Saturday, September 3, 2011

Parenting 101

P and I have both started reading parenting books now that Ellie is getting to be verbal. I swear I almost have her saying, "bye" (as in, "bye-bye pee pee, bye-bye poo  poo"). She's also been tossing around "mama" a lot the last couple days, but I don't think she's got the meaning locked in. She does tend to use "mamamama" when she needs comfort like food or nap. But, "dadada" is used mostly for when she's having fun and playing. As much as it pains me, it really isn't a surprise that Dad is the fun one in our family.

I just finished reading The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson. He's a Brit and to hear him tell it, he didn't want kids to get in the way of his drinking beer and reading. His family started with a pretty standard Western Civilization experience after their first child was born. They bought lots of stuff, he commuted a lot and ended up compensating for his absence with more stuff. Somewhere along the way, they realized that Son #1 was happier when they didn't fuss over him too much and let him make his own fun. So, through trial and error, he worked out his method of Idle Parenting. Some of his recommendations seem a little extreme to me, but most of them make a lot of sense. The general idea of letting the kids play on their own without undue parental influence was a key component of my upbringing. To this day, I'm never bored for long. There is always something to do. I particularly found his list of recommended reading  useful. I've started a reading library wish list on Amazon based on his list with just a few minor additions of my own if anyone wants to peruse the titles. He recommends liberal reading aloud of books above their level and lots of repeating poetry so that they can learn a few pieces by heart. I've never been much for poetry (other than Shel Silverstein), but I'm willing to take a look at his recommendations. He's even got me looking into home schooling although we have a few years to get to know our daughter before that becomes a decision we need to make.

P is reading one called Raising Freethinkers, by Dale McGowan and a couple other people. P has been exploring his atheist tendencies and ran across this book. It's supposedly a guide for raising an ethical and moral child in a secular home. It's next on my list to read, so I'll post a synopsis later.

On a less serious note, we took a jaunt over to Grandma's today to work on Ellie's wardrobe. I borrowed her fabric paints to make a little cheerleader shirt for E to wear supporting Dad in his 5K Popcorn Panic run next Saturday. I think it turned out pretty well.

We also solicited some advice and assistance from Grandma on Ellie's Christmas outfit. Ellie and I took a little Mother Daughter jaunt downtown on Thursday and found the cutest little Christmas tights on sale (she just HAD to have them ;)). Grandma's going to help us with a top of some sort. We'll post pics sometime in December.

Other books on the reading list include John Holt's, How Children Learn, Jane Healy's, Your Child's Growing Mind; Free-Range Kids; Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto; and a short book, Teaching Montessori in the Home. Please holler if you have any recommendations.

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