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December 16, 2004
Blogger dads

I've only just spotted this, from Alan Little's blog, about son Jack:

Sunday Family Life Vignette: Maria and I are having dinner in the kitchen. Jack has finished his dinner and is watching Jungle Book in the living room. Or so we think. Jack comes running into the kitchen, grabs a wooden spoon from the sink and runs back out. I decide I should go and see what he's doing with it. What he's doing with it is trying to spoon spilt soil back into one of his mum's plant pots. For which he clearly deserves a big hug.

I figure this is well above a chimpanzee level of reasoning, both in terms of understanding cause and effect (soil spilt -> mum not pleased) and premeditated tool use.

So there it is, in case you didn't spot it.

Not having any kids of my own I have no real idea, but this seems like fine parenting to me. Jack clearly knew he had done something bad, so no lecture to that effect was needed. On the contrary, well done for realising it, and well done for doing something intelligent about it.

I know what you're thinking. What the hell business is this of mine and who the hell am I to be judging Alan's skills as a parent? Answer: if you blog things like that, the whole world is then entitled to discuss it.

See also Gnat, daughter of another doting (and blogging Lileks is a blogger in all but software) father. Here's the most recent Gnat reference that I could find:

A lazy day at home well, for the kid, anyway. After all the hurly-burly and excitement of the big trip to Chicago, a day spent with Play-Doh and Spongebob is just the ticket. I love to hear her laugh not just the babbling laugh of a kid delighting in something infantile, but that short single-syllable Ha! that sounds very adult, and suggests she gets the joke on a higher level.

What happens when Gnat and Bob get old enough to be reading such stuff? That's not a sarky complaint disguised as a question, I'm really looking forward to that, especially if they I don't know want to join in the conversation, perhaps with blogs of their own. (Question: who is the world's youngest Real Blogger?)

Or maybe there will be Conversations, after which Feelings will be Respected, and then a great Jack silence, and a great Gnat silence. Hope not.

My guess is that having a blogger dad who blogs about you will be like growing up in the Royal Family. It will be years before you realise there's anything unusual going on, and many more before you get how very unusual it actually was. In this case it'll be: Wow, you mean your dad doesn't blog about you? How very peculiar.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:01 PM
Category: BloggingParents and children

I stopped reading Lileks because of his Gnat blogging, not the nice cutesy bits obviously, but the bit when he told the world how he locks her in her bedroom as a punishment when she gets whingy (Due to illness if my memory serves.).

It still infuriates and slightly disgusts me that this man writes about how much he loves his daughter yet, so openly, abuses her rights.

I wonder what Gnat will think about that posting if / when she reads it.

Comment by: Mike Peach on December 17, 2004 12:15 AM

I don't think we are really in a position to judge Lileks as a parent on the basis of what might be an isolated incident. Although of course he did leave himself open to exactly that kind of judgement by choosing to write about it - which is exactly Brian's point.

And addressing that point: I do realise there are implications and possible comeback from Jack somewhere down the line for telling the world about his childhood. That's why I do it very sparingly with Sunday Family Life Vignettes, nowhere near every Sunday. (Also so as not to bore people who might, unaccountably, not share my opinion that my son is the most important and interesting person in the world.)

Alice Bachini has written at length (in response, if I recall correctly, to the very same Lileks incident Mike mentions) about why she doesn't write about her family members *at all* because she feels she has no right to make decisions for them about their privacy. It's an issue that anybody who writes about anything personal has to face at some point; also what I respect about Alice and why I find her worth reading - you don't see many people so openly willing to declare - *and at the same time explore and question and re-justify* - their own basic principles and values in public.

Comment by: Alan Little on December 17, 2004 09:18 AM

mother fucker

Comment by: mother fucker on February 21, 2005 04:01 AM
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