Catholic School Back To School Shopping: Myths vs. Realities

Ah, Back-To-School Shopping : such a gentle, consumeristic way to get over the end of summer vacation. However, as two life-long Catholic school students, our experience wasn’t everything the Staples and J.C. Penney commercials led us to believe. I’m watching the cycle all over again with my nieces and nephews – the public schoolers getting cute new outfits and the Catholic school kids getting their first necktie at age 5. [Find me something cuter than a kindergartener in business casual.] In honor of our ’90s and ’00s memories, here is a study in the contrasts between back to school shopping for Catholic schoolers and, if not real public school students, at least the too-cool public schoolers we saw on TV.

Clothing

File under: My childhood as a walking Irish Catholic stereotype.

Expectation: I’m going back to school with a new wardrobe that will mark me as one of the cool kids!

Reality: I am wearing the same plaid jumper from the same Plaid Jumper Store as all of my classmates. Somehow, kids manage to sort themselves into Cool and Uncool anyway.

[Note: there is a 50/50 chance your uniform is a hand-me-down, or your mom bought it at the used uniform sale your school holds at the end of the school year.]

Expectation: At least maybe some fun, cute outfits for after school!

Reality: Those are called “play clothes” and they don’t come from the store, they come from a trash bag your aunt drops off every time your next cousin up has a growth spurt.

[Note: I realize there are Catholics without cousins but I’ve never met one.]

Accessories

Expectation: And don’t forget the accessories!

Reality: … Which are knee socks, a navy blue cardigan, and a shirt with a Peter Pan collar during that five-decade range after Peter Pan collars went out of style in the ’60s and before they came back in style on Zooey Deschanel.

If you’re fancy, please add a headband in the same plaid as your uniform.

Jewelry

Expectation: Wearing some jewelry, I guess.

Reality: Bracelets are not allowed. Non-post earrings are not allowed. Necklaces are a pendant on a thin chain. If you want to consider rosaries jewelry (“WHICH THEY ARE NOT” – every Catholic reading this post, before I could even say it, right?), you can have those. But you cannot wear them, for Pete’s sake.

School Supplies

Expectation: Lisa Frank binders! Lisa Frank notebooks! Lisa The Frickin FRANK IT ALL UP.

Reality: There is a specific, solid color that every subject uses. Does The Vatican secretly operate the Mead company?

Expectation: Don’t forget a trapper keeper to stay organized!

Reality: Trapper Keepers strictly verboten.

Hair

Expectation: It would be so much fun to try a bright color or a crazy new ‘do to show people how much I’ve changed over the summer!

Reality: “No extreme hairstyles” – Catholic School Student Manual 29:11

Shoes

Expectation: I will narrow down the most in-style looks and then pick out some sneakers, a pair of cute shoes, and maybe something a little dressier.

Reality: Your uniform requires shoes that meet all of the following criteria: black or navy blue. No laces. No wedges. No mules. No sneaker soles. Heel must measure less than one inch at the highest point. No ballet flats.

You are left with orthopedic nun shoes.

[Note: If you’re really wondering how we sorted out the cool kids, their moms bought them cute shoes that skirted the Shoe Canon of the student handbook, whereas uncool-kid moms followed it to the letter. As to what camp I was in, let’s just say I still like a sturdy pair of Clarks.]

 

 

The Fastest Rising Baby Names of 2015 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2028)

They’re finally here: the top 1000 baby names of 2015 in the United States! What, you DON’T wait for this news all year? The standard caveats:

  • This is the official Social Security compilation of births registered in the US. Any of the US-based 2015 lists you saw before now were collected from baby name websites and were based on what the website users were naming their kids OR what names people were looking up, but not necessarily using.
  • When we talk about the “fastest rising names,” these are the ones that have made the biggest leap in the past year. Usually a few news outlets will treat the fastest rising names like they’re the most popular, even though they are given to comparatively few children. We didn’t work out the data ourselves: the lists came from the incredible Baby Names Blog.
  • I don’t dislike any of these names. Except for names like Adolph or Lucifer, or that don’t follow the rules of spelling or pronunciation in any language, I don’t think there are “bad names.”
  • Whether you give your kid a top 10 name or a name given to only 10 kids in the whole country, whether you pick a fastest rising name or a fastest falling name, there’s a good chance they’ll grow to hate it by age 13, because 13 year olds are the worst version of humanity.

We looked at 2013 and 2014, so now, let’s examine why your kid will hate today’s fastest rising baby names of 2015 by the time they’re 13 in 2028:

Girl Names

Adaline

If you think this type of name has been popular for a while now, you’re right. There’s the super-popular Addison and its many spelling variations. There’s Adalyn, spelled myriad ways. There’s also Adeline, which is basically the same thing as Adaline, just with an E. Plus Adalie (again, spellings abound) and my personal favorite of the Ad- names, Adelaide. The result: although only Addison appears near the top of the charts, taken in total it “adds” up to a whole lot of girls with similar-sounding names. So is your Adaline (lovely name, by the way!) going to grow up annoyed that, despite your careful choice of a name that isn’t too popular or too weird, she’s one of several Addies in her Brownie troop?

In a word, no. Your irrational 13-year-old Adaline will be annoyed when, after years of begging for an American Girl doll, she receives Addy because it has her name… when she really, truly had her heart set on Josefina. Nobody ever said tweens made sense. But also, just ask any millennial which American Girl doll she wanted but never got. She’ll remember.

Alaia

Alaia follows the recent trend of liquid, vowel-packed girl names: three syllables and only a single consonant in the pack. You might not know any Alaias, but you’ve probably run into an Amaya, Anaya, Ayana, Aliyah, Amara, Aria, Ariana, Aubriana, etc etc etc. So how could a little girl grow to hate a name that’s right on-trend? By entering the world of middle school, which can turn the sweetest child into a door-slamming teen who says things like “I didn’t ask to be born” when you deny her request for Abercrombie jeans (I’m predicting that in 2028, early 2000s fashion is back and so is distressed Abercrombie low-rise denim). When she and her friends begin watching Clueless at sleepovers, her nickname quickly becomes “A-what-a.” Hey, don’t say you didn’t see it coming when your custom Instagram hashtag for her as a baby was #ThisIsAnAlaia.

