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Misogyny and Motherhood in America: Small Animals by Kim Brooks

If you only buy one parenting book, it should be “Small Animal, Parenthood in the Age of Fear,” by Kim Brooks.  If you’ve grown up anywhere near children, chances are you’ll parent just fine.  Sure, you could buy a copy of Dr. Spock.  I did.  I made it as far as Spock telling me that my daughter would envy me for my penis.  I snorted, set the book down, and promptly ‘misplaced’ the tome a few weeks later.  You could also buy a copy of Sears' Baby Book.  There are some good tidbits from place to place in this massive volume.  He’ll tell you that babies spike fevers—just like the rest of us—and that it’s the body's natural way of staving off infection; that made me feel better during pretty much every baby fever we endured.  He’ll suggest you babywear, co-sleep, and attachment parent in general.  So will I.  Where Sears lost me was when I realized that in all likelihood, his wife, did all these things with his children rather than him.  If you have friends or family who insist y…
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Poop Out!

I haven’t changed a poopy pull-up in two weeks!  I may never have to change one again!  I might be all done with poop!  Woohoo! 

It turns out you can unschool potty training too!  Three year-old No. Three decided two weeks ago that she was going to potty train herself, and then she just did!  We’d been asking her for about the last year to head for the potty when she thought she needed to poop, but to no avail.  We didn’t stress too much over it, and neither did she.  We’d had the same experience with now six year-old No. Two.  One day towards the end of being three years-old, he decided he was potty trained.  That was it.  From then on, no poopy pull-ups, no pee, no nothing.  Three days later he switched from pullups over to ‘big-kid underwear’, and that was that.

What kids can learn on their own still surprises me, even though—at this point—it shouldn’t.  They literally didn’t need me to help them learn.  They need me to be patient, but they learn what they want to learn, when they …

Male Postpartum Loneliness

I saw an article this morning on Male postpartum loneliness.  Among other things it suggested that men frequently found themselves more lonely after the birth of their child, and that they could and should seek support groups as a resource.  That’s good.  The article also mentioned that the loneliness might be a result of said men’s spouses spending more time with the baby and less with their husband  What the article failed to mention is how easy it is to remedy that situation.  Miss your partner?  Jump into what she’s doing.  Here are some ideas:

Wipe the kid’s ass.  If you’re not the primary diaperer on a particular diaper change then at least take on getting rid of the dirty diaper dutiesTake bottles to the fridge during pumping.Clean said bottles after they’re used.Co-sleep.  Take shifts with your spouse getting the tike to bed at night.  Does your wife like to get to sleep early or does she perfer having uninterrupted sleep just before waking up?  Be sure to take that shift.Clean…

First Day of CSFirst Camp!

While I was out of town for work, the gang—7 y.o. No. One, 5 y.o. No. Two, and 3 y.o. No. Three—continued their CSFirst work with my partner.  Google cleverly refers to CSFirst as a club.  No. One took it a step further and decided the club was in fact a camp, you know, like summer camp.  One decided that as a camp they of course needed a banner, and went to work.
I heard during the day that the gang had worked together to set up One’s sandbox—the web app where CSFirst students do their programming work. I also heard that they were pair-programming; I’m a huge fan of pair-programming, so I was excited to get home last night to find out how everything went.

NOTE:  For those who aren’t into programming in general, or agile programming methodologies in particular, pair-programming is the practice of two programmers sitting down at one screen to work on a piece of code.  As one programmer types, the other checks their work.  They both discuss ideas for the piece of code they’re working on…

Setting up our Unschooling Google CS First Class

The gang—7 y.o. No. 1, 5 y.o. No. 2, and 3 y.o. No. 3—and I received our materials for our CSFirst computer club from Google in the mail last week!  Google had indicated it might take as many as three weeks for the materials to arrive, but I suppose since we’re only 40 miles or so from Google headquarters, the materials arrived in a few days.  If you haven’t heard of CSFirst yet, it’s a program from Google to teach kids how to program.

We’re trying out the Music and Sound theme.  With a group of kids, some of whom aren’t reading yet, this seemed the better choice for us.  I’m hoping the outcome of the programming activities will be aural output each member of the gang can appreciate on their own.  Also, one of the activities is a dance party.  Everyone in the gang loves a good dance party as evidenced by the number of times we’ve watched Xanadu in the last seven years.

When it arrived last week, we dug through our box of materials.  There was a flyer for building interest in the club—…


A few weeks ago, we went to a friend’s birthday party at a water park.  After we’d gained admission to the park, five year-old No. Two was promptly nowhere to be seen.

“Have you seen Two?” I asked my partner.


So, off to look I went.  Fortunately, the water park had a rather compact design.  There was the splash area, a full sized pool for swimmers, and those learning to swim, and a collection of seven or so water slides, all fed by the same three story tall set of stairs and platforms.  I knew Two wasn’t in the splash area because that’s where we were.  As I meandered between the big pool and the slides, I caught a flash of Two’s ultra-blonde mop of hair out of the corner of my eye and way up.

In disbelief, I looked up the water slide tower to see if I had really spotted Two.  I had to wait a few moments, but I caught a glimpse of him again.  He was at the entrance to the slides on a platform thirty feet up in the air.  He’d lined up behind the other kids and adults all by him…

Unschooling Homework Happens Unintentionally

The unschooling gang here gets a science lesson a week.  They learn about things like electricity, magnetism, waves, the Doppler effect, and water pressure.  They don’t do any homework or worksheets . The lessons are based on demonstration and play.  They watch the demonstration first, and then they get to play with it, (perhaps a more stern educational type than I might call it experimenting rather than playing).  There are no worksheets, no homework, and no books.

People might ask, “Can a kid really learn something without doing some type or rote homework to help them internalize it?”  As with most things unschooling, we’re discovering that the repetition that might be necessary to learn happens not at a desk or at our kitchen table, but instead in the outside world where the 7, 5, and 3 y.o. gang here spend most of their time.

Take water pressure for example.  The kids performed a water pressure experiment using milk jugs.  They filled two jugs with water, then punctured one of the…