Below are some random observations and insights from my first 4 months of parenthood. These are just one man's experiences, and I recognize all babies are different.
Things you can forget about when you have a baby:
-Sleeping. I've had such intense sleep deprivation that I can literally feel my IQ dropping tens of points. I can feel the slowness of my thinking and the dropping of thoughts/memories and conversely a speed-up of my CPU with just a few hours of rest. Coping strategy: write everything down.
-Going out without a care in the world
-Getting work done in one sitting uninterrupted
-Going out with friends
-Eating out at restaurants
-Eating food when it's warm
-Eating food at regular times
-Doing anything at an absolute time schedule in sync with the rest of the world. You had a meeting or call at 1pm? Too bad, baby don't give a shit. With naps and feeding times changing day to day, it's impossible to plan anything in relation to the outside world. Tough luck.
Things you'll be busy with:
-Continual adaptation every minute of every day. That thing that you finally mastered after 2 weeks and which worked yesterday to get him to sleep/eat/not cry? Too bad, not gonna work today. Gotta start from scratch.
-Continual mystery solving. Why is he crying? Not eating? Not sleeping? Sleeping too much? Is it too hot? Too cold? What to wear? Millions of new decisions and investigations every day, and everyone out there has a different opinion.
-Continual experimentation and experiment running. It's like daily science lab. If I change this variable today, will it make him sleeper better or worse? The problem is it's not real science because there's no control population to compare with, and there's no way of knowing what effect the passing of time has since he's constantly changing/growing. If I did nothing, would he be just as fine?
-Learning what I was like when I was little. Developing extreme sympathy for my parents who had to deal with me if I was this difficult.
-The power of singing. Singing and music makes everything better and solves all problems.
-Silly play. Everything is worth putting in the mouth, exploring, and playing with.
-Finding laughter in the smallest things. Who knew spoons and cups could be so fascinating?
-Finding wonder in the smallest things. Any little thing can amaze. Especially if it's red or makes sound or music.
-Amazement at every new experience. First time going outside! First time peeing up the wall! First time hearing live music! Every little moment can be appreciated and enjoyed anew through this little person's eyes.
-Developing a special connection with your new family. It's such hard work, and it takes such patience and teamwork with your partner. But now you feel like a king of your little family, something that it's on you to protect and nourish and be proud of. No pressure.
I enjoyed reading Playing Scared (all about conquering stage fright through deliberate practice), and I recently heard a Freakonomics podcast all about the original researcher who coined the term and researched how experts practice. So I decided to check out the book discussed in the podcast, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.
I greatly enjoyed it, and it was interesting as a counterpoint and further specialization of many of the ideas discussed in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (which popularized, though not quite the same way Ericsson intended, the "10,000 hour rule").
I loved the takeaway message of Peak: while talent can give an initial boost, everyone has the potential to develop skills in whatever area they desire as long as they put in the hard work and practice in the right way. The examples of how people who were "bad singers" purposefully learned and were "certified" to have perfect pitch were inspiring.
Gifted aren't born
Perfect pitch is about training
Brain very adaptable until 6 years old
1 the power of purposeful practice
Have specific short term goal for each practice session which is objective and which would show performance improvement (play song 3 times in a row with no errors
Concrete baby steps
Break down goal
Give task full attention
2 harnessing adaptability
The greater the challenge the greater the change
3 mental representations
Training is specific for each skill
Allow more efficient processing of info
Experts have more mental representations
Recognizing and responding to patterns
4 the gold standard
Amount of solitary practice time per week is biggest differentiator
Deliberate practice is purposeful with well defined goal and helped by expert coach
Requires full attention on specific goal
5 principles of deliberate practice
6 principles in everyday life
Find a good teacher
Need to focus while practicing
To get past plateau start using different training ideas
7 road to extraordinary
Desire to play is motivation for kids
Parents praise achievement
Adults can develop perfect pitch from proper training
8 what about natural talent
Innate characteristics play smaller role than assumed
Practice more important in long run than initial advantage of talent
Recognize and develop potential in everyone
9 where we go from here
Focus on building skills not knowledge through training
I wanted to read some books about parenting, and the first one I picked up was one that I heard a lot about: Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. I ended up enjoying it immensely, not only for its parenting tips but also for the descriptions of Paris and life in France. It brought back such special memories of travel there.
