June 04, 2005
Parenting 101

Those of you who are parents can read what Julia has written and nod your heads. Those of you who aren't but plan to be can read and learn (and you should). Those of you who plan to remain child-free can read and feel smug or relieved, your choice.

Two things to comment on:

It's hard. It's really, really hard. It's really, really hard not because the work itself is all that difficult, but because you don't get to go home from it and it's not on a schedule you control.

Though establishing a schedule is not realistic, you can establish a routine. Routine is your friend. Watch Supernanny and see how installing a routine is often her top priority. There are more parallels than one might sometimes like to admit between having a baby and having a dog, and one of them is that both respond well to routine. Trust me on this.

Right now, you're probably wobbling from lack of sleep, you haven't had this little personal space since you were in diapers and you're probably wondering what in hell you were thinking. It's understandable. Certainly nobody told you about most of this before you were plunged in it.

There are lots of things they don't tell you about. My personal tote sheet includes ringworm, the constant need to trim baby fingernails (and the extreme reluctance of the baby to let you), and the endless list of things that one can learn to do one-handed if one is sufficiently in need. They also don't tell you just how much fun it can be. That can be hard to remember sometimes, but you'll get plenty of reminders at other times.

Olivia turns one year old on Monday, meaning she's just entering the toddler stage that Julia writes about. I expect I'll be reviewing this post again soon and often.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 04, 2005 to Society and cultcha | TrackBack

I happen to fall into the "plan on remaining child-free" category (mainly because no one in the female gender is stupid enough to even want to date me, never mind marry and have children with me), however, what Julia wrote about sounds very useful (and very inexpensive) for those of you who are fortunate enough to have found each other and start a family. The crafts basket alone would be worthwhile for parents and grandparents.

Actually, Supernanny isn't the only show that proves that routine is important for children. Take a look at "Blue's Clues", "Barney", and "Teletubbies" (I know y'all going to wretch over the last two, however this is from talking to my mother about being a grandmother of four kids) and they'll prove the same thing.

Posted by: William Hughes on June 4, 2005 7:42 PM

As a stay-home Dad of two girls ages 2 and 6 I gotta say that Julia hits it exactly on the nose.

You absolutely cannot underestimate the power of routines. The most important and previously difficult one in our house was bed time. Finally my wife and I sketched out for ourselves exactly how we wanted our bedtime routine to go. We stuck with it exactly for four days despite the tears and screams. And as if by magic on day 5 the kids were into the routine and it's gone smooth ever since.

As Olivia gets older the only advice I can provide is the following when discipline is necessary:

Don't get angry.
Don't talk too much.
Don't give in.

If all parents followed those three simple rules when disciplining their kids the world would be a much better place.

Posted by: Kent on June 4, 2005 11:36 PM

I'm not a parent, but I still found this article very enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Serena on June 5, 2005 12:09 AM

Capture each moment as best you can. Write about them even to yourself. The small persons will become real people sooner than you are ready and today's moments will be urgent to cherish. Signature moments will be when you see past interactions with your parent figures play out as you interact with your own charges. Later signature moments will be when you find pride in seeing your preferred parenting play out as you see your child raise his/her child. Search your soul and be sure to be good at how you do what you do. It will be repeated for generations to come. Hopefully that will be a good thing.

Posted by: Rick on June 5, 2005 11:38 AM

I just blogged about Supernanny, weird.

My baby turns 3 tomorrow. And my other baby recently turned 5. So I'm basically out of the baby/toddler phase now. It turns out, there is light at the end of the tunnel -- you just find yourself in another tunnel, but it isn't as pitch black as the baby/toddler tunnel.

Posted by: hope on June 5, 2005 10:42 PM

My advice on the fingernail cutting: get 'em when they're sleeping.

Posted by: ttrentham on June 6, 2005 9:49 AM

Teletubbies make you wretch? Oh, dear.

I've found them to be a delight. A few moments of innocence in a somewhat ugly world. My 85-year-old mother loves Po. I tend to favor LaLa. But all of them make for wonderful conversation with any 2-4-year-old-that you are lucky enough to have a chance to chat with.

And everybody needs a "big hug" now and then. Here's one for Olivia!

Posted by: cwr on June 6, 2005 10:23 AM