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Wanted: Parents to Interview for Two Forthcoming Books -- Sleep, Food

Monday, April 25, 2005
pen and pad of paper

I am excited to announce that I will be writing two new books this year:

(1) a sleep solutions book for parents of babies/toddlers/preschoolers and
(2) a food solutions book for parents of babies/toddlers/preschoolers.

I'm also going to be revising the Canadian editions of both The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books later in the year. More about that in a few months times.

At this point, I am looking for about 200 parents to interview for the sleep book and about 200 parents to interview for the food book. I'd really like to have a mix of both moms and dads and a mix of both Canadian and American parents (and possibly a handful of parents from other parts of the world, but not so many that my publisher will go bankrupt mailing out the free books to rural Botswana and other exotic locales), so it would be great if you could spread the word to other parents you know who would make great interview subjects:

    (1) really lively, funny, opinionated people with great stories to share and/or
    (2) your average mom or dad on the street who has had an extra challenging time with sleep and/or food issues with their child and who would love to tell the world how they survived!

To qualify for either of these book panels, the parent in question needs to have a child under the age of five.

What I'll be asking parents to do is to respond to six-to-eight questionnaires that are sent out over an approximately two-month period. The sleep book panel will run from approximately mid-May to mid-July and the food book panel will run from approximately mid-July to mid-September. Any of the first 200 people who sign up for each book panel and who respond to at least 75% of the questionnaires will receive a free copy of the book.

  • To volunteer for the sleep book panel, parents need to send me an e-mail message with a subject line that says sleep book.

  • To volunteer for the food book panel, parents need to send me an e-mail message with a subject line that says food book.

Their initial e-mail should state their name, their geographic location, the number and ages of their kids, and why they'd like to be part of the panel. (I'd just like to get a general sense of their parenting views and their approach to sleep/food issues.)

People who have served on my previous book panels tell me that they have enjoyed answering the questionnaires and being part of the book panel -- and they didn't even have the chance to get a free book. :-)

Hope to hear from you -- or your sister-in-law Jane, who hasn't slept since 2002 (the year the twins arrived) -- or your best friend Bob, who swears he'd let his toddler bring her potty to the dinner table if she'd promise to sit on it for more than 15 seconds so he could actually eat more than three bite of his dinner without having to hop up to chase after her.


May 1st postscript:
I still need about 100 parents for the sleep book and about 150 parents for the food book, so it's not too late to e-mail me about either book. Thanks to everyone who has e-mailed me so far. I've really enjoyed reading -- and responding to -- your e-mails.

July 15th postscript: The sleep book panel is just wrapping up, but I'm still looking for parents for the food book panel. Thanks to everyone who has emailed me about the food book panel in recent weeks. I have a huge backlog of emails to respond to, and will be responding to them as I get the food book panel up and running this week. Thank you so much for your patience!

August 29 postscript: The food book panel is now underway and I've got enough parents for that panel, too. (230+ of you. Wow!) I'll be looking for other parents for other projects over the fall and winter, however, so drop by again if you think you might be interested in being interviewed for a future book project.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:29 PM

The Inside Scoop: She's Marlavelous....and So Is Josephine

I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Marla, Josephine, and Josephine's Grandma Joan while I was speaking at the T.O. Kids Show yesterday. The only member of the family who missed out on our rendezvous was Dougie who managed to get left behind. (No need to panic. Unlike on previous occasions when he was seriously MIA, this time, Toronto's most famous stuffed pooch was merely left at home.)

The three of us dined at a remarkably nice cafeteria in the Toronto Congress Centre (you don't always luck out at these places), and Marla made homemade toys by tying together coffee lids with straws and other cafeteria objects, and Josephine nibbled her way through most food groups and then entertained herself by enchanting random strangers. (All in a day's work when you're 14 months old and unspeakably cute.)

Then, looking suspiciously like we were doing some sort of drug deal, we exchanged "the goods" -- Marla's prize package from the recent movie contest and the goodie bag she had put together for me.

List of contents for those who, like me, always have to know these things:

  • an original Dougie poster

  • a can of Luzianne coffee with chicory, which Marla tells me I will either love or hate (she is soooo honest!)

  • a Hello Josephine! birth announcement (how cool is THAT?!!!)

