What would Mrs. Piggle Wiggle do?

Absolutely one of my favorite things about homeschooling is the feast of words which we are indulging in together daily.  We are discovering old books from discard piles and thrift stores that hold magical, rich stories with all sorts of vocabulary words that sometimes I don’t even know how to say.  Today we’ve logged over three hours of reading aloud together or the kids reading their books to me.

Yesterday we finished Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald.  I remember reading her when I was young, it in fact is older than my mother even, written in 1947.  Now reading it as a parent my perspective is so different.  The kids were so tickled listening that I couldn’t even get them to pick a favorite chapter, they found them all so funny!  I think the most laughs came from the “Answer-Backer Cure” chapter when the cure was that the sassy girl who talked back to everyone had to live with a snappy parrot who was even ruder and more disrespectful than she was.   It was easy for me though to pick a favorite paragraph, let me share…

It certainly was fortunate for Patsy’s mother that she thought of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, because although Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has no children of her own and lives in an upside down house, she understands children better than anybody in the whole world.  She is always ready to stop whatever she is doing and have a tea party.  She is glad to have children dig worms in her petunia bed.  She has a large trunk of scraps for doll clothes and another large truck full of valuable rocks with gold in them.  She is delighted to have children pick up and look at all the little things which she keeps on her tables and when Hubert Prentiss dropped the glass ball that snowed on the children when you shook it, she said “Heavens, Hubert, don’t cry.  I’m so glad this happened.  For years and years I have wanted to know what was in that glass ball.”  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle takes it for granted that you will want to try on her shoes and go wiggling around on high heels.

There are rich parenting gems in there I believe, the one that stopped me in my tracks was that she was always ready to stop whatever she was doing for a tea party.  It is the easiest thing in the world to go about the day, do the tasks at hand and miss the little sweet moments of actual, purposeful interaction with our children.  I am constantly reminding myself of this and taking note of time spent with each one.

The no-nonsense, reality-based discipline of Dr. Kevin Leeman is what came to mind as I read this book to my kids.  It made me want to dig out the book I read by him last year “Making Your Children Mind without Losing Yours“.  His basic premise is that parents need to let reality teach kids the consequences of life.

While Mrs. Piggle Wiggle address’ many common ‘ailments’ of childhood like kids who won’t bath, kids who fight with their siblings or kids who take too long to eat – I want to know what she would prescribe as the remedy for “Binky-itis” for my 3 1/2 year old boy who is absolutely, interminably in love with his binky.  It’s not in the book sadly.  And I’m starting to wonder if he’ll be taking his binky to college…with a dreadful overbite to go with.



lol about the binky!! I’m sure he’ll grow out of it eventually! Love your thoughts on the book.


We love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! We have 2 books and the boys think they are so funny, but really think about what it’s saying too. When we asked Brenden to give up his binkie a few months ago, Zach, somewhat out of despiration, told him that he HAD to stop using it, because the book says 3 year olds are not supossed to use them. (what book? i dunno, maybe a parenting book? B never asked, so…) It took a few days of reminding him each night that “the book says…” For some reason, he thought this was convincing enough and moved on with minimal tears. Who knows what will work with these kids!


We’d try just about anything at this point, but more than anything, it’s nice to know that Kyler isn’t the only 3 year old addicted to his binkie. He is so inconsolable without it, I keep waiting for him to get over it but not yet…


Did I tell you about the Nuk trick our Ped. recommended? He said to trim the tip off the Nuk and give it to the child. The child decides for himself if he wants it for not. If he still wants it, keep trimming the Nuk back a bit more, and so forth, until he doesn’t want it anymore. The ped. said this method makes the child feel in control as to when he’s ready to wean off. It worked for Morgan in less than two days. The first trim didn’t stop him, but with the second he was done, no fuss, no crying. Morgan was 13 months when we tried this, so I’m not sure what the result will be with 3-year-olds, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to try. If you try this, let me know the results.


p.s. Also you’re suppose to trim EVERY Nuk in the house, so the child knows that’s the only option. AND the ped. said the child will be mad at first, but he’ll still be in control of having the Nuk.

five little acorns

LOVE us some Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I actually think of her often, when some child of mine is dumping water all over while “washing dishes” (playing in the sink) or just generally making a HUGE mess because they are little and learning. It makes smoke come out my ears. But I hear her voice in my head saying, “well, of course you spilled a little, isn’t that what children DO?!” Sigh. Wish I could be more like her. Maybe I’ll start by burying treasure in my backyard.


Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle sounds like a wise woman. I must get some of her books! Thomas was 3 when he left his very-well loved binkie behind. It took a long time and he wasn’t happy about it. I’m sure you’ve tried everything by now, but we bought Thomas the Fur Real pal of his choice – he picked it out online, and then when it came in the mail he traded me for the binky. It took quite a bit of coaxing and reminding him of our deal. But ah, Kyler will remember a Mommy who loved and comforted him well…he’ll just think he’s like every other kid with braces, eh?! 🙂


This sounds like a good idea too!

Jacqueline Strovas

Carissa took a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book to read to KG in 2007 I think and the teacher was so impressed at how the children paid attention for so long she decided to invest in some “old school” books. She really had great ideas and her attitude is to be admired.

My oh my, can I keep moving through 2010??? I’ve been picking up pictures that I had not known how to do int 2009. Thank you for all your pictures.

I wonder if you will publish your books each year still?