If you’ve been keeping up with your piperisms, you know that our little spitfire took a tumble last week. She earned herself a trip to the ER and four stitches. The stitches thread is blue, which Piper thinks is awesome. You can read about the drama here.

Yesterday Piper returned to school. She was excited to share her injury. Unfortunately, her mother made her put a band aid on it to keep out additional germs. Moms ruin all the fun. So Piper asked me to take a picture of her gruesome chin and print it. Stitches make for killer show and tell. Piper didn’t mind the attention one little bit.

She came home from school with this note from two of her best buddies.


“I am sorry that you fell down. Your friends, Madeline and Kian.”

Never Let Them See You Sweat

Piper gave her first Power Point presentation last week in kindergarten. She was very excited and little nervous. She kept running to me pre presentation to let me know she was sweating. Piper is a little sweaty. Always has been. Deodorant will one day be her friend.

I blogged about her fan club attendance here. Sissy and her friends filled the tiny chairs in the back of Piper’s classroom. It was about as adorable as you can imagine.

The presentation was called “Pasta Fagioli.” Piper bounced to the front of the board when her name was called and proudly presented her research. Here goes.





Like the other kindergartners, Piper most read from her presentation. She went a little off script when she riffed about dried basil being an herb and she wasn’t sure what food group that belonged to. Then she added the interesting tomato as a fruit/vegetable debate. Then she smiled and said, “Okay, next slide please” to her tech assistant. At the end of her presentation, Piper bowed deeply. Then she sprinted to my lap. It’s not every day in kindergarten that your mom’s lap is just sitting there empty waiting for you.

After all of the presentations, Piper was assigned a reflection piece to write. She had a little help from her people.



Piper is worried about first grade. She just started reading. She just began really writing. And she’s already anxious about an event that is 9 months away. Her eyes fill up when she talks about it. Poor baby.

“What are you worried about, P?” I asked, wiping away her tears.

“It looks so hard,” she said, “they do all this big kid stuff.”

“You do big kid stuff, already. This morning you dressed yourself and packed your snack and set the breakfast table. That’s big kid stuff.”

“That’s easy stuff, Mom. In first grade you get REAL grades. It’s not just about trying anymore.”

I thought about that. Piper already understands that effort goes a long way but eventually this world is about performance and evaluation. At five, she gets that. Sigh.

“Actually, Piper, they don’t give grades in first grade. I don’t think report cards have grades  on them until third. Instead, they give you little check marks about your progress.”

Piper’s eyes got big at that news. “Well, geez, then, why do they call it first GRADE?”


What’s On Your Plate?

It’s a little slow around here, especially compared to the marathon that is the holidays. Today there weren’t any presents to wrap or unwrap. No holiday cards to address (Oh, who am I kidding? Tiny Prints does all the work for me). No holiday tunes to belt out. We said goodbye to the beach and flew home with sand in our suitcases. I’m hoping the fairies show up soon and wrap each ornament individually and put away the tree. Le Sigh.

So Piper and I spent some time this afternoon mulling the new year over a bowl of spaghetti. It’s what she asked for when she came in the door from her first day back to school. “Mom, I had a great day,” Piper announced, creating a pile one foot from the door of backpack, coat, mittens, scarf, lunchbox, hat. “Now, I need some spaghetti. Bolognese sauce, please.” I understand. I had made the same thing earlier for lunch. Great minds think alike. The new year needs comfort food. Parmesan makes everything better.

Piper ate and told me about her new school project called “What’s on your plate?” where she’ll be learning how food actually gets onto her plate. It’s her first big research project. She’ll create a Power Point. She’ll present it by herself to an audience of parents. There will be cookies, of course, but she’ll know that the cookies are made from flour which comes from wheat which is grown in the ground. It’s cool stuff. I’m pretty sure I sat and made Playdoh snakes my entire kindergarten year. Times have changed.

“I’m really starting to think about my food, you know?” Piper said, gazing down into her spaghetti goodness. “Like this came from you, right?”

“I boiled the pasta and made the sauce, but I didn’t grow the wheat myself,” I admitted. “I bought the pasta from a store. Someone else grew the tomatoes.”

Piper twirled a good amount around her fork and sprinkled on more cheese, which comes from cows and is aged two years in Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano region.

“Well, wherever it came from, I like the sound spaghetti makes when I slurp it,” she said, smacking her lips together for effect. “It sounds like someone is KISSING!”

I Made This for You. Maybe.

Piper’s latest obsession is making collages. This involves dragging things out of the craft closet, cutting everything into tiny pieces, and then gluing them onto a surface. Sometimes the surface is paper. Sometimes it’s a hat. One time it was her shoe. “I’m collaging!” she says, wiping a glue stick on Barbie’s leg and pressing red beads all over it. It looks like Barbie has an infectious disease. She should probably see a doctor. Barbie that is. As far as I can tell, Piper’s “collages” are perfectly healthy.

I blame it on the art table. A few weeks ago in a massive reorganization (I had a syllabus to write and therefore began cleaning out every drawer in the house in order to procrastinate) we moved the art table from storage to Piper’s room. She needed a space to sit and “write” and play games. The art table needed to be used. Or else.

Making a collage is how Piper likes to unwind after a long day of kindergarten. She’s been making a lot of collages. Mostly for me. My birthday is coming up so each collage becomes an early gift. That is until her dad walks in the room. Then Piper takes the collage out of my hands and presents it to him. “I made this for you, Dad!” I should protest, but I know there will be more collages. Many more.

Go for the Green

Piper’s new kindergarten teacher is a keeper. When Piper grew bored of coloring in her behavior report every day with the same boring green crayon, she let her color the square rainbow. “You’re in charge of you,” Mrs. Adams told her, “you know if you behaved, don’t you?” Piper did. 

