I don’t often given parenting advice here.
If you insist.
My top two parenting tips are:
1. Hold off on introducing the song “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest” as long as possible. You might have a sleep-deprived, frustration-fueled moment when it SEEMS like that song would be helpful learning tool for your gloating first-child. If they hear that song JUST ONE TIME they will never forget it, not one word. I cannot overstate the long-lasting repercussions.
2. Next time someone offers you their old World Book Encyclopedia set from 1985, take them up on it.
Several months ago my parents asked if we wanted their World Book Encyclopedia. This was before we moved and we were short on storage. We figured out that if we put Thomas’s crib into the backyard, then we’d have plenty of room for a bunch of outdated reference materials. But we couldn’t figure out how to make our sound machine work out there, so we said no.
Then we moved into a house with built-in cabinets in the living room, so we said SURE!
As a kid I remember using these for school reports (we occasionally find underlines and highlights my siblings and I made as kids), but I also remember looking through them for fun. I practically memorized the section on horses, and the entry on the human body has this cool overlay where you can flip through the different systems of the body (muscular, vascular, digestive, etc.).
This picture is from last summer, we were looking at the entry for the Olympics. And then onyx, then owl, and a few minutes later I learned that most octopuses are smaller than a man’s hand.
Realistically, my kids will grow up doing research on the Internet. These are from 1985; the last president listed is Ronald Reagan, and even the entry on the Great Sphinx of Giza is outdated, so, no, in 10 years David will not use these for his report on the rise and fall of Napster.
Even though they’re outdated, when my kids ask me what starfish eat, instead of using my phone to Google the answer, and then spending the next 15 minutes telling my kids, no, they cannot use my phone or the camera on my phone or play that game on my phone GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!
Instead of all that we look at words and pictures in the encyclopedia.
Then, from starfish, we look up snake, snail and surfing. And when Tom gets home the kids greet him with, “Daddy! Today Mommy taught us that most mommy spiders eat the daddy spider!”
Then Tom spends the rest of the evening apologizing for getting home late.