Whitney Dineen is a mother, a daughter, a wife and a Costco addict. In this collection of essays she captures the heartbreak of struggling to get pregnant, multiple miscarriages and postpartum depression following the birth of her two daughters. She delves into the real world of being a mother in middle age, from trying to teach her daughters the bounty of their lives, by explaining there were no computers, stickers or dollar trees when she was a kid to trying to relate Pong to game apps on an Ipad. These fun to read short essays are perfect to have on hand for the three minutes a new mom may have to themselves in the day.
I very much enjoyed this book. Living in the Pacific Northwest I was able to connect more with some of her stories, especially her frustration at the snow days that racked up last winter. Perhaps my favorite story was the tale of her mothers post dentist, narcotic fueled joyride through Costco on a motorized cart. The author easily pulls you into her life and immerses you in the joys of raising young children. Her bold confrontation of reality versus expectation and the real struggles that come along with life’s greatest joys brought me to tears from laughter.
5 out of 5 stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband.
During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor. Her first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite awards. Her second, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, is a finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards, won a silver medal at the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Awards and won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival. Her third chick-lit book, Mimi Plus Two, is causing all kinds of controversy and who the heck knows where it will land. Although, it was a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Awards and a Runner-Up at the London Book Festival.
In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers. The first two books in her series, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory and Who the Heck is Harvey Stingle? are both available now. Book three, Beware of the Basement, is due to be released in the spring of 2017.
Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Calling a Spade a Spade
I grew up in a household where girl parts were called vaginas, boy
parts were called penises and pooping was called a bowel
movement. My parents believed in calling a spade a spade. There
was no mystical voodoo surrounding these perfectly natural parts
Imagine my surprise when I met and married my husband, only
to learn these ordinary words were taboo to him. In his puritanical
Victorian thinking, girl parts were girl parts, boy parts were boy
parts, and pooping was ding ding. No, I’m not kidding.
When we had children, I was unyielding that our daughters
learn the proper terms for both body parts and functions. He was
equally adamant they hear some watered-down version of the
truth. After much heated discussion, I finally agreed to let him
have his way, but only while the girls were very young. As
questions arose and curiosity developed, I vowed to arm them
with the correct scientific words. A sort of truce was called.
During the potty-training years, Margery came up with her
own terminology. She pottied out of her front door and pooped
out of her back door. This jargon stuck in our household. I
recently had a discussion with both girls where I introduced the
correct terms for their female bits. Both were pretty nonchalant
about the whole thing. They didn’t have any questions so we
seamlessly moved on to watching a show on the mating rituals
I hope to always be open and honest with my children, even
if they venture into uncomfortable territory. From my
recollection, seventh grade seemed to be the age I hit my mom
with all kinds of forthright queries. For instance at the lunch
table, the boys began throwing around the word, “dildo,” like it
was the best word they’d ever heard.
When I got home from school one day, I asked my mom
what a dildo was. Without a blink, raised eyebrow, or demand
to know where I’d heard such a filthy word, she seamlessly
responded, “A dildo is a fake penis, honey.”
Wow, awkward. I dropped the subject right then and there.
While I wanted to know more, like, what in the heck do you do
with a fake penis? Who thought up such a crazy idea? And where
in the world would you buy something like this? It felt like a
change of subject was the best course of action.
Not too long afterwards, I asked her about the word douche.
It seemed when the boys weren’t calling each other dildos, they
were busy referring to each other as douches. My mom’s
explanation that a douche was a female hygiene product, did very
little to enlighten me on the reason this term was being bandied
about so often and apparently, incorrectly.
A couple months later, I inquired what it felt like to have an
orgasm. My mom thought for a minute before responding, “It’s
like having an itch and getting it good and scratched.” Needless
to say, I scratched my arm bloody that year and just didn’t get
what the big deal was.
I hope I can be as cool and informative as my mom was. I
mean, no one wants to talk to their children about this stuff, but
what an honor if your kids are comfortable enough with you to
ask you anything.
Margery and Hope’s cousin, Nikki, introduced them to the
word “wiener” last summer. OMG, they took to it with such
wild abandon I had to threaten them daily with, “If I hear the
word wiener one more time, I’m going to take away sweets for
the entire summer! NO MORE WIENERS!”
Then the son of one of my friends lost his swimming trunks
at the pool. This was the girls’ first sight of a boy’s business and
a slew of conversation ensued. Margery demanded to know why
that “little bit of stuff” on the front of a boy was called a wiener.
She insisted on knowing where the term came from. I did my
best to explain.
I’m not looking forward to all the uncomfortable dialogue
ahead, but I darn well plan on having it. After all, nothing can
be as bad as the summer of the wiener.