The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit

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9780743278379: The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit
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When does 1 + 1 = 3 (or more)? When you've got a baby on the way.

Part of that new math, says #1 New York Times bestselling author Jill Conner Browne—whom USA TODAY calls “just plain funny”—includes the addition of an outsize sense of humor to balance the equation of your growing family.

The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit is a hilarious (though not scientifically tested) wink at the time-honored mysteries of parenting, because anybody who has ever had a kid or has ever known one knows that the experience is neither fun nor profitable—so you might as well laugh!

As each generation begins its hopeful, happy, and, yes, sometimes harrowing journey as Parent and Child, together they spawn a new body of “knowledge,” the nuances of which will elude the Experts every time. Here are stories of the things we do for Mother Love—or, the most incredibly full-time volunteer job ever—and tips guaranteed not to be found in any other parenting guide.

-How to talk to a pregnant woman
-How the diamonds on delivery policy can speed up the labor nature intended
-Why a good mother is always adept at subterfuge
-The list of things you wouldn't think you would have to tell kids not to do
-Why mothers of sons can never retire
-Why, for parents, it's just a short drive to the poorhouse

The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit will have everyone who's ever been a parent—or has ever thought of becoming one—or has ever been a child—or is still one—giggling and grinning (no small feat) through those childbearing years...and beyond.

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About the Author:

Jill Conner Browne is the New York Times bestselling author of six Sweet Potato Queens books. She lives and writes on all things Queenly from Jackson, Mississippi.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

Holy Shit!

The Cutest Boy in the World is a Man Who Can Fix Things. The man can fix anything -- anything -- even if he broke it first, he can fix it. He can build anything, unclog anything, hang anything, patch anything, retool, replumb, and/or rewire anything. (This is only one of his many gifts -- but it's the one we're talking about at the moment. And the value of a man with the ability -- and willingness -- to fix things cannot be overstated.)

At times, even he is agog at his uncanny talent for fixing things -- especially when it comes to electrical stuff. He says that as many times as he has performed the (for him) simple act of, say, installing a new light fixture and switch -- he never ceases to be amazed when he flips the switch and the sumbitch actually works. This would be on account of Electricity is just a huge mystery of our universe. Yeah, yeah -- there are countless electrical engineers and other geeks who can explain till those proverbial bovines have their much-touted homecoming how it works, but nobody knows WHY. I mean, what a weird force of nature and how bizarre that we just take it for granted every minute of our lives -- we just accept that if we plug it in, it works. I swear, you could make yourself crazy if you spent much time contemplating it -- so don't -- just every once in a while allow yourself a much-deserved moment of "holy shit" when the lights do, in fact, come on.

Well, in my opinion, getting pregnant is just like that. From the time you are a fairly small human, you have heard tell of how this is accomplished -- and talk about bizarre. It is pretty earth-shattering news the first time you hear about it, no? But everybody pretty much knows what goes where and the potential outcome of it all, and on the surface it would seem to be pretty simple -- I mean, even the dumbest dog on the planet has figured it out on his own, so how hard could it be?

Why it works is the big fucking (excuse the pun) mystery. Conception is easy to explain, but copulation is mind-boggling, even to people who've been doing it for more than fifty years -- it is just such a weird thing to do with another person if you really stop to think about it. (Probably best if you don't, though -- could be off-putting. And it seems to me that the Creator of the Universe could have made the whole thing a bit more dignified -- but, then again, He could prolly tell right off that we were destined to take ourselves way too seriously and, boy hidee, is this ever a surefire remedy.)

When you first hear the news -- either in the corner of a school yard from a smug classmate who really does have the SCOOP of the century or from a squirming parent who would rather be set on fire than have this Discussion -- no matter where the info comes from, on one level you are completely floored, terrified, embarrassed, and confused, and on another level some part of your humanness just accepts it as fact.

More likely than not, no matter where your info comes from, the focus of it will be on CON-CEPTION and, more important, the fact that most of the rest of your life will be devoted to the CONTRA of it all -- what all can and should be done to avoid conceiving -- and we'll discuss the volumes of misinformation about that later.

But when somebody tells you about sex for the first time, they're not ever telling you with the thought in mind of helping you figure out how to get pregnant -- correctly surmising that, even though you're only ten, even you have got sense enough to know that you prolly oughta hold off on starting a family.

Nothing exists in the universe that can actually prepare you for that incredible moment in time when your very own eyes see that your very own personal urine has changed the color on that dipstick. You have been peeing since time began for you -- never giving it much thought at all except in unusual circumstances that could involve anything from dialysis to Porta Potties, or the lack thereof -- and now, all of a sudden, that regular pale warm stream that flows from your nether regions has delivered what is no less than the absolute Death Knell to what used to be your LIFE.

