Kids These Days


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Children, School, Technology | Posted on 28-11-2016

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Kids these days. Sigh.

When I was a kid, I played with sticks.

Not really. Actually, I did. I would flip my Big Wheel upside down and move the pedals ’round and ’round until the wheel was moving so fast that I could sharpen sticks with it. Then I would poke my sister. Giggle.

Adults are always complaining about “kids these days.” How technology is corrupting them. Kids these days don’t even know how to tell time or write in cursive.

Actually, that is a fact. Some of the “basics” I grew up with aren’t taught in elementary schools anymore because the Common Core State Standards curriculum has replaced those skills with others. Once, the third grade teacher sent home the how-to-tell-time packet. Years later, I’m not so sure if my fourteen-year-old daughter can properly tell analog time. A quarter past two. Half past four. A quarter ’til three. But. She can program a video game because she took a coding class. And she knows all of the bones from head-to-toe.

Cursive is no longer taught in most U.S. elementary schools. My eleven-year-old doesn’t know how to properly sign his name. But. He has crazy keyboarding and video-editing skills. He makes hilarious-and-clever movies and uploads them to YouTube. And he knows how to add and multiply and reduce fractions. I didn’t learn how to do that until high school.

Parents will always find something to complain about. But look at all that is right with kids and their education these days.

If we stop complaining long enough to listen, we would learn a thing or two from our children. Because kids these days are so smart! Between my three, they can add negative numbers, analyze Catcher in the Rye and other literature, debate the pros and cons of each Presidential candidate’s platform, solve for x, y, and z, write a persuasive essay, read music and play the clarinet, explain the significance of the Bill of Rights, program a video game, cite the periodic table of elements, define each part of a cell, explain carbohydrates vs. proteins, and type a thesis without looking at the keyboard, then upload it to Google Drive.

Between school, peers, and their devices, kids are learning to analyze, rationalize, debate, articulate, appreciate, and communicate. There will be time to practice signatures at home. On their iPads. With a stylus. 🙂

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Vote for Pippi


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Confidence, School | Posted on 07-11-2016

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It was an election year. I was new to the school and decided to run for office. Seventh grade class vice president. I was smart, responsible, and peppy. What did I have to lose?

I campaigned. I researched. I spoke. I smiled. I won.

Genuinely interested in making an impact, my platform was to change the lunch menu, add more drinking fountains, and extend recess. Giggle. I painted posters and taped them on every wall in every hallway.

I clearly remember the speech. And being nervous as shit. Knees shaking. But I took control of my voice and into the microphone I began, “Friends, Seventh Graders, Countrymen, lend me your ears…”

Whaddya know? Lots of cheering and clapping! They picked me! I was elected and elated!

Though my efforts to change the school over the course of my vice presidency had little impact, the sense of accomplishment and confidence did wonders for my 12-year-old adolescent self.

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Turn Around…Let Me See Your Butt


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Parenting, School | Posted on 01-09-2015

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Clothes shopping. Back-to-school shopping.

When my children try on jeans, I always tug the waist to see if there’s room. Even if they are sixteen years old. I check the length to make sure they are long enough. Then.

Turn around. Let me see your butt. 

If the jeans pass the waist-length-butt test, they win!

Then, it’s try-on-shoes time. Too short? Too long? Just right?

Run down the aisle! Jump! Are they comfortable? Do you like them?

My three are now ready to begin the school year with happy butts and feet.

Getting off on the right foot…

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The Boy Who Wore A Tie to School


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Confidence, Growing UP, Parenting | Posted on 09-06-2015

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Once upon a time, there was a boy. All he wanted was a suit. With a vest. And a tie.

To wear to school. Because he wanted to look nice.

How could I resist?

I bought him that suit, with its matching pin-striped slacks and vest, button-down shirt, and clip-on tie.

He was smashing! He wore that suit nearly every day.

Until one day, the slacks became knickers. 🙂

Once upon a time, he wanted a suit. With a vest. And a tie. To wear to school.

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Something Borrowed, Something Purple


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Confidence, Connections, Family, Mothers and Sons, School | Posted on 23-04-2015

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My 10-year-old son completed a massive, it-takes-a-village-presentation on Bill Gates. He read a biography on him, wrote a book report, and prepared a poster board filled with images and facts and drawings.

It was a six-week project. And let me tell you, it was a doozy.

A little graphics assistance from Dad. A little editing assistance from Mom. A purple plaid shirt borrowed from Sister. And the only tie in the house?

A black satin mafia tie borrowed from Brother.

When my son presented to his classmates and to the parents at Open House, he was full of facts, full of enthusiasm, full of confidence. He nailed it! All by himself.

Bill Gates at open house. He nailed his presentation!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Kids, Life, Life Lessons, Parenting, School | Posted on 16-06-2014

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My daughter gets a lot of recognition. She’s kind. She’s artistic. She’s sporty. She’s smart. She’s sweet.

But at her 5th grade promotion ceremony, she did not get recognized for having perfect attendance.

An award for perfect attendance?

Yeah, no.

We’re not believers in perfect attendance in our home.

We believe that when you’re sick, you stay home and get better. When there’s perfect snow at the mountain, you take the day off to go skiing. When you visit your grandmother, you spend a few extra days in San Francisco to sightsee.

Sometimes, you simply need a day off to watch Cinderella and snuggle with your dog and eat grilled cheese.

I guess you’d say we’re believers in L-I-V-I-N.

Because that’s what life is all about.

