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 Essay Review   



In the Beginning There Were No Diapers
By Tim Bete
Sorin Books, 2005
Trade paper, $12.95 (189 pages)
ISBN:  1893732878

Whether you're a new father or already the father of several offspring, Tim Bete's "In the Beginning There Were No Diapers" is a book written with you in mind. Bete's uncanny wit and humor will keep readers laughing with every page. 

But this isn't a book of simply one-liners and slapstick comedy. It's a book that teaches a lesson with each chapter. 

Bete's real-life stories show that every family deals with basically the same problems when a new arrival is added. His anecdotes help parents relax and learn to laugh and enjoy parenting. 

And he also teaches new terminology. 

"'Botta bing, botta boom' is a term people use when they really mean, 'I have no idea what happened but I suspect that a higher power is involved,'" Bete states. His stories are often Christian based without having a Bible thumped at the reader.  

For instance: "There is a reason God designed babies to leak like a sieve," he writes. "It gets parents to pray, usually eight to 10 times a day more often if they've fed their infant pureed prunes. And it's a minor miracle when babies stop leaking." 

One of my favorites is his story about how children have changed since biblical times: "If you imagine yourself on the hillside when Jesus multiplied the five loaves to feed more than 5,000 I think you'll see my point. There must have been a thousand children present. By my calculation, immediately after the miracle, 400 kids would have said they didn't like fish. Three hundred and fifty children would have complained because they're bread was touching their fish and therefore they couldn't eat it. One hundred and fifty kids would have whined that the fish was inedible without tartar sauce. Seventy-five would have asked for fish sticks instead of the whole fish. Finally, twenty five children must have dropped their fish on the ground and cried because it was dirty, even though they would never have eaten it in the first place." See what I mean? 

Somehow through it all, Bete is able to make sense of parenthood and the reasons we keep adding new branches to the family tree. 

Bete, the father of three children, makes parenthood seem like a pleasant thing, even amidst the smelly diapers, toys in the toilet, food being eaten off of the floor and out of the pet's bowl. Somehow he brings a method to the madness. And in the process, he lets each of us know just how special the time is that we have to spend with our offspring. 

And heed his words because they'll soon grow up. And parents will be left wondering what happened to all of those years. 

And ladies you can also enjoy this book. It's not just for men. This one's for everyone who is about to be, or already is, a parent. It will have readers laughing at the humor instead of crying at the frustration of dealing with small children.

Tim Bete writes a parenting humor column that has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor and parenting magazines. Formerly the editor of Early Childhood News magazine, Tim is currently the director of the University of Dayton's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.

Kendall Bell
Southern Scribe Reviews


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