  • five lollypops in a bag (for bribing children, pumping up my blood-sugar at my computer, and/or because they are cool colors)

  • something neat looking that looks like a thistle in a jar (Marla?) and

  • a copy of the 1940 edition of Nicholson J. Eastman's Expectant Motherhood, which told pregnant women not to give up smoking during pregnancy for fear that they turn into "intolerable shrews."

  • a beautiful embroidered handkerchief depicting two girls on a teeter-totter (Marla and me!)

What a wonderful gift, Marla. Thank you.

And as for all you people who are wondering if Marla is indeed as wonderful as she sounds in her blog, and if Josephine is indeed even a fraction as cute, as intelligent, etc. as Marla claims, I feel compelled to blow their covers. Marla is more wonderful and Josephine is even cuter, more intelligent, etc. I had a blast hanging out with them and hope to do so again soon at Chez Dougie.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:05 PM

MIA: One Ann Douglas

Friday, April 22, 2005
It's nice that ThinkExist.com has decided that I'm famous enough to warrant my own quote page in their database. There are just two problems here:

  • they identify me as an "American pregnancy writer" (I'm Canadian)

  • the quote in question wasn't mine.

I'm going to ask that they track down the real Ann Douglas so that she can get proper credit for her timeless words. I don't imagine it's her or her or her or her. Who is this mystery Ann Douglas anyway?

| posted by Ann D @ 7:57 AM

Being Too Busy Pays Off!

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Sometimes being too busy can pay off in a big way. (Or at least it did for Neil and me this week.) We were too busy to sell tickets for the school fundraiser, so we ended up buying 29 out of the 30 tickets we had to sell ourselves. (Thanks, Lisa, for buying that ticket, btw.)

Anyway, I just found out that we won the grand prize, a Vermont Castings BBQ.

How cool is that?

| posted by Ann D @ 9:58 AM

T.O. Kids Show -- Time and Date Correction!

It turns out that I'm going to be at the T.O. Kids Show on Sunday at 1:00 pm, not on Saturday. Just wanted to give you a heads up so that you don't show up on the wrong day. (I know a couple of you were hoping to rendezvous with me at the show.)

| posted by Ann D @ 4:25 AM

Pregnancy after Infertility (article for WebMD)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I've been asked to write a short article on pregnancy after infertility for WebMD. I have an insanely tight deadline: I have to submit the piece by the end of the week. I am hoping to include a couple of comments from moms on the joys and challenges of pregnancy after infertility. You would need to be willing to be identified in the article (e.g., "Jane Doe, a Boston mother of one who is 26 weeks pregnant with her first child after five years of infertility treatments"). A pseudonmym is another possibility.

If you're interested in being interviewed, please e-mail me so that I can send you the questions ASAP. The questions will focus on why pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster ride for women who become pregnant after struggling with either primary or secondary infertility.

Note: Just as a bit of background, I experienced PCOS prior to conceiving my first child. Then, after my third child was born, I experienced both a miscarriage and a stillbirth before giving birth to my youngest child. So I've had some first-hand experience with the simultaneous joy/panic reaction that can come with seeing the pregnancy test come back positive and wondering if it's too good to be true.


Postscript on Thursday morning: I think I have enough moms to interview at this point, and I need to start writing the piece this afternoon. Thank you so much to everyone who responded. I'm still responding to some of the e-mails I received. If you e-mailed me and you don't hear back from me by noon today, could you please re-send your e-mail? Thanks.

Also: I'm going to be looking for moms to interview for some upcoming book projects very soon. Stay tuned!

| posted by Ann D @ 9:25 PM

London, Toronto, and Ottawa Events

Monday, April 18, 2005
chapters indigo logo

If you live near London, Ontario, why not plan to head to the London North Chapters Store on Wednesday morning to hear me speak about four things that parents can do to tip the health roulette wheel in their kids' favor. The event is being held in conjunction with National Immunization Awareness Week, which runs from April 24 to 30th this year. My presentation begins at 11 am and will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing.

I'll also be at the Indigo store at Yorkdale in Toronto on Tuesday, April 26 at 11 am and the Chapters store at Pinecrest in Ottawa on Thursday, April 28 at 11 am. I'll be speaking on the same topic and following the same event format.

Hope to have the chance to meet some of my fellow bloggers. (I've already heard from one very fun blogger who's planning to come out to the Ottawa event. Can't wait to meet her!)


