I'm Counting to 10: Hope and Humor for Frazzled Parents

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All parents of young children have a secret, something they find amusing that other adults consider disgusting. Accidentally swallowing the cup of water your daughter used to brush her teeth, pointing out road kill to stop the kids from fighting in the car, letting the neighbor boy — who can't find a Kleenex — blow his nose on your skirt.

I'm Counting to 10 . . . , by parents Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, chronicles the lives of a slightly offbeat couple and their two ...

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Overview

All parents of young children have a secret, something they find amusing that other adults consider disgusting. Accidentally swallowing the cup of water your daughter used to brush her teeth, pointing out road kill to stop the kids from fighting in the car, letting the neighbor boy — who can't find a Kleenex — blow his nose on your skirt.

I'm Counting to 10 . . . , by parents Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, chronicles the lives of a slightly offbeat couple and their two young kids with 45 humorous anecdotes. Not for the faint of heart, or for those in pre-parent years (they may choose not to have children after reading this book). Parents in the trenches, however, driving minivans filled with Happy Meal containers, discarded clothing and melted crayons, will find inspiration and understanding in I'm Counting to 10 . . .

To show their firsthand understanding of the subject, Beecham and Hillgartner confess their own parenting shortcomings ("There are times when I've served the kids cereal in bowls that I'm not quite sure have been cleaned or just licked clean by the dogs.") and share their reassuring discoveries ("At first we worried everything would kill him. Then we realized almost nothing could.").

I'm Counting to 10 . . . also offers clever tips from toilet training (pour blue cake decorating sprinkles in the toilet and dare your child to turn them green) to home improvement (let your kids make a game out of tearing off old wallpaper) to finding the perfect baby sitter (only hire sitters who have majored in nursing and child psychology, and minored in physical education and art ... and expect to pay them more than you earn).

Beecham and Hillgartner's stories help parents delight in their responsibilities through laughter and reflection. Perhaps you no longer pamper yourself or share candlelight dinners with your spouse, but you love the cute things your kids say and seeing them snuggled up comfortably after they're tucked in for the night.

I'm Counting to 10 . . . celebrates the messy art of parenting, helping adults who fear losing their mind, their dignity, and their hearing because of their kids. Beecham and Hillgartner uncover the universal truth that there is no right way to parent, and parenting experts don't need a Ph.D. Their only necessary titles are "Mom" and "Dad". Consider I'm Counting to 10 . . . the textbook, the owner's manual, for parents struggling to navigate the perils and appreciate the pleasures of raising children — and that, of course, includes all of us.

Author Biography: For over 20 years, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner have collaborated across a range of creative fields. Under the pen name Jahnna N. Malcolm, they have written over 80 books for young adults and children. Their most recent series, entitled The Jewel Kingdom, was a featured launch for Scholastic, Inc. Other series include Bad News Ballet, Zodiac, Rebel Angels and Hart & Soul. Recently, they co-founded Starcatcher Press, which publishes lively, funny books for young adults and children.

In the late 1990s, they wrote a weekly column titled "A Family Journal" featured on Sesame Street Online. They subsequently wrote a column, "The Jahnna and Malcolm Show," for Sesame Street Parents Magazine. They have compiled those columns, along with other writings, in their new book, I'm Counting to 10 . . .

Beecham and Hillgartner also are the co-founders and creative directors of Where We Live Productions, LLC, a film production company dedicated to family entertainment. The company's first film, The Ruby Princess Runs Away, for which Beecham and Hillgartner wrote the screenplay, was released direct to video in September 2000. Beecham also directed the film.

Currently working as the editorial directors and creative writers for Gateway Learning Company, Beecham and Hillgartner provide content for the "Hooked on School Success" interactive learning CD-ROM. They also wrote dialogue for The Learning Company's CD-ROM game, "The Babysitters Club 3rd & 4th Grade Adventures".

Fittingly, this creative couple was married on the stage of the Empty Space Theatre in Seattle, where they worked as actors. Their theatre work includes the musical Chaps! which, since its 1995 debut, has been produced by theatres around the country.

The parents of two school aged children, Beecham and Hillgartner live in Ashland, Oregon. They dream of one day cleaning out their mini van.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Originally published on Sesamestreet.com and in Sesame Street Parents Magazine, these forty-five short vignettes about parenting in the twenty-first century are meant to be comic relief rather than advice. The authors have taken everyday happenings in the life of child-rearing and exaggerated them somewhat to bring a smile to harried parents or would-be parents. Everything from breast-feeding to pets dying to the family vacation is treated with a jaundiced eye. If it can happen in a situation, it does in this book. Gone are the days when children were to be seen and not heard. Today's relaxed (make that often nonexistent) attitude toward who is rearing whom is spoofed, as well as life with harried parents who are both employed and trying to do it all. Take it along in the car on the family vacation. It will make ignoring the antics of the kids a little easier. 2001, Sorin Books, $12.95. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger
From The Critics
In I'm Counting To 10...: Hope And Humor For Frazzled Parents, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner effectively collaborate to present forty-five stories chronicling a year in the life of a slightly eccentric couple and their two children. Told in the voice of Jahnna, the mom, the stories ring as true as they are laced throughout with recognizable humor. I'm Counting To 10... is very highly recommended reading and soul restoring reading for any stressed out parent who has ever had their kid erupt with embarrassing behavior in church, at a restaurant, on a plane, in front of grandparents, friends, or strangers passing by.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893732254
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Club 9
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? 11
Losing It 14
The P Word 17
Great Expectations 20
Desperately Seeking Mary Poppins 23
In the Bleak Midwinter 26
It's My Potty and I'll Poop If I Want To 29
Don't Step on a Crack! 33
Home Improvement, Family Style 36
Friends Before Children 38
Thanks for the Mammaries 41
Slam, Dunk, and Roll 44
Frank 47
If You Are What You Eat--Then I Am a Compost Heap 50
Put on Your Shoes 53
Code Words 56
Happy Birthday, Baby! 58
The Art of Living 61
M Is for Me 64
The Joy of Cooking 67
Cleanliness Is Next to Impossible 70
The Pits Stop 72
What I Learned on Our Trip to Disneyland 74
Battle Scars 76
Out of the Mouths of Babes 79
Go, Big Green! 82
Cry Baby 84
Pet Cemetery 86
Funny Valentines 88
The Great Flood 90
Bye Bye, Blankie 93
Goodnight, Mrs. Hillgartner, Wherever You Are 95
Nightmare on Oak Street 97
The Best Laid Plans 100
Mother's Day Resolutions 102
Gross Out! 104
Less Is Less 107
Worst Aid 110
Star Soup 113
Boo Who? 115
Who Put the Magic in Markers? 118
Surprise Packages 121
Seeing Is Believing 123
Head 'em Up, Move 'em Out! 125
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