Everyone Poops

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Books, Childhood, Childrearing, Family, Happiness, Life | Posted on 19-03-2017

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One of our favorite family books is Everyone Poops.

In case you don’t know this book, it should be part of every young child’s library. The book tells about how all living creatures, big and small, poop. Even insects. Even snakes.

My children and I have the lines memorized:

“A one hump camel makes a one hump poop. And a two hump camel makes a two hump poop. Just kidding.”

Publishers Weekly gave the book a horrible review, “Okay, so everyone does it–does everyone have to talk about it?”

Yes!

It’s fun to poop! It’s fun to talk about poop! Poop is part of life!

And don’t we, as parents, want to raise our children to be happy and confident pooper?

The review goes on to say, “Call it what you will, by euphemism or by expletive, poop by any name seems an unsuitable picture book subject.”

Unsuitable to whom?

Unsuitable to people who have no sense of humor, obviously.

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Otis and the Geese

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Rock and Roller

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Teenager | Posted on 29-09-2016

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The year was 1983.

It was a hot year for fashion. Hello, matching terry cloth outfit.

It was a hotter year for music. Here is what was on the radio. And on my newly gifted Sony Walkman:

Every Breath You Take, The Police
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
Flashdance…What a Feeling, Irene Cara
Down Under, Men at Work
Beat It, Michael Jackson
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Maneater, Daryl Hall & John Oates
Sweat Dreams, Eurythmics
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Culture Club
Come on Eileen, Dexys Midnight Runners
She Works Hard for the Money, Donna Summer
Let’s Dance, David Bowie
Africa, Toto
Little Red Corvette and 1999, Prince
Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats
Tell Her About It, Billy Joel
Goody Two-Shoes, Adam Ant
Rock the Casbah, The Clash
Come Dancing, The Kinks
Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders

For me, it was an even hotter year for roller skates. Those roller skates were my empowerment. I lived in a smallish town in California that was 1.7 square miles, rich in community and smack in the middle of the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area. I skated to buy doughnuts. Ten doughnut holes for a buck. I skated to 7-11 for Red Vines and Jolly Rancher sticks. I skated one mile to my bank where I maintained a modest savings account. I would sometimes deposit but mostly withdraw. Long before ATMs, I tucked my bank book in the waistband of my shorts, then walk on the tips of my stoppers to the teller and usually withdraw $10. I would fold the ten dollar bill into my skate where it would be nice and sweaty when it was time to spend it.

Ten bucks would last two weeks to feed my sugar obsession.

1983 was my freedom. Personal music. Transportation. Consumerism.

I remember those moments like they were yesterday. Skating over the bumps in the sidewalks. Wind in my big hair. The taste of a sour apple Jolly Rancher stick. And peach. And cinnamon fire.

Now, whenever I listen to one of these songs or savor a Red Vine, it takes me back to the days when I was free to skate from one end of town my world to the other, with only a pair of satin knee pads to protect me.

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Full of Pep

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Confidence, Encouragement, Kindness, Life, Little Story, School, Teaching | Posted on 20-04-2016

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When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a fun assignment. We were to write our names on a piece of paper then pass it around the classroom. Each student was to anonymously write something nice about each person: a trait, a compliment, what you like about that person. As the papers circulated, kindness filled the pages.

It was a great exercise to express the good in everyone and boost confidence. I still remember one phrase written about me:

Full of pep.

pep: noun energy and high spirits; liveliness.

I ran across this picture of me when I was in the seventh grade. Curly hair in braids, a big smile, heart-shaped sunglasses perched on my head. This was taken on our seventh grade camping trip in Yosemite. The same trip where I dared the boys to see who could stand in the freezing-cold river the longest. (Full of grit!)

The girl in the forefront is the one who wrote “full of pep.” (After we got our papers returned, she had leaned across her desk and whispered to me I wrote that. I still remember beaming back.)

Those three words written oh-so-long-ago had an impact on me and still make me smile. I will always remember my friend’s kindness and friendship…and…her accurate assessment. Wink!

Thirty four years later and still full of pep, I now have a daughter in the seventh grade. I showed her this picture and she was like, “Mom, are look the same!”

Some things never change.

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Hide and Seek

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Family, Memories | Posted on 20-12-2015

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I had announced on a whim, “Let’s play hide and seek!” We turned off all the lights and played by the glow of the Christmas tree. I remember that special night like it was last week.

Because, it was.

Dark corners, dark bathrooms, dark closets. My heart was pounding with excitement. Just like when I was a child and found the perfect hiding place, hoping to be the last one spotted. Slow your breathing. Be still.

I hid so deep in the coat closet that I touched the snow in Narnia.

When it comes to fun and games, I am like Roger Rabbit when he hears “Shave and a Haircut…” He just can’t help but yell “Two bits!”

Back in my childhood neighborhood, I was the ringleaader of fun. I’d round up all of the kids and squeal, “Let’s play hide and seek!”

We’d play outside in the evening, and into the dark. The hooligans that we were, we would scale the neighbors’ fences, hide in yards, anywhere to seek out the perfect hiding place. I remember that feeling of giddiness in my belly. Hoping I found the perfect hiding place, hoping to be the last one spotted. Slow your breathing. Be still.

If you’re ever up for a game of hide and seek, come on over! I’ll even let you have the prime spot in the coat closet. And you might want to bring your mittens.