Goodbye elementary school…hello middle school!

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You Are Not Alone


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Childrearing, Confidence, Connections, Love, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Safety | Posted on 22-01-2014

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It’s Finals Week! We’re in the midst of test-taking around here. The culmination of several months of hard work. I say “we” because my fourteen-year-old son is in his first year of high school. This is his foray into–oooohhh–finals. During finals, as his mother, my role is to support him and push him and feed him and nag him and pep talk him and reassure him.

So that he has the tools, the ambition, the fuel, the reminders, the confidence, and the love.

He is not alone in this.

One of his tests is to recite a poem in front of his class. It is not an easy poem. It’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Alone. Yikes!

I don’t want my son to feel alone and disconnected, like in this poem, as he navigates his high school years.

I had better make heat up some lasagna and give that young man a big hug. 🙂

By Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—


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13 Plates of Sushi and 20 Tips for My High Schooler


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Children, Communication, Connections, Conversations, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Teenagers | Posted on 20-08-2013

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My son starts high school in two weeks. He starts high school football this week.

He is ready academically. Smart as a whip*, that boy. (*I think that is something my grandfather would say.) He is ready physically. Hello, six pack.

Not sure he’s quite ready mentally. Not sure I am, either.

We stopped by today to pay some fees and bam. If nerves (and excitement) were dollars, we’d have a wad. Yeah, both of us. The school was giant, with sprawling halls. It was also quiet. It’s gonna be a lot different in two weeks, when he may interact with 18-year-old guys with muscles, Abe Lincoln beards, and cars. And 18-year-old girls with attitudes, tight jeans, and good smells.

Yeah, it’s gonna be a big step, socially. Yikes!

I wrote about 20 things I would tell my high school self here. But today, at our favorite lunch spot–where we downed 13 plates of sushi–we also talked about what to expect in. High. School.

High school. It’s one of those foundational building blocks that help form you. You start at fourteen and end at eighteen. This is the transition to young adulthood.

My advice to him kinda went like this:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. It’s OK to be smart.
  3. Try something new (but not drugs).
  4. Show kindness.
  5. Try your hardest.
  6. Raise your hand.
  7. Be a good friend.
  8. Fresh breath, always.
  9. Stay true to your beliefs.
  10. Speak up.
  11. Have fun.
  12. Girls. They are wonderful. Get to know some.
  13. Join a club or two.
  14. Take chances.
  15. It’s OK to make mistakes. Learn from them.
  16. Don’t bad-mouth others. It always comes back.
  17. There will be drinking. But call us. No driving drunk.
  18. Don’t worry about what other people think.
  19. We believe in you. We are here for you.
  20. Enjoy the journey.

Yeah, no. We didn’t discuss all of that. That’s far too much talking, what with California Rolls and all.

I savor these lunches (and it’s not just the tasty, savory miso soup). But I savor the time to talk and laugh with my son–and stuff our faces. I look forward to many more of our sushi outings. One sushi roll at a time, one parenting tip at a time.

sushi plates

A Jar of Two Spiders


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, School | Posted on 19-06-2013

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Awhile back, my son was studying spiders in class. I mean, arachnids. The teacher requested that students bring in spiders from home (or yard) for the class to study. Always eager to help a teacher out, we hunted around the wood pile–and whaddya know–we found two spiders. We scooped them up into the glass jar and screwed on the lid. Extra tight.

And I dropped that boy off at school. Here’s your lunch! Here’s your jar of spiders!

Seven hours later at the bus stop, off stepped my son. No jar in hand. Whew! I mean, who wanted two agitated spiders who had spent the day being examined by 24 students?

Then. Came. The. Call. From the office. “Hi, we have a jar here for you. You need to come by to pick it up.”

Apparently, you are not allowed to bring mysterious jars containing live creatures aboard the bus.

Yeah. I don’t really need that jar back. Yeah, the spiders either. Keep them.

Anything for science.


It Takes a Tribe


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Parenting, Projects, School | Posted on 05-02-2013

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“It takes a village to raise a child…”

So true. But in this case, it took a tribe.

My daughter had a little not-so-little school project. She was to write her own Pacific Northwest Native American-style myth, with symbolism. Her symbol was the raven. Her myth was How the Raven Stole Straw.

In Pacific Northwest Native American culture, the raven is a creature of metamorphosis, and symbolizes change and transformation. Often honored among holy men of tribes for its shape-shifting qualities, the raven was often called upon in ritual so that visions could be clarified. Foremost, the raven is the Native American bearer of magic.

So far so good. Her myth was written. Part two of her project was to create a visual to accompany her myth. It was about 9:00 p.m. on a school night and this project was due. The. Next. Day.

We needed a little raven magic.

My daughter had visions of creating a Native American blanket. A blanket?? Dude. It’s 9:00 p.m.

“How about drawing a raven, sweetie?” When faced with a challenge, I sometimes try to find a quick solution. It was now 9:18 p.m.

But my daughter was determined to make a blanket. My husband jumped in, ready to help his daughter clarify and realize her vision. He’s great like that.

The three of us formed our own sewing pow wow. Cutting. Sewing. Gluing. Laughing.

I’m not sure what time it was when the final button was attached, but the raven spirit came through that night to transform a piece of felt into…an A.

I have heard people say parents shouldn’t help their children with homework. Whatever. Sometimes, I think, it requires teamwork and relying on the elders in the community. Sometimes, it takes a tribe.

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I’m linking up with the Yeah Write “moonshine” folks. Check them out!