The Towel

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Connections, Encouragement, Family, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting | Posted on 30-03-2017

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There are so many things to learn! As a parent, there are so many things to teach my children!

I’m not talking about: Be kind. Be respectful. Be yourself. Have confidence. Make good choices.

I’m talking about basic bathroom hygiene teachings that begin early on:

When you wash yourself, wash all of your parts and cracks with soap and water.

Did you brush your teeth? Yes. Did you brush your teeth today?

When you spit, don’t leave a glob of toothpaste in the sink. No one wants to see that.

When you wash your hair, use shampoo first. Then conditioner. For awhile, my youngest son was only washing his hair with conditioner. He had the dirtiest-but-softest-hair in town.

When you poop, turn on the fan. No one wants to smell that.

So many things to teach. It’s a good thing we have a bunch of teachers around here.

Dad: Hey Buddy, lift the lid.

Big brother: Dude! Turn on the fan!

And then there’s big sister. Who teaches you how to make the perfect turban.

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How I Met Mr. Electricity

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Parenting, Personal Growth, Quotes | Posted on 23-09-2016

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It was one of those mornings. But isn’t every rushed-breakfast-making lunches-ooops overslept-where are my shoes-morning like that?

How it began was my daughter woke up late. She got in the shower late, forcing my husband to shower late. She uses our shower because the kids’ shower is, well, it’s gross. Ours is less gross.

I drove my daughter and son to school since it was 7:46 a.m. and my husband wasn’t downstairs yet. He usually drops them off en route to work.

We took my teenager’s car because late start for high school and plus, my husband’s car was blocking mine. I noticed a full tank of gas in my son’s car and thought, wow, he is so responsible.

Pulling up to the drop-off, my youngest son noticed he left his clarinet at home. Band today. When he practices, it sounds like a goose in the kitchen. Better a goose than a rat in the kitchen. UB40 reference.

I offered (begrudgingly) to drive back home to drop the clarinet off in the office.

Begrudgingly, because. There goes my morning run.

Back at the middle school office, I filled out paperwork for my daughter to sign up for basketball. I looked up and saw this quote on the wall:

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Just then, my son walked into the office gave me a huge hug Thank you so much for dropping off my clarinet! Good timing! The trip was worth it.

On my way home, I stopped at the bank to deposit some checks. Except. No debit card. I searched throughout my wallet and purse. That’s when I met Mr. Electricity. In the bank.

Who goes in the bank these days when there’s an ATM machine?

Mr. Electricity called out to me, from the teller next to mine: “Hello there! You can chew gum and bank at the same time! How is your day going?!” (I must have been chomping my gum extra big. Maybe it was the stress of losing my card?) His enthusiasm and good spirit were electric.

Even his mustache smiled.

Did I know him? I wasn’t sure but I played along. It’s great to see you! How are you?!

The teller asked him what his plans were. I’m washing my car today! Ha! Good one. It’s raining. We are all getting our cars washed today.

In the parking lot: Enjoy your day! Today is my day off. I worked four 10s. I’m a traveling electrician.

Ah. That explains his electric personality. 🙂

This stranger made me smile. All the way home. And hours later.

I retraced yesterday in my head…where did I leave my debit card? I called Pier 1. I had bought a glass acorn. No card, but the lovely acorn is on the kitchen windowsill looking oh-so-acorny-and-fallish.

Maybe Burger King? My youngest and I had stopped for a chocolate shake and Cheetos Chicken Fries. Don’t ask. But buy your kids some. They love them. No card. Then I had a hunch. I texted my oldest son. Sure enough, he had borrowed my debit card. No wonder his gas tank was full. 🙂

What had started as a morning gone astray, this chain of events–much like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie–that led to a chain of wonderful. If my daughter didn’t wake up late… If the clarinet hadn’t been forgotten… If I hadn’t read that quote on the wall… If my son didn’t borrow my debit card, forcing me to go into the bank… I would not have met Mr. Electricity, who was the change.

Sometimes we need a reminder. A nudge. A force. A change. To keep that electricity traveling.

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Ballooning

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Emotions, Encouragement, Milestones, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting, School | Posted on 07-09-2016

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You know Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web? And how he protects Charlotte’s egg sac for months? The baby spiders finally hatch and he’s delighted! But then he’s suddenly devastated because they immediately fly away?

That’s exactly how I felt when my three kids went back to school this week. After such a fun summer being together and adventuring, then poof, they were gone.

Wilbur tearfully calls goodbye to each of them and is fraught with despair. That was me, but trying to hold back the tears, and be encouraging. You will do great!

According to Scientific American, Charlotte’s hatchlings were “ballooning,” the method that baby spiders use to disperse themselves through nature. In fact, most spiderlings, after emerging from the egg sac, spin a dragline and balloon away. I read that baby spiderlings have no wings, but can fly as high as the highest-flying insects and birds, depending on the air current and weather and such. I also learned that baby spiders are called spiderlings. 🙂

Charlotte’s spiderlings are full of hope and are excited for what’s ahead. They are ready to launch, days after emerging from the egg sac.

