Wednesday, June 16, 2010

GIVEAWAY, and Interview with Amy Wilson

Today, I have news even more exciting than poop in the toilet. Yes!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Amy Wilson's book, When Did I Get Like This: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer, & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be. (You can read my review over at When I was originally asked to review the book, I suggested that I also run an interview with Amy over here -- and I asked to be able to give away a copy of the book. I wanted to suggest that Amy's publisher give me a contract to write a memoir of raising a child with special needs, but I sensed it might be too soon in our relationship. I'm going to save that for when we get our hair braided or something.

Anyway, Amy was gracious enough to answer my questions as if they were actual, relevant questions, which was incredibly kind and good-humored of her. Take a look at how funny and charming she is.

WG: Amy, you claim to have three small children. But if that's true, then tell us: when and how did you find the time to write such a funny book that features complete sentences, poly-syllabic words, and essays that every mother can relate to?

Amy: I have several "secrets" which are not so incredibly original, but they worked for me:

  • A supportive partner, willing to get up with the kids every weekend morning (rather than taking turns sleeping in) so I could write from 6:30 to 9:30 am at the Starbucks
  • A great babysitter for my youngest during the week, from 9 am to 3 pm, and two boys in day camp last summer.
  • A terrifying, looming, and very tight manuscript deadline.
  • Most of all: I didn't have all day every day to write. So I wrote when I could. Twenty minutes here, half an hour there. We moms can get a LOT done in the scraps of time we have.
On the other hand, I also took the writing seriously, and gave it the time it demanded. That's easy to do when you have an actual book deal in hand. I'm not sure I could have done it if I felt like it was "just for me," just a hobby, that it might not ever be seen by anyone else. I'm not saying that's a good thing-- we mothers deserve to have things in our life that excite and fulfill us. But we don't often entitle ourselves to those things. We put ourselves last, because we think that's what is expected of us.

WG: Do you want to scream as much as I do when your husband says he is "babysitting" his own children?

Amy: Oh my goodness, yes. Now I just said how supportive my husband is, but he has of course made a few male missteps along the way. He has a female co-worker who kicks his ass in these cases, so I don't have to. She was the one to let him have it when he (or so I heard later) said casually at work one afternoon that he couldn't hit the pub after work because he had to go home and "babysit." He has chosen his words more carefully since then.

WG: Could you please tell us the rules for Cut the Cucumber?

Amy: Well, as I say in the book, "Cut the Cucumber" is a very free-form sort of game. All you need to play is to be a little boy with your hands down your pants after bathtime, and with just a little imagination, there you are.

The really funny thing about "Cut the Cucumber" is that I actually asked Seamus for a follow-up recently on that game and how it's played, and he stared at me blankly. He had NO recollection of having ever said those words, let alone having been world champion at said game. This is why you have to write down all the cute/adorable/slightly scary stuff your kids say: they will all too soon forget, and so will you.

WG: What's the one thing you want people to ask you about mothering, because you have a great answer, but no one ever asks you?

Amy: What a good question! Honestly, I feel like, in doing so many interviews for this book, I've gotten tons of great questions- and really had the chance to say what I want to say. So here's my favorite question that I was asked, by Gretchen Rubin on her Happiness Project blog -- and my answer. Her question didn't relate directly to mothering, but my answer did:

Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful?

When a friend of mine had just had her first baby -- and was in the whirlwind of stress and sleep deprivation that comes with it -- she told me that her mother told her: "This isn't forever. This is just right now." How I wish someone had told me that when I was a new mother! I've carried that with me ever since, and it cuts both ways. In a difficult moment, remembering "this is just right now" gives me permission to be there, and take a deep breath, and know that it won't last forever. In a wonderful moment, "this is just right now" helps me remember to savor my happiness, and have gratitude.

Dude, Amy is awesome. I'm seriously hoping she comes to Houston so we can hang out.

And, I have a copy of her book to give away to one lucky reader! And since there are probably about 6 of you who read this blog, your chances of winning are pretty high. To enter, you can just leave a comment below with the one sentence you swore you'd never say -- but now mention at least once daily. Mine? "Life isn't fair."

BONUS entries: After you leave your main comment, you can leave a separate one for each of the following that you have done:
Follow me on Twitter.
• Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with your tweet time stamp (click on the time below the Tweet, which shows the URL).
Subscribe to my feed, and leave a comment saying you subscribed. (Already subscribed? Just leave a comment saying so!)
• Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave the link below.


