parent teacher conference

We just had our meeting and in general Vivien is doing very well in school.

As the hardworking teacher showed us the work and what they are learning I kept thinking, “I didn’t do any work like this in 3rd grade… or ever.”  Granted I had kind of a Bo-Ho education.  Not all kids get to opt to watch a Bette Davis double feature instead of learning long division.  But, 1) the work does seem harder now and 2) it’s just different.  The terms are different, the nomenclature of their work is so unknown to me so that if they didn’t include “notes to parents” in some of her work books I’d be unable to help her.

I think of the kids in her class whose parents don’t speak English and I wonder , “How can those kids succeed?”  So much homework, new terms, plop on  a different language you are sunk.

My only question at the conference?  When will they get more free play?  Answer:  they won’t.

Here is another burst of educational insight I had when Rex was younger and I still had my fab camera man Chung Ming shooting my vids  ( I just recently got to work with him.  Love that guy)

My other insight is bring your kid’s teacher a sandwich.  I did and she was happy.

Rex Returns

Well, to video.  The schools have stolen my best talent.  But, good news, Summer is upon us.  Vivien is almost out, but my former sidekick  my son is done with his first full year of fulltime preschool and he is ready to make time for his moms silly practice of making online videos.

Really, he couldn’t wait!  Really?


camp planning

Congress has come to the rescue of the overworked air traffic controllers and frustrated passengers.  Wonder if there is any help available for another scheduling issue.  Summer Camp.  This is issue is multiplied by the amount of children you have.  So many factors go into it, personality of the child, their age, cost, how much mom wants to drive.

Here is a condensend version of my last couple of weeks. Wait, I’m still going through it.

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.