Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Life, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Nostalgia, Recipes, Relationships, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 02-05-2013
Tags: baking, family, growing up, memories, mothering, reminiscing, son, teenager, toddler
How many plastic spider rings does it take to raise a child from toddler to teenager? In our case, 500.
I invested in a whopping bag of plastic spider rings, when my oldest son was about three. Five hundred of them. “These will come in handy to top cupcakes, to add to goody bags, and to play jokes on people,” I had thought. Whoa! So many fun times ahead!
Well. My oldest son just turned 14 years old this week. When it was time to decorate his cake, I rummaged through the bin where I keep cupcake papers, food coloring, sprinkles, birthday candles, and plastic spider rings.
There was only one spider ring left. What?!
We had finally exhausted our supply. I had baked an abundance of cupcakes over the years to deliver to school functions, added the rings to birthday goody bags, and distributed them at Halloween.
The rings marked milestones in my son’s life. They took him from toddler to teen. And now, the spiders are gone.
But the other day, as my son stood there in the kitchen–standing 6 ft. 1 in. tall–he tasted his mud pie birthday cake and giddily shrieked, “This is your best cake yet, Mom!”
His enthusiasm and kindness are reminders that despite age (and height), he is still the same on the inside.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Babies, Children, Life, Life Lessons, Mothering | Posted on 21-12-2012
No one ever prepared me that mothering would be so tough. That there would be many unexpected bumps in the road.
Christmas Day nine years ago was exactly this.
On Christmas morning, we were opening presents, with my 13-month-old daughter on my lap. Joyous? Giddy?
Not so much. She felt hot and lethargic. A fever was brewing. I started worrying. I readjusted her on my lap and felt something odd under her armpit. She squirmed. I excused myself from the family to check out what was up.
I took off her jammies only to reveal a lump in her armpit–the size of an egg–inflamed and hard as freaking rock.
I quickly put her outfit back on, went downstairs, and quickly motioned for my husband to come with me for a second opinion. I didn’t want to alarm my son and mother who were enjoying the festivities.
Calls to the advice nurse. Calls to urgent care. Nothing open. It was Christmas Day, so the emergency room it was.
We decided that we would divvy up for the day. I would take my daughter to the hospital while my husband, mother, and son would head over to my in-laws to meet up with the rest of the family. And I would meet up with them in a bit. “A bit” turned into 10 hours later.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. Prodding. Testing. Perplexing.Worrying.
Turned out that it was an infection. Medicine was given. A follow-up appointment was scheduled. Then later, a surgery.
We spent 10 hours in the hospital on Christmas Day. A mother cradling her sick baby. I nervously ate an entire Tupperware container full of chocolate chip cookies that I hastily grabbed at the last minute.
But she would be OK. That was all I needed to hear.
Bumps. Lumps. Sickness. Injuries. Disappointments. Failures. Sadness. They happen. You get through it.
As a parent, you deal with your own “bumps” but also your children’s “bumps.”
May you handle the bumps in the road ahead, whatever they may be. And may they smooth out.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Babies, Boys, Childrearing, Confidence, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Sports | Posted on 20-09-2012
Tags: children, confidence, Eagles, football, growing, kids, letting go, milestones, motherhood, mothering, parenting, proud, roots, son, sports, teen, wings
At the hospital, the nurses told me to hold my newborn like a football when I fed him.
Now this six-foot-tall young man plays football. With swarms of teenager girls watching.
I was not prepared for this.
I have mothered this boy-man for 13 years. As the years and milestones pass, I try to support his independence, steer his choices, but ultimately let go. And it’s difficult.
One of my favorite parenting mantras is:
“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give to our children. One of them is roots. The other is wings.”
I’m better at the roots part. You know, the love and nurturing part?
I am trying to be better at the wings part.