Aitana

Aitana, a name I’ve never heard before, is pretty. And like Alaia, it follows the starts in A, ends in A trend. Apparently it was used by a pair of Mexican actors in 2014 and comes from the Spanish mountain range Sierra de Aitana. There’s no GOOD reason to dislike such a perfectly nice name with a beautiful origin… but there’s a bad reason, and a 13 year old will find it. How were you to know your Aitana would have an early growth spurt and furiously demand to know “why you named me after a MOUNTAIN?”

Meilani

So it turns out Meilani is not a Hawaiian name! It’s an invented variation on Melanie, and its popularity is mainly due to its use by JWoww of Jersey Shore fame. We have three options for why your Meilani will hate her name even though it’s so fun to say:

  • You chose the name because you liked it. No problem there. But when little Mei presses you for why you chose the name, you told her it was in honor of your honeymoon in Hawaii. Then she learns that the name isn’t Hawaiian at all… and that you honeymooned at a nearby casino. Whoops.
  • You named her after your sister-in-law Melanie, who is currently Meilani’s least favorite aunt.
  • Throughout her elementary school years, its similarity to the first lady’s name leads classmates to call her Meilani Trump. Also, Melania Trump is First Lady. So really, everyone loses in this scenario.
Aislinn

I’m a big fan of Irish names with their original spelling, and if you named your baby Aislinn, so are you. Pronounced Ash-lin, Aislinn means dream or vision and is unrelated to the name Ashley or its spinoff, Ashlynn. It’s a name so nice that you and little Aislinn won’t mind correcting people on the pronunciation… until the World’s Worst Substitute Teacher asks if “Ass-lin” is present.

Boy Names

Jonael

Talk about a fast rise: Jonael is only number 919 for 2015, but in 2013 it ranked in the nine THOUSANDS. It’s all down to a talented tot who won La Voz Kids on Telemundo. Jonael is one of those names that sounds like it could be a biblical name (it isn’t), combining the Jon of Jonah or Jonathan and the -el ending of Daniel, Nathaniel, Gabriel, and so forth. It could even be a creative way to honor a grandpa John or an uncle Michael. One little problem: history has shown us that it’s a risky proposition to name a kid after a child star. Can I get an amen from the 9-year-old Mileys out there?

Matteo

I love Matteo! More international-sounding than Matthew, but still kind of comfy and familiar. Along with Mateo, Matteo is climbing the charts. By the time your Matteo is 13, we’re down to the same problem your brother Matthew had in the 1980s: so many Matts in a single class!

Riaan

Riaan is a Hindi name, and isn’t just a weird way to spell Ryan. But tell that to the World’s Worst Substitute Teacher (see: Aislinn), who goes on a 5-minute rant about creative spellings. Or to the World’s Worst Doctor’s Office Receptionist, who insists on pronouncing it Ryan but holds the “a” for a really long time.

Note: World’s Worst Substitute Teacher is based on a woman my friend worked with who insisted on calling a student named Juan “Joo-ahn” and would not hear that that was actually a proper spelling/pronunciation of the name. These people are slowly dying off but many will still be alive in 13 years.

Adriel

What could be better than an easy to spell, easy to pronounce name that’s as old as the Bible itself? Not much! But when Adriel discovers that his character’s story is mostly confusing genealogical stuff, he just wishes you’d gone for one of the flashier characters, is all.

Kyrie

In addition to being put on the girl’s gym class list (thanks, Kylie), Kyrie is treated to rounds and rounds of “kyrie eleison” – causing the teacher to pronounce it “keer-ee-ay” instead of “ky-ree,” like basketball player Kyrie Irving. Just HAD to spring for the Catholic school, didn’t you?

 

It’s the 90s: Let’s All Decorate For Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day season, I guess!  Valentine’s Day falls into one of my favorite holiday subcategories: a Snack Holiday. A Snack Holiday is almost a normal day, except there are themed snack foods. Snack Holidays don’t require gift exchanges or elaborate meals, which are entirely optional. Other Snack Holidays include Halloween, Fat Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, and maybe Lincoln’s Birthday if you swing it right. Snack Holidays are closely related to, and sometimes overlap with, drinking holidays: Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday + booze), Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day. I love them all!

You may be thinking that Valentine’s Day is NOT a Snack Holiday because presents and fancy meals are obligatory. However, except for a few couples I know, most people leave these big celebrations behind in their early twenties. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s actually pretty great being single on Valentine’s Day in your late 20s. Most of your friends who are dating, engaged, or married have been together so long that they aren’t into big, amateurish displays of affection. Most of them are spending the holiday ordering a pizza and seeing if there’s anything good on Netflix. Yes, except for a brief interlude from the ages of, say, 15 to 25, V-Day is a Snack Holiday we can all enjoy.

For those of us who grew up in the 90s, our concept of Valentine’s Day as a Snack Holiday was established in our classroom parties. So in this holiday edition of Let’s All Decorate, let’s take it back and decorate that classroom, why don’t we?

Beanie Babies

In the height of the Beanie Baby craze, there’s a good chance your teacher displayed seasonal Beanies on her crowded desk, probably next to the cold cup of teacher’s lounge coffee. It was one of the few attempts at teacher coolness that actually sort of worked, except that you gave her a bit of side-eye for displaying a “rare” holiday Beanie Baby on her desk without a tag protector or clear plastic coffin.

Shoebox Mailboxes

I’m going to go ahead and call this the most highly-anticipated busywork of the year. Sometime before your Valentine party, the teacher would bust out a stash of shoeboxes she had saved from every pair of sneakers, loafers and boots that she, her husband, and her children had bought for the past year. “Wasn’t it nice of her to save those JUST FOR YOU?”…  Is a thought that never occurred to me as a child because children are selfish little dirtbags. You would cover the shoebox in plain paper, then decorate with stickers, crayons, and if your teacher was exceptionally chill about classroom mess, some glitter.

The mailboxes served a triple purpose of keeping the Valentines neater than they’d have been in a pile on your desk, concealing who received which Valentine (although you had to give one to every kid, so whatever), and filling up a solid half hour of post-lunch time on a day when kids are bouncing off the walls.

Note: if your teacher’s children didn’t go through as many shoes that year, you may have decorated manila envelopes that you taped off the edge of your desk, instead.

A Bulletin Board Or Door Display Where Every Kid’s Name Appears On A Heart

Sounds really specific, right? But these were actually universal as chicken pox (Stuff 90s Kids Remember: Chicken Pox). Things have gone more high-tech now, but back in the day teachers used to spend a ton of time cutting out construction paper shapes and writing all of the kids’ names on them. How do I know? My mom was a teacher in my school… and she outsourced a lot of it to me. I stapled a whole lot of solid construction paper backgrounds and bulletin board borders in my youth.

