Our Tween/Teen – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Our Tween/Teen

Eco-Avatar of Maggie P, one of our AAP Climate Change and Health Childrens’ Art Council Members.
Eco-Avatar, my son. What the heck? What do those horns mean? Is that yellow halo? I’m so confused.

September 22, 2020

by Dr. Plastic Picker

The first picture is the Eco-Avatar of Maggie P. She is one of the members of our AAP Climate Change and Health Children’s Art Council. She drew a super cute and colorful Yoda. The second drawing is the Eco-Avatar of my teen son. He had to apply to our council also. We are gathering Eco-Avatars from all 11 of our volunteers for a group project. It’s really being organized by our premedical intern #1 who is doing a very professional and fantastic job. It’s hard not to compare your children to other people’s children. It’s a fault of probably 100% of parents out there, even your local litter-picking pediatrician. This morning I’m looking at both avatars and immediately comparing my son’s avatar to Maggie P’s who is still in elementary school and one of my patients. Is my son okay? His avatar has two red horns and a yellow halo? Is he trying to tell me something? Or is it that he’s a sophomore in high school.

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I take these pictures from the back without them knowing all the time.

August 24, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s our last morning here in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Forest to mark our small escape from the COVID-19 quarantine. It has been six months and we went for a short 3-day 2-night reprieve to renew ourselves yet at the same time trying to keep safe with social distancing, masked and plenty of hand washing. The desert was pretty empty – Mr. Plastic Picker and I agreed that we unlikely caught COVID-19 here.

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I thought this one was really funny! My kids response was lukewarm.

August 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I was talking to Mr. Plastic Picker last night and we both marvelled that it has been almost six months of quarantine. That is indeed remarkable. For Mr. Plastic Picker and I, we have had to go to work most days, shop for food and continue with life. But the two grandparents and our two tween/teen children have been at home mostly. We went to Michael’s once to buy supplies with my daughter. I walked to Sprouts with my son on Saturday to buy pasta sauce. We have taken the odd drive here and there to try to find a bit of green space to sit, or walk along the coast, or play basketball at a tucked away park where there has been some emptiness. The trips have been infrequent. We are always masked and mostly triple the social distance requirements. We still go on our exercise walks and runs, but we are lucky in that our neighborhood has spacious streets. We are able to avoid most people by playing a kind of pedestrian pac-mac. We did go to the dentist to get the kids teeth cleaned. I had never been so grateful that there were no cavities.

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Making dinner together, part of their Korean language lessons was to make Bi Bim Bap.

July 25, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I had heard about GRIT here and there. Mr. Plastic Picker and I send our kids to a fancy prep school. Mr. Plastic Picker had been a scholarship recipient from the top prep school in his area that was a feeder into Princeton, and he loved his experience. When we had our two children, it was one of those non-neogtiable things. He wanted our children to go to a similar independent school. As two MDs, we could afford it. As a product of a strong suburban public school program, it has always felt odd to have my kids in private school. They have done well though and more importantly they have strong connections in their school community, so we have committed to having them finish their education there. If you asked me to total the costs, I think I’d have a heart attack. But we can afford it because we still have a savings rate of over 50% our net income and we both work. Private school is our one indulgence and I actually try to dissuade other parents from it.

As a parent I’ve heard of the idea of Grit around the internet and school emails. Honestly, I just ignored those emails and discussions. It seemed to me the only people who talked about Grit were not living very hard-working lives. But then this morning I visited Retireby40’s blog, and he reposted an article about his Grit score and I was intrigued. https://retireby40.org/what-if-you-have-no-grit/ I took the test, I got a 5 out of 5! I am not surprised. I have a lot of Grit, as do most of my siblings.

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Layered crepe cake our tween daughter made. Delicious but everything in moderation.

July 14, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s 520AM and I am working from home today. I am waiting for the sun to come up. The kids are sleeping as is Mr. Plastic Picker and the black puppy, but my in-laws are up. These early mornings it’s usually me with my cup of coffee and them. They wander in and out of the kitchen, getting their coffee and quietly beginning their day. They moved in with us fifteen years ago when I had the brilliant idea to get pregnant intern year (yes it was planned). But we have lived all together, husband and wife, two children, two grandparents since then. We have been joined by two bunnies and a puppy, and a Upcycled Presidential Bird House that is busy with California Towhees every morning. Mr. Plastic Picker has been asking to get another puppy because he thinks it would be great fun to have a playmate for our black poodle mix. But I said no.

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Superhero. He is more Reddit than Tik Tok, but never underestimate a teenager that has passion. He made that shot.

June 21, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday it was Teenage TikTok Users and Kpop fans versus Trump, and the Teenagers won! Teenagers were partially the reason why the Tulsa Trump Rally tanked. Dr. Plastic Picker, your local plastic picking pediatrician, is your biggest fan (the teenagers and not Trump). It is Sunday, June 21, 2020 and a brief newstory made it online and now I can’t find it. I did take a screenshot of the story.