Take for example, football. Do I want my son playing a sport where his body is jostled around and he is required to wear a mouth guard–not only to protect his pretty teeth but to prevent jaw injuries at mega impact? It’s nerve-racking signing all of the concussion waivers. It’s also kinda awesome seeing him in his full gear–with helmet and pads–looking like a man.
He really really wants to play. And he is committed to doing his best.
I am proud of his dedication and enthusiasm. And because of this, I must let go and let him grow. And be his cheerleader.
I can’t help but think of the children’s song, Eagles, which sums up my belief in raising children: letting go.
May this big boy of mine fly down that football field with his mouth guard and his budding wings. I will be watching with love, support, and faith in him. And I may also be sporting a tear or two.
These pictures show me with my son then…now.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Children, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Parenting | Posted on 24-08-2012
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.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Cookies, Humor, Life Lessons, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting | Posted on 21-05-2012
Tags: empathy, fiber, humor, life lessons, mother, mothering, oat bran, poop, understanding
Yes, Virigina, there is such thing as too much oat bran.
Here’s a little story about how I nearly changed my name from Pesky Pippi to Poopy Pippi. If you can’t handle poop talk, better not read on.
It all started out with an innocent batch of cookies. I made Oatmeal-Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. And I swapped out all of the flour with oat bran.
Note: Raw coconut and oat bran both are packed with fiber and increase metabolism. A powerful combination.
It was a gorgeous batch of cookies. Chewy. Tasty. Hot out of the oven.
four. I ate seven. OK, I ate nine.
Then it was time to take my daughter to soccer practice. While she practiced, my seven-year-old son and I played on the play structure at the park. Everything was going just swimmingly. We were climbing, jumping, swinging. Just another day at the park.
Then it hit. The oat bran fiber bomb was about to explode.
You know that feeling when you have to poop and there is no toilet nearby? Yeah that. And you start to sweat. And clench. And take baby steps. Fast baby steps to the car.
You call to your son with panic in your voice, “Honey. We have to go NOW. Mommy has to go poop. And it’s an emergency.”
He says, “I know that feeling.” Yeah, he knows. And you know he knows.
You share a brief moment of understanding. I mean, haven’t we all been there?
By this time, you’re halfway to the car and you think you just can’t make it. Things are percolating.
And you are regretting the multitude of cookies you shoveled into your mouth, one hour before.
But your young son takes your hand and you hold it. And you know you HAVE to hold it in to show that you can do it.
You continue to sweat. You swear you’ll never eat another cookie in your life.
You make it to your car and drive frantically. Squeezing your buns all the way to the nearest grocery store, which is 4 minutes away if you make all the green lights. The grocery store becomes a beacon of light, welcoming you. Because you know from experience that the restrooms are clean and at the front of the store.
And you get there and the women’s restroom door is open because a guy is in there cleaning it. “Sorry, Ma’am, this restroom is closed.”
You give him the most helpless look. You feel like the one in Bridesmaids, the one who takes a dump in the sink.
So you stand there. Squeezing. Praying. One minute later he leaves and says, “It’s all yours.” And you want to high-five him, but you’re worried that too much movement will jiggle something loose.
Whew. You make it. And you breath a sigh of relief.
Your son peeks in, curious and eager, “Is everything OK Mom?”
“Yes, everything is OK,” you smile. A big, toothy smile, “Even Mommies nearly poop their pants.”
And he smiles. And understands.
Who knew that a poop emergency could be a life lesson in empathy?
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Nature | Posted on 27-04-2012
My nine-year-old daughter dons chipped turquoise nail polish and an eager attitude. She always has a beaming smile for me and her sense of wonderment leads her galloping like a horse in search of fairies under mossy rocks. In preparation for our hike the other day, her backpack is filled with the essentials:
- rubber vampire bat
- Dragonology book
- dominoes (in case we want to play on our hike)
- markers (always)
- roller skates
You silly, lovely, beautiful, fun, funny, creative, clever daughter of mine!
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Emotions, Life Lessons, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 25-04-2012
This is my son. This picture was taken on his first day of Kindergarten. Eager. Excited. A little nervous. But ready.