For teachers’ sake, I shudder to think what the Pinterest Industrial Complex has done to V-Day bulletin boards.

For a true 90s experience, names should be: Justin, Ashley L., Ashley B., Matthew, Jessica, Sarah, Dave, Katie, Chris, Kristin, and Kevin.

An Art Project Where Things Are Made Out Of Hearts

A tree made out of hearts, a bee made out of hearts; a dog made out of hearts, a frog made out of hearts; a wiggly heart-shaped creature made out of hearts. The heart is a versatile shape, and nobody knew that quite like the elementary school teachers of the 90s. There was probably a wall somewhere during that party that was decorated with the childrens’ heart-shaped crafts. Gotta develop those fine motor skills!

Tissue Paper Suncatchers

Yet another example of letting the kids decorate for their own darn party, if it was Valentine’s Day, and it was 1993, and you were 7, there’s an excellent possibility that these were hanging in your window filtering those February afternoon sunbeams.

TREATS TREATS TREATS TREATS

The above “treats” should be read like the thumping bass of EDM music, because when we were children, Valentine’s Day treats were our molly (although I’ve always really been my own Molly). Favorite V-Day treats in the 90s included, but were not limited to:

  • Rice Krispy Treats with heart-shaped sprinkles in them – OR cut into the shape of hearts if the mom making them didn’t’ mind waste.
  • Jell-o Jigglers shaped like hearts, because Bill Cosby meant something different to us then.
  • Heart-shaped Little Debbie “snack cakes” which were the same as the Christmas-tree shaped ones you had two months before, except that I always suspected that the heart ones were a tad bigger.
  • Sticky, gummy heart-shaped brownies, also from your friends at Little Debbie, courtesy of a kid whose parents didn’t have time to make anything.
  • Punch made with fruit juice, Sprite, and sherbet, especially if the party was right at the end of the day and the teacher wouldn’t have to deal with you much longer.
  • Candy Hearts. Obviously.
Valentines!

 

 

This is where you let your interests fly – and Kid Code required that you act cool about what the other kids handed out, not making fun of the kid who picked a movie nobody had liked for two years. A few favorites:

Every Generation Gets The April O’Neil It Deserves

As the gloriously childless aunt of 6 little boys, I’ve learned a thing or two. First, if little boys did their own grocery shopping it would be an entire cart piled with fruit snacks and Goldfish crackers, and ketchup to dip them in because little boys don’t really care that you’re disgusted by that (also they wouldn’t be able to pay because those children are unemployed as helllll). Second, the more little boys you have in one house, the lower their ability to direct their pee into a toilet. If you have more than four little boys sharing a bathroom, you may as well install a drain in the center of the floor and buy a hose attachment for the shower to spray everything down at night. The entire room is essentially one of those pee troughs I hear they have in men’s rooms at old stadiums. And third, little boys love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was true in the early ’90s, and it’s true today. So while I normally would have left Ninja Turtles behind with Puppy Surprise and Noozles, I actually have a pretty decent working knowledge of those pizza-eating reptiles.

But guys, Ninja Turtles has changed since we all fell in love with those heroes in a half shell three decades ago. Well, not so much the Turtles themselves – they’re still some weird version of the 90s surfer archetype – but April O’Neil. April, a female human, is the Turtles’ keeper, sort of a combination of Wendy Darling and Lois Lane. While the Turtles are basically static, April O’Neil is an ever-changing, bouncy-haired sign of the times. Like hemlines or employment rates, I think that whatever’s going on with April O’Neil tells you what’s going on with America:

1984– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Comic Book)

Profession:

Computer Programmer

Age: 27
Appearance:
What It All Means:

April O’Neil, whitewashed character? Well, maybe. It all hinges on one question: Is that a perm or a jheri curl? 80s style aside, early April is ethnically ambiguous. She was in computer programming when there barely was computer programming. She was a talented hacker back when the only thing there was to hack into was black screens with green writing and the top scores in the nearest arcade’s Pac Man game. Basically, April O’Neil was the future. She’s also a rebel and a nonconformist: remember, this is the go-go 80s, when the successful smart ladies looked more like this:

With her Members Only jacket and bigass scarf, April is obviously dressed for practicality, not fashion. Although those blinding earrings say “hey, I can be glam, too.” Or maybe they’re also weapons.

I know it looks like April’s packing heat but that’s just how jeans made people’s crotches look in 1984.


 

1987 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Animated Series)

Profession:

TV Reporter

Age: 28
Appearance:
What It All Means

Ah, the Reagan Era. Big hair, big shoulder pads, big business. TV reporter is a bit more in line with the flashy professions you’d expect a late-80s leading lady to have. You’ll notice that as TMNT goes more mainstream, April has become conspicuously busty and Caucasian. I tried to Google “why does April O’Neil wear a jumpsuit” (I forget if there was a reason) but to no avail.

April is a smart, feisty lady who obviously needs, from my vantage point, a minimum of eight pockets to store all of her stuff. Buy a purse, April. Buy a purse. Or a fanny pack. Weren’t those the thing during this time?

Also, considering her outfit is all one piece I’m pretty confused about what the belt does.


 

1990, 1991, 1993 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Live-Action Movies)

Profession: TV reporter
Age: ?
Appearance:
What It All Means

If the ladies of the 80s were all about glitz and glamour, the Bush I/ Clinton-era gals were into practicality, sensible footwear, jorts, and unisex button-ups. They were what normcore aspires to be. This was April O’Neil’s Elaine Benes moment: just a regular girl who pals around with the guys, except the guys are these giant turtles to whom she plays den mother. Think less “hot jumpsuit” and more “yellow raincoat from the Lands End catalog.” Although no longer a braniac computer programmer, this April is one heck of an investigative reporter and , like her comic book counterpart, she’s not afraid to admit she likes a good chunky knit sweater.

If you’re wondering where you know her from: Judith Hoag now plays Tandy Hampton on Nashville.


 

2003 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (AnimatedSeries)

Profession:

Scientist, I guess? And apparently also shop owner?

Age: 27
Appearance:

What It All Means

This is a throwback to April 1.0 – because in a post-9/11 world, all we wanted was a little stability? Maybe. I’ve made it this  far without seeing any episodes of this incarnation, but the hair makes me think there’s sort of an Agent Scully thing happening here. You can tell April’s a scientist because she’s wearing a white coat and, more importantly, she has those two loose tendrils of hair that ladies always sported in the early 2000s in order to show people that they were busy and sort of carefree but could totally let the bun down and have nice hair if they wanted to.