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Marigolds and Counting Cars

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Life, Love, Memories | Posted on 04-06-2015

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One car. Two cars. Red cars. Blue cars.

When I was a girl, my grandmother and I played a game. We sat side by side on the grass in the shade and stared out at the highway to count cars.

My grandmother lived outside of the town limits. Alongside a country highway. Where you could hear the train’s whistle blow. Catch a whiff of a skunk at the wood’s edge. And where you were surrounded by an abundance of marigolds, which my grandmother tended with love and care with her green plastic watering can and expert dead-heading skills.

When I visited, she let me care for the marigolds. And when we needed a break, we counted cars. I picked blue. She picked black. Then we’d count. Whoever picked the most colors won.

Sometimes I picked red and she picked blue. Your odds were best if you picked black, blue, and red. Trust me.

Time stood still for us, as the cars whizzed by.

After all these years, whenever I see marigolds and smell their tomato aroma, I am reminded of my grandmother and the sweet, simple times we spent together.

Marigolds remind me of my grandmother.

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Bought for a Dime

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Memories, Uncategorized | Posted on 04-02-2015

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What can you buy for a dime these days? And who carries around dimes anyway?

A long time ago, I bought my first record album for a dime. (A record album is a round, vinyl disc the size of a large plate, with songs on it. It requires a record player and uses a needle placed in the groove on the surface in order to play.)

Teaser and the Firecat. At a garage sale.

This was before Yusuf Islam. Before MP3s. This was when I earned dimes as allowance.

I didn’t know who Cat Stevens was. I didn’t own a record player yet. But the colorful and fanciful album cover caught my eye. And with dimes jingling in my pocket, I couldn’t resist.

I never appreciated the song Morning Has Broken until years later. And then I treasured my first music purchase all the more. Bought for a dime.

Threads and Strings

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Halloween | Posted on 30-10-2014

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When you buy your child his Halloween costume three weeks early, chances are he will wear it everyday. And everywhere.

In the car, while shopping, to pick up his sister at soccer practice, around the house, even as jammies.

And when Halloween actually comes, his Spiderman costume may be missing some velcro, or the seams may have torn, or the mask may be missing.

But that’s OK, because his costume made him happy the entire month of October.

Happy Halloween!

Spiderman takes a break.

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The Railroad Tracks

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Memories | Posted on 23-10-2014

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As a kid, I spent summers in Missouri. Picking blackberries, roller skating, riding my bike, and (sometimes) causing mischief. One day, my friends and I walked along the railroad tracks and placed pennies on the rails. So they would be flattened and become our trophies. Proof that we had braved the tracks.

What if we derail the train? Nah. It could never happen.

Then we waited.

We waited a long time. We went in for lunch. Then back out to ride our bikes around the neighborhood in search of the ice cream truck. To buy popsicles. Because they were cheap. A quarter each.

With blue- and red-stained tongues, we returned to the tracks. To our delight, we discovered perfectly flattened pennies. So flat, that Abraham Lincoln’s face was gone.

Ooooh! Aaaah!

That night, the 10 o’clock news reported a train derailment that had occurred earlier that day.

Gasp! The pennies! The guilt!

I found out much later that the pennies did not derail the train. There had been a mechanical failure.

That summer, the hit song was Bad Girls by Donna Summer. Coincidence?

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Do You Like My Hat?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Attitude, Children, Children's Books, Confidence, Contest, Crafts, Encouragement, Life Lessons, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 16-10-2014

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It’s OK if you don’t. Because I love it!

Do you remember the children’s book, Go Dog Go!? One dog keeps asking the other dog, “Do you like my hat?” He’s a total dick and always says no, he does not. She continues to try so hard to seek his approval and validation.

Until the last hat, which is over-the-top amazing! And, he likes it. Finally.

My daughter and I made some over-the-top hats. Our plan was to wear them at opening day at the horse races.

We started working on the hats a month ago. On one of our trips to our favorite antique store, we scored my daughter a red hat. And lots of bags of junk treasure. We spent that whole afternoon, with glue guns in hand, decorating. That evening, she told me that she had the best day. Yeah, me too.

She transformed her hat into a half-fall-half-winter scene. It is amazing and joyful! But she already knows this.

Mine was half toys and 100 percent full of memories. I rummaged through my children’s toy bins. Plastic horses with no tails. Gold coins from St. Patrick’s Day. Legos. An army guy from a 4th of July parachute. Fake rotten teeth my youngest son loves to wear. A pink barrette my daughter wore when she was three. A Nerf gun bullet. A rubber frog. An alien prize from no cavities at the dentist. A few stray McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. A refrigerator alphabet magnet. A Polly Pocket. A monkey pencil topper. The wrestler that my oldest son played with when he was two. He’s 15 now. The wrestler lost his legs in a battle, so he now anchors the front of my hat. It’s his medal of honor, I guess.

So many wonderful, funny, happy memories are now all glued to my hat.

On opening day, my daughter and I confidently paraded around the horse races with the biggest grins and giggled the whole time. What silliness! What fun!

We entered the “best hat” contest.

We didn’t win. Not even third place. Not sure why we entered. We certainly don’t need external approval and validation to remind us that we are both winners.

Because we already know this.

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Two ladies wearing hats at the horse races.

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