If You Give a Girl a Knife


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childrearing, Children's Books, Confidence, Cooking, Daughters, Encouragement, Food, Girls, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Teenager | Posted on 13-05-2016

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When my daughter was three, we gave her a mini kitchen with pots and pans and bins of plastic food. Pies! Peas! Corn! Sushi! Cupcakes! Fried Chicken!

She loved everything about food preparation and serving. She would “roast” a fake chicken, “bake” pies, and “chop” floppy carrots. For years, she would prep and serve us at her cafe. When she was older, she would write menus for us to order from. And she would expect payment.

Now at 13, her time spent in the kitchen has lessened and her cooking is infrequent. However, if you give that girl a knife, she’ll make a fruit plate in minutes. She chops vegetables like a Kitchen Knife Ninja.

On the sidelines at a recent soccer game, I was talking to some mothers about daughters and their lack of interest in cooking. I told my “knife story” about how my daughter is a pro with a knife.

One of the Moms looked at me like I was insane. You give her knives?? That’s scary!

Um. Pioneer women sliced open buffalo with knives.

It’s not like I handed my daughter a knife and ordered Chop Now! It began with safety skills. Duh. Don’t slice toward your hand. Watch those fingers.

Kitchen skills are about teaching confidence, self sufficiency, survival. Kitchen skills are life skills.

I mean, what would she do if she encountered pineapple?

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Man Shoes


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Daughters | Posted on 26-02-2016

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When my daughter was a toddler, I bought her tutus and fairy wings and red shoes. Each day, I would help her dress and slip on her little red shoes and fasten the little velcro straps.

Now, at 13 years old, I bought her man shoes.

Her feet grew in the middle of basketball season. Time to hit the sporting goods store. In the women’s section, there were only two styles to choose from.

Try these! Too tight.
Try these! Too small.

OK, Goldilocks, do you need man shoes? Yes.

In the men’s section, there were dozens to choose from. Big man basketball shoes. She tried some on. They fit!

Ah, just right.

No longer in little shoes or fairy wings, she now flies across the basketball court wearing her man shoes. But still with that magical sparkle in her eye.

She once wore tutus and fairy wings.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Three Life Lessons


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Childrearing, Children, Daughters, Life Lessons, Mom Time, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 08-05-2013

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My daughter learned three life lessons this week.

And I was reminded that I often blurt things out without consulting The Proper Parenting Handbook.

Here’s what happened.

My daughter came home upset that she wasn’t invited to her friend’s upcoming birthday party.

  • “What?!” I shrieked. “But you guys play all the time!”
  • “Yeah,” she said sadly. “She just didn’t want to invite ME.”
  • “What a little bitch!” I said.

Lesson one: Ten-year-old girls can be bitches too.

Another day after school, my daughter came home even more upset that her puka shell necklace–her prized $3 purchase from our trip to Hawaii–broke into 200 puka shell pieces. She was planning to wear it all year, to remember our wonderful family vacation. A boy had grabbed her necklace from her neck (!), sending puka shells scattering.

  • “What an asshole!” I exclaimed. “Let’s get him to apologize.” That seemed to make her feel better.

Lesson two: Calling someone an asshole for asshole behavior automatically makes you feel better.

  • And I offered, “Oh, Sweetie, I know that was special to you. I could buy you another one but it wouldn’t be the same, would it?”
  • “No,” she lamented. “That was my special necklace.”

Lesson three: Some valuable things can’t be replaced, because the value is in the memories.

I may not say all the right things. I may say some very wrong things. But I always try to talk things out with my daughter. Even if an obscenity pops out from time to time.




You’re the BEST! Um, I mean, Great Effort, Honey!


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Children, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Parenting | Posted on 24-08-2012

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I read an article called 10 Things You Should Never Tell Your Kids. After clicking through the 10 things (while holding my breath), I was relieved to learn that I am off the hook on this one. This time. Whew. Except for one.

The article says that you should never tell your kids “you’re the best at [blank].” For example:

  • “You’re so smart!”
  • “You’re the best at soccer!”
  • “You’re an excellent swimmer!”

If you say those things, you’ve thus labeled your child. And your child may only feel worse for not living up to the label you’ve given her. The article cautions to “focus instead on her hard work.”

And so, at a recent swim race (which was to win a pizza), I tried to put this advice into practice.

  • “What strokes!”
  • “Great effort!”

I was trying to focus on the hard work my daughter has done after a whole summer of swim lessons. And after woohooing and cheering my butt off–I couldn’t help it–she won.

Afterward, I told her that she’s the best pizza winner in the world!

Oops. According to this article, I’m wrong again.



The Girl With the Handprint Tattoo


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Communication, Daughters, Family, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 15-08-2012

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The girl? My daughter when she was five, who was scared to perform at her tap dance recital.

She wore shiny, patent-leather tap shoes. Her hair was in “doughnuts” with ribbons. Her father, siblings, and grandparents were all in the audience waiting. And she wouldn’t budge. She had stage fright.

The handprint “tattoo?” Uh, that was from me. From gripping her wrist. Just before she was supposed to go on, I tried sweet-talking her. Encouraging her. Bribing her.

Nothing worked.

So, I transformed into Mommie Dearest. I gripped her wrist tightly and hissed under my breath:


She did not argue. She did the routine with the others. There was no smile on her face. Were those tears in her eyes?

