Support for Raising Teens

This post is sponsored by the Center for Parent and Teen Communication.  All opinions (and memories!) are my own.

She has come so far. When you slow down to think about it, this is nothing short of amazing.


I’ll never forget the day my daughter made her first attempt to communicate using sign language. We had been teaching a few basic signs for the words more, light, eat, drink, and sleep. Those concepts that help parents communicate with babies and toddlers before they can use words and can prevent tantrums and frustration. We really needed that. I was holding her on my hip in her bedroom after a bath. I had flipped on the light to change her diaper and she looked up, her slate blue eyes seeing the shiny overhead light as if for the very first time. She took her tiny fingers, put them in a ball, and then opened them, looking up, and pointing with the other hand. She was making the sign for light. “Yes!” I said, “Light!” Her face lit up (oh yes, I meant that pun!) in understanding. She was glowing, exuberant, satisfied.

We understood each other.


As I watch her sprint toward the finish line at a cross country race, I see all at once this same determination, spirit, and courage. She juggles homework, her love of reading for hours on end, practices, and time with her sister on a daily basis, while remaining curious, open and kind. How incredible is it that these people we helped learned the basics of communication and how the world works can do all of these things at once now?

As she opens up her stride and is pumping toward the finish I see all that she has been, all that she is, and who she is becoming. It is no less magnificent and magical than the moment with the light many years ago.

And while back when she was a baby and toddler I had baby sign language books, what to eat when books, baby sleep books, and many others… there are very few resources for parents of teens. It helps me to remember how far she has come, who she is at her very core, and let these thoughts and memories guide me as I learn to parent a teenager.

Thankfully, we have a new resource just for parenting teens. The Center for Parent and Teen Communication is a new, valuable resource for every parent navigating the teen years.

And this sentence (and article) from Dr. Ken Ginsberg speaks volumes to me as a parent and as an educator:

“Love is seeing someone as they deserve to be seen, rather than seeing them based upon behaviors they might be displaying.”

I need to write that quote somewhere and see it everyday. We need to look for the good in our kids and our students, no matter what behaviors they might be demonstrating.  I’m looking forward to more gems like this one from him and the Center for Parent and Teen Communication. In fact, I just shared the above article and video with a friend who is the parent of a teenager, and hope you will do the same.  

We all need support and guidance with parenting teens every so often.


You Do You: a collection of essays about raising strong girls

It’s been a week that was many years long.


One thing is clear. We have a lot of work to do to dismantle the culture of sexism that we are raising our kids in.  It’s each of our responsibilities to challenge the gender stereotypes, toxic masculinity, and rape culture that persists at the highest levels in our institutions. One way to do this is to provide our kids with books that showcase women and girls sharing their stories, perspectives, voices and experiences. Luckily, we now have a new book that does just THAT, across generations, out just this week. I’m proud to have a poem in this new anthology.

You Do You is the sixth book in the New York Times best selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series, which has tackled a variety of topics since 2012 – including parenthood, relationships, and the cult of female perfection – all with a broad range of voices, from the cynical, to the ugly-cry, to the outright hilarious.

Kansas City based author and founder of the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Jen Mann, gathered thirty-seven other female writers and bloggers to share their relatable essays about the hits and misses of strong, confident daughters.

“I wanted this book to be a love-fest for the girls in our lives, to sing their praises just the way they are,” said Mann.

Mann added that this book is different from her previous anthologies because it includes, by design, contributions from girls and women of diverse perspectives and all ages, ranging from 12 to 65 — geared toward a multi-generational audience.

I began the poem Some Days while sitting in my car. I wrote it in anguish as I realized I apologize for everything, and have been conditioned to do that all my life. My hope is that this poem can encourage girls to take up space, have opinions, passions, and a strong voice and not apologize for it.

You Do You was released on Friday, September 28. Copies will be available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and will also be sold on B&, NookiBooksKobo, and other e-book retailers.

Please be in touch if you want to schedule a reading or event  (aka: a celebration of the voices of women and girls) at your school, bookstore, or home.


 We can do this.

New Salamander Defenders: School Visits!


We have legions of new salamander defenders!

Lucky me: I have had the chance to visit several schools since the launch of Salamander Sky in March, from pre-kindergarten to grade 6.  Kids big and small love learning about mysterious creatures that come out at night in their own backyards.

Last month I headed down to three schools in the Middlebury area. I met 400 new friends at the Mary Hogan School. The gym was full of kids excited to learn about these secretive creatures, to see recent pictures of the crossing, and to meet herpetologist Jim Andrews and Audubon salamander crossing guard Carol Ramsayer.

Then I headed to Beeman Elementary for a a inquistive group of about 60 kids ready to learn about salamanders. They were treated to Carol’s mini salamander crossing set up and helped me take care of Sky, my pet (fake) spotted salamander.  Thanks so much to Susie Snow for hosting us, and for writing up this blog post about the event!

Then it was off to Vergennes Elementary School.  I met about 100 kids in the library. They asked me all sorts of questions (even how old I was!) and were eager to have signed books.

Last but not least, I visited the Sharon Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten classes. After a morning of farm to school learning, the kids came in excited to hear about salamanders and how they could help protect them. They had been learning all about nature, spring and ponds, so this fit right in. I was so excited to sign a book for each student and was brought to tears when one student hugged the book tightly, beaming from ear to ear as she walked away.

Thanks to all of the amazing librarians, teachers and book sellers who helped coordinate this visits! It is such a joy to share in a love of nature, reading, and exploration by sharing Salamander Sky with young readers.