry (okay, I knew what my baby sounded like but my lactating breasts usually presumed every cry — like, at the mall — was coming from my hungry baby). Anyway, you get what I mean. That book was the parenting Bible for those of us who gave birth before the Dawn of the Internet. Before you could just go ahead and Google “How to breastfeed” and find a host of videos to aid you in your efforts. Back in the day, we needed to work with diagrams and words to figure shit out.

Books not only taught me how to do things — The Silver Palate taught me how to cook and Martha Stewart taught me to, like, be a crazy housewife — they also helped me gauge just where I was in life. They helped make me feel a little less alone. A little less crazy.

Vicki Iovine’s Girlfriends’ Guides were good for that. She cut through all the “do this” and “do that” of What to Expect and Dr. Spock and was like “Who’d do that?” and “Did you really just do that?” She had chapters like“The Droning Phenomenon”: The inability to discuss anything but your baby for more than thirty seconds (wait, that was bad?) and “Husband? What Husband?”: Taking care of the big baby, as well as the little baby (wait, that was really bad)

My blogger friends Norine and Jessica, the truly evil scientists behind the hilarious Science of Parenthood blog, are about to join the ranks of books that make you shake your head and say “Yes!” with their newly published illustrated book Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations. Their funny cartoons nail the challenges and minutea of parenting and address everything from annoying play dates to poop. Yes, poop. Unlike What to Expect, Science of Parenthood tells it like it is in the parenting trenches and not how it’s supposed to be.

Although my own children are old enough now to be in charge of their pooping, I was reminded of little kids’ pooping preferences recently when I took my sister’s 4yo son to watch my 12yo son play lacrosse. After about 10 minutes of play, the little kid announced he needed to get to a bathroom and poop. Once there, he needed to take off not just his shoes but also his pants to perform the operation. Then, we sat and he asked me a lot of questions until the deed was done. As I cleaned him up and began explaining for like the 10th time why there was a light on the wall of the bathroom, I was reminded of this very astute scientific discovery.

Someone please remind me of this the next time I take my nephew to watch a game.

Poop happens (and usually when you least expect it).


Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks the book is pretty funny as Science of Parenthood  just hit number one on Amazon’s hot new parenting humor releases. Impressive for two self-proclaimed fake scientists.

It’s a super fun gift for the holidays, which you can pick up on Amazon or your local bookstore. All I know is that I can’t wait for them to start experimenting with teenagers. I’d be happy to help come up with some equations for that fun age group.

Go ahead and read a little bit more about Jessica (the artist) and Norine (the writer) in a little Q&A they put together for us below.

What’s Science of Parenthood all about?

Science of Parenthood started nearly three years ago as an illustrated humor blog. We use fake math and science to “explain” the stuff that puzzles parents every day. Things like …

Why are broken cookies “ruined?”

Why does it matter what color the sippy cup is?

Why can’t you put the straw in the juice box without your kid having a melt down?

Why will a kid whine-whine-whine for a toy, then lose all interest in that toy once they have it? 

Where the eff is my phone?  

 We’ve come up with some pretty hilarious theories.

Our book, Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, is like our blog … but like our blog on STEROIDS! We utilized the blog to road test–perhaps we should say “field test”–material, and now the book contains the kinds of cartoons and writing that fans love to find at Science of Parenthood, along with all new cartoons, infographics, flowcharts pie charts and quizzes that we created just for the book. About 90 percent of the book is brand new material.

Divided into four sections–biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics–the book lives in the chasm that exists between our collective hopes and dreams and expectations of what parenting will be like … and the brutal, slap-you-upside-the-head reality of what parenting actually is. We cover all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the hilarious frustrations that come with early childhood (tantrums, picky eating, diaper blowouts, illness, sleep issues, play dates, toy creep, homework battles and encounters with crazy parents (not you, of course, we mean other parents). And you know what? You don’t even need to be a scientist to “get” it.

Our goal is just to make parents laugh. Because when you’re a parent, you NEED to laugh. Humor is a survival tool. After your tot has gotten the top off a jar of Vaseline and smeared every surface within reach–as happened to our friend Gail–or tried to “help” you paint a room and ended up covered in blue paint–as happened to Norine’s sister Shari–you have to laugh. Or you’ll end up sobbing. Or wearing one of those fancy white jackets that buckles up in the back.

 Is any of the book autobiographical?