P.S. You can torture me to try to find out the identify of said blogger but I won't spill the beans for fear of jinxing our rendezvous. You will have to wait until after my Ottawa event to find out who the Mystery Blogger is.

| posted by Ann D @ 6:30 PM

And the Winner Is....

I've had a fabulous time judging the entries from the movie moms and movie dads contest.

When I first announced the contest, I had intended to offer a single prize for the best entry, but once I started reading the entries, I realized I'd have to offer three prizes at a minimum. When I read over the final entries tonight, I expanded that to four.

Each of the following winners will receive their choice of one of the books in my The Mother of All Books ® series plus some soap and bath salts. (E-mail me privately to claim your prize.)

This was a really tough contest to judge. I wish I could have given a prize to each and every one of you. Hey, maybe I'll offer some consolation prizes.... If anyone else who entered before the deadline would like a The Mother of All ® postcard, mini-book, and a few other goodies from me, just let me know.


| posted by Ann D @ 3:52 AM

This End-of-Week Panic Attack is Brought to You By....

Friday, April 15, 2005
....the woman buried under the pile of paper.

I really need my Administrative Fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand and make all the paperwork in my life disappear in a puff of smoke. (Okay, it doesn't have to actually go up in flames, since the people at the tax department insist that I keep most of this paperwork for seven years. So let's say that she somehow finds a way to deal with each piece of paper and file it in its proper place with a wave of that magic wand.)

Question for the Universe, or anyone who happens to swing by this blog: If it's Friday, how come I'm feeling kind of frantic about the fact that the weekend is almost here? Maybe it's because I've barely made any headway on this week's to do list at all and the week has already slipped away.

Anyone else ever feel this way?


Don't forget that today's the last day to enter my movie moms and movie dads contest. You'll hate yourself if you don't enter, so do it now.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:34 PM

DIY Decorating, Seven-Year-Old Style

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The seven-year-old has decided to cover up the fish wallpaper in his room with Garfield comic strips that he printed off the Internet. I got a bit of a shock the first time I walked in his room and discovered that an entire wall of black-and-white comic strips had engulfed about an 8' x 8' square of what used to be fish wallpaper. Well, I guess I can't blame him for finally deciding he couldn't sleep in the midst of a bunch of perpetually cheerful cartoon fish one day longer. I probably would have done the same thing.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:04 AM

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books is Coming on Audio Book!

Monday, April 11, 2005
I got some very exciting news this afternoon: The Mother of All Pregnancy Books is going to be released as an audio book later this year!

| posted by Ann D @ 9:36 PM

Drama Mamas

I'm always amazed and inspired to see how many different ways moms find to translate their thoughts and feelings about motherhood into different art forms and mediums.

Earlier this morning, I stumbled across the website of the Drama Mamas, a California-based theater group that focuses on parenting-related themes. Their first production was Stretch Marks: Growing into Motherhood. Now they're collecting stories for their second play, which will focus on a couple's perspective on parenting.

And on a similar note, Halifax Director Tessa Mendel and Playwright Joanne Miller have been working on The Motherhood Project: Nobody Told Us What It Would Be Like! -- a theatre workshop project designed to bring mother's stories to the stage.

And, of course, there's a thriving mom comedy genre. The Momologues, Mum's the Word, and The Mommies, are just a few examples of successful mom comedy acts/plays that have arrived on the scene in recent years. (Of course, The Mommies managed to take their act from stand-up to TV and into the world of books, too.)

So on those days when you feel like you're switching into drama queen mode or that your life is truly made for TV, why not pound out a few pages on your keyboard and capture that moment of mothering insanity for posterity? Whether or not those pages ever make it on to the desk of a big Hollywood producer, you'll have captured one of those slice of life moments in your mothering career (a moment you may someday look back on with the fondness that a decade or two of distance can provide).

| posted by Ann D @ 9:09 AM

Extreme Ironing

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Extreme ironing has to be the strangest sport on the planet.

I always knew there was a reason why I chose to put a safe distance between myself and the ironing board.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:35 PM

Nanci's "Baby" is Here!

Friday, April 08, 2005
mombo CD

The Now You MOMbo! 4 CD set is out. I am featured in the interview about pregnancy. Congratulations to producer Nanci Olesen for giving birth to her CD collection after two years of hard labor.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:12 PM

Okay, Dahlings....