 


 

2007 – TMNT (Weird CGI looking movie thing)

Profession:

Archaeologist

Age: adult?
Appearance:

What It All Means

Is this a Bratz doll? This has got to be some sort of Bratz doll. Remember, this was during the heyday of the celebrity gossip cycle about Britney, Lindsay and Paris. Even children’s characters were sort of sassy and weird, with the giant eyes of something that gestated near a nuclear power plant, Michael Jackson noses and Hungry Caterpiller lips. This was also during the era when they started taking all of our beloved 80s and 90s shows and remaking them with cheap computer animation that made it look like it was supposed to be in 3d but wasn’t. You can also see the influence of Lara Croft: Angelina Jolie with the archaeologist job and the big braid.


 

2012 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Computer Animated Series)

Profession:

Student

Age: Like 17 or something
Appearance:

What It All Means

If the last one was a Bratz doll, is this one a Lego person? You know what this April says about America? That in 2012 we were in a recession and we made some cheap-ass cartoons. This looks like one of Clarissa Darling’s video games.


 

2014 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Michael Bay situation)

Profession:

“Lifestyle Reporter”

Age: 20-something

Appearance:

 

What It All Means

Honestly, though, what DOES it all mean? We started with a be-jheri curled ethnically ambiguous computer programmer, went to a sensible 90s tv reporter with Jerry Seinfeld’s wardrobe, then circled around to … Megan Fox. This is where we are and hope we’re all very happy with this outcome.

On one hand, you have that whole “Olivia Wilde is ‘too hot’ to play a journalist” nonsense, and I mean, why can’t an intelligent, professional woman  — who also hangs out in sewers eating pizza with turtles who are also mutants who are also teenagers — look like Megan Fox? But it’s not that I don’t think smart people look like Megan Fox, it’s that I don’t think human people do. But on the other hand, this is a character who, well, hangs out in sewers eating pizza with turtles who are also mutants who are also teenagers. In a Michael Bay movie. Our disbelief has long been suspended. Still, I miss the hard-hitting journalism (lifestyle reporter, April?), the science, the chunky sweaters, the pockets.

Guys, every generation gets the April O’Neil it deserves. And this is ours now, I guess.

Throwback Thursday: Pappy Drewitt

Ah, Pappy Drewitt. If you were born in the 90s, maybe you can still hear the song: Pappy, Pappy Drewitt, he drew Pappyland. And you too can do it, if you’re in Pappyland!

But I wouldn’t know, because I was born in the 80s. Young enough to watch children’s TV in the 90s, but old enough to watch it mockingly, I remember singing something more like “Crappy, Crappy Drewitt, he blew Crappyland. And you too can do it, if urine Crappyland!”

If you wonder why millennials like things ironically, I direct you to the (relative) success of the T.L.C. show Pappyland. Except for children under the age of 5, none of us were watching it in earnest. We were watching it to exercise our budding comedic sensibilities, like a fawn first learning to walk. Pappy Drewitt is probably the cultural moment that confirmed that we are truly The Shittiest Generation.

Pappyland was a children’s art show about a kindly elderly man who lives in a fantasy world that he drew himself, possibly an allegory about how those with Alzheimer’s connect with the very young, possibly an attempt to teach children about the joys of self-expression. It was a tender gift from TLC to the children of the world – literally. The opening sequence actually says “Dedicated To Children Around The World.” And the shitty children around the world said “ha, it rhymes with Crappyland!” and tore it to shreds.

80s Babies, I’m back for round two.

Feel free to watch along and follow my commentary – but I’m inclined to think that this is burned so deeply in our collective memory that you don’t even need to watch it to remember.

Even though I hate-watched Pappy Drewitt, I still always secretly wished he would say my name when he greeted children through the screen. He never did, because those bitches were always named Jessica.

Pappy Drewitt is a soulless children’s show: like Barney without all of the children. Or Mr. Rogers without the gentile middle-class lifestyle (I think Pappy is Appalachian?). Or Sesame Street without virtually everything likeable about Sesame Street.

They’re obviously trying – there are puppets, which is sort of the minimum baseline effort you have to make in children’s t.v. – but there’s not a surly Oscar or a childlike Elmo in sight. Instead, the Pappy puppets are all indistinguishable idiots. There’s an idiot bear, a dumb-bitch girl flower, and this one stupid bird.

The bear, in particular, looks like a Furry. I think Dumb Bitch Girl Flower is the only female character on the show, and for once I say “thank you, that’s quite enough representation for one day!” Boys, you’re going to have to bear responsibility for this tv mess almost alone.

pappy4

Pappy wears a ring, so he is either married or widowed. He also wears a 99-cent bandana and a plain t-shirt that look like they came from a Michael’s Craft Store. There is a turtle named Turtle-Loo, who has a god-awful indistinguishably “ethnic” accent. He is either French, Italian, or Spanish. Pappy whitely intones “prrrrronto!”  At least  Dora The Explorer teaches the children of the world how to speak annoying non-English catch-phrases correctly.

Pappy teaches us about manners in this episode, I guess, but he’s sort of dogmatic about it and he’s basically a real dick.

pappy6

During the first run of Pappy Drewitt, I was at that magical age where no matter what he drew, in the beginning it always looked like a butt or some boobs. This episode is no exception. He draws a bunny, but he starts with the eyes, which look like nothing so much as lopsided cartoon tetas.

pappy1

Guys, he just KEEPS DRAWING. In real time. For over six minutes, we watch a piece of paper as a grown man doodles a bunny on it. Can’t they do that cooking show thing and time-lapse it? When Pappy finishes we learn the name of this piece: “Two Bunnies In A Doorway, And There’s Carrots In The Doorway.”pappy3

In college we made my friend, who was high, watch a video of these cat marionettes. He could not deal with it. We had to turn it off. I think if we had showed him Pappy Drewitt instead, his brain would have actually exploded.

Sing-A-Song-Sam (Michael Curley), a 1920s barbershop quartet-looking guy, sings a tuneless song about manners. I’d like to remind everyone that before T.L.C. was America’s Sideshow, this is the kind of thing we watched on it.

pappy5

Holy cow. He is seriously going to spell out the entire word “polite” as a mnemonic to teach the rules of politiness. Isn’t that way too complicated? Isn’t the only rule of politeness “don’t be a dick?” Maybe I shouldn’t have kids. There are not actually six rules, because some of these are clearly repeats:

P – Say Please And Thank you!

