Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “parenting”

POM: April 24

Always a parent. The kinder are grown, gone, got lives of their own. Yet I will always be their momma. I am concerned if they are eating right, sleeping enough, and if they are  concerned about their cholesterol levels. This is why I so relate to this poem.

Sentimental Moment or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road?

Don't fill up on bread
I say absent-mindedly
The servings here are huge

My son, whose hair may be
receding a bit, says
Did you really just
say that to me?

What he doesn't know
is that when we're walking
together, when we get
to the curb
I sometimes start to reach
for his hand

—Robert Hershon

from Poetry Northwest, Volume XLI, No. 3, Autumn 2000
Poetry Daily, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Copyright 2001 by Robert Hershon.
All rights reserved.

Read Me a Story

One of my favorite classes in college involved learning how to read picture books out loud to children. Yes, and we did get credit for doing so. This class gave me real life skills. For true.

I learned there is a proper way to hold the book when facing the audience.

  • First of all, sitting down facing your audience, you hold the book’s bottom spine stretched out on your forearm.

*By the way if you are looking for a dazzling, scintillating meme-worthy Prezi, it ain’t happening*

  • You then read sidewise, yet facing your audience because eye contact is quite important. This is easier than it sounds because picture books usually have more illustration than words.
  • It is then important to properly turn the page. This is done by reaching over and across the top of the book, sliding the first two fingers done the present page and the next, and pulling the page over for the next spread. NOTE: though commonly practiced, it is not in the best interest in the book’s wear to turn from the middle bottom, especially towards the inside spine. Rippage and tearage can occur in doing so.
  • Proceed throughout the entire book in the proscribed method.
  • It is also important to use appropriate voices for characters, and it can be highly desirable to create separate voices for each given character. NOTE: characterization voices are best done by those who can do so without creating havoc among the audience. For example: if your Cockney mouse is such a smash hit your audience might laugh to the point of interfering with the story’s progress.
  • Body language is  also important. Leaning in to emphasize special junctures, or pausing for same can add a delightful amount of drama and dimension to the story.

I believe the course to be quite edifying and suggest signing up should the adult education flyer come through the mail. Today I utilize those skills reading to the grandkiddo, although I use my snuggle reading skills instead. I have read stories to my high school students. Yes, that is one reason I am known as the weird English teacher.

Then again, there are those who possess natural skill at reading and technique does not actually matter. Case in point is our boy Sherlock.

Have you a favorite technique for reading stories?  Or better yet–any famous readers you’ve come across? One of my most favorites is Meryl Streep’s audio book reading of Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter.



Rainy Days of May

I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but we are having a spate of rainy May days in my part of the world. I personally don’t mind rainy days, at least not too much.  I enjoy the greenery it brings and all those flowers.  The rain also provides the excuse to stay inside and get caught up on my writing and reading because if it is sunny out I tend to feel guilt for not being outside reveling in the warmth and blue skies.  We have long winters here.  I’m trying to figure out a way to store up those sunny summer days in a jar to dispel those dismal days of December, January, February, and most of March.

When the progeny were kidlits I made sure rain did not stop their fun.  One of my helpers in this regard was a fabulous book called Rainy Days & Saturdays by Linda Hetzer. Inside our over 150 activities and ideas for chasing away the drizzle doldrums.


Check it some of our past favorites:

  • camping out inside–the old blanket over the table works, but we filled the entire living room with elaborate blanket and sheet configurations
  • bean bag throws–easy to make and hours of entertainment
  • sock puppets–old socks, buttons, felt and it’s showtime
  • finger painting–shaving cream mixed with food coloring in muffin pans equals pruny rainbow kids
  • tissue paper stained glass–an old jar, watered down white glue, a paintbrush, torn tissue paper, and stick in a candle
  • balloon volleyball–clear out the breakables and have at it
  • tornado tubes–toy stores have the contraption to join two liter bottles together to create the swirly fun
  • cooking–popovers, quesadillas, no bake cookies, homemade pizza
  • clay ornaments

I’m keeping this one for the grandkiddos coming over.  I can’t wait to build a fort again!



How about you?  Do have some rainy day ideas that work well for your bunch?

