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Laughing at your kids

Laughing at your kids

[photo of Leanne Shirtliffe]  Leanne Shirtliffe shares her adventures raising twins on her blog.

The scrapbook of the 21st century is a blog. And in keeping with the times, one Queen’s graduate and mother is making the most of new technology – for her kids, of course. If you are a young parent and want to know what antics your pre-schooler will be getting up to in the next couple of years, or if you have no children and are wondering what it would be like to have some, look no further than IronicMom.com.

“Ironic Mom” is Leanne Shirtliffe, Artsci’93, Ed’94, the mother of lively, almost-six-year-old twins Vivian and William. The scrapbook she started six months ago, IronicMom.com, is her third baby. “I first thought of starting a blog while I was sitting in the bathtub, enjoying a rare peaceful moment to myself, when Vivi and Will decided it was time for swimming lessons right then and there in the tub,” says Leanne. “That’s when I thought, you know, I need to write about this because one day I might just laugh about it.”

Facing double trouble daily, Leanne’s life motto is “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids.”

She writes about the challenges, joys and trials of guiding two rough-and-tumble children through the obstacle course that is the first few years of their lives. From the drama of getting H1N1 shots to the New Year’s resolutions of a five-year-old (“Read bedder”); from the cardinal rules of traveling with small children (“Tip 1: DON’T.”) to what she terms her “knuckleheaded parenting ideas”, there is something in the blog for everyone who appreciates a good laugh – mostly at the twins’ expense.

Leanne also digs out memories that go way back: her children were born and spent their first year in Bangkok, Thailand, so she tosses in the occasional spicy (and amusing) Asian anecdote.

“You never realize some of the crazy things you say to your kids—and some of the nutty stuff they say back to you—until you stop and think about the conversations you’re having,” says Leanne, who currently lives in Calgary, where she teaches English at a junior high school. She refers to Vivi and Will as “Exhibit A and Exhibit B”, “Alpha and Omega”, and sometimes, in a rant, “Thing 1 and Thing 2”. Her long-term literary plans include writing a book of parenting witticisms. The working title is Get That Train Off Your Penis—another set of words she never dreamed of combining in one sentence. Until she had kids.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2010-2 cover]