Happy Birthday, Parent/Guardian!

Today is my father’s 60th birthday and tonight is a BIG party to celebrate. In honor of this auspicious birthday, I’ve decided to write about birthday parties for parents/guardians.

It was a STRUGGLE! I could’ve sworn there were more than I found. Here are the shows I found with parent/guardian birthdays: Bob’s Burgers (2011-present)DuckTales (2017-present),  Hannah Montana (2006-2011), Jonas (2009-2010), Malcom in the Middle (2000-2006), Married… with Children (1987-1997), Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015), Roseanne (1988-1997, 2018), That 70s Show (1998-2006), The Simpsons (1989-present), The Worst Witch (2017-present)… I’m sure there are more that I am not aware of/couldn’t find.

[Note: I reference episodes of shows where the main characters are not solely the adults/parents.]

So, why am I talking about parent/guardian birthdays specifically? Well, because they often take time to reflect and demonstrate appreciation for what can be thankless work. As a teacher, I get paid for my work, but it often feels like both students and parents underestimate the amount of work that goes into teaching. For parents, most have to balance parenting and a paying job, and children don’t really understand what that means.

barely understand what that means…

I am a professed fan of Children’s Television, so I’ve chosen a few great examples below. I also like these episodes because they demonstrate or teach something to viewers. It also shows characters appreciating the adults in their lives.


Phineas and Ferb 1×19 “Mom’s Birthday” (Aired: Feb 29, 2008)

The concept behind Phineas and Ferb is that the brothers are determined to make the most of every day of vacation. In their quest to make every day the best day and live life to the fullest, they pursue outlandish projects. Some examples include: time travel, going to Mars, being one-hit wonders, turning their backyard into a beach, and turning their backyard into a ski resort in the middle of summer.

On this glorious day of summer vacation, it’s Mom’s birthday! And big sister Candice is desperate to come up with the perfect gift, but her brothers thwart her every attempt. Shenanigans ensue and the episode ends with a lovely tribute to Mom (one I think a lot of us can relate to).


DuckTales 1×13 “McMystery at McDuck Manor!” (Aired: May 25, 2018)

DuckTales is a revival of the beloved cartoon which originally ran for 100 episodes from 1987-1990 and a movie. The program depicts the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his great nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The revival both harkens back to the original comic book and provides a twenty-first century update. It features the voice talents of Danny Pudi (Community), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), and Kate Micucci (Steven Universe), with Scotland-native David Tennant (Doctor Who) playing the role of Scrooge himself in what can only be described as perfect casting. Like Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, this Scrooge is quick witted and physically agile, always searching for a new adventure.

In this episode we learn that Uncle Scrooge hasn’t wanted to celebrate his birthday since the death of his beloved butler– and the best party-planner– Duckworth (a dog…). Huey (red shirt), however, takes this as a challenge and is determined to top him, against Scrooge’s wishes. The disastrous party devolves into a whodunnit, with Huey now determined to prove himself the “best party planner slash detective”. In the end, a lesson is learned about being considerate of the wants of others… And that Duckworth is literally the best butler anyone could ever have ever– including Alfred.


The Worst Witch 2×08 “Miss Cackle’s Birthday” (Aired: Feb. 26, 2018)

I included this episode because she is the headmaster of a boarding school, and therefore serves as a pseudo-guardian during the school year. The Worst Witch is based on a book series by the same name and has previously spawned other adaptations, including a TV movie featuring Tim Curry. In the series, Mildred Hubble attends Cackle’s Academy, a magical boarding school for girls, where she is continuously demonstrates herself to be both the worst and best witch at the academy.

In this episode, Mildred’s best friend, Maud Spellbody, is directing a talent show in honor of Miss Cackle’s birthday, but isn’t happy with how it’s going. In an effort to help Maud, Mildred’s spell once again goes awry, with the help of her other best friend, Enid Nightshade. While Mildred and Ethel try to fix things, Mildred’s nemesis, Ethel Hallow, takes over the show, trying to make it more polished and less campy. What the students don’t know, is that Miss Cackle is facing a personal/professional crisis and is looking forward to the girls’ best, most campy efforts. Miss Cackle embodies the idea that it’s the thought that counts and in the end, her spirits are lifted.