Jess said...

Mine? "Because I said so." I used to hate that my father would say that, and now I do all the time. My kid asks "Why?" about the most insane stuff.

Denise said...

"Well, I'm finishing it." After being told for the 10th time that "She started it." The first time I said it (last year) I had a realization that, yes, I am someone's mother.

Shosh said...

If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn bridge, would you?

Gosh. I can't believe that came out of my mouth. My parents said that and I hated it. But I have to admit it proves a good point.

fern said...

"Because I'm the mom." Sometimes followed with "and your not."

There are 2 kinds of people in my house--mom and not mom.

We played a game called mom/not mom. I would point to myself and say "who am I?" of course answered with "Mom." Then I would point to whichever child was around and say "who are you?" and answer with "not mom." This would have to be repeated as often as needed.

Anonymous said...

There are a few finalists for things I never thought I would say but the winner is " I am the Ima and I make the rules". Close second is "No, I am eating this and you cannot have some!"- so much for modeling sharing :)
Btw, I already follow your blog through blogger (courtesy of Sara P) and as a fellow mom of a SN child relate so well to many of the things you write!!

Ruchi said...

and bec I am a loser and still don't know how to use blogger, I just somehow managed to sign the previous comment as anonymous. sorry abt that!

Ronit said...

"buckets are not shoes!". My son has a few sand pails that he tries to wear as shoes and it makes me crazy b/c he's klutzy as it is! I just signed up to follow the blog and i already follow u on twitter- @ronitp

DESJ and Company said...

"because I'm the mom and I said so"

You know you want to give it to me!

Yana said...

Hey there,
I'm overseas, but i would LOVE that book! :)

The sentence,it's directed at DH: "Be the bad cop. NOW!"

Yana said...

Oh, and btw, I've been subscribed to your feed forever!

Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me said...

"Who's in charge here? Me! That's right, I'm in charge!"

Yes, I am my mother, I ask a question then give the answer.

Great contest. I love all the answers.

Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me said...

Of course I follow on Twitter.


Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me said...

...and of course you are already in my reader. Because I am loyal like that. *Mwah*

Janis said...

Oh and I tweeted because, well you know me...

The Henrys said...

I often need to point out that I am the adult. I will say: "I am the mom, you are the child. Therefore, I make the rules.".


"Look at me when I am talking to you!".

I say these all the time!

kyouell said...

I have a tie:

1) The question, though I know the answer is always no, "Do you need a time out?" I know she really means the "no" because of #2.

2) My daughter is 3 and sometimes, when I say "Mommy needs a time out!" and go somewhere exotic like the bathroom and shut the door, she stands outside and wails "time out!" because she wants to come in with me. I don't say it as often, but it hits me harder as a weird mom-thing she's going to remember me saying & not want to say herself.

BTW, here because of Janis' (Sneak Peek at Me) tweet.

kyouell said...

I'm now following you on Twitter. I'm @kyouell because that's my "brand" -- HA! I'm just not creative, but I'm trying to deal with that creatively.

fern said...

Yep, I follow you on twitter!

Staci said...

My favorite comment to my husband (not my boys) are not their best friend! Start acting like a father!

Staci @

elisha said...

love your blog!!!-nothing like a giveaway to make the stalkers come out :) I find myself saying- "we are not having this discussion" as if that will make my kids stop talking.

Maggie said...

The thing I say about a million times a day is: "Do you understand me??" If this isn't followed by a "Yes, Ma'am." I lower my voice and repeat, "Do. You. Under. Stand. Me?!", all menacing-like. I really do want to know if they understand what I'm saying, but most of the time I really don't think they do...

Susan/SC said...

On seeing the macaroni and cheese quessadillas on the menu at Friendly's, "We could probably make those at home." Why would I ever even think about making that at my home?!

Maggie said...

Now following you on Twitter. I'm @MaggieBesterman.

Maggie said...

And, now subscribed to your feed, as wel!

Meredith said...

Mine is "Because I am the mother and you are the child." I can still hear my mother saying that to me when I was a kid.

moplans said...

ohhh mine is the same as Jess
that is my go to these days

this is stiff competition here WG


Anonymous said...

Mine is "What did Mommy say?" which would lead my son to repeat the rule/admonition that he did not follow. There have been times he "confessed" more than what we were dealing with at the time, :)