Thursday, April 07, 2005
movie diva

It's movie day, here at the Mother of All Blogs. We're going to head to the movies (yes, I'm buying the popcorn) and play amateur film critic. What I'd like you to do is come up with your nominees in one or more of the following categories:

  • meanest movie mom ever

  • meanest movie dad ever

  • best movie mom ever

  • best movie dad ever

  • most nauseating movie mom ever

  • most nauseating movie dad ever

  • the film character who most reminds you of yourself -- and why.

Because these blogging entries could get a little long, it would probably be best if you blogged on your own site and simply posted the link below so that the rest of us can check out your answers. (Of course, if your answer is really short, you can post it here. Whatever works for you.)

Did I mention that there are prizes?

In addition to sending you a box of popcorn (hey, I told you I was buying), I will send you

  • a signed copy of your choice of any book in my THE MOTHER OF ALL ® book series

  • some soap that is manufactured by a boutique here in my hometown and that is truly to-die-for

  • some luxurious bath salts so that you can have a nice relaxing bath (The Mother of All Blogger's favorite way to unwind after a day of chugging coffee).

I will be judging the entries based on creativity.

You can enter up from now until midnight ET on April 15th. (A note to my American friends: This is way more fun than doing your taxes, so put down that calculator right now!)

I'll announce the winner on Sunday, April 17th.

So toss on your feather boas and get ready to hit the theatre....

| posted by Ann D @ 1:15 PM

Ontario Bookstore Events: Ancaster, London, Toronto, Ottawa

chapters indigo logo

I'm going to be at the Chapters store in Ancaster on Mon. April. 18 at 11 am and the Chapters store in North London on Wed. April 20 at 11 am. The following week, I'll be at the Indigo store at Yorkdale in Toronto (Tuesday, April 26, 11:00 a.m.) and at the Chapters Pinecrest store in Ottawa (Thursday, April 28, 11:00 a.m.) I am going to be speaking on child health -- specifically the things parents can do to tip the health roulette wheel in their kids' favour. The events are in support of National Immunization Awareness Week, which runs from April 24 to April 30.) I'll be doing a question and answer session and a book signing at each location. If you're in the area, I hope you'll drop by to say hello. I'd love to meet some of my fellow bloggers.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:29 PM

Luckily, We Don't Have to Visit the Dentist This Week

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
When my seven year old got up this morning, I noticed something distinctly different about his smile. His teeth were pink. Bright pink. Crayola marker pink. He'd decided to colour his teeth after he went to bed last night.

I was able to get most of the marker off while I was brushing his teeth, but he still looks like he has an advanced case of gingivitis.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:08 AM

Mom University: Ayun Halliday, The Big Rumpus

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
the big rumpus

The next Mom University interview features the inimitable Ayun Halliday, author of The Big Rumpus: A Mother's Tale from the Trenches. These days, Ayun's on tour for her latest book, Job Hopper: The Checkered Career of a Down-Market Dilettante -- a wild romp along her colorful career path to date.

When I invited Ayun to choose a piece of her work for us to chat about, she chose this excerpt from The Big Rumpus. The excerpt -- entitled "The Chopping Block" -- talks about the big fight she and her husband Greg had about their baby-to-be's looming circumcision.

Ann: When did you write this?

Ayun: I wrote this as a chapter in my first book, The Big Rumpus. [I probably wrote it] in the spring of 01. (i turned in the manuscript Sept 10, 2001, and the next day everything I wrote didn't seem the slightest bit humorous anymore.)

Ann: What's the story behind the story?

Ayun: The circumcision argument was perhaps the highest stakes fight Greg and I had ever had -- and possibly remains THE biggest fight we ever had over a child of ours -- and the kid hadn't even been born yet! and when she was, she was a GIRL! The circumcision debate interests me because up until recently there WAS no debate. It interests me that cutting off a part of another person's body (with very little to no anesthetic) was once barely considered: it was simply the done thing. (I guess the people who DID give the action a lot of thought were the ones locked and loaded to do it because of religious custom.) Where I live in NYC, this is no longer true, but boy, it can really stir up a hornet's nests of accusations and bad feelings on both sides of the 'debate'.

Ann: Why did you pick this particular excerpt of your writing?

Ayun: Well, i was going to send another that's o the website of the recently
pulished anthology, Secrets and Confidences, but I saw that that is just an excerpt and without the end, it's a bit of a fizzle. And the one that started my career has disappeared from Hipmama after the equivalent of a good long run, but I've always felt a great fondness for this piece.

