Are you a mom of a toddler without a lot of time left to read? Then this might be the book for you. Even though it won’t be released until next month, ‘Go The Fuck To Sleep’ by Adam Mansbach has already hit the number one spot on Amazon’s best-sellers list.
Yesterday, the perfect inspiration for Pippa and the Kids arrived in a little package from The Netherlands. My high school friend who has been following my blog, sent me a book called “Black and (A)broad: traveling beyond the limitations of identity“. The author, Carolyn Vines, is a black woman, who left the US to live with her white Dutch boyfriend in The Netherlands.
Hmmm, wait a minute. Let’s turn around the colors and countries. Sounds pretty familiar to me.
When I set up this blog, the idea was not only to write about stuff that interests me, but also to write about my experiences as a Dutch mother and wife, raising a bicultural family in the US. So far, the latter has yet to be developed. But trust me, so far I have already experienced many cultural differences, which are dying to leave my head to come alive on screen.
In the meantime, I was just wondering…
To my American girls:
- Have you ever heard Dutch girls discussing the cut and carat of their diamond engagement ring?
- Have you ever heard of the word ‘gezellig’?
- Did you know bread and potatoes are not ‘evil food’?
To my Dutch girls:
- Have you ever been pregnant and able to pee in a clean bathroom, anywhere?
- Have you ever had a doorman?
- Have you ever chosen your job to meet your future husband?
Stay tuned for more…
Since the article “Why Chinese Moms Are Superior” was published in the Wall Street Journal in January, Tiger Mom Amy Chua appeared non-stop to speak at book stores and television shows. Every national newspaper wrote an article about the article (including NRC Handelsblad). Their readers let their voice be heard, as well. Wall Street Journal had never seen this many comments on an article as this time. A few nice ones among them, most of them plain rude, including death threats against Chua.
Meanwhile, her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been selling more copies every day. Good marketing Miss Tiger…
For my Dutch friends who missed all this:
Chu’s daughters were never allowed to:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
So now it’s my turn to write about her, because last night I went to see her speak at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side.
I might as well have bought a ticket to The Comedy Cellar. This woman is funny. Here’s part of an an excerpt she read to us. Chua, her husband Jed, and their two daughters Sophia and Lulu had just arrived in Moscow, and decided to start off their vacation in Russia with blinis and caviar.
When the caviar arrived – thirty U.S. dollars for a tiny receptacle – Lulu said, “Eww, gross,” and wouldn’t try it.
“Sophia, don’t take so much; leave some for the rest of us,” I snapped, then turned to my other daughter. “Lulu, you sound like an uncultured savage. Try the caviar. You can put a lot of sour cream on it.”
“That’s even worse,” Lulu said, and she made a shuddering gesture. “And don’t call me savage.”
“Don’t wreck the vacation for everyone, Lulu.”
“You’re the one wrecking it.”
I pushed the caviar toward Lulu. I ordered her to try one egg-one single egg.
“Why?” Lulu asked defiantly. “Why do you care so much? You can’t force me to eat something.”
I felt my temper rising. Could I not get Lulu to do even one tiny thing? “You’re behaving like a juvenile delinquent. Try one egg now.”
“I don’t want to,” said Lulu.
“Do it now, Lulu.”
“Amy,” Jed began diplomatically, “everyone’s tired. Why don’t we just-”
I broke in, “Do you know how sad and ashamed my parents would be if they saw this, Lulu-you publicly disobeying me? With that look on your face? You’re only hurting yourself. We’re in Russia, and you refuse to take caviar! You’re like a barbarian. And in case you think you’re a big rebel, you are completely ordinary. There is nothing more typical, more predictable, more common and low, than an American teenager who won’t try things. You’re boring, Lulu-boring.
Yes, it is extreme. And no, I hope not to ever call Mia or Elle an ‘uncultured savage’, a ‘barbarian’, or ‘more typical, more predictable, more common and low, than an American teenager’ (although, being an immigrant mom myself, like many so called ‘Tiger Moms’, I do fear the last one). Chua calls her book a memoir, a ‘how-not-to’ book, a book about regrets, and most of all a book that was meant to be funny. And aren’t extremes usually more funny? Doesn’t controversy sell? And although not meant as a parenting book, I’m convinced readers will be inspired by her style. If not by her extreme rules, it would be by changing the rules as she goes.
Until last night, having read only about the book, I wasn’t interested in reading it. However, after the Chua Show, I did hit the download button on my Kindle, this morning. Now let’s hope I won’t get death threats because I find her funny…