Updated Momisms

Mother’s Day has taken on new meaning having become an Empty Nester. The kiddos have flown the coop, starting their own lives, and while I’m still, and will always be their Mum, I don’t expect or need a big flautin’ tootin’ acknowledgement of being their mother.  Thanks, but not needed, Hallmark.  Another calendar guilt day.  Whoa–wait–stop–I didn’t mean to go in this quasi-negative direction. Of course, getting a card or phone call or even flowers is sweet and appreciated, but everyday I’m reminded that it is so cool I’m a mom of three very lovely children who have become adult just that fast. The youngest turned 21 in March and the oldest will be turning the *yikes* 29 in June.  How’d that happen?  Wasn’t it moments ago I was telling them:

  • Hey! I’m your mother not the maid. Pick up your stuff!
  • Don’t make me come back there!
  • Just try one bite–
  • It’s your brother’s turn to pick the movie.
  • No, I don’t have money for candy.
  • You can have one–I said one.
  • Not before dinner.

Now that they are adults, I find the following conversationals happening:

  • How’s work going?
  • Is this a “friend” or a friend?
  • Do you need gas money?
  • What are you doing for the holidays?
  • Is it okay if Pops and I come over?
  • Do you want to meet at the restaurant?

Yes, I notice they tend to be questions rather than statements?  Why is that? Maybe it’s because I can’t really tell my kids to get a haircut, or that they should tidy up their apartment anymore.  But I guess I do. *Sigh* I really can’t stop being a mother so easily.  There is not switch off once the kinder become A-dults.  That Mom drive just keeps going.

So, this post is dedicated to my children.  You make Mother’s Day happen everyday–not only some designated May Sunday.

And this is why I wrote that essay that got in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide. 

Now that you have all moved out and have your own lives I finally do have “A Little Piece of Quiet.”

Loves and Hugs, Mum

Chicken Soup Cover

Image: Amazon Inspiration: My Very Own Progeny (psst…story #10)






A Bit of Bard for the Kidlits

List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...

How well do your kids know this guy? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shakespeare. He probably isn’t on most parental to-do lists when it comes to childhood enrichment items. Then again–why not? We trot our kiddos to soccer practice, piano lessons, and the library to enrich their lives, why not foster the love of the Bard at an early age?
Acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig believes infusing the Bard into our children’s lives is an essential, endearing adventure to undertake. His How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare is both inspirational and inventive in its approach. Although I no longer have kidlits at home since my progeny are now building their own nests, I can still adapt Ludwig’s methods by amending them to classroom instruction, especially since the ninth grade Common Core curriculum has a Romeo and Juliet section.

Teaching Shakespeare to our children is a notable endeavour. Ludwig states a few of his goals as to why he taught Shakespeare to his children on page 11:

  • giving them tools to read Shakespeare’s works with intelligence for the rest of their lives
  • enriching their lives
  • exposing them to literature to inspire them toward achieving great lives as they grow
  • providing meaningful shared experiences

Cool. Those are pretty much my intentions when I teach Shakespeare to my classroom kiddos.
Ludwig hits all the essential values of the “why” of Shakespeare:
1. The richness of imagery
2. The lilt of rhythm
3. The nuances and playfulness of language
4. The importance of memorizing and tucking away forever a few exceptional passages to pull out and nibble on throughout life
5. The joy of exploring character

Shakespeare’s plays showcase poetry at its best. Why wait until the kinder are all grownup before relishing the richness of English language? I am always amazed when I get a ninth grader who states, “Shakespeare? Who’s Shakespeare?” Admittedly that confession is rare. Unfortunately, the only Shakespeare most students know is Romeo and Juliet. On the other hand, by the time they leave high school they will become acquainted with at least three plays and a a handful of sonnets.  Sadly, I didn’t have any Shakesperience until I began teaching it.  That’s nearly thirty years of being Bardless.  Shocking, I know.  Now I’m a professed Bardinator and hope to put my acquired knowledge to page, one of these days.  We’ll see.  I have too many books in want of writing as it is.

For now, I am thrilled to introduce Shakespeare to my freshmen and strive to induce appreciation for his words and wit.

Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper...

Anyone out there have the Bard on their parent list? Is it squeezed in with ballet and soccer?

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