The Graduate (‘s stepmom)

Happy!  So Proud of Oliver ( my Nick Jonas).  I’m so glad that I got such a nice stepson.  It could have all gone so wrong.  Here we are ( with his grandma, Mark’s mom beaming in the background) right after the commencement.  While my pride and love for Oliver does not waver, but enthusiasm during the service flagged a tad.  Here I tell Rex what he missed.




Angry room parent: c’mon help me out!

Here is a Momversation that I started. One of my pet peeves: parents who don’t help in their public schools.  Do you judge the non involved like I do?  Loved getting the input of Janice from 5 Minutes for mom ( who I met at BlogHer, Hi Janice! Let’s do “5 minutes for room parents”) and “Mr. Lady” ( love that moniker) of Whisky in my sippy cup (also met at Blogher, sassy, fun gal).

Since I can’t respond to the videos since I went first I will put them here:  I don’t find a difference between single or married parents.  In fact, my co room parent is a widower and he is very involved ( bless his heart).  Also, there are parents who don’t communicate with me, but go to the teacher.  That’s fine.  I check in with her so I know who to lay the heat on and who to leave alone.  Yes, the amount of communication you can get from a kids school is daunting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be the room parent to help streamline it and make it more clear.  I hate the amorphous “come help” email. People need specifics and they need to know why?  Example: This past weekend we kept hearing “come to a rally to support charter schools” on a Saturday morning when I –as a blogger– was given free passes for my family to go to Knott’s berry Farm.  My husband was all for ditching the social action and hitting the rides.  Since I grew up going to everything from Libertarian “victory” parties to marches for the the ERA this was causing me some pang.  But, frankly the whole event seemed to vague.  So I delved deeper into it and then I composed this email:

So, do any of us want to get up early and hustle somewhere Saturday

morning?  I know I don’t.  But, I’m going to suck it up tomorrow and

do just that.  We need to have a good showing to show the LAUSD and

the State they can’t pick the pockets of the Charter schools.  They’ve

done it and they will do it again if we don’t rise up against them.

It’s like when the ants face down the grasshoppers in A Bug’s life,

our collective numbers can send those who would underfund ( even more

than we are) into the mouth of a bird.

Okay, not a perfect analogy.  Look, drive downtown, wear a green

shirt, yelp and clap for an hour and go home.

Guess what?  It worked.  Our class had showed up in better numbers than most others ( along with the 15 parents who do most everything).

My family didn’t get on the bus with the crowd.  We put on our green shirts, found a meter, stayed for an hour clapping and yelping, then hoped on the freeway and a great time at Knott’s ( short lines, Camp Snoopy, good for little ones).  Btw, all having matching color shirts not a bad idea at an amusement park.  I could find them easily.

But, don’t tell me your busy.  We all have a lot going on.  I’m watching…

Mid Morning Show with Cool Mom: Room Parenting

I always enjoy having a talk show in my own home. When Rex was younger he was a more placid sidekick. Now he is less Doc Sevirnson and more Crispin Glover. Special guest and Cool Mom player sister Carole drops by (be sure to check out her fun blog, LA Girl Now).

Our topic for today: being a room parent makes me understand police brutality.  Any room parents out there? Maybe you can relate.

Lice Outbreak

PP (Pre-Parenthood) this is one of the topics that would NOT have occurred to me have, but now is a regular thing among moms to chat about … besides how we never get together and why don’t we see our friends anymore.

UPDATE:  Just in! useful information on this subject has just arrived from Adie Horowitz, ownerLicenders, (maybe she is the lice lady)

Here are here tips for lice prevention.

  • Know the “lice” time of year
    • Winter: Travel time, clothing layers, hats, gloves, scarves, etc.
    • Summer: Camp, play dates, travel, hats, road trips
  • Prevention products: peppermint is a deterrent scent to the bug, many shampoos/conditioners contain this ingredient
  • Once per week throw backpacks, hats and jackets in the dryer for 20 minutes
  • Educate children on the importance of not sharing hats, hair-bows, jackets and gloves
  • Check your children frequently for head lice, it’s much easier to get rid of if you discover it at an early stage

OMG, on the peppermint one, didn’t know.  Maybe that is why Viv hasn’t gotten lice, she eats peppermint rather often.  Thanks for the tips!