Ready to take on the alphabet. Count by 2s. Learn how pumpkin seeds grow. Watch chicks hatch. Eat apple sauce at snack time.
But not ready to take on a bully. Little did he know that a bully was lurking. Ready to make his Kindergarten life miserable.
I asked my son if I could share his story. He said it was OK because it might help other parents and children.
Not long into Fall, a freckle-faced, fellow Kindergartener started teasing him. Bugging him. Saying mean and hateful things. The bully would twist his arm when they lined up, so hard that it left bruises. Sometimes bloody fingernail marks.
The bully knew how to push buttons and hurt feelings. He made fun of the way my son talked. And imitated him to the point that my son stopped talking at recess, for fear of being ridiculed.
My son had a little delay in pronouncing a few sounds. Typical for a child of his age. “W” for the letter “L.” “Train” would be pronounced “twain.” “Rs” were hard to pronounce. “Car” would be pronounced “cah.” He qualified for speech class with a speech pathologist once a week to help clear things up. (Fast forward one year later, my son “graduated” from speech…no more baby talk!)
It wasn’t only my son who was affected. The bully poked another student in the face with a pencil. Her parents didn’t speak out. I also found out the bully bruised another child’s wrist. The parents remained quiet.
You may think, “Boys will be boys.” But is it OK for your son:
- to come home from school with his wrist bruised?
- to cry before school, saying he didn’t want to go ever again?
- to be scared to line up after recess, always looking over his shoulder?
Enter Mama Bear.
Deep down, I envisioned me transforming into Peyton from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, who goes up to a bully in a playground, twists his arm, and snarls, “Leave Emma alone. If you don’t I’m gonna rip your f—–g head off.” But I thought turning into a bully would be going against my mission.
Every day, I would talk to my son at length. Prod him with questions. What did you do at recess? Who did you play with? What happened? Did you find a teacher on duty to talk to? Who did you sit by on the bus? How did lunch go? I needed to find out what was happening. How he was feeling. What were his responses to the bully.
I knew that as a parent and mother, I needed to take action. I started by giving him words to say. To empower himself with the bully. Simple words such as “Leave me alone.” We practiced. Practiced saying it loud and strong.
That wasn’t enough.
I talked with the teacher…
I talked with the guidance counselor…
I talked with the principal…and wrote her a letter detailing the incidents and demanded that it become part of the bully’s permanent school record.
Actions were finally taken. The bullying stopped.
Several months later, Kindergarten became more like Kindergarten. My son was ready to go to school in the morning. To cut paper snowflakes. To learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and Eric Carle and Sacagawea. To see the chicks hatch in the Spring. To learn how to say “thank you” in Spanish.
Communication and persistence were key.
Our children need us for support. Our children need us for direction. Our children need us to empower them. And sometimes, our children need us to take action and be their voice.
Because sometimes, little voices are hard to hear.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Encouragement, Family, Mother, Mothering, Parenting, Pop Culture | Posted on 20-04-2012
You may not be preparing your children to be an Olympic athlete, but you are preparing them for something even bigger:
We mothers care so much and do so much.
And it is all worth it.
This commercial thanks mothers with the theme “the hardest job in the world is the best job in the world.”
Best. Commercial. Ever.
What do you think? Let me know if it made you cry. I did. #bigtime
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Childrearing, Children, Daughters, Encouragement, Family, Imagination, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Parenting | Posted on 19-04-2012
Sometimes as a parent, you need to “let go,” and let your kids go!
We were at a carnival and my sweet-and-pensive nine-year-old daughter wanted to ride only two things. The carousel? No. The jumping house? No.
The mechanical bull. And the Zipline.
This is when you transform yourself into supportive cheerleader.
- You support their dreams.
- You cheer them on with zest.
Even if, on the inside, you are worried and cringing. Watch my daughter as she adventures down the Zipline. Go!