It matters not whether you are forty-five and have been hoping with nothing short of desperation to conceive or sixteen and utilizing nothing but desperate hope as your means of contraception -- that moment when you know with absolute certainty that you are, in fact, a Pregnant Woman -- I'd have to say it's the single Most Stunning Moment of Your Life. You've heard about it for years -- and you've been following the steps like every other creature on the planet and nothing has ever happened -- you've flipped that light switch to no avail for so long you've become accustomed to the dark, and now, all of a sudden, the same little flip of the same little switch has made some kind of cosmic connection and WHOOOO-DOGGIES, EVERY LIGHT IN THE HOUSE CAME ON!

HO-LY SHIT and then some! From this moment on nothing in your life will ever -- EVER -- EVER! -- be the same.

Who knew it would ever really work? I mean, I still don't actually believe that airplanes can fly -- I just suspend disbelief every time I get on one and somehow I magically end up in another place when I get off. It came as a complete and utter shock to me that my having sex would ever result in an actual baby, growing, even more shockingly, in me.

I was thirty-five when it happened to me for the first and only time. Now, suffice it to say that during my thirty-five trips around the sun I had also simultaneously made quite a few trips around The Block, so to speak, and not one of those trips had produced anything tangible. Truth be told, a whole big lot of 'em didn't produce much in the way of IN-tangibles either, but substandard sex, while disappointing, is not generally found to be life changing.

And then all of a sudden...I can't think of anything that sounds big enough to put here. It's like one of those other consequences your mother has threatened you with your entire life -- "Don't do that, you're gonna put your eye out" kinda thing. Parenthetically speaking, I had long wondered why the absolute Worst Case Scenario is Mother's only one. You never get a "Don't do that, you might get a bruise" -- no, it's always certain mutilation.

But we discovered that, quite often, really, Mama was Wrong. Out of her sight and supervision, we may not have exactly pushed the envelope, but we at least went up to the sticky part -- and none of the bad things Mama had warned about happened to us. We double-headed on our sister's bike and our toes did not get cut off in the spokes. We crossed the street from between parked cars and our heads were not smashed like pumpkins beneath the tires of the oncoming vehicles. We went into the deep end and did not drown -- even though our danger of same was compounded by the fact that it had been somewhat less than thirty minutes since we had eaten. We spoke to a stranger and he did not snatch us. We went to bed with our hair wet and we did not wake up with pneumonia.

How could this be? It seemed to us that Mama was just a big chicken who was afraid of absolutely everything and apparently did not know shit-diddly about anything.

Threats regarding anything to do with the opposite sex were no less foreboding. Our mamas didn't actually say it, but they certainly left us with the distinct impression that virtually any contact with a boy would lead immediately and forthwith to pregnancy -- not to mention insurmountable shame and utter degradation. That anybody ever had sex after such admonitions is purely a testament to just how reeeeally swell sex is.

A young Queen from Starkville, Mississippi, had her jets significantly cooled for a goodly spell by her mother's assurance that should a boy fondle the breasts of the young woman, milk would squirt out. Mothers, bless their hearts...best intentions in the world.

Eventually, most of us would come to test Mama's accuracy in this and other areas as well. We would find a boy we thought irresistible and kiss him till our collective lips nearly peeled off our faces. And 99 percent of us waited to see if we would, in fact, become pregnant. Such was the state of mis/disinformation we got from our mamas -- it was not unusual for a twelve- or thirteen-year-old girl to be worried a year after the kissing that she might one day just "turn up" pregnant.

People in the South are always -- to this very day -- "turning up" pregnant. Well, I say "people" -- it's really only ever women, even down here. But that term has served to confuse and alarm many a Southern teenager, I can attest. There was never any kind of time line attached to this turning up so as far as we knew -- the pregnancy could present itself at any time, without warning, and months, even years, after the childish act of supposed indiscretion.

But, as we now know, nobody ever turns up pregnant from kissing, and as that fact made itself known to us, we ventured out a bit farther on the, ahhh, limb and found it sturdy enough as well. For instance, French kissing. I had no idea what this was when, as a geeked-out seventh-grader, I first heard it mentioned in the girls' locker room at Peeples Junior High in Jackson, Mississippi. Confused and consumed with curiosity, I came dutifully home and asked my mother whatever could this French kissing thing be. And Mama looked very grave as she told me that it was "an invitation to a Lower Level." That was the sum total of the explanation I got for "French kissing." I went away and pondered on it for a while. My later attempts to extract from her any elaboration on the subject (for instance -- by "lower level," what did she mean? Lower on one's person? Or did it refer to one's social status that would no doubt be lowered if one accepted such an invitation -- see above re: pregnancy, shame, and degradation) yie...

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