Obviously if I’m talking about these shows that must mean I like them, but in case that wasn’t clear, I do highly recommend them. Currently, DuckTales is currently airing on Disney Channel while The Worst Witch can be found on Netflix. Phineas and Ferb is a little harder to track down, but worth the effort I assure you. All three programs have rich characters and demonstrate creative storytelling. (And who DOESN’T want to see a Platypus secret agent??)


Side note: In my October 27th post, I mentioned my intention to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and that I would share my final tally in today’s post… Welp, things did not go as expected. My final word count is not even close to 50k. Like, less than 20k. Yeah… I’m a little disappointed, but also remind myself of three important factors: 1. I’ve also been trying to stay on top of my blog entries. 2. This has been the busiest fall I’ve had in ages. 3. I’ve never actually written a novel before without a time limit. I’ve had something to do almost every weekend, which is incredibly rare for me. So, while I’m disappointed, I’m trying to look at this as a learning experience. Since I’ve never finished a novel before, that’s my new goal without the time pressure. And to write creatively more often.

National Novel Writing Month

In just four short days we will be in what has become known as National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, and this year I plan to participate!

According to their website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” The idea is that those participating begin a novel at 12:01 am on November 1st and work towards a 50 thousand word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th. The idea began with a small group in 1999 and has grown into a world-wide event and non-profit organization. It has also lead to the publication of over 600 novels (both professionally and self-published), including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

NaNo doesn’t just promote adult writing, they’ve also created a Young Writer’s Program. YWP provides age-appropriate support as well as educational materials for teachers. There are workbooks for Elementary, Middle, and High School and lesson plans that are in line with national curriculum standards.

Overall, a very cool event, one designed to provide support and a friendly competitive atmosphere.

So, why am I writing about it? Well, firstly, because I plan on doing it this year– and properly! In the past, my goal has been to just write 50k (and to write every day in November), but not necessarily on a single project (I’ve done something similar with Camp NaNo, which is 30k in July). This year, I’m going to try to write a novel! And, I’ve heard that if you tell people you’re going to do something, you are more likely to actually do it– plus I’m putting my intention out into the universe….




Second, because it’s a great event. It promotes writing of any kind, including FanFiction. In the past my feelings towards FanFiction have been negative, but in recent years, I’ve come to see its benefits (especially when it’s better than the work it’s based on– DON’T ASK). Also, while competition can turn into something ugly, this event has you competing against yourself with resources and support from other writers trying to do the same thing you are. It promotes a community and competition that could easily turn toxic, but doesn’t. They keep it positive and supportive, with events all over the world where writers can get together and just write. It’s bringing together people who share a common passion and goal.

Third, because while my focus thus far has been on TV/Film, I do have a passion for written works and, especially, for adaptations. Adaptations are hard. People think it’s easy, but finding that balance between staying true to the original and not only keeping the pace up, but appealing to people new to the work. I can, and most likely eventually will, talk about adaptations at great length, but the point is, you never know what can come out of this event. I chose to reference Water for Elephants and Cinder because the first one has been adapted into a film, while the second is a personal favorite and one that has already been optioned. Any of the over 600 works could be something we’re talking about at length in the future. Also, I do eventually plan on writing about written works, novels, graphic novels, mangas… There is so much out there to spark creative and analytical thinking, to make you question the world around you!

So, this week’s post is a short one. I still intend to post every Saturday in November (and I will not be counting them as word count!), and probably should’ve saved this for then, but I wanted to provide an opportunity for participation. (And because it will make me stick to my goals.)

I’ll provide a final tally of my word count in my December 1st post. You can find more information about National Novel Writing Month at https://nanowrimo.org/.