Am I really asking you to click from THIS blog to ANOTHER blog?
You bet your butt I am!
Frazzled & Fantastic: Writing While Mom is full of oft-hilarious essays on mom-life, plus nerding out about picture book — including features like “Name that Bird” where I attempt to assign a real bird species to a stylized picture book bird illustration.
I hope you check it out!
Let's face it: picture books are the best books. Not only that, but we are living in a new golden age of picture books. With works like The Most Magnificent Thing, Henry Finch, The Book of Mistakes, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, The Wompananny Witches Make One Mean Pizza, Noisy Night, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, How to Make Friends with a Ghost ohmygoodnessicouldgoonforever out there to be read and loved, who wouldn't want in on the Kid Lit world?
I know I do.
For the past few years I've beeb learning, studying, and — yes — obsessing over picture books. I'm a New England Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (NESCBWI) member, part of a delightful critique group, and basically here for anything picture book related. I'M HERE FOR IT!
And now it's time to take the plunge. I've completed several picture book manuscripts (described below) and I am actively seeking representation. If you'd like to read any these titles, just let me know!
Picture Books Forever.
My Dad's Mustache is Missing!
Fiction, 550 words
Saffi is used to finding the things her parents misplace. But when Dad's mustache disappears, can her super sleuthing skills save the day? Or will Dad look like a baby-faced potato-head forever?
I Love You, Groundhog Poopsie Pants
Fiction, 375 words
When an extroverted boy attempts to befriend a super-shy groundhog, he must rethink what it means to be a good friend.
Do Goats Sit Like This?
Informational Fiction, 392 words
Only this book dares to ask if goats sit crisscross applesauce, if fish swim with floaties, if bees dance in conga lines, and other seriously silly scientific inquiries.
Capybara's Busy Day
Fiction, 138 words
Capybara (the world's chillest giant rodent) is on a mission to cuddle with every animal in the Amazon — until one grumpy Harpy Eagle gets in her way.
When I Was a Kid in the 90's
Fictionalized Memoir, 544 words
When I was a kid in the ‘90s, life was real chill and fresh. I ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and danced the Macarena. I played hacky sack wearing a Girl Power tee-shirt. I earned enough tickets shooting ski ball to win a ceramic unicorn. Being a kid in the ‘90s was all that and a bag of chips – even as I started to realize the world could be a troubling place.
Be A Bird Nerd
Informational Fiction, 420
Narrated by an enthusiastic eight-year-old bird nerd (think Fancy Nancy meets John Audubon) in simple, quirky rhymes, BE A BIRD NERD shares tips on how to identify 48 common species based on field marks, songs & calls, diets, environments and more – even answering the question: do some birds have mustaches? (Hint: Yes. And they look GREAT.)
My latest essay for parent.co called "I Refuse to Believe That Your Baby Sleeps in a Crib" blows the top off the conspiracy to convince innocent parents that babies actually, you know, sleep in cribs, and so far my fellow parents are loving it.
As of this writing, the post has been shared over 10,000 times! I'm so delighted that people are enjoying my (totally serious) truth bombs. Check it out yourself here.
Happy New Year! THANK GOD.
Still, 2016 wasn't all bad. First of all, Justin and I wrote a script for the sensatinal PBS KIDS show "Nature Cat." We are extremely proud of this project and delighted to contribute to one of the best kid shows on TV.
Second, I started contributing essays to the bombastic parenting site, Romper.com! Here's my first piece, about how much I hate Hatchimals.
Here's to more fun and more work in 2017.
I'm so happy to announce that I'm now a contributing writer for the excellent online publication Parent.co. I've been following their really interesting, entertaining, and informative stuff for a while now and was thrilled to be asked to join the family. Check out my first piece here: One Day of Maternity Leave in a Tiny Apartment.
This is the first thing I've written and sold since becoming a mother of two.
I'd write about it all with even more enthusiasm if I wasn't on 4 hours of sleep from a precocious 8 1/5 month old.