Okay. I’ll give them this.

O – Offer To Help Out Too!

Fine, yeah. But this still falls cleanly under “don’t be a dick.”

L – Listen To What Others Say

Sure.

I – Is there anything that I can do?

I’m sorry. Is this an illustration of “offer to help out too”?

T – take turns in the games you play
E – Excuse me if I’m in your way!

So basically, be more Canadian.

Hold onto your hats, kids, now Pappy’s going to color the picture! We watch a grown man color for an additional 5+ minutes. I take back my indictment of our generation: Pappyland deserved our scorn.

Pappy calls himself “Pappy,” in the third person, and it truly sounds like more of a personal weird bedroom thing.

As Pappy colors the wall yellow, he surmises “It could be made of straw! Or it could be painted this color!” Then he says like seven more things about the color, which I repeat, is just yellow.

Finally, Pappy shows us drawings sent in by viewers. There’s one with the same first and last name as a girl we went to high school with and, considering Pappy was filmed an hour away in Syracuse, I think it’s probably hers. All of the kids’ drawings look better than Pappy’s stupid Rabbits With Doorway Carrots or whatever.

Speaking of high school, the quality of Pappy Drewitt’s special effects is actually lower than the greenscreen we had for Morning Update, our daily in-house student news program.
We have to leave, because it is now “quarter to orange!” I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to Pappyland. Michael Cariglio (Pappy) is (or was?) probably a kind-hearted, imaginative man who wanted to share his love of drawing with children around the world. Instead, he helped a generation of children hone their mockery skills and probably inspired more than a few of them to take up light drug use. This, truly, was his gift to the world’s children.

My Secret Mormon Mommy Blogger Fantasy Life

Nobody lives like Mormon mommy bloggers – not even Mormon mommy bloggers. Their whole life looks like it’s on purpose. If your blogroll includes a few of these Etsy-shopping, organic waffle-making, cute apron-wearing ladies, you know what I mean. If there were a way to engineer a lifestyle where I was a Mormon Mommy Blogger without actually having to be Mormon or a mommy, I’d be down. That doesn’t seem possible, so instead I can’t help but fantasize about an alternate universe in which I was born in Provo, have 8 siblings, and run an online children’s stationery shop while raising impeccably-dressed kids.

For starters, if I were a Mormon Mommy Blogger … I’d be Mormon. That part doesn’t really interest me — except for the crisp white underwear onesies, which seem so pristine and wholesome that they’re like the underwear equivalent of having fresh farm milk delivered in glass bottles to your door — so let’s move on. I’d be a “mommy,” though, and by my late 20s I could have quite a collection of them: Jasper, Oliver, Clyde, Florentine, and Birdie. Or Wren. I haven’t decided on the last one for sure. Unlike real children, they’d never wear anything with licensed characters on it. Instead, the boys would look like Mumford sons and the girls would dress like cats from a Richard Scarry book.

All together now: Ain’t no collar like a Peter Pan collar cause a Peter Pan collar don’t pop

Speaking of outfits, if I were a Mormon Mommy Blogger, I’d also dress like a cat from a Richard Scarry book. I assume there would be a lot of stuff from Anthro and Modcloth in my closet. But as a proper Mormon Mommy Blogger, I’d probably have a Mormon Mommy Blogger friend with an Etsy shop who gives me free clothes in exchange for plugs. I bet I’d like that part. I would be really into statement necklaces and, I think, hair accessories. Every day I’d look like a baby from one of those newborn photoshoots where they stick big stuff on their head.

When accessorizing, think to yourself: “What would a baby from Etsy do?”

My color palette would best be described as “Wes Anderson-y” or “Deschanelesque.”

If I were a Mormon Mommy Blogger, I’d cop to flaws to seem more human, like the leading lady in a rom-com who is beautiful and accomplished, but also trips a lot. For instance, maybe I’d be a little too obsessed with some type of cute dessert. It couldn’t be Hostess Snowballs or vending machine ice cream sandwiches or anything that you can picture coating your insides with First World Diseases. It could be gelato or some sort of attractive donut, though.

My fatal flaw: I love eating a single, picturesque macaron after a long day shopping for cute fabrics that I definitely know what to do with.

That’s as bad as it can get, because you can’t be gross and be a Mormon Mommy Blogger (I mean your kids and your dog can, and you probably write about that, but it’s different). In contrast, I do things like realize that I haven’t cleaned the rim of my aluminum water bottle until a film of orange sludge has developed. I bet Mormon Mommy Bloggers’ lunch bags don’t smell like a dead man ate a bunch of fruit then farted into it- and if they did, they wouldn’t tell you that. Besides, they eat lunch at home, on Depression glass.

The best part about being a Mormon Mommy Blogger would be the house. It would look like an undergrad design major’s aspirational Pinterest (the board is called “Someday…”, with ellipses). I’m thinking it would be a mid-century ranch or a converted 1890s schoolroom, but anything pre-1970 will do in a pinch. Mormon Mommy Bloggers do not have wall-to-wall carpeting. They do, however, have chevron, birds, and owls. I’m sure one of my talented friends would sell hand-lettered wall hangings, so I’d score some of those.

As a Mormon Mommy Blogger, I’d be so precious that I’d have a lot of household items of limited use. Grapefruit spoons, cherry pitters, summer lap blankets, a tiny ceramic mortar and pestle for grinding chia seeds – they’d all be indispensable. We’d have some sort of a twee weekend breakfast tradition, like crepes while reading the Sunday morning comics (it’s not a big deal or anything, but we have a crepe maker). In this universe, I’d be entertained by Sunday morning comics. It would be so cute to be into Nancy or Dick Tracy, but I just can’t. I wouldn’t really “get” Dilbert, but then again, who does?

Oh, to be the kind of adult woman who thinks this is funny. Fun fact: my new niece is named Lulu and everyone over the age of 45 says “oh, like Little Lulu!” so apparently there’s an audience for this?