My three children have been nurtured a little longer than the spiderlings (ha!) and are each in different launch phases. My oldest son is now a senior in high school. My daughter is in the eighth grade. My youngest son just started sixth grade. We are done with elementary school with one and college is on the horizon for another…the other is in between. Each child is full of hope and excitement (and some angst) for what’s ahead. I am not worried about them adjusting and learning and experiencing. No doubt, it’s an exciting time! They are up for the challenges of academics and social–and everything in between. I feel confident that they are confident and prepared to launch. It’s just that their leaving makes me a little sad.

Janet Lehman, an author with Empowering Parents, emphasizes: “As parents, we really have to accept that our kids are growing into separate individuals. That’s a good thing, because that’s how they learn to function in the world.”

We want our baby spiders to “balloon,” don’t we? As parents, we want to instill in them love and support and encouragement that reinforce that they have the abilities and confidence to function, launch, and excel.

This is nature. Spiderlings venture off on their own. Each has its own path. So do humanlings. And they usually “balloon” on the first day of school. With backpacks.

Transitions are hard for me. One of the hardest is going from summer to fall. Summer, with its free-flowing fun and so much time with my children. Then, bam. Fall, with its schedules and rigidity and less time with my children. I can’t help it: I love to be with my children. Plus, who doesn’t like to eat ice cream and walk along the river and adventure in the city and play with Otis in the backyard shade?

My youngest saw my tears and said, “Mom, don’t cry. It’s not like I’m going to boarding school. I’ll be home later today!” He was right.

Chin up! As Charlotte would say.

Go, spiderlings, go! Fly free! (And I’ll see you at 3:00 p.m.!)

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Wieners In Your Face

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 29-08-2016

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Shit!

That was the first word uttered in Sausage Party. And that was my first reaction bringing my eleven-year-old and thirteen-year-old to this raunchy, totally-not-VeggieTales matinee.

When I watched the trailer, I thought what could be funnier than talking wieners?

We live in a family with three males, four if you count our dog–and two females. We women are outnumbered. Silly talk. Crudeness. Butt jokes. Wiener humor. We value openness and humor. It’s part of our family. My daughter and I are not phased. In fact, we join in with the comments. That what she said… This drawing is of a friendly penis, drawn years ago. Its artist shall remain unnamed. I keep it thumbtacked to my bulletin board for a giggle.

I was expecting Sausage Party to be full of wiener-dick-balls-buns jokes. It didn’t disappoint. However, we definitely were not the target audience. Ooops. Bad judgement on my part. Swing and a miss!

The movie had some good messages: how everyone has a purpose in life (including bagels and juice boxes). And everyone deserves to be loved. Except. Imagine animated horny hot dogs getting it on with sexy hot dog buns. Food porn. The final scene was an all-out food orgy on aisle 3.

I goofed taking my kids to this movie. All in a day of parenting, I guess, where there are hits and misses. Earlier that day, I took them to lunch at the Thai restaurant (hit), we shopped for school supplies (miss), and my youngest had his first guitar lesson (hit). Then, weenies in your face (miss).

I talk openly with my kids about anatomy. Anatomy is a part of life. I also admit when I’m wrong and I try to make things right. Mistakes are also part of life.

When we left the movie theater, I apologized to my kids that I made a mistake taking them to an inappropriate movie. I relish the fact that they forgave me.

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The Best in the World

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Contest, Encouragement, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 19-08-2016

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I have been actively watching the Olympics each night. Actively, I say, because I yell on the sidelines sofalines. I cheer and yell loudly. My enthusiasm makes the swimmers stroke longer and the sprinters run faster.

YOU CAN DOOOOOO IT!

They can. They do. And they win.

My eleven-year-old had a track meet this spring, where all fifth graders from all five elementary schools in our town gathered and competed. It’s a ritual that’s been going on for decades. They perform all of the traditional track and field events. Except pole vaulting. Oh, and the discus is a frisbee. But whatever.

But the sprints? Sheer speed. It’s a nail-biter to see who the fastest fifth grader is in town.

My son competed in the 75-meter sprint. The gun went off and he flew. I couldn’t contain my cheering: GO! YOU’VE GOT THIS!

He went. And he got it. A blue ribbon. And a huge smile.

He is the best in the my world.

When it comes to sports, do we love our children more when they win? Or do we love that our children are healthy? Or do we love that our children are becoming independent and confident?

