After a week off and a mostly successful holiday season, the whole family returns home and finds that they must completely rebuild all the pre-holiday routines. Peter and Beth binge home improvement shows resulting in Peter throwing away half of his clothes, Beth relates to a twitter thread about setting clear boundaries with your kids, then Peter and Beth are defeated by the most detailed and devastating Would You Knows scenario to date.
After a brief week in review in which Bryn, the most performative four-year-old around, shocks the world by clamming up and crying his way through the Pre-K Winter concert performance, Beth and Peter dedicate the rest of this last episode of the year to the first ever Would You Knows Year End Spectacular. What is a Would You Knows Year End Spectacular? Great question. Take a listen and find out!
Maeven decides that she will never sleep ever again leading Peter and Beth to slowly lose their minds while a sleeping Bryn seems entirely unaware that the person he shares a room with has been screaming “Mommy” for an hour and a half. Beth researches famous celebrity deaths of 2004 after Bryn declares that before he was born he had been dead for 10 years. Bryn learns (not only) how to cook from watching Peter and Beth, but also, how to act stressed while cooking. Finally, Beth and Peter revisit last week’s Would You Knows? scenario after a listener accepts the challenge to make it more specific.
Peter and Beth start the podcast by sharing something intimate – too intimate maybe – and Peter regrets it. Now that Bryn has started to cooperate more, Maeven has decided that it’s her turn to make everything difficult for no reason by objecting to all things always (expect for potty training which she is nailing). Peter and Beth then discuss some listener mail about the difference between abusive parents and parents that simply scream too much, and how to explain anatomy to your kids without reinforcing a strictly binary view of gender. Then Beth knitpicks another Would You Knows scenario about time travel.
This week Peter loses his mind and in an utterly desperate attempt to get Bryn to cooperate threatens to throw away all of his toys. Maeven begins potty training and may or may not be using the threat of peeing her pants to assert her power. Peter shares an article about how girls views of themselves has evolved over the years while society’s hasn’t kept pace. Peter and Beth then answer some listener mail about “Resistance Peeing.”
For Thanksgiving the whole family manages to fly across the country (and back) without getting into (too many) fights or meltdowns. Only after they return home does a week’s worth of meltdowns happen in a single night sending Peter into a rage spiral moments before recording this episode. As he calms down, Peter and Beth confuse the difference between community and regional theater, debate when it’s appropriate to use bribery cookies and then apologize profusely for insulting people with a hyphenated last names in the previous episode. WE’RE SORRY!
Bryn starts waking up early to secretly watch South Park while everyone else is still asleep. The kids impress Beth with their intuitive grasp of a new social media app. Bryn has a full meltdown after being denied the opportunity to destroy a full shelf of pottery at an arts and crafts store. Beth and Peter learn about parental leave in the Czech Republic, lambast hyphenated last names, prepare for a cross country flight on the busiest travel day of the year and then accidentally reveal that all four grandparents are getting kid painted mugs for Christmas. Instead of editing it out of the recording, they decide to leave it in to see if their parents still listen to the podcast.
Maeven graduates from the crib to her very own mermaid covered big girl bed and manages to only fall out a couple of times! Bryn learns two big lessons: that friendships have their ups and down and that he can get Beth to buy him things with the mere threat of a public meltdown. While Beth is at work, Peter spends a Monday holiday at home rewriting punchlines to kids’ jokes with a lot of input from Bryn and Maeven. Peter and Beth answer listener mail about the “right” way to play with your kids and reveal another shocking layer to the continuing saga started in the infamous “Peter is NOT Defensive” episode.
With only two major tantrums and zero planning Beth and Peter declare victory on Halloween. The family goes out to lunch with Grandma and Grandpa where Peter and Beth fight about whether to use YouTube to keep Bryn at the table or not. Peter then traumatizes Bryn by telling him that someday he’ll have to move out. Beth and Peter answer some listener mail about the unintended message of gender reveal videos and how to deal with a toddler that cries whenever anything changes. Finally, Beth shares an article about accepting compromise in both your family and work life for the sake of the other. Also, a lot of candy is eaten. Like, a gross amount.