Pretty much all of the book reflects through our experiences as parents. Take the piece “Experimental Gastronomy: A Study in Potatoes” from the Chemistry section. It’s written like a scientific paper about an experiment in which a researcher tries to determine if a preschooler who likes French fries will eat mashed potatoes. Raise your hand if you can hypothesize the outcome (see what we did there?) The piece is completely based on Norine’s inability to get her five-year-old, who loves fries, to even taste mashed potatoes. Says Norine: “I tried everything! I even offered him extra chocolate for dessert, and he still refused to take even one tiny nibble.”

 Why science? Are either of you scientists?

Not at all. We’re moms dealing with the same kind of crazy stuff everyone else is. Science just makes a great metaphor for the frustration, exasperation and humiliation that comes with everyday parenting. Think about Einstein and how he explained his theory of relativity: “Sit on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour; sit with a pretty girl with an hour and it feels like a minute. That’s relativity.” Well, that’s parenthood too. One minute you’ve got a newborn covered in goo and then next, you’re watching teary-eyed as they skip into kindergarten without even a backward glance or a kiss goodbye. And yet, when you’re into your third hour of Candy Land on a rainy day, time seems to stand still. (If you haven’t played Candy Land with your toddler yet, trust us on this. The scars never really heal.)

Where did you get the idea for Science of Parenthood?

Our “eureka” moment came when Norine’s son, Fletcher, came home from school talking about one of Newton’s laws of force and motion: An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an external force.

Says Norine: “That instantly reminded me of Fletcher with his video games. He’d sit on the couch and play games all day if I didn’t confiscate the iPad. I jotted down, Newton’s First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest until you want your iPad back. Later, I posted that on Facebook. It got a good response, so I started posting other parenting observations and giving them a math or science twist, like Sleep Geometry Theorem: A child will always sleep perpendicular to any adult laying next to them. Both of these are fan favorites and two of the very few cartoons we pulled from the blog to include in the book.

“As a writer, I’m always looking for new ways to tell stories. And in that eureka moment, it struck me that math and science make fantastic metaphors for telling the universal stories of parenting. Like scientists, we parents are always fumbling in the dark, searching for answers, wondering if we’re on the right track and second-guessing our methods. And because a picture is still worth a thousand words, I knew that these science-y quips would be a lot more popular on social media if they were illustrated. So I called Jessica and asked if she wanted to illustrate a book of these funny observations.

“Jessica was the one who saw that Science of Parenthood could be much bigger than a single book. She saw the potential for a blog and a social media presence and ancillary products. She quickly secured a domain name for us and created a Facebook page and Twitter feed. She began illustrating the observations I had already banked. Two weeks later, we debuted on Facebook; a week after that we rolled out the blog. Now we’re three years in, and along with Science of Parenthood, the book, we have mugs and magnets and posters featuring our images. Earlier this year we published two collections of humorous parenting tweets—The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets.  

Where can readers find Science of Parenthood?

You can find the new book on Amazon and in bookstores.

And you can always find Science of Parenthood on Facebook (, Twitter (, Pinterest (www.pinterest/sciofparenthood) and Instagram (

Here’s a list of tour dates to meet the “scientists” in person:

About The Authors

Norine is the primary writer for Science of Parenthood, the blog, and Science of Parenthood,the book. A longtime freelance magazine writer, Norine’s articles have appeared in just about every women’s magazine you can buy at supermarket checkout as well as on The Huffington Post,, iVillage, Lifescript and Scary Mommy websites. Norine is the co-author of You Know He’s a Keeper…You Know He’s a Loser: Happy Endings and Horror Stories from Real Life Relationships (Perigee), Food Cures (Reader’s Digest) and a contributor to several humor anthologies, including Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding(Demeter Press). She lives with her husband and 9-year-old son in Orlando.

 The daughter of famed New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler, Jessica is Science of Parenthood’s co-creator, illustrator, web designer and contributing writer. In her “off hours,” Jessica is the director of social web design for VestorLogic and the writer/illustrator of StoryTots, a series of customizable children’s books. Her writing and illustration have been published on The Huffington Post,, and in Las Vegas Life and Las Vegas Weekly. Jessica was named a 2014 Humor Voice of the Year by BlogHer/SheKnows Media. She lives with her husband and 11-year-old son in Denver.

If you would like Norine and Jessica to visit your book group, contact Norine at norine@scienceofparenthood.

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