Parents of young children get to do so many new and wonderful things, says Jason Good, author of “This Is Ridiculous This Is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists.” Things like: Brush someone’s teeth against his will. Put someone else’s toenail clippings in your pocket. Put someone in a Bob the Builder costume while fighting off diarrhea.
Good moved from New Jersey to Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood a year ago with his wife, dancer Lindsay Forsythe, and sons Silas and Arlo, now 6 and 4 years old respectively. The 42-year-old former stand-up comic and Web analytics manager for the New York Times parlayed a knack for self-deprecating humor and bemused insights on the toddler psyche into the blog JasonGood.net.
After the post “3 Minutes Inside the Head of My 2-year-old” went viral, Good got two publishing contracts, including one for this book, out just in time for Father’s Day. Other lists include “The Seven Stages of a Tantrum” (“It begins with an ominous, guttural moan”) and “What Annoying Parents Say ... and the Truth” (“My son just loves to eat raw chard.” Reality: He accidentally ate it because he thought it was lime-flavored candy, then cried himself to sleep while parent updated Facebook status to: “Baxter loves chard.”)
Q: How does your typical day begin?
A: As I’m getting the kids’ lunches together my wife asks me to do various things simultaneously and then pushes me out of the way because I’m taking too long. Now that it’s summer, our house is the neighborhood go-to, so I might look on the porch and see random kids playing with our Play-Doh even though my kids are inside. We’re always running out of juice. My wife used to want to live on a commune but now thinks this is enough.
Q: What is your own dad like? Were you a funny kid?
A: I grew up in Ohio, where my dad was a political science professor at Wesleyan. He was a huge character. His students would come over to the house just to hang out. I wanted to see what it was like to get that kind of attention so I started to do anything to make people laugh.
Q: Why did you stop doing stand-up?
A: I did comedy about five nights a week in New York for 12 years, but when the kids started piling up, I couldn’t do anything after 8:30 p.m. As a comedian, if you’re not already well established by the time you have kids, you’re done.
Q: Will you do a sequel on, say, the tween years?
A: Probably not. When kids are little they do such funny things that other parents can relate to, but once they get old enough to develop their own personalities I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about them.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: A couple of children’s books, one called “Must Push Buttons” based on that viral post, and a memoir about me and my father based on that period of alignment when you’re as old as your own dad was when you were 13 — when you’re old enough to understand more things about him and he’s not so old he no longer understands things. You’re both grown men with families and responsibilities, and if you’re lucky you can be friends.