That Brown Vest

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Attitude, Childrearing, Cleaning, Clothes, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Daughters, Encouragement, Memories, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 27-03-2017

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Every few years I get the urge to go through my closet and get rid of stuff. You can read about the last time I made such a purge here. Here is how I decreased the surplus population of my clothes. My goal is always to get rid of:

1. The ugly stuff.
2. The stuff that will never ever fit again.
3. The stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, unconfident, and ugly.

I have had surprisingly a lot of stuff in each of these categories.

I filled three giant trash bags with jeans that are too tight, ruffled blouses that are hideous, pleated slacks that look shiny, and that sort of thing. All kinds of ugly.

I proudly announced to my daughter my feat: I got rid of all my ugly clothes!

What about that brown vest? She asked.

That. Brown. Vest?

Oh that. I guess I didn’t get rid of ALL my ugly clothes. That brown vest might be ugly, but it makes me happy, warm, and comfortable. In fact, I wore it on my last zoo outing with my youngest.

I think you look pretty in that ugly, brown vest, she said.

Well then, it’s a keeper!

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Sweat, Braces, and Love

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Growing UP, Life Lessons, Sports, Teenager, Teenagers, Women | Posted on 15-11-2016

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The question was posed in email by the head soccer coach to all of the parents: Can any of you help out this season? I need an assistant coach to help run practices and be at the games.

I can. But I will not.

I mean, I have other things to do. Like work, like family, like my own exercise. Surely, another parent can volunteer.

Then I thought: I have coached my daughter and son’s soccer teams before. I play on a rec team as an adult. I know a thing or two about the game. I do love to be around kids. Maybe it won’t be too much of a time suck: practice twice a week, one game every Saturday. And whaddya know, my nearly-14-year-old daughter encouraged me to coach. (That was enough for me to say yes right there…um, my teenager wants me there?!)

I’m in!

I filled out the background check and took the concussion test and sudden cardiac arrest test. I showed up to the first practice a little begrudgingly. I mean, it was still hot August and I could have been kicking back at home with Otis in the shade. Plus. So many teenagers. It was a little daunting.

A few fathers showed up to volunteer and then disappeared after the first practice. Looks like they are stuck with me!

I was warmly welcomed and surrounded by 17 young women full of chatter, giggles, hormones, and braces–as it is with 13- and 14-year-olds–and I was instantly comfortable. I made the right choice.

Within 10 minutes, I knew everyone’s name.

Throughout the season, I gave feedback, high-fived, shouted encouragement, joked, gave pats on the back, talked 1:1 on the sidelines. Assistant coaching was so much more than helping the players improve their soccer skills. I was a supporter, a listener, an encourager, a guider, a trusted friend (and occasional chauffeur).

Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Those were soccer days! A chance to make connections, be a positive influence, and build confidence.

Navigating life can be tough for young teenagers struggling with self-confidence, peer pressure, school demands, family issues.

Sure there were foot skills and dribbling, conditioning, building a strong defense, and taking shots. But there was oh so much more. It was a supportive team that built each other up. The players as individuals truly cared for one another. We learned and grew.

That Fall soccer season, I received so much more than I gave. I know for a fact that I was surrounded by sweat and braces, and love. #winning

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Pizza Friends

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Conversations, Friends | Posted on 15-08-2015

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I make friends wherever I go. My newest friend is Amanda. She works at Costco. And she loves pizza.

I was buying two slices of cheese pizza. One for me, one for my son.

I could totally eat both, I said.

Yeah. I love pizza, she said. I could totally eat four slices.

Me too. Actually, I could eat a whole pizza.

Me too. I’ve done it before.

Same here.

And then we smiled because. We’re pizza friends.

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Days Like This

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Communication, Connections, Conversations, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 17-09-2014

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As a parent, I have learned am learning that it’s not my job to make everything all sunshiny and happy for my children. Because–gasp!–in day-to-day life, not everything is all sunshiny and happy. We learn from bad days, dealing with tough situations and mean people, heartbreak, disappointment, and feeling overwhelmed.

I read an article, Top Mom Stresses and How to Relieve Them, in Family Circle and a mother commented, “My trick is to have compassion for my kids. I remind myself they are little people who have rotten days and bad moods just like I do.”

Yes! In fact, this is what I heard the first week of school:

1st day: “I love school!”
2nd day: “School is so fun!”
3rd day: “School sucks shit.”

So instead of, Let me fix it for you and make it better.

I tried to be a good listener (not a fixer) and was like Aw. I’m sorry to hear you had a sucky day. Tell me about it.

I listened. We talked. And I could relate. Maybe he learned more about how to handle bad days. And maybe I learned more about parenting.

There will be days like this.

First day of school…high five!

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Flabby Bellies, Butts, and Seagulls

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Babies, Birth, Childrearing, Children, Connections, Conversations, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 06-09-2013

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Didn’t we already talk about sex and babies and where they come from? And how they don’t come out of women’s butts? Oh yeah, I forgot. Sex is a daily conversation. Check that conversation from awhile back here.

The other day, it was a similar conversation with my (now) eight-year-old and me while driving en route to frozen yogurt:

Him: “When I grow up, I don’t want a flabby belly.”