My coolmom player guest today is Jo McGinley. She and I are not only old friends, but she was in the improv group I co-founded. We did a lot of improv together. If you were in San Francisco in the 90s, I’m sure you knew of Scratch Theatre!

Well, here we scratch some lice.

Math for Little Kids

I’m a little obsessed with catching up to the 21st century and preparing my kids for a more competitive world. My upbringing was much more the 1970’s bo-ho variety … which is why I never memorized my multiplication tables and my handwriting looks like the deranged rantings of a prisoner. If it wasn’t for PBS and libraries, I would be feral.

While I understood the importance of civil disobedience at a young age, I do hold on to my “question authority” roots. I want my kids to do that with a roof over their head and money in the bank … or under the mattress. To that end, I will be less forgiving of experiments with burning vegetable matter (also it’s WAY stronger these days, can cause psychotic breaks), and have the expectation of them attending school — albeit calling their teacher by their first name — and a proficiency in math and science. I was impressed at what I heard learning how to work with an abacus could do for little ones. Some kids who don’t like math do like the abacus as it is tactile and visual. It’s the norm in many Asian countries, and last time I checked they were kicking our US butt in the math department.

Near where we live, this sweet little place opened up called My Ivy Kids. It’s run by a couple of nice, young Korean ladies who are very earnest. Viv’s teacher, Sandra, is painfully shy in front of the camera so in order to pay her back for making her part of my cool mom circus we made a short promo video for them that is embedded on their FB site. (They are so dear and need some marketing help.)

My father always said that kids are supposed to do better than their parents. Despite economic changes, I would like to keep that going.

School Meetings: If You Could Speak the Truth

If you jumped up during a school, PTA, or school committee meeting and said what was really on your mind, what would you say?

Imagine I am there in one of those meetings where the admins make their presentation and some parent leaders talk about something they are involved with. That is where this vid begins.

Then tell me what you would like to say… if their were no repercussions or dirty looks at drop-off to worry about.

Treasure Kai: The Book App

I’m still dirt deep in my landscape project at Vivien’s school. We are a designated Big Sunday school… the get out and volunteer day. As the head of the committee — um, there are two of us — I have been hoeing it up in such a different way from the late ’90’s. On prep day I was so engrossed in where the boulders and Mexican Sage should be placed, I lost the keys to Mark’s catering van (sorry honey!) Felt like such a bimbo.

So, this vid is from a calmer time. In between volunteering for tasks that are really too much for me. I’m very proud of how well Vivien is reading, but she sees her older brother playing games on his iPad and is gravitating toward this, so a friend in Australia pointed me to this app as a way to bridge this.

Thomas the Tank

“They say I can’t take that load, but I can.”

“I wouldn’t do that, Thomas”  said ____ the other engine.

“Yes, I can. I will show them.” Then Thomas gets into a scrap, has to be rescued and makes amends for getting too big for his britches, or wheels or whatever.

That’s the premise of 90% of Thomas the Tank.  But it can stop a two-year-old from crying for bit so it’s worth a lot.

My question is do producers of kid shows just throw stuff on the wall and hope something sticks? Or do they put electrodes on kids brains and know they will like a slow moving story about trains, or a purple dino … well, guess he is washed up.

Volunteering at School Lunch

Oh, the best laid plans.  I volunteer a fair bit at my daughter’s school, but one day I did hot lunch.  (It’s a shift I had to give up because it fell during Rex’s nap time. I would drive over to the school with him, he would fall asleep and I would spend an hour plus sitting in my car with him, not helping out.)

Surely, my daughter would be happy to see her mother nearby. Her mother involved in her school. In her LIFE.  It’s not like she is a teenager, cringing as I help out at every available event in her high school (which I will do if I am underemployed like now).  She is in kindergarten. Oh, what fun this will be!

My home is a stand-in for the school.

Grading Parents

Is it just me or is it impossible for a woman to spoof a politician without coming across as a Hillary Clinton/Sarah Palin hybrid?

Though I’m spoofing the format of political news conferences in this video, I actually wanted to say, “I hear you” to the legislation that prompted this piece.  I noticed, in a couple of places online, writers were deriding a certain piece of legislation that proposed to grade parents.

I am betting we all know some who would get a thumbs down.

Also, for some reason, teachers have become enemy number one — like they caused the financial meltdown, sold speculative investments and started two foreign wars.  Oh, yes, those wiley teachers with their $40,000-a-year salary and need for Sharpies. They are so terrible.  Geez.