Sleeping through night
Crying it out
Saying no, that's not in the plan for today
Best strategy is distraction
When throw tantrum say no and tell story about life
Baking lessons from young age
Give independent assignments
Wait and let cry for a few minutes
If adults busy then kids wait
How affected by nanny? How not to spoil?
Meal plan from 3-4 mo like adult schedule
Can stave off between meals with stroller or sling
On demand feeding only for first couple months
Discovering and learning
Don't try to speed up stages of learning
Not about better parenting
Not about competition or head starts
Awakening and discovery
Just being a child
Just expose child to different experiences for pleasure
Firm frame of limits
Can't do anything or eat from fridge whenever want
Firm rules for eating, sleeping, and tv. Other areas can let them go.
Set limits but provide choices within those limits. Kid chooses clothes at home but parents for outside. No tv, only DVDs, but kid chooses Dvd.
Don't try to spare them frustration
Assume children can understand what u say from early age and explain what doing to them and what u need them to do and assume they will do it
You have the right to do this, you don't have the right to do this
Prohibitions strict and given with reason
4 course fresh cooked meals at daycare
Toys confined to room and put away at night
Mothers shouldn't be enslaved by kids
The perfect mother doesn't exist
Leave child alone to play
When ur off, ur off
Stop trying to push towards next stage of development with tons of toys and books
Enjoy adult conversations and activities
Rid yourself of guilt of not being perfect
Force kids to say hello, good bye, thank u, please
Punishment if don't
Civility and politeness
Only at meal times or 4pm gouter and never at park or activities
Real not processed food
Kids order from adult menu
No kids eat just one food
First solids are puréed veggies not grains
Parents must teach how to eat everything and keep proposing foods even if reject
Don't panic or make a big deal out of food refusal
Try offering same food prepared in different ways
Ask kids to describe flavors, crunchiness, mouth feel
Play games with different foods to decide which sweetest, acidic, etc, blind taste foods to identify which is which
In France there is no such thing as kids food
For family dinners kids must try everything on the table. Adults and kids eat the same meal in multiple courses. Discuss the food as dinner is cooked and during dinner.
Sweets are also in cadre: have their place and can be enjoyed at special events or once a week; don't pretend it doesn't exist
Allow kids to have moments where rules don't apply but the parents are the ones who decide when those moments are
Chocolate is nutritional fixture but is not over eaten
Sweets at gouter but not dinner; hot chocolate and cookies
Make no stronger and more convincing
Speak with conviction
Drop ambivalence and be certain of own authority
Fully felt no
Believe in it
Evening is parents time. You've had your time. This is bedtime and now parents time. That's it. No more attention. Go to bed.
Kids not ruling or in charge
Parents are authority and King
Don't explain or provide reason for everything u need them to do. Just say that's what ur doing and that's it.
Clear authority and leadership important for kids to feel confident in parents
To build cadre, Spend a lot of time telling kids what's permissible and not
Use the language of rights: you don't have the right to hit Joe
Still be polite to kids and say please
Fixed and coherent system of rights. Kids do have some rights.
I do not agree with u doing X
Make eye contact with kid when speaking
The more spoiled a child is, the more unhappy
The big eyes: to demonstrate disapproval of child behavior
Develop complicity with kids
Teaching not policing means less yelling
Strict about a few key things but lax about everything else
Respect for others and adults, physical aggression are zero tolerance areas
At bedtime kids must stay in their room but within room can do what they want
To have authority need to say yes most of the time
Point of parental authority is to authorize kids to do things not block them
Teach the child to ask beforehand
Give child space and chance to obey
Say 1,2,3 then has to do what u want
No must be irrevocable and firm
C’est moi qui decide
Sleep away camps from age 4
Learn independence and resilience
Parents don't need to always protect and smooth out harm
Let children live their lives and explore themselves to figure things out themselves
Trust kids to take care of selves
Don't live in world of worst case scenarios
Slow to mediate arguments between kids
Don't tattle tale culture
Rely on self rather than complaining to parents or school
Praise not always good. Praise kids for saying interesting things or doing something well.
Not every job well done is worthy of praise
Focus on the negative or finding problems instead of constantly praising when doing fine
Grade against ideal but curve
Excessive praise messes up motivation
When kids fail, don't give positive feedback but delve into what went wrong
Kids have own emotional life
Let kids stretch a bit and do something where they can fail
Age 6 is threshold where kid needs to be able to do anything an adult can
Trust and respect ur children
Children r not repositories for parents ambitions or projects for parents to perfect
They are their own people with own preferences and ideas
Weeklong trips to grandparents