Somewhere between running my home business and raising children named after old men or wildlife, I’d also do a lot of stuff just for fun. I’d throw parties that are on purpose — theme-y ones, like in the summer we’d all go outdoors with mason jar lanterns and paint silhouette portraits and make root beer floats (can I have rootbeer? better check), or in the winter, a sledding party with a cookie component. The soundtrack would be all adorable ladies with ukuleles, or some artist I’m into who predates the British Invasion. Buddy Holly, maybe.  Of course we’d all play with the dog a lot. The dog has a different surname from our own for some reason, like Mr. Wadsworth or Boots McIvins. Basically anything that sounds like it could be one of those stripper or soap opera names you’d construct in junior high using your grandma’s middle name and your first street. I’d have a hobby – probably photography. In my Secret Provo Life, I’d post a lot of pictures taken in natural light highlighting my freckles. I mean, I have more freckles than anybody I’ve ever seen, but in this world I’d be into having them. It would be like my thing. I have to be positive, because Ruby-Faye has them too. Wait, what were the kids names again?

I’m not saying I’m going to go Single White Female on a Mormon Mommy Blogger, although I’m also not saying not that, if you know what I mean (I don’t).  Mormon Mommy Bloggers are doing what everyone with an online presence does — editing out the boring or unattractive bits of life and painting a nice picture. But you have to admit, they paint it ten times more adorably than any of the rest of us can manage. I’m pretty sure their lunch satchels still smell like fruit farts though, even if the fruit is organic, local, and probably cut into the shape of other fruits somehow.

 

Top Baby Names Of 2013, And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2026

It’s that time of year again – the Social Security Administration has separated the Adelyns from the Addalynns and the Jaidens from the Jaydens, and delivered its list of the top baby names of 2013. And let me tell you, this year the top 10 names are …. really normal. That’s why they’re top 10 names, you know?

The thing is, whether you named your kid Brooklyn or Greenpoint, she’ll probably hate her name in about 13 years. It’s just a phase kids go through, and no name – however normal – is safe. Here are my predictions for how the ten most popular baby names of 2013 will lead to the ten most angsty “I didn’t ask to be born!” arguments of 2026:


Girls

1. Sophia

When young Sophias finally reach the age where they can watch late-night syndicated sitcoms – truly a magical time in a young woman’s life, if my memories of The Facts of Life and Mary Tyler Moore serve – eventually they’re going to run across The Golden Girls. And at that time, your Sophia will discover that she’s really more of a Blanche.

Blanche, by the way, is a top baby name of 2026.

2. Emma

Okay, maybe your kid is a little less into TV and a little more into books. Don’t get too proud of yourself there, mom: reading is just nerd television. I should know. You’ve always told her that you named her after a Jane Austen heroine, the title character of Emma. When she gets old enough to read it, she discovers that Emma Woodhouse’s head is so far up her own ass that her face is damaged by stomach acid.

That’s when you have to tell her that you never actually read Emma. You heard that the movie Clueless was loosely based on it, and you’ve seen that easily 15 times, though. You sort of figured it was the same thing.

You should have gone with your gut and named her after Cher Horowitz.

3. Olivia

Your love for your child is something that will last a lifetime. Something else that will last a lifetime: your cached internet activity. That’s why your little Olivia will love her name … until she discovers your Olivia Pope fan tumblr and extensive postings on Olitz message boards. Then you’ll both feel a little bit weird about things.

4. Isabella

By the early ’20s, the Twilight franchise has become a camp classic. Teens gather in theaters reciting lines from the movie, dressing up as characters, and mocking the earnest Mormon sparkle of the adolescent vampires. They squeal shrilly (because what is more shrill than the mocking laughter of a junior high girl? It cuts like a knife, could a knife be made out of the things you secretly hate about yourself), asking their parents whether people really LIKED this stuff ever. And parents of tween Isabellas are left explaining that no, that wasn’t why they chose the name. But their daughters hate them anyway. Sorry.

5. Ava

When Heathers is remade in the late 20-teens – and it is a flop, I’m so sure – the filmmakers decide to update it to the modern era. All of those Heathers get renamed: the new movie is called Avas. Much like Heather in the ’80s,  everybody seems to know that one bitchy Ava who ruins the whole name. It’s like the female version of Jason, that way.

Anyway. Everyone agrees that Avas really wasn’t Michael Bay’s best work. Nor, honestly, his worst.


Boys

1. Noah

By the late 2020s, Noah is really more of a girl’s name. How did this solid biblical classic, with thousands of years as a man’s name, cross the gender line so quickly? Why, thanks to the meteoric rise of the political career of Senator Noah Cyrus (R-TN), of course. Some say she may even be the second female president someday. You, parents of 2013, just know her as Miley Cyrus’s weirdly named, poorly supervised kid sister.

Sorry. It is 2026, and Noah has now joined the ranks of Ashley, Madison, Beverly and Evelyn. They all seemed so manly once.

2. Liam

It’s not so much Liam that’s the problem. It’s a few years from now, when the creative spellings take over. Before you know it, every year elementary school teachers have to roll call Liam K. Liyam-with-a-y K., Liam C., Leeum V., and Leighham Q.  Poor Liams have to join forces with the Michaelas and Jasmines of the world, arguing that their name is spelled the right way.

3. Jacob

You really couldn’t have predicted this. The Goth movement makes a comeback, and your precious little Jacob wishes his name reflected how unique he is. Good luck cleaning all that Manic Panic out of your bathroom drains, and sorry that you have to listen to Best of Korn on cassette tape emanating from Jacob’s room. [Side note: tape is the new popular throwback music medium in 2026, like vinyl is now.]

You aren’t even that disappointed that Jacob hates his name — more that he’s kind of a late 90s Hot Topic-y goth instead of at least a cool 80s punk one. You can’t choose your children. Your children choose you. And, eventually, they may also choose nu metal.

4. Mason

Let’s just… I mean… nothing associated with the Kardashians is going to age well a decade hence. Just calling a spade a spade. They are our generation’s answer to Zsa Zsa and Eva. I hope we’re happy with what we’ve created.

5. William

When Queen Elizabeth steadfastly – but politely – refuses to die, Prince William evaluates his chances at ever actually ascending the throne. Realizing that it probably won’t happen until his mid-70s, he says “screw it” and joins the cast of series 25 of TOWIE. A few pub fights later, the nickname Bloody Billy (or, alternately, Bloody Willy) has taken hold.

It is not a fun time on the playground for little Williams. Or whatever the 2026 version of the playground is. It probably involves tablets.

Man Crush Monday: LeVar Burton

Today’s Monday man crush is a fellow you may not have thought about since you were reading books written and illustrated by Jan Brett*. I’m talking about the one and only LeVar Burton, the pot of gold at the end of the reading rainbow.

