Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Berenstain Bears for Grown-Ups

You’d have to live under a rock not to know of the Berenstain Bears books and TV shows. I’ve loved the Berenstain Bears ever since my teenagers were babies. I like the classic Bears (where Papa Bear is always a bumbling idiot) and the later Bears (where Brother and Sister always learn an important lesson). However, I recently learned that Stan and Jan Berenstain, creators of the Berenstain Bears, wrote some books for parents! I just read one of them called The Berenstains’ Baby Book: Advice for Parents from the Creators of the Berenstain Bears (ISBN 0-671-49629-8), and it’s hilarious! The Berenstains dispense advice on all kinds of subjects, including pregnancy, feeding, bedtime, first words, discipline, daycare, and much more. The book was published in 1983, so parts are dated, but it really doesn’t matter. The humor in this book remains fresh! Here’s some of the advice they offer:

Pregnancy: While you’ve been working through the final stages of your blimp impersonation, solicitous friends and relatives have kept your phone ringing off the wall. Your mother-in-law is convinced that the whole process is taking much too long and that your delaying tactics are for the specific purpose of embarrassing her.

Grandparents: The grandparent’s first impulse upon seeing the grandchild is to pick him up. It matters not that the child is happy in the crib, coach, or playpen. Nor does it matter that it required a supreme effort of stamina, will and native cunning to get him to lie there quietly in the first place. Up he’s snatched! Then, after a few minutes of knee dandling, Grandpa glances at his watch and discovers that he’d better hurry if he’s going to pick up Grandma in time to make the first show. . . . So, putting Baby back where he found him, he bids you adieu, but you don’t hear him over the mounting decibels from your infant.

Potty-Training: Bladder Control consists of putting the tot on the pot every hour on the hour. It also entails sponging up a puddle every hour on the hour, roughly two minutes after you take the child off the pot. Stated in its simplest terms, your objective is to get the puddle in the pot. The solution is largely a matter of sticking rigidly to a schedule and constantly keeping a weather eye squinted for signs of precipitation.

Undressing: At two and a half, your tot will probably try to remove socks by grabbing at the piggie end and pulling toward his face. He pulls and pulls. Nothing happens. Eventually his hand slips off and connects with his nose. After this, be sure to slip his socks off his heels for him when he’s in the mood to undress himself. Then when he grabs a handful of sock and yanks, he’ll get results: there will be a sock in his fist when it connects with his nose.

There’s even a brief fill-in-the-blank section at the end of the book with such humorous items as:
Smashed first priceless heirloom at ___ months.
First locked self in bathroom at ____ months.
Brought home first dead animal at ____ months.
First fist fight at ____ months. Who won? __________

The Berenstains’ Baby Book is also loaded with adorable classic Berenstain illustrations. This is my new favorite gift item for expectant parents. Parenting isn’t easy, but it helps when we can laugh at the many challenges and difficult stages. This book will bring out the chuckles in every parent.


  1. Hi Susan:
    That sounds hilarious! I will definitely pick it up for my next baby shower. Parenting is a lot messier and more ridiculous than most baby books will let on. For instance, if you are dressed your best and ready to leave for a cocktail party, that is PRECISELY the moment one of your kid siwll projectile vomit. It's like a law of pysics.


  2. Exactly. Or they place a ketchup-laced hand on your butt, unknown to you, until you get out in public and wonder why everyone's checking out your butt (and crying when you get home to discover it wasn't because they thought your butt looked great in those jeans you were wearing)! You gotta have a sense of humor when you're a parent!


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