When Capital News columnist Shelley Nicholl started writing her witty, humour/opinion column, the kids weren’t even conceived of, let alone battling over the laundry as she tried to meet a deadline.
Somewhere between her jobs in Surrey, on the Island, and in the local Okanagan newspapers, though, her two daughters began to make their presence known, eventually dominating her print presence when she moved to the Okanagan Valley.
And with hopes of becoming a New York Times reporter, taking adventure vacations in Belize and eating gut-splittingly spicy curry—as she puts it—Sidney and Madison Smith became little celebrities of their own, in a big-fish-small-lake kind of way.
This suited her youngest, 13-year-old Madison, just fine and she’s pretty thrilled with the book her mother published this week, The Case for Having Children…and other assorted irrational ideas, as well.
“I think it’s really cool because, well, my mom wrote a book and I’m on the cover and one of my articles is in there and my mom’s very talented and she has good choice in children,” said Madison.
Ever the busy young woman herself, Madison admitted she hasn’t had time to read the entire book, but said she doesn’t really have to as she probably lived it anyway.
Her mother says the budding thespian/television star actually inspired the concept for this first published effort.
Looking at a MacLean’s Magazine cover story, The Case Against Having Kids, a couple of years back, Madison was more than a little horrified at the prospect of prospective parents declining to have children based on dollars and cents.
And so began the columns and anecdotes and other assorted tales that come together to form Nicholl’s first book.
Even the author admits adding Madison and her 18-year-old sister Sydney to her life was likely not her best career move or financial decision, but says that’s why this book is all about the other little things that happen along the road of life and the important role her kids have played in building her own happiness.
“When you think of all the things that happen with kids, it’s not logical, but you love your kids and they bring a lot to your life. They bring a lot of humour to your life and a lot of fun,” she said.
Pulling kids from the neighbourhood and friends both girls have had roaming the house for years into the project to use as illustrations, the book is punctuated by funny mugshots that just might remind you of your kids or the ones down the road.
“It’s just designed to kind of poke fun at being a parent,” said Nicholl. “If there is a moral message, it’s kind of: Lighten up—you’re doing a good job.”
And with chapters like “Surviving the family jungle” and “Dealing with labour issues” it’s sure to provide a few desperate parental types a few more ideas, and kids with a cheap and easy present this Mother’s Day.
The Case for Having Children…and other assorted irrational ideas is available at Mosaic Books on Bernard Avenue. A book signing will be held there this Saturday, April 30, from noon to 2 p.m.