Before we get started, let me just tell you that if you’re looking for a post about liking LeVar Burton ironically, or any 90s nostalgic millennial nonsense like that, this isn’t the post you should be reading**. Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr. is almost absurdly man-crushable – but you don’t have to take my word for it!***

Bringing Reading To Public Television

I know, I know. Public television is already the books of TV. But let’s go back to 1983, when Reading Rainbow started. Most people didn’t have 1000 channels***. They had, like 5 or so, and one of them was probably the local PBS affiliate. Most of the stations were showing 80s mom television during the day (meaning soap operas and talk shows by people who weren’t Oprah). PBS was basically it for kids programming, so this little show about books had a huge potential audience.

The producers of Sesame Street intended for their show to reach kids who weren’t necessarily getting pre-preschool learning prep at home. Reading Rainbow filled a similar role for older kids whose parents weren’t big into books, or maybe just didn’t have the time or language skills to promote reading.

Reading Rainbow had a lot going for it. The awesome celebrity guests – Eartha Kitt, anyone? – kept parents from changing the channel. The show format was almost genius in its simplicity, and the theme song was crazy-good – but the real draw was LeVar as a host. He was upbeat but didn’t use that stupid “talking to kids voice,” and he was enthusiastic about the theme of the episode, but never pedantic. Burton had the same quality as Mister Rogers (and, I’d argue, Amy Poehler in her Smart Girls series) – an adult who recognizes kids as full people.

Bringing Diversity To Public Television

Think about most of the men on children’s programs. So many white guys, right? Look, some of my best friends are white guys. But it’s really important for all kids out there to have a man on TV who actually looks like he could be their dad or uncle.

It’s not only that TV has an over-abundance of white people. People of color are also less likely to be represented positively.  Negative representation does a number on kids’ self-concepts. Remember that bummer of a social experiment where kids choose between white dolls and Black dolls, and all of the kids pick the white doll because they’ve internalized that the Black doll is “bad” and “stupid?” That’s what I’m talking about here. But for 30 years, kids at least had LeVar Burton on PBS – an affable, smart, cool relative- or neighbor-type.

White kids needed LeVar too, especially white kids growing up in predominantly white communities. Familiarity breeds … well, familiarity. That’s why my  inner-city childhood was so great – I didn’t grow up thinking of white people as the default humans. Watching LeVar Burton talk about Chris Van Allsburg books isn’t going to stop racism, but it at least helped white kids grow up thinking of one man of color as a nice, friendly guy who’s into books — and it might be some of the only exposure to that kind of representation that those kids have.

KUNTA KINTE, EVERYBODY

As two ladies who might like Event Television more than actual events, it’s a bummer that we missed out on the huge TV sensation that was Alex Haley’s Roots. But having seen it on cable later on, it really was a miniseries worth the hype.

Burton played the young Kunta Kinte, a young man who is kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery in the United States. He was only 20 at the time, but Burton was such a pro — perfectly expressing the transition from a young warrior-in-training to a man struggling against the slave system by trying to escape and resisting a name change.

For my generation, LeVar Burton is the man from Reading Rainbow, but for people a little older than us, he’s Kunta Kinte. If you only know Burton from PBS, I suggest you find a copy of Roots and give it a watch.

Star Trek, If You’re Into That

We’re not into Star Trek. Like, at all. But we have it on good authority that people who are into Star Trek are real into Star Trek. So for those people, Burton’s tenure on the sci-fi show is probably one of their favorite things about him. Even if you’re not into space shows, you’ve got to admit that having a career portfolio that spans children’s television, science fiction and historical drama is pretty fantastic.

LeVar Burton Is Totally Cool With Himself

Some of the stuff LeVar did for Reading Rainbow was straight-up silly, which is awesome. He wore medieval regalia and got transformed into a troll, all for the sake of reading. What is more attractive a guy who is so comfortable with himself that he’d rather have fun than look cool? Burton even said “I fly my geek flag proudly.” Honestly, that’s the coolest ever.

Everyone Loves LeVar

When was the last time you heard anyone talk smack about LeVar Burton? NEVER. And as children who grew up with Reading Rainbow become adults, Burton is in big demand. In the past few years alone he has made guest appearances in The Colbert Report, Community, and Wish I Was Here.

There’s An App For That

Do you really think that someone as awesome as LeVar Burton would get left behind the current wave of technology? Please. In the 80s, meeting kids where they were meant going to public television, but in the 2010s, kids are on the iPad. Seriously, if you ever have trouble doing something on your iPad, give it to the nearest three-year-old and they will be able to fix it for you. And then they will refuse to give it back for hours because toddlers LOVE tablets. The Reading Rainbow app promotes reading to kids who are less exposed than ever to tangible books – you know, the kind with pages and covers and stuff. You can read more about it here, but this app – like LeVar himself – is basically a huge deal.

 

* I get that Reading Rainbow repped all childrens’ books, but why did it always seem like it was Jan Brett’s Scandinavian kinder in knit woolens? Did my first-grade teacher just have one videocassette? Going forward, please realize that my memories of Reading Rainbow might be from one episode watched multiple times.

** DON’T LEAVE. You can still read our other posts. Here’s a Baby-Sitters Club musical libretto, and here’s a live-blog of Sharknado. AND THAT’S JUST TWO OF OUR THINGS.

*** Here’s where I ask you to take my word for it. Actually.

****  ⅔ of which are somehow the same channel listed multiple times. Be better, Time Warner.

 

Where Are They Now: Balloon Boy and Other Kid Newsmakers

When you’re a kid, you never expect to be front page of every newspaper or on cable news 24/7. Hell, as a kid you don’t really expect much, do you? So for these young people, it must have been quite the experience, and one that many of their peers have never been through.

It was recently announced that the famous 2010 Balloon Boy has now launched a heavy metal career, because the hoax he and his parents pulled three years ago wasn’t enough to make them famous. Here’s a where are they now of some of the world’s most famous kids.

Balloon Boy aka Falcon Heene

Year: 2009

Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

The story

 On October 15th, a large silver gas balloon filled with helium was floating over the air in Colorado. Six-year-old Falcon Heene’s parents, Richard and Mayumi, attested that their son was inside said balloon. The UFO looking apparatus was reaching altitudes nearing 7,000 feet, and local news stations picked it up. Soon enough, little Falcon Heene became a national sensation, with major news networks breaking scheduled programming to track “Balloon Boy,” and if he would make it back down to earth safely.

Turns out, Balloon Boy was never actually in the balloon. After more than an hour long flight spanning over 50 miles and three counties, the balloon landed close to the Denver International Airport, where it was eventually closed down and National Guard helicopters and police tracked the balloon down, mainly in fear that Falcon had fallen out.

