goal: Renaissance Man?
some notes on RaisingOurKids (combination of our experience and ideal recommendations...)
Have at least 2 kids, 1-1/2 to 3yrs after each other.
- but be fore-warned that the 2nd kid more than doubles your work from the 1st kid, because you can't tag-team to get a break.
- I've heard that the 3rd is much easier, but haven't gotten there
- update: we waited 6yrs between Number Two Son and Number Three. The plus is that the older kids can get stuck with entertaining the young one. The downside of that gap is that you really lose your ability to feign interest in their games, and in general you reach the "I'm too old for this shit" point.
We totally failed at the getting-them-to-sleep-on-their-own struggle, decided (rationalized) that the Two Income Family structure limited their time with us enough as it is.
Talk to them ("extra talk", not "business talk" - see Disrupting Class), even if they won't understand.
Read to them every day, starting from a really early age. Even if they haven't got a clue, just hearing your voice associated with the book-object creates a connection for the future.
- and use multiple "voices". Funny ones are great, but even straight voices are good. Don't be afraid to use politically-incorrect foreign accents.
Play lots of music for them.
- simpler stuff is generally best
- having them watch a (broadway musical) movie, and then have the soundtrack available to listen to regularly, is a good combo. My kids will latch onto a movie and listen to the soundtrack multiple times every day for 3 months straight. This might drive you a little crazy, so pick carefully.
I think word/song games are great. Make up little rhymes to them, turn them into songs. Make up words to force a rhyme sometimes (hey it worked for DrSeuss).
If you can spare the floorspace, have an easel, loaded with big newsprint at all times. That makes drawing very easy for them to jump into at any time.
Explain things to them, even if they won't really understand it. A little bit will get absorbed. And you can often use an explanation as an opportunity to slip in some moral training.
When they showed interest in the little Calculator built into the toy grocery cash register we'd bought them, we bought them a nicer big solar-powered calculator for $5. Number Two Son has been a junky for that (freaked out Number One Son's teacher one day by looking at their bulletin board and proclaiming "They're learning to count by twos!").
We take them out to eat a lot at real restaurants. They drive us kinda crazy but actually eat more widely than almost all their friends. And the East Village restaurants are pretty universally kid-tolerant (heh, Wallace Shawn sat down next to us one night at Noho Star).
In typical city-kid (and geek) mode, our kids probably don't do enough "sporty" Outdoorsy Stuff (they go to parks plenty to play on the jungle gyms, but don't ride bikes much, know how to catch a ball, etc.).
We've indulged their politically-incorrect fascination with blood and gore by directing it into an interest in history, mythology, etc. Both kids can tell you about the Trojans "taxing" Greek shipping as a cause of the Trojan War, and Number One Son sat through a 2-hr History Channel show on the French Revolution at the age of 7 just in hopes of seeing some battles...
We've let them see some movies that are rather above their age (Master And Commander).
We make them watch some science and history shows. They chose some of those on their own.
Once they saw Harry Potter we bought them chess sets instead of checkers.
They have lots of toys (dang relatives) and lots of books; almost no electronic toys.
- update: they got Nintendo DS machines when they were 9-11, then Mobile-s when 11-12
They don't get much access to my computers, though sometimes I let them play at typing, and once in awhile I let them use the free chess game on the IBook
- that was true when I wrote it, but since they were 8-10 they get weekend-only time on MiniClips and World Of Warcraft.
Set high expectations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc1uGd3sjMY