If You Give a Girl a Knife

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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?

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The Girl Who Danced

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Life Lessons | Posted on 26-08-2014

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A New Orleans-style jazz band at the fair had the crowd mesmerized.

Especially a six-year-old girl, wearing a red-and-white-polka-dot dress. And matching ribbons in her pony tails. She was dancing and laughing and twirling, in the middle of the crowd.

Along with her ribbons, she wore darkened glasses and had a cane. She was blind.

But she didn’t let that bother her.

Seeing her dance with such joy, made me see the fair with even more vibrancy that evening.

The chocolate-brown eyes of the goat. The rainbow quilt. The glowing wheel.

I’ll always remember the girl at the fair, who danced and laughed and twirled. The girl who taught me so much.

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What a quilt!

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My Teen Has Taught Me a Thing or Two Hundred

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Boys, Confidence, Connections, Encouragement, Exercise, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Memories, Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Teaching, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 17-04-2014

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My nearly-fifteen-year-old son is awesome. And an inspiration to me. Since starting high school, he has learned a lot. And he has taught me a lot:

  1. Push yourself.
  2. Take chances.
  3. Try new things.
  4. Don’t stress.
  5. Be responsible.
  6. Make time for fun.
  7. Prioritize your health.
  8. It’s OK to be quiet.

Case in point. Earlier this year, he and I set off on an adventure: A four-mile hike. Make time for fun. Try new things.

It was a cool winter day–no rain for once. I like to hike light. No fanny packs (embarrassing!) or backpack. Just a water bottle, gum, and my phone. The essentials. My son, on the other hand, hiked heavy. Literally. Laden with a backpack full of weights–50 lbs. of metal weight plates–because football season had ended and he’s always cross training. Prioritize your health.

We traveled upwards, through a forest, until we got to a cliff with spectacular views of the river below. We took in the scenery with awe. Quiet awe–no blabbering needed. I tend to be a blabber head and he tends to be quiet. It’s OK to be quiet.

We continued onward, at his urging. Our pace was fast. We met a fellow hiker who cautioned us to turn back at the halfway point because it would be getting dark at 4:30. We chuckled. Yeah right, no halfway point for us. We’re going the full hike. No turning around. Take chances.

It was an unknown journey. We saw forests, ferns, waterfalls, moss-covered boulders, cliffs, a river. Two hours passed.

“How are you holding up with that heavy backpack?” I worried.

“Mom. I’m fine.” Push yourself. 

Well whaddya know. It was approaching 4:30 and the sun was starting to set. We were the lone hikers without any idea how much longer until we were back at the parking lot. Are we there yet?

Not even close.

The trail headed downward, with switchbacks, to the river. Surely after 30 minutes of switchbacks we would be there. Dusk became dark. It was getting cold. My map app on my phone didn’t work. Yeah, duh. No Internet in the middle of nowhere.

My thought was lions wolves and tigers cougars and bears. We had been hiking for nearly four hours. Up, down, side to side. My son led our journey, with the backpack increasing in weight as our my muscles tired.

Pitch black. No compass. No snacks. No coats. Why was his backpack filled with weights and not bananas and trail mix? Panic washed over me. What. If.

Don’t stress.

Then. Finally, we came to a road. Surely it was the road to the parking lot. No, not for another mile.

We hiked 10 miles that day. And oh, the relief when we spotted our car. Where we blasted the heat and turned on Bob Marley for the drive home.

“Next time, Mom, let’s bring a map.” Ah yes. Be responsible.

What a workout. What a relief. What an adventure. I will forever remember that day–and evening and night–with my son.

Awesome!

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Magical.

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Metaphor.

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Hike with my son!

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What Would Ingrid Do?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Books, Life, Life Lessons, Parenting | Posted on 07-08-2013

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One of my favorite books as a child was The Amazing Travels of Ingrid Our Turtle (my top 10 books for children is here.)

The story is about a turtle named Ingrid who enjoys life and moves at her one pace. One day, she decides to travel beyond the yard and see the world. It takes her days to move from the garden to the curb, weeks to move from the curb to the stop sign, and so on. But before you know it, Ingrid is traveling so far that she sends postcards back to her family, as she ventures off and travels the globe. One step at a time.

Turns out, she orbits the Earth and shocks astronauts. The story teaches so many important lessons:

  • Enjoy the journey of life
  • Move at your own pace
  • Don’t worry about what other people think
  • You can overcome obstacles
  • Look beyond your “yard”

I am still learning to channel my inner Ingrid. I certainly run about as slow as she does. My children say I run sooooo slow. Sooooo what?

I remind myself what Ingrid would do:

Smile, keep moving, enjoy the journey. One step at a time.

Eastern Box Turtle

ingrid

While You Were Sleeping

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Humor, Parenting | Posted on 21-07-2013

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As a parent, I try to model and reinforce several lessons for my children. Two of which are:

  1. Be a learner.
  2. Be creative.

Turns out my oldest son practiced both of these on his little brother, while he was sleeping: war history and art.

Meanwhile, this taught me another lesson:

Hide the Sharpie pens.hitler_stache