A Note From Juliette:
We all thought we’d be out of pandemic mode by now, but at least, for our kids, most of them are starting school in person again.

When I started this blog in 2012 my daughter was just starting Middle School. About a month ago she started her first year in Graduate School to get a double masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning. In 2012 neither she nor I could have even imagined the fall of 2021.

This blog was built on two things parenting, and well, um, Vampires. Since October isn’t quite here yet I’ve decided to share some of the most popular posts about Middle School and High School. These are challenging years for both parents and kids. They are also wonderful and rewarding years.

Parenting a teen takes time, effort, and deliberate thought. It also takes an open mind, an open ear, a shoulder always there to lean on and cry on, and it means as a parent you need to listen. You need to really listen. You also need to talk to your child openly and clearly. This is not the time to be shy about thoughts on school, the future, sex, drugs, bullying, the Internet, or any other issue you might think you’re uncomfortable about. You are the parent so be the parent. Be the adult. Your kid will thank you for it later (especially when they get that acceptance letter to get into grad school.)


Someone is hating Middle School because a teacher accused her of copying work (which she did not). So now the child wants to quit an activity because of it. Now she says the teacher hates her.  More discussions at home, more being pissed off, more wondering WTF happened with school this year? It was great last year?

Someone is hating Middle School because another teacher favors her own daughter (and daughter’s friends) over the other kids, and tells everyone how they should all be like said daughter (I’m going to have to talk to the school about that).

This is the same teacher who told my daughter that her lovely simple dress was “a bit much” for a dance, while teacher’s daughter was dressed in sloppy cargo shorts and a ill fitting tee shirt. In fact 98% of the boys dressed better in slacks and shirts with collars. I’m sure this teacher said snarky things to them as well. Wait, this is a public school, teachers shouldn’t be terrorizing kids. They should be encouraging them and teaching them. I guess I could be shallow and chalk that one up to  “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”.

The smartest kids aren’t the ones who jump up and wave their hands “pick me, pick me”.

The smartest kids don’t use big words and shame other students to impress you and show you how smart they are.

The smart kids are the ones who are watching, observing, listening and planning, knowing how one day they’ll be in the real world where nobody is impressed by your vast knowledge of facts and big words and brown-nosing.

For the smart kids are those with vision (and that includes a good sense their own personal style and a sense of humor not always based on what adults, including their parents or teachers, think). They are the ones who can engage in a private conversation that revolves around ideas that have nothing to do with school – but with free independent thought.

All kids are smart – they just show it in different ways and no kids should be discounted or overlooked by preconceived notions of how a smart kid should act.

Feeling like one is being treated unfairly is real and a real lesson in life. Unfortunately is happens and it happens too often. For most kids it will make them tough and they’ll learn from it.

First published September 28, 2012

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Hug your dogs and cats. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids (really listen without jumping in or judging.) Check in on those who are elderly, need extra help, or alone. And kiss a Vampire – you’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


  1. Laurie teaches middle school and high school students. Middle school is a rough time for students. Your daughter’s doing urban planning? I used to do urban planning. We still have a planning department, but I don’t have much to do with urban panning these days. I deal mostly with capital planning for universities and school districts, when I not managing facilities.

    1. Middle School is rough. My heart goes out to all of the brave Middle School teachers out there. The teacher I complained about was a PE teacher who I found out later was just a teaching assistant. Oh she was a bully even to the teachers. I look back on that post. It was one of my first. I can see how my writing tone has changed and I tend to be less angry now. All in all I think I did a pretty good job at parenting and learned how to write a short story along the way.

      I would have never guessed she would go into Urban Planning and Public Policy. When she was 12 she wanted to be a Vet and take care of cats. Then she wanted to be a history major, then Neurobiology, and she ended up choosing International Studies with an emphasis in the Americas and a minor in Environmental Sustainability. Graduated from UC Irvine and then on to USC. In the meantime she continued on to four more US National Championships in Roller Skating (after we met you) and traded her dance wheels on her skates out for Southern California street wheels. The fun continues. From the start life has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. I’m so proud of her. Both of us still love New Mexico. I can’t think of a better place to be for photography.

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