When I met Mrs. Adams for the first time, I gushed about how glad we were that she’d shown up for her second day, too. My standards are now that low after Dear Kindergarten Teacher and Help Wanted.

Piper declared Mrs. Adams to be a good hugger. “You kind of just fall into her. I think she’s hugged a lot.”

Mrs. Adams had a positive report, too. “Oh, Piper!” she said. “I get her. I really do.”

And that’s good enough for me.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

It’s not really a surprise that Piper’s favorite part of kindergarten so far is recess. Since she still doesn’t have a “real” teacher (still waiting, tapping my foot impatiently), there is a lot of recess time. I’m not complaining. Yet. Piper has declared kindergarten awesome because “it’s as fun as preschool without all that boring reading and writing.” Grr. Reality may hit pretty hard once “real” teacher shows up.

In the mean time, Piper plays a lot of a game called “Chasing Carter.” She was astounded one day on the playground to see Carter, a former preschool classmate, on the SAME playground. How can that possibly be? He was at the OTHER school and now he’s at THIS school. This quandry amazes Piper. I’ve pointed out that she, too, was at the OTHER school and now she’s at THIS school, but Piper is not known for her rationality. Here’s how Piper describes “Chasing Carter”:

“So, I see Carter, right? Madeline and I go up to him and say ‘Hey, Carter. Wanna play?’ and he runs.”

“What do you do?”

“We chase him.”

“That sounds like fun. Did you catch him?”

“No,” Piper says, “Carter doesn’t want to play.”

“But it sounds like he’s playing. I thinking you and Madeline chasing him is the game.”

“Nope,” she says, shaking her head, “he doesn’t want to play. That’s why he runs.”

“Does he scream and run away? Or yell at you to stop chasing him?”

“Not really. He yells ‘Chasing Carter’ and runs.”

“Then what do you do?” I ask.

“I chase him.”

Help Wanted

Piper’s kindergarten teacher quit today. She didn’t come back for the second day of school. It doesn’t really matter why. I’ve been told on good authority, though, that it wasn’t something Piper did. Whew.

So Piper had a substitute teacher in kindergarten today. It’s not ideal. In fact, it’s a mess. And there’s not a darn thing I can do about it. I’ve already tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. Piper seemed to be holding her own adjusting to the new school, new friends, new classroom, new rules, but this new teacher thing was too much.

“I hate the substitute! She’s boring. All she knows how to do is boring school! I want my teacher back!” Piper cried in my lap, curled up in a ball. “It’s not fair,” she said. I had to agree. Then I had to tell her that her teacher, the one she’d known for exactly one day, wouldn’t be coming back. New Kindergarten Teacher couldn’t hack it. I’m not that surprised, but none of that matters to Piper. She just wants what she expected, the teacher I told her she’d have. Her five-year-old self can’t understand the adult world and how a new teacher could quit after one day. “Who’s going to be my teacher then?” Piper asked.

“Well, the substitute you had today will be here for the rest of the week,” I explained.

“How long is that?”

“Three more days. Your principal promised me today that you’d have a new teacher by next week. So, three more days with the substitute and then you get a brand new teacher.”

“Why three days?”

“Your principal wants to find the best one. He wants to make sure he gets it right. He’s going to find a special new teacher for your class.”

“But I hate the substitute. She should go back to substitute school and become less boring!” I went to school today to meet the substitute after I met with the principal. She was perfectly nice and competent. Sissy had this particular substitute several times in her own class and raved about her. In fact Piper’s class seemed much better managed the second day under the substitute’s direction.

“I understand, P. I’m sorry,” I said. I listened to her complain some more. I told her I was proud of how she’d adjusted so far and I knew that she’d do okay with this change, too. I told her that sometimes change is hard and uncertainty is harder. I told her that whatever teacher gets Piper in her class is the luckiest teacher in the school.

“I’m not going back,” Piper said. I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t tell her she didn’t have to because she does. I have to make her. I have to agree that this sucks and let the school do its job. I have to hand her her lunchbox and her backpack and send her back in, even if I don’t want to because I have enough faith in this school and even more in Piper.

Dear New Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Ms. New Kindergarten Teacher,

It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday at orientation. My daughter, Piper, is very excited to have you for her teacher, especially since you wore that blue shirt. Piper thought you needed a little bling to your outfit, but I explained that you were probably going for professional and something that made you look older than twelve. Good choice.

I understand this is your first year teaching. Who knew you’d be so lucky to get your very own kindergarten class when you just graduated from university last week? Big score. I’m rooting for you. And don’t worry too much about being stuck in the old art room rather than one of those awesome real kindergarten classrooms. Who needs their own bathroom with twenty squirmy five-year-olds? I’m sure it will be a fun class field trip down the hall to the restroom several times a day. At least you got a smaller class due to the cramped space! Gotta look on the bright side, right?

I’m sure you’ll remember our little Piper from orientation. She was the one who crawled inside her locker and shut the door? Wan’t that hilarious? You might want to consider drilling some air holes in there. I promise it won’t be the last time. In fact, if you lose Piper throughout the school day, you might check her locker first.

Piper is a little trickster. She has big plans for that locker.

As I mentioned at least a dozen times yesterday, I’m happy to help you in whatever way I can. I’ve taught in the trenches before, and I know the first year can be a wonderful roller coaster ride. And you’ve got a Piper on top of it. At least she’ll make you laugh along the way. Please let me know how I can spy  volunteer my time in the classroom. I’m looking forward to keeping my eye on you helping.

Good luck!


Piper’s mom