It just goes to show the mainstream media is missing the cultural shifts that are happening on the ground. I mentioned to Mr. Plastic Picker last night that I thought CNN was projecting a completely different world that I see as a litter picker around the neighborhood. But the tweens and teenagers, they know what is going on. If you are a teenager, you will unlikely read this. But I wanted this seared into the blogsphere virtual pages that you have my utmost admiration and support. Most of the blog and Facebook readers are your parents, and they need to know how wonderful you all are. Teenage TikTok Users torpedoed Trump – this is the headline that CNN missed.

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Little Half-Vulcan children. Mr. Plastic Picker and I have two.

June 18, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I have had a slight headache since yesterday and even this morning. I’m sitting at the kitchen table a bit earlier than usual at 503AM. I made myself some coffee and took 1000mg tylenol. Headaches always worry me. Neither Mr. Plastic Picker and I are prone to getting headaches, and when either of us gets a headache – I know something is off. I even wrote two posts about headaches for both of us. Here is the one about Mr. Plastic Picker https://drplasticpicker.com/mr-plastic-picker-had-a-headache/ and here is reflection on my previous tension headaches https://drplasticpicker.com/tension-headaches-drplasticpicker-cures-myself/. Blogging helps with the headaches as does walking along the beach.

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My amazing sister made this for our daughter. I want her to earn her leadership and it not be given to her.

I find it odd how seemingly disparate parts of my life tend to come into rhythm. I am Assistant Boss in our Department, and there are two other Assistant Bosses. I am also Co-Troop Leader for our Girl Scout Troop, and I also serve as the Troop Treasurer and Troop Cookie Manager. I am Co-Chair now of the American Academy of Pediatrics Climate Change and Health Local Chapter. I signed on to be on the Public Health Advisory Board of the Climate Action Campaigns, which is a very effective non-profit which has been moving our area closer to our climate goals. There are also the many responsibilities as part of my Assistant Boss role that I am responsible for. Plus I’m Dr. Plastic Picker, head litter-picker and sole-writer of my blog! Other than Dr. Plastic Picker, it is time for me to re-evaluate the leadership structure of our department, our Girl Scout Troop and the environmental advocacy groups.

I had taken most of Saturday off and did not think too much about work or leadership. I wrote a blog post and went litter picking in the morning. The rest of the day, I binge-watched the four Hunger Game movies with my daughter out of sequence. The binge-watching was mostly on Saturday, but we did watch the last movie last weekend and part of one of the movies Friday night after Sponge Bob the Musical. Our daughter has read the series at least three times, and she is now reading it aloud to herself or whoever will listen. She has the just published prequel ready as a treat to herself to read. I think she is delaying reading the book because she wants to savor it, just like she savors the last bit of food at dinner. She waits until everyone is done eating, and she always has the best bite to eat when everyone is done. Isn’t that interesting? I just realized the connection now.

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Arrival that lightened the mood at home. Our tween daughter was esctatic.

June 6, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It was a heavier mood in clinic today. Mostly babies and a smattering of tweens-teens in for the well child checks and vaccines. I asked everyone through double masks and faceshield how they were doing. Most of our clinic families were staying home and avoiding the demonstrations. Since our clinic serves the diverse community of the South Bay, there was a sense of darkness that hung over us. We talked in quiet and sad voices about the state of racial politics in the United States, and one father who is black said these demonstrations are making his life more difficult. Another excuse he said for police to pull him over and harass him. But I was able to welcome a beautiful newborn baby boy to our practice, who is a beautiful amalgamation of many races including Apache. And in that beautiful baby boy I see hope. Like the half-Vulcan half-Human child of T’Pol and Trip in Star Trek Enterprise, we must celebrate IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. T’Pol in one of the final episodes was confronted by Terra Prime, the xenophobic human terrorist movement. It’s leader asked T’Pol whether she was worried that interspecies breeding would destroy the Vulcan race. T’Pol with her elegant Vulcan poise replied fiercely that Vulcans were not what they were 1 million years ago, and the only constant in change. In her words, I find hope. The same hope I see in the face of the beautiful baby today that represents IDIC (infinite diversity in infinite combinations) in my clinic.

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From the internet. Discord from My Little Pony. This is your enemy.

June 2, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s 617AM and this morning I will pick up my 200th bag of ocean bound plastic. I started this journey 10 months ago and the world today is a stark place. I began gathering the 200th bag yesterday and filled it with some mostly paper litter, but will need to finish it this morning. Dr. Plastic Picker is ambitious. For my 200th bag I chose a large kitchen garbage bag. I think everyone on Instagram will really like a big bag for the 200th one.

As I’ve mentioned to you, my patients in clinic and my own children, I do a lot of thinking when I’m picking up plastic. I started litter picking and ocean beach cleaning after emotional exhaustion from my work which is doctoring children. But nature healed me and the simple act of cleaning up our neighborhood helped me. When I pick up trash, I let my mind wander and I often think of you – my patients and my own children. Dr. Plastic Picker has been a pediatrician and a mother for too long. I found that rather than trying to escape work worries, I was able to think more clearly about all the forces that hurt children. And as a doctor, I naturally want to fight against those forces. One of those forces is Big Oil and Big Plastic that is trying to flood the environment with plastic waste.

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