Happy Mother’s Day


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Children, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 06-05-2016

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At a pool, on a mountain, at a beach, on a football field, in a kitchen, in a garage.

At a park, in a garden, at home, in a city, in the snow.

In the hospital, on a dock, on a boat, in a cave, in the forest.

Here or there, Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere!


A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

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.




High-Fiving and Thriving


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life Lessons, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 11-12-2012

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My daughter is ten years old. She is thriving.

Isn’t that an awesome word to describe children?

Healthy. Smart. Friendly. Kind. Pretty. Thriving.

She used to be on the shy side. She was quietly happy and happily quiet. At my encouraging, she had play dates. At my pushing, she got friends’ phone numbers at recess. Now she schedules her own play dates.

On her report cards, her teachers write “she is a pleasure to have in class”…”all of the kids like her”…”she makes others feel calm.”

Wow. To me, those words are more important than As. It just took her a few years to build confidence. And to thrive.

Today when I was jogging with my dog, Otis. We passed her elementary school while they were at recess.

Otis stood statue-like, nose in the air, tail in the air, watching the kids. (And to pee.) I squinted through the crowds of children and spotted my daughter playing kick ball against the wall with her friends. They were laughing. Squealing. Dancing. High-fiving. Thriving.

I yelled her name. She didn’t hear. I yelled again and waved like a maniac. She didn’t hear. And she certainly didn’t need Mom checking in on her.

Fast forward 10 years? I know, now, that she will be just fine.

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.

Snakes On a Plane…Hell No


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Boys, Celebrations, Connections, Family, Humor, Life Lessons, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting | Posted on 08-05-2012

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Ophidiophobia = the fear of snakes. Yeah, I got that.

If my kids ever ask me, “Mom, can I get a pet snake?”

“Hell, no.”

Snakes at museums? I can handle that. Because there are padlocks on the lids. But snakes on the loose? Indiana Jones and I. We both hate snakes.

So, the movie selection with my newly-minted-13-year-old son? Snakes on a Plane. OMG.

  • A snake peeping out of the overhead storage bin? Hell no.
  • A snake striking out of the toilet? Hell no.
  • A snake slithering up your leg when you have nodded off? Hell no.
  • A snake sneaking into your purse and then–surprise–you find it while rummaging around for some gum. Hell no.
  • A snake attacking the co-pilot? Hell no.

But I wanted to be cool Mom. So we watched, side by side, as the snakes peeped and struck and slithered and snuck and attacked.

Here’s a teensy little clip that made us bust up laughing (don’t proceed if you don’t like swearing…me? #sailormouth):

You and me both, SLJ, you and me both.

When Hiking, Pack Your Essentials


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Nature | Posted on 27-04-2012

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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!

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.

The Battle of the Puffy Coat


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Clothes, Mothering, Parenting, Pop Culture, Teenagers | Posted on 19-03-2012

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I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside, I like to wear a coat. When it’s rainy, a water-repellant coat. Duh.

Teens around here don’t like to wear coats. Even in a downpour.

A few years ago I bought my son a puffy winter coat. A coat that you could wear in the freaking tundra.

Well, this puffy coat has been at the center of many mother-son debates: to wear or not to wear.

The decision is usually: not to wear.

This reminds of Jerry Seinfeld and the puffy pirate shirt. Remember?

It’s the Seinfeld episode whereby Kramer’s low-talking girlfriend, a clothing designer, gets Jerry to wear a puffy pirate-like shirt on the Today Show. Jerry agrees, because he can’t hear what she is saying. When he realizes what he committed to, Jerry whines “But I don’t want to be a pirate.” He wears the shirt on TV and everyone laughs. Jerry is miserable and finally blurts out that it’s not his shirt and that he thinks it’s “the stupidest shirt I’ve ever seen.”

And then there’s the pick-your-battles theory. Is this puffy coat worth the battles that ensue? Nah. This puffy coat is now in the giveaway pile.

Let someone else have a pirate battle.