Later that afternoon, it was revealed that Balloon Boy was actually attic boy, since he was in their house hiding, afraid after his dad yelled at him. Critics started to become suspicious of the Heenes, especially after Falcon was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, when Wolf asked him why he did it, Falcon responded, “You guys (his parents) said that, um, we did this for the show.”

Richard and Mayumi pled guilty to the charge of attempting to inlfuence a public servant, and Richard was sentenced to 90 days in jail, while Mayumi served 20 days of weekend jail. They were also forced to pay $36,000 in restitution.

Where are they now?

The entire family has moved to Florida, but is currently touring the Northeast with their heavy mental band, Heene Boyz, which includes 10-year-old Falcon, and his 12 year old and 13 year old brothers (I am serious. This is NOT a hoax). They have an EP called American Chili, which features a song called “Duct Tape Man”. For you folks back home in Rochester, you’ve unfortunately missed out, since they played a gig there on July 6th. But they’re still on the road, and planning to come out with a full length album soon, so don’t you worry.

Baby Jessica (McClure)

Year: 1986

Location: Midland, Texas

The Story

Jessica “Baby Jessica” McClure made national news when she fell into a backyard well at the age of 18 months. For 58 hours straight, rescuers tried to free Baby Jessica from the eight inch well, which went down 22 feet below the ground. They eventually got her out after a shaft was dug parallel to the well, and a tunnel connecting the two helped a paramedic come up from behind Baby Jess and slowly push her out. Fun fact: They slathered the walls with KY Jelly to get her out. Super. Baby Jessica caused a media frenzy and a 1989 made for TV movie was even made, titled, “Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure”.

Where are they now

Jessica, who is no longer a baby (and is almost exactly two months younger than me), grew up like any normal teenager, graduated high school in 2004, and married Daniel Morales in 2006. The couple has two children, a son Simon and daughter Sheyenne. When Jess turned 25, she received access to the trust fund her parents set up from donations from people during her time in the well – which totaled to $800,000. So in order to become an almost millionaire, I should’ve got stuck in a well as a tot? Ugh.

Elizabeth Smart

Year: 2002

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Story

At 14 years old, Elizabeth was kidnapped from her bedroom in SLC. Her nine-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, watched it all go down, but kept silent in fear she too would be abducted. Immediately after her abduction, nearly 2,000 volunteers per day were sent out to nearby areas to find her, but to no avail. Mary Katherine finally remembered where she had heard Elizabeth’s abductor’s voice before, as the family hired unemployed people to help out around the house, and it was a man named Emmanuel, real name Brian David Mitchell, who was the culprit. Nine months after she was abducted, she was found in Sandy, Utah, nearly 18 miles from her home, in the house of Mitchell, who raped her daily during her captivity.

Mitchell was later found guilty of kidnapping and sexual assault, and is currently serving two life-terms in federal prison.

Where are they now

Elizabeth went on to study music as a harp performance major at Brigham Young University. In 2009, she moved to Paris to serve her Mormon mission. In 2011, Elizabeth became a commentator for ABC, specifically reporting on missing persons, and also founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation that same year, whose mission is to educate children about violent and sexual crime.

Last year, she married a Scottish man, Matthew Gilmour, whom she met while on her mission in Paris. Her memoir is due to be released this fall.

Elian Gonzalez

Year: 1999

Location: Miami, Florida

The Story

Five-year-old Elian and his mother left their native Cuba and attempted to get to the U.S. in hopes for a better life. However, during their voyage in a small boat across the seas to Miami, his mother drowned, leaving Elian as only one of three people to survived the trip. He was soon found by the U.S. Coast guard in an inner tube, and brought him to American shores. The INS placed Elian with his uncle in Miami, but his father back in Cuba demanded his son be brought back to his hometown, and files a complaint with the UN. Elian’s story soon becomes worldwide news and an international custody battle between two countries with a storied history.

Elian slowly begins to have a normal American lifestyle, but back in Cuba, rallies with hundreds of people protest for Elian’s return to Cuba, and even then-President Fidel Castro spoke out in favor of the kid.  Elian’s uncle filed for primary custody of him, and his father arrives in the U.S. on a visa granted by the State Department, promising U.S. officials would transfer Elian to his father. But the dad is blocked yet again when an 11th circuit court of appeals sides with Elian’s Florida family. US federal agents then stormed the Miami home and grabbed Elian at gunpoint and brought him back to cuba with his father, where he was lauded as a hero.

Where are they now?

Now 19 years old, Elian attends Cuban Military Academy and is doing well with his father. As for his relatives’ Miami home? It’s now a museum with Elian memorabilia. Stay classy, America.

McCaughey septuplets

Year: 1997

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

The Story

Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey are the parents of the world’s first set of septuplets to survive infancy. They were born nine weeks premature, and each weighed 3 lbs or less when they were born. The couple, who had one daughter before the septuplets, named their kids normal names: Kenneth (Kenny) Robert, Alexis May, Natalie Sue, Kelsey Ann, Nathan Roy, Brandon James, Joel Steven.

Before they were born, the McCaugheys gained national and world attention, even gracing the cover of Time magazine. Donations started pouring in, including a new house, a van, diapers for the first two years, and the State of Iowa offering full college scholarships upon HS graduation to any state university in Iowa.

Where are they now

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 10.45.01 PM

The kids are now 15 years old and entering their sophomore year in high school come fall. Not really much to report besides the fact that they’re almost old enough to drive, which makes you even older. You’re welcome. (watch an interview of them from last year here)

Zlata Filipović

Year: 1993

Location: Sarajevo

The Story

Dubbed the “Anne Frank of Sarajevo”, 11 year old Zlata wrote about her and her family during the Bosnian war in her diary, which she called Mimmy. For two years, she wrote about the horrifying siege in her hometown, where bombs were a constant, hundreds of thousands were left with no food, electricity, or water, and nearly 100,000 lost their lives.

UNICEF workers in Sarajevo heard about her diary, and published it as a pamphlet, but when French journalists got a hold of it, they shopped it around and her manuscript was purchased by a French publisher. Zlata and her family all survived the war and they escaped to Paris for three years before moving to Dublin.

Where are they now

Zlata went on to attend St. Andrew’s College in Dublin, then graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in human sciences. She returned to Dublin and has lived there ever since.  Now 32, Zlata is a producer on various films and short docs. And she’s on Twitter!