Ann: Is there anything else you want to say?

Ayun: Dare to be Heinie!

You can find out more about Ayun's work by visiting ayunhalliday.com.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:49 AM

Literary Mama Has Its Own Blog!

Monday, April 04, 2005
Congratulations to Literary Mama on the launch of its brand new blog.

| posted by Ann D @ 6:12 PM

Purse Payback

Sunday, April 03, 2005
Blogger keeps losing pieces of my template. I am assuming this is cosmic retribution for my recent overindulgence at Winners. Do I have a finely honed conscience or what?

| posted by Ann D @ 4:01 PM

Are You Somniferous Yet? It's Almost Palang Time....

Does your child look at you like you're speaking a different language when you tell him it's time to go to bed? Maybe you should crib some bed lingo from Miss Abigail, advice whiz extraordinaire. In this selection entitled How to Invite Somebody to Bed, she quotes from a 1946 manners guide called Bed Manners, and Better Bed Manners:

What you need, to refresh your way of speaking, are some good, reliable words that mean "bed." A short list includes bunk, berth, pallet, crib, cot, shakedown, lit (French) and palang (Hindu). Then you want a few good words that mean "lie down," "yawn," "snore," "take a rest," and so forth. You might trust the dictionary, but never trust a dictionary too far. Or you will find yourself saying to some startled person, who never went to school in Boston, something that he or she won't understand.

"I am somniferous. Are you statuvolvent? Shall we oscitate in our palang?"

| posted by Ann D @ 2:26 PM

CSI: Raticide

Saturday, April 02, 2005
I think I have a hot new concept to pitch to the producers of CSI.

CSI: Raticide.

We just had a second pet rat die under highly suspicious circumstances.

In both cases, the victim was alone in the cage with the perpetrator.

In the first case, the victim's corpse was chewed almost beyond recognition.

In the second case, we were able to intervene before the corpse was mutilated quite so badly.

We are clearly sharing out home with a murderer.


My apologies to anyone who was eating/drinking while reading this post.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:01 PM

From GST Flu to Handbag Heaven

I now have scientific evidence to prove that doing your GST return can make you ill.

After staying up until 2:45 am Thursday morning to get the dreaded thing finished (it was due that day), I managed to develop a seriously rotten head cold.

This was not good because I had to head to Toronto that night for meetings at Invest in Kids. I am sure each and every person who was locked up in the meeting room with me yesterday appreciated having me arrive with my own stash of Kleenex and cough drops -- to say nothing of the germs I no doubt shared with everyone else around the table.

I arrived home last night after making a quick pitstop in the purse department at Winners -- a preferred purse shopping destination of fellow handbag aficionado Jen. (All work and no play makes Ann a dull girl, so a purse pitstop seemed to be in order.) At one point, I was holding so many purses that one of the store clerks came to my rescue by rushing over with a shopping cart. (I naively assumed when I entered the store that I wouldn't need one. As if.) Anyway, I left the store with

  • a lime green leather purse (the crown jewel of my shopping trip)

  • a lime green woven purse with rattan flowers

  • an orange woven purse with a huge orange gauze flower with a lime green petal

  • a pink vinyl purse that's covered with shiny pink "jewels"

  • a black and white purse with metal studs and chains that's funky enough that my teenage daughter thinks she may want to borrow it (however, it's not quite cool enough that she actually wants to own it: I offered to give it to her).

Yes, it is insane that I picked up more purses in one evening than I typically purchase over a two-year period, but all I can say in my defense is that

  • I need a new purse because my favorite purse (the purse with the green polka dots) has a small hole in one corner. To preserve it, I need to transfer it to the purse archive sooner rather than later.

  • the purse pickings were exceptional

  • the prices were phenomenal (most were in the $12-$19 range, but one purse cost considerably more; can't say how much because my Dad reads this blog and he would be horrified by how much I spent on the green leather purse)

  • the colors were irresistible

  • I was Starbucks-deprived (hadn't had a cup of decent coffee in over 24 hrs.)

Anyway, I wish I could say that the purse therapy cured my GST sickness, but I'm still nursing The Mother of All Head Colds. (If anyone tries to phone me, I sound like a three-year-old with a bad cough -- a very sultry effect.)

So am I looking forward to diving into my personal tax return? Oh you betcha!

| posted by Ann D @ 11:22 AM