Ugh. Pit in my stomach. I felt horrible for the way I acted. I returned to my seat. And clapped when she was done. But I was pissed at myself. Why did I let a stupid little tap dance recital take priority over being supportive and reassuring? And kind?

Her “tattoo” quickly faded. But I’m not sure if my actions did.

We have talked about this. I apologized with tears in my eyes. My daughter forgave me.

Yet I wonder if she will remember the Mommie Dearest behavior long after the shuffle-hop-step fades. Because a mother’s words and actions are like a tattoo.

You Can Teach An Old Horse New Tricks


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Encouragement, Family, Fun, Life Lessons, Memories, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 13-06-2012

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Horseback riding with my daughter on the beach was proof that you CAN teach an old horse new tricks.

I hadn’t stepped foot aboard a horse in years decades. I approached the giant beast with a bit of trepidation. It was MY daughter who held my hand and encouraged ME with a you-can-do-it voice.

It was Labor Day weekend last year and we had an hour-long horse ride on the beach.

The ranchers sized me up and down. I was thinking they’d put me on an old, slow gal named Molasses. But no. Mine was Ginger. And she should have been called Seabiscuit, what with her breakaway speed I later found out.

The ranchers went over the procedures and techniques beforehand. “Keep your horses walking. No galloping and if they start trotting, slow them down.”

My horse was whinnying and. well, chomping at the bit. She was raring to go. I pretty much forgot to listen about how to slow down. Was it pull the reigns? Or kick the horse in the ribs? And was it tap in the ribs gently or more like cowboys-with-spurs who say “Giddy-up,” heading out on a 14-day cattle drive? I forgot.

No worries. The 20 or so horses lined up single file and we headed to the waves.

I looked over at my daughter on her horse. My daughter was confident. Beaming. Calm.

I smiled back, still scared shitless. As Ginger Seabiscuit started to trot.

OK, this was not so bad. The horses were clomping along, through the dunes. Mild mannered.

When we came to the open beach, my horse decided to trot and gallop. What’s a Mom to do? Go along with it, of course.

Because basically, I had no choice. And I hadn’t worn my sports bra.

The rancher rode up alongside of me and hollered, “Pull the reigns!” Ah. It worked. Temporarily. Though my horse was in the mood to run, and would sneak in some trotting.

I can do this, I thought. Trot. Pull the reigns. Trot. Pull the reigns.

Scanning the group for my daughter, we finally caught up to each other. And she said:

  1. I am having the best day ever!
  2. Oh and don’t let go of the reigns.

We smiled. Grinned.

I loved watching my daughter, who was glowing, as the wind whipped her hair. She was free. No fears.

After I let go of some fears (about losing control, losing my life), I too, felt free.

On that little excursion, it was my daughter who taught me a thing or two about having fun and letting go. Proving that you CAN teach an old horse new tricks.

This is Your Life


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Love, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 10-04-2012

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Some things never change. While at the same time, everything changes.

For example, take my recent visit to my mother’s. I was flooded with memories of, well, me. Visiting my mother was like an episode of This Is Your Life.

At every turn, there were framed photographs of me. As a toddler in my tights with the butt ruffle. At four, petting a rabbit. At nine, donning roller skates and short shorts. At 14, diving off the high dive with sunburned shoulders. At 17, decked out in my finest prom attire. At 21, a college graduate in cap and gown. At 23, a beaming bride. At 28, holding my blue-eyed baby boy (again, beaming).

Photographs documenting all the ages and stages. Babies. Pets. Vacations. Events. Rituals. Milestones.

It was cool for my kids to see the “Pippi Museum.”

Visiting your mother as a grown adult, you realize that she is the one person who has known you your whole life. And you are reminded how much you are loved.

Two Spoons


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Children, Connections, Daughters, Family, Fun, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 28-02-2012

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Sometimes ya gotta blow your diet.

And buy your favorite half-gallon of ice cream. (Ours this time was Chocolate Moose Tracks.)

And dole out two spoons. One for your daughter. One for yourself.

And then sit on the couch, next to each other, and eat the whole dang thing. One spoonful at a time.

Oh, Just Tween Shopping


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Childrearing, Fashion, Girlfriends, Life Lessons, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Women | Posted on 26-11-2011

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Mother-daughter dates. They’re the best.

When mothers go shopping with nine-year-old daughters, sometimes ya just need to buy some tween stuff for yourselves. Why not?

After sifting through the Justin Bieber, Domo and Hello Kitty, here are a few of my new favorite things that we selected for ME during our shopping adventure at Claire’s.

My daughter is a great supporter, as in “Mom, you should totally buy that.”

  • strawberry hair clips with diamonds
  • Jack Skellington glow-in-the-dark ring (bought a matching one for my daughter. “Mom, we can totally match!”)
  • sparkly panda wallet (turns out plastic, sparkly wallets don’t stretch with all of my “grown up” stuff stuffed inside and the snap doesn’t quite snap. Kinda like my pants after Thanksgiving. That is, if my jeans had snaps. They don’t, Silly. They have stretch in them. Duh.)

Oh well. The fun was in seeking out the goods and treasures…with my daughter.

And don’t you want to be “in” with your daughter? Even just a TWEENSY bit?