I recently started freelancing for the fabulous mommy newsletter and website, StrollerTraffic (http://strollertraffic.com). It covers events, dining, activities and more for Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and LA. Sign up for the newsletter and check out what's happening - and you might occasionally read something I wrote like this and this.
Everyone has a friend with a special, hidden talent. Some can open a bottle with their teeth. Some are fantastic at getting you to lend them money. But my friend’s secret talent is better then all of your friends’ because it has to do with babies. And everyone loves babies.
Today, we reveal her astonishing gift to the world so that she finally receives the admiration and awe she so deserves.
Phaea Crede: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Becca Jones, Baby Psychic: I live in NYC (Queens), currently work on the office-end of a self-help company for women, am an armchair psychiatrist, a wannabe psychic and sometimes performer/writer. I love nachos...pretty much any food covered in cheese, cheese in general and margaritas.
PC: What is this amazing skill that you possess when it comes to babies?
BJBP: It's pretty simple. I can accurately predict what gender a baby of my pregnant friends will be before the sex is officially determined.
PC: How many babies’ genders have you correctly guessed?
BJBP: Not sure...somewhere around 10 – 12, I think.
PC: My son, Harvey, is included in this list of correct guesses. I remember the day you told me. You just backed up a little, studied my bump, and predicted boy. Have you ever gotten any wrong?
BJBP: Not yet! But clearly I haven't been tested too much yet.
The most difficult one for me to determine beforehand was my nephew, Bo, I went back and forth with him. Ultimately, I changed my guess (correctly) to boy as they were headed to get the ultrasound. Maybe I had a hard time with that one because it was family and I was too connected.
PC: Who was the first baby whose gender your correctly guessed?
BJBP: My friend Meg's baby, Madison. I predicted that she would be a girl.
PC: Did you suspect that you had a special gift then?
BJBP: Nope. In fact I'm still somewhat skeptical that it's a gift or just lucky/informed guesses.*
*PC note. It is a gift. A magical gift. She is too modest.
PC: How do you know a babies gender before they are born? What’s the secret?
BJBP: I usually have to look at the mom-to-be's belly. I heard somewhere that if a woman is carrying low, it's a girl and if they are carrying high it's a boy. So that's how it started. That method works surprisingly well.
I also base it a bit on gut instinct/intuition. Recently (with you) I thought you already told me that you were having a girl, but then you told me that you hadn't found out the gender yet. So that time it was either intuition or a lucky guess.
PC: You diagnosed me with a girl after I told you I was sicker this time around…it might have even been over texts.
BJBP: Oh yes! Forgot about that!
Another part of my theory is that girls give you worse morning sickness. So if someone is super barfy - it's one of my indicators that it may be a girl (but not always).
PC: Are any other tricks to predicting baby genders?
BJBP: If the mom-to-be's nose looks like it has widened - I tend to think it's a girl.
PC: Do you think this is something that could be taught?
BJBP: Sure. It's not that difficult to tell if someone is carrying high or low. Though with some people it is harder to differentiate.
PC: Would you ever charge for this amazing service?
BJBP: No. Especially since people can just get an ultrasound a few months before baby is born to figure out the gender pretty definitively.
PC: Has anyone named his or her baby after you?
BJBP: No. Though I tried and failed to persuade you to name Harvey after me.
Becca Jones is not available for consultations at this time. But she will be launching a cheese-related web project soon. We will link it here when its available for mass consumption.
Do you like the Internet? Sure you do! Are you a mom? No? Well that's okay, too. You'll still love reading my latest work for the INCREDIBLE website dailydot.com (all about Internet news and shenanigans) focusing on online moms and how they be.
Check out my first two articles here (about cloth diaper swapping) and here (about hating other moms through meetup.com)
I'm delighted to announce that everyone's favorite Boston-based free parenting magazine, Boston Parent's Paper, has published my essay "Just the Two of Us", (a HILARIOUS rundown on how hard parenting with myself can be) in the January issue. I am very happy to be included in a truly great publication. Make sure to pick up a copy when you go to Stop & Shop on your way home tonight. Or, check out my stuff and the rest of the great parenting content here:
Parent on, parents.