Me: “I don’t want a flabby belly either. My belly was stretched a lot when I was pregnant. But it was worth it!” (See how I sandwiched it a wee bit of guilt but then ended on a positive?)

Him: “How do babies even fit out of butts?”

Me: “They don’t come out of butts. They come out of women’s vaginas.”

Him: “That is so weird.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Him: “Wouldn’t it be cool if those seagulls [storks] brought babies down from heaven instead?”

Me: (Pondering the storks in Dumbo, and then poking my mushy belly.) “Yeah, that would be cool.”


storks

13 Plates of Sushi and 20 Tips for My High Schooler

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Children, Communication, Connections, Conversations, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Teenagers | Posted on 20-08-2013

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My son starts high school in two weeks. He starts high school football this week.

He is ready academically. Smart as a whip*, that boy. (*I think that is something my grandfather would say.) He is ready physically. Hello, six pack.

Not sure he’s quite ready mentally. Not sure I am, either.

We stopped by today to pay some fees and bam. If nerves (and excitement) were dollars, we’d have a wad. Yeah, both of us. The school was giant, with sprawling halls. It was also quiet. It’s gonna be a lot different in two weeks, when he may interact with 18-year-old guys with muscles, Abe Lincoln beards, and cars. And 18-year-old girls with attitudes, tight jeans, and good smells.

Yeah, it’s gonna be a big step, socially. Yikes!

I wrote about 20 things I would tell my high school self here. But today, at our favorite lunch spot–where we downed 13 plates of sushi–we also talked about what to expect in. High. School.

High school. It’s one of those foundational building blocks that help form you. You start at fourteen and end at eighteen. This is the transition to young adulthood.

My advice to him kinda went like this:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. It’s OK to be smart.
  3. Try something new (but not drugs).
  4. Show kindness.
  5. Try your hardest.
  6. Raise your hand.
  7. Be a good friend.
  8. Fresh breath, always.
  9. Stay true to your beliefs.
  10. Speak up.
  11. Have fun.
  12. Girls. They are wonderful. Get to know some.
  13. Join a club or two.
  14. Take chances.
  15. It’s OK to make mistakes. Learn from them.
  16. Don’t bad-mouth others. It always comes back.
  17. There will be drinking. But call us. No driving drunk.
  18. Don’t worry about what other people think.
  19. We believe in you. We are here for you.
  20. Enjoy the journey.

Yeah, no. We didn’t discuss all of that. That’s far too much talking, what with California Rolls and all.

I savor these lunches (and it’s not just the tasty, savory miso soup). But I savor the time to talk and laugh with my son–and stuff our faces. I look forward to many more of our sushi outings. One sushi roll at a time, one parenting tip at a time.

sushi plates

Know Any Know-it-Alls?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Connections, Conversations, Friends, People | Posted on 11-06-2012

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Do you know any know-it-alls?

You know, the people that know all about nutrition, home decorating, childrearing, restaurants, business, fashion, politics, news, beauty products, pet care, home loans, books, entertainment, and travel?

Simply said, they know everything about everything.

They like to name drop.

And when they tell you all that they know, they seem to like to put you down for not knowing. So, basically, you’re an imbecile.

I know my share of know-it-alls.

They are annoying. Hard to talk to. I don’t think they really want to talk “to” the other person, they want someone to talk “at.” And when you are talking to them, you are not really asking for their opinion or advice, you are simply conversing. But they LOVE to share their opinions about EVERYTHING.

Here are some examples:

Me: I need to buy some Clinique eye cream because I’m all out.

Know-it-all: Clinique?! That has so many additives. You should really be buying moisturizer at Whole Foods. Plus, department stores mark everything up.

Me: I want to see the movie Moonrise Kingdom. It looks good.

Know-it-all: I think it looks dumb. What you need to see is The Dictator.

Me: We just got a yellow Lab puppy. He is so fun and cute.

Know-it-all: Don’t you know puppies chew everything and shed like crazy?

Me: We let our children stay up later on the weekends. We like to watch movies and make popcorn.

Know-it-all: You need to keep your children on a sleep schedule. We do. Because children need 10 hours of sleep every night.

Me: We refinanced to a 15-year loan.

Know-it-all: Homes are not good investments. You should be putting money away in a 401K and in tax shelters.

Me: We went to New York City and had a blast.

Know-it-all: Did you go to the Museum of Modern Art? No. It’s one of the best museums. You really missed out.

Me: I add whey protein protein for our smoothies.

Know-it-all: Whew protein? Egg protein powder is better. And you should switch from cow’s milk to almond milk. There are more health benefits. Do you know how many hormones are in milk?!

Me: We just bought new sofas at Macy’s. They had a killer sale.

Know-it-all: Macy’s? I would never buy furniture at Macy’s.

Me: The killing of innocent people in Syria is so sad.

Know-it-all: The killings in Somalia are more sad because that has been going on for decades.

And so on and so forth.

You kinda wish you didn’t open your stupid mouth in the first place, only to be shot back with some know-it-all–often condescending–comments.

What it isn’t is a two-way conversation and interaction. But instead, one person with a megaphone. And it really doesn’t matter who is listening.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

But you’re the sucker, who is stuck listening at the moment.

Makes me think…

If a tree know-it-all falls talks in the forest and no one is around to hear it her, does it she make a sound?