Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Dangerous Book for Moms

I bought The Dangerous Book for Boys as a gift for Jeff back when I was still pregnant. It bills itself as, "The perfect book for every boy from eight to eighty." It's filled with old school facts and activities designed for the male of the species. Jeff looked through it once and then the book took residence next to the bed in the to-be-read pile between a Dave Eggers thing and some Japanese graphic novel.

Bob1 pulled this book from the pile shortly after his second birthday. He loved the pictures of the bugs, and the fish, and the planets. He memorized the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the names of the cloud formations, and other bits of information that at his age were precocious and a little weird. If he managed to hold onto this knowledge until grade school it would charm teachers while simultaneously acting as an open invitation for other kids to beat him up.

Last week I was trying to help Bob dress for pre-school. He wriggled and shouted and refused to let go of the tape measure that he informed me he was using, "to measure your headache, Mama." I asked him why this had to be such a battle. He stopped moving, looked me in the eye and shook his head, "No Mama, this is not a battle. A real battle is the Battle of Cannae." I had no response to this other than the gut tightening I get when watching Jeopardy and I've never heard of the category, much less the actual question.

Page 55 of The Dangerous Book for Boys informed me that Cannae was a battle fought in 216BC between the Romans and the Carthaginians, or something. I sort of blacked out after the first few lines. I read enough to know that if this happens again, I will respond with, "Oh yeah? Well don't even get me started on the Punic wars Mr. Fancy Pants."

I do not know what the Punic wars are but it sounds dirty and I think I've just convinced all of us that Jeff will be the "homework parent."

1Bob is feeling so much better after the crazy night of barfing and howling and sweating and shivering. I am recovering from sleeping on a dog bed on the floor. Thanks for asking.


  1. Today the battle of Cannae, tomorrow trigonometry. I already can't keep up. If he's not too busy in March, do you think he could do my taxes?

  2. And now I'm torn as to whether I should get the book to expand my kids' horizons, or not because I hate when my preschoolers are smarter than I am.

  3. Sam knew so much stuff like that when he was 3. Now at age 8, nothing. It's kind of sad. But it did give me an edge if I ever get on Jeopardy and get the dinosaur or fighter jet category.

    Glad Bob's feeling better!

  4. First of all, I'm getting this book for my girls... there is nothing more fun than teaching your kids stuff that renders teeny voices squeaking, "Carthaginians". Or, "asshole". Second of all, I'm with you- I have thrown in teacher towel around here too. Terry is much better at engaging them in studies of stars and constellations, and whatnot. (Probably because he's actually interested in that stuff. My forte is Real Housewives trivia.) And lastly, I kid you not... we FOR REAL have a Dave Eggers book sandwiched between a Japanese graphic novel and a magazine next to our bed. I like the thought of us being alike.

  5. Sounds like a perfect book for my incredibly immature and nutty-about-facts boyfriend, The Boy.

    I have to ask: how did the name smacksy come about?

  6. Stillie - I'll have to answer that question in a future fascinating post... I need the time to make something up that might be interesting...