Sunday, December 9, 2007

Face to face interaction with kids

This was one aspect of staying home that I found hard to deal with. I knew I wasn't the kind of person to go down on my hands and knees and constantly stimulate our kids. I can do this for about 15 minutes at a time and I admit I was one of those who wanted our home set up like a preschool with "activity" centers in large part because I did not want to be the entertainer and I admit using the TV when she was younger than 3. Am I going to hell for this? Judith Warner brings these all up in her book as well for which I was immensely grateful because I thought I was the only one. On p. 71, she trains her sights on the child experts who made us this way:

Stanley Greenspan said she could not let her preschool child play on his or her own for longer than fifteen minutes and that most of her child's waking time had to be spent in "face-to-face" interaction. T Berry Brazelton said to take inspiration from the women in the highlands of Mexioco, who, he wrote, breastfeed up to 70 to 90 times a day ... And above all, they agreed on one thing: that none of this -- none of the gooing and cooing and crawling and bonding and talking and singing and Popsicle-stick-gluing -- would work, would mean a thing, if it was not done with absolute joy, with "great delight and pleasure," at each and every moment in the day.

Child development specialists need to take a dose of reality (or have kids again!). After this spell with kids I've taken everything published about early childhood development with a big grain of salt -- even stuff coming out of zero to three which I had found pretty convincing in the beginning. Both our kids are now past 4 and I know I did not do everything that was required of me before they were 3 and now we're all doomed to mediocrity.

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