The dreaded daycare meeting about Bryn’s listening skills happens and it’s...fine. The whole family spends the weekend actually doing family stuff, first going to a pumpkin “blaze” and later to the aquarium with Nana and Grandad. Peter and Beth talk about the pros and cons (but mostly the cons) of only one parent learning the gender of a baby in utero and then answer some listener mail. Peter then messes up the recording and debates whether he should complete the episode on his own or wake up Beth, who is still recovering from a cold, to re-record a segment.
After daycare raises some concerns about Bryn’s “listening” skills, Peter and Beth start to realize that maybe not everyone thinks their kids are as great as they do. They then give Bryn a crash course on the concept of selfishness, realizes they’ve neglected to teach Maeven numbers, and then ultimately (and perhaps too quickly) decide to forgive themselves for their failures as parents. Peter and Beth then discuss a study about the effects of praising kids for their intelligence vs. effort and read some listeners mail about the appropriate amount of time and temperature in which it is acceptable to leave your kids in the car.
This week, while Beth is out of town, Peter celebrates his birthday by staying home with a vomiting Maeven. Bryn has his first play date without his parents and is later praised for his bilingual skills. Beth unpacks a Would You Knows scenario about discovering something scandalous in a teenaged Maeven’s diary. Peter and Beth answer some listener mail about a toddler’s preference for mom over dad. And Finally, Bryn creates the perfect joke... about butts.
This week, SCANDAL!!! While Peter is out of town, Beth throws all the podcast rules out the window and decides to record her half of the podcast without Peter. The single topic she decides to discuss, inspired by a listener email, just happens to be one of Peter’s biggest flaws. Peter, not knowing that any of this has happened, returns home just as Beth is leaving town on her own work trip to find half a podcast awaiting his response. This one gets personal. It’s our very first dual solo episode.
This week Beth and Peter go back to school for pre-k parents night and quickly revert to their school-aged selves; Peter gets competitive with the other parents about who can draw the best picture and Beth stresses about following the rules. Later, at a family trip to a local farm, Peter and Beth’s individual bad habits combine to maximize their parenting ineffectiveness in the face of a Bryn mud puddle melt down. Meanwhile, Maeven starts making up words, Peter learns some tips about healthy eating and Beth discusses how she would handle coming home to find that Bryn and Peter had switched bodies in a Freaky Friday “Would you Knows” scenario.
Just when Peter and Beth start to feel like things are settling down, for no discernible reason Bryn decides to make tantrums a daily, morning and evening, routine. Book throwing, TV banishment and tactless attempts to pit Mommy and Daddy against each other then ensures. Peter and Beth unpack a study about how kids have twice as many neural pathways in their brain that fade away if not utilized before age 10 and then answer listener questions about biracial dating, paying kids for chores and whether asking your kids to keep secrets is ok.
After returning home from a long weekend without kids Beth takes Bryn and his best friend out to dinner where they proceed to walk around the restaurant telling strangers that they are beautiful. Peter shares an article that connects bilingual education with stronger empathy skills. Peter and Beth jump into the mail bag to catch up and some listener mail about being a non-parent listener, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, and the effects a mourning parent has on their children.
After returning home from a fun-filled Labor Day weekend getaway, both the kids decide to contract Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease putting Bryn’s attendance to his first day of PreK in jeopardy. Beth records her half of the podcast via iPhone while having the time of her life in beautiful Portland, Oregon, while back home, Peter interviews the podcast’s very first guest, John DIxon, about his and his wife’s ongoing journey to adopt a baby.
For Beth’s birthday Peter exceeds her expectations by setting them super low. He is inspired to buy Maeven hair clips after binge watching, side-by-side, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Peter and Beth assure a listener that their oldest child will never not have attention, discuss a study that finds men are doing more housework than ever before but not nearly as much as they think, and spitball a movie idea in which their kids are turned into bats.
Things get rowdy at Bryn’s 4th birthday party after an oinking pig toy is repurposed as a fart machine. Beth gets emotional after receiving a letter from PreK addressed to “The Parents of Bryn McNerney.” Peter shares an article about the chores pay gap between daughters and sons. Beth and Peter decide how they would handle having a baby with a few extra fingers and then catch up on some listener mail. Oh yeah, and Maeven barfs.