For the first time in my life I have a hobby. I've tried in the past to get into yoga or crocheting or baking, but nothing ever seemed to stick. I mean, I liked doing each of these things once in a while, but hobbies, to me, are a chance to really take a deep dive into something non-essential (like baking is) and that you really enjoy. Finally, I discovered birds. I mean, they had always been there, but I discovered that if you looked out a window or walked around a park you could see a lot of them. A pair of binoculars and an Audubon book later, and I discovered that there were lots of different birds and that they were awesome. Birding (not bird watching, if you please) is the best hobby in the world if you, first of all, like birds, and then: 1) don't like moving much 2) like the idea of feeling accomplished just by seeing something with your eyes 3) like to spout off a bunch of jargon and bird names whenever possible. For me, this hobby is a total win.
Having a toddler and a full-time job, I don't really get to spend as much time as I'd like birding. But in these circumstance one must make time when one can, and for me that's often during my lunch break in the woods around my office park. Being Winter, I always see tons of nuthatches, titmice, juncos, blue jays, and chickadees fliting around. Chickadees (of the black-capped variety) are the best because very often you can get them to eat sunflower seeds out of your hand, and I assure you that the feeling of their nervous little claws on my palm is about as exciting as my life gets. And I'm not dissing my life either. I have a great life. But literally my favorite thing in the world to do is to get a chickadee, or a nuthatch (!), to eat out of my hand.
So obviously I started carrying seeds in my pocket to the office, just in case. I saw this was mildly insane behavior, but it just made sense because then I could pop outside when there was a lull in work and stalk chickadees in the wooded island that the upper parking lot surrounds.
Creeping around in such a manner is not normal. I'm not sure if I even need to say that. No one else does this kind of thing at my office, and as much as I eager to interact with the chickadees, I am always super aware of how nutty I might look, stalking through what is clearly meant to be a decorative wooded area and thrusting a handful of seeds into the air. The one thing that keeps me from totally worryinh about what people might think is that I am sort of cute (in an adowable way, not in a hot way. Maybe there is a person out there who thinks, "Look at that grown woman traipsing into the office park woods looking for birds to be her friends. She's sure attractive!") Bright pink coat, silly hat, cheerful attitude. More like: "Aw! Look at her! She's so cute! She sure loves her birds!" If I were dressed in a dirty black duster and a ski mask, maybe it would be a little more off-putting, but I aim for adorably eclectic, perhaps a little simple, and I don't worry so much.
Then yesterday I kicked it up a notch. After successfully calling a cardinal into my yard with a pre-recorded cardinal song, because of course I did, I hit bird island with a chickadee song posed to play on an app on my phone***, because of course I have that, and found myself standing with a handful of birdseed and a cellphone loudly playing "chicka-dee-dee-dee!" over and over again. I took a moment to step outside of myself and take in this picture from an objective standpoint and quickly came to the conclusion that I looked batshit crazy. And people were walking by as I did this, mind you - the Fedex guy, some dude from my office I don't know - they all saw me doing this. And the damn chickadees were not buying what I was selling at all. They stayed far away for the lunatic in the pink puffer jacker and the pre-recorded call, because of course they did.
Some people would call it quits at this point both from a "looking insane" and a "the chicadees don't really want to be your friend, bro" angle, but once one goes down the rabbit hole of crazy, there's really no reason to come out. So I will continue to bird in the parking lot, and even if the chickadees never come, at least I think I'm cute.
*** I just talked to the folks at Mass Audubon, specifically the Important Bird Program, and they said don't play recordings of birds to attract birds. It's not safe for the birds! Also, you might be swearing at them and you wouldn't know. But seriously, don't do it. Also, it's probably best to not hand feed chickadees. It was a good talk.