Healthy. Independent. Confident. As a mother, I want my children to be winners on the inside. But a blue ribbon from time to time doesn’t hurt. 🙂

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Graduation

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Aging, Celebrations, Childhood, Dreams, Emotions, Encouragement, Kids, Life Lessons, Memories, Milestones, Mothering, Nostalgia, Parenting | Posted on 14-06-2016

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This time of year always makes my heart so happy and proud. And also a little sad. Graduation! I get goosebumps when I see someone in cap and gown. I tear up when I hear Pomp and Circumstance. I always cry at graduations. It’s a happy sad cry.

I could be hired to attend strangers’ graduation ceremonies. If someone needs a person to cheer, to cry, or to take proud pictures afterward, I’m your gal.

I have friends whose children just graduated from college. Just graduated from preschool. Friends whose children were “promoted” from 8th grade to high school. Others from 5th grade to middle school. My son graduated from 5th grade this week. No more elementary school. He is my youngest. Sad happy.

These are all wonderful milestones–backed by hard work and parental love and support–that deserve celebration. I am proud of everyone! I was so busy woohoo’ing when my son shook hands with the principal, that I missed the photo opportunity when he posed with his certificate in hand. Oh well, the whole gym heard my enthusiasm! Afterward, I hugged all of his friends. My support is genuine.

Graduations are transitions that symbolize growth. But also change. Sometimes change can be hard for us parents. I know many fellow parents who have that same happy/sad feeling too. Here’s a hug and some Kleenex. And some inspirational words from Dr. Seuss in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (as quoted at the 5th grade commencement speech), words to reassure us that everything will be OK:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Let That Shit Go

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 03-05-2016

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I have a great and full life. I am grateful (greatfull).

But often, I am overwhelmed. How do I make time for family, work, fun, chores, exercise, “me time,” and rest? How do I find balance?

“The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.”
-Unknown

Um, I think I’ve lost it. It’s fine time I lower some of those pesky high expectations.

Some days I’ll work long hours and kick ass at work. Then my mothering skills fall behind. And I feel guilty.

Some days, I’ll spend amazing time with my children, then my work projects fall behind. And I work late at night to catch up.

Some days, I prioritize working out then I have no time to cook. And we make scrambled eggs for dinner. We go through a lot of eggs.

Some days, I’ll spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking then I run out of time to exercise. And no one likes to be around me when I don’t get my run in.

Some days, I’ll put everything on hold in order to play for the afternoon. And work projects hit the fan.

Some days, I’ll get so many chores done. And then I resent that I spent my precious time doing chores.

Balance is certainly not about perfection and high expectations. Nor is about having everything in balance. (I picture a teeter totter.) Balance is about acceptance. Accepting that things will be askew and being OK with that. Accepting that unbalance is OK. Accepting that everything is in flux. And to be OK with that. Accepting that sometimes good enough, is good enough.

“I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.”
-Libba Bray, author

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
-Alain de Botton, philospher

And my favorite quote about trying to meet high expectations:

“Let that shit go.” #letthatshitgo
-hundreds of people on Instagram

Always balancing. #life #metaphor #balance

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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

What Smells Like Ass?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Cooking, Dinner, Family | Posted on 04-04-2016

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What smells like ass? Asks my teenager son, as he walked into the kitchen.

Um, that would be dinner.

It had been weeks since I had prepared a “proper” dinner for my family.

After watching a few episodes of Cooked on Netflix, I felt nostalgic about cooking and preparing a wholesome meal for my family. The show documents various cultures around the world about food preparation and how, in our busier-and-busier lives, many of us have lost touch with taking the time and the steps to prepare a meal. Made with good ingredients and made with love. The narrator and author, Michael Pollan, says that we all have good memories of being “cooked for” and how that makes us feel cared for and loved.

When I have the time and make the time, I do enjoy cooking for my family. It’s just that they don’t always like what I cook.

That night, I baked potatoes. I broiled some cod with fresh parmesan. I roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil. (Fish + parmesan + broccoli = stink.)

My intentions were to invite and welcome my family to the table. Yet, the smells turned people away. Except for Otis.

He was drooling.

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Silly Rabbit

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Easter, Family, Humor, Life Lessons, Memories, Parenting | Posted on 24-03-2016

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The Easter Bunny has finally gotten smart around here. It has taken several years of trial and error.

One year, the Easter Bunny hid the freshly-dyed hard-boiled eggs outside the night before. It rained. And in the morning, our young son searched for white eggs.

Another year, the Easter Bunny hid the hard-boiled eggs outside in the morning. Then we let the dogs out for their morning pee. The dogs ate all of the eggs. Nary an egg to be found.

Yet another year, the Easter Bunny wised up and hid the hard-boiled eggs inside the house. Except. What happens when children don’t find all of the eggs? The big stink.

Silly rabbit.

The Easter Bunny has finally learned to hide plastic eggs inside the house. No rain. No dogs. No smell. Brilliant.

Happy Easter!

XO,
Pippi

Whoops! #Eastereggs #Easter #egghunting This was a long time ago and makes me smile.

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Breakfast is served! #Eastereggs #eggs

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Man Shoes

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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.

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