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.
This week Peter and Beth reveal how the notorious Brown Cow Birthday Cake turned out. Peter wonders if explaining the concept of death to Bryn was a good idea. Beth shares an article about how dads are more likely to seek advice on the internet anonymously. As a result, Peter definitely does NOT get super defensive about the implications and what follows ISN’T the the most intense and genuinely emotional debate that Beth and Peter have ever had on the podcast. I don’t care what you’ve heard. That’s simply NOT true. I’m NOT… I mean PETER... is NOT defensive.
While at the Newell family reunion Bryn learns to swim (his own way) and then gives Beth and Peter a taste of their own parenting medicine. Back home Beth and Peter prepare for Bryn’s upcoming fourth birthday, Peter has a contentious exchange with a cake designer about the existence of brown spotted cows, Beth shares a study that challenges the validity of parenting styles and a listener ‘Would You Knows?’ asks Peter and Beth to debates who gets the last two seats on an alien rescue ship.
Bryn decides to be “sick” on the last morning that Peter and Beth have available to record before heading out on vacation. The result... is a disaster. In between his monkey screams, demands for milk and occasional tears Peter and Beth attempt to explore the science behind why kids love sugar, explain their love languages and discuss what they would do if Bryn returned from the future to criticize their parenting. In the end, does Bryn ruin the episode or does he improve it? You be the judge.
Beth and Peter finally get into the birth story – the good one. In early 2016 Beth and Peter find themselves in financial trouble, with a broken down minivan and 2nd baby due at any minute. Do they make it to the hospital? Does Beth’s sister’s Honda Fit come out unscathed? And what is so special about the parking lot of the local School of Rock? Answers to these questions and more.
Peter drives the kids across the country alone and is very proud of himself. We wonder how to appropriately acknowledge and discuss race with a three-year-old. Peter shares a study about driving while distracted by children. Beth unpacks this week’s ‘Would You Knows?’ to figure out how she would handle Maeven being recruited by Yale at age 4 and we read some listener mail about deceiving your kids.
If you would like to submit a question, share a story, give some advice, or suggest an impossible parenting hypothetical for our ‘Would You Knows?’ segment, you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 347-384-7396.
After Peter misses the the application deadline Bryn finally gets into Pre-K. Peter shares statistics about how kids’ ability to wait has improved over the past 50 years. We play another round of “Did You Knows What He Said?”, find out who Bryn’s favorite daddy is and read some listener mail.