The death of “Good Job”

We watched Boyhood last night, a movie that so beautifully follows a boy growing up. Of course, we couldn’t stop thinking about Benjamin and our own parenting. It’s a movie that really makes you think about the impact of small words and conversations throughout a kid’s life. As if our parenting culture isn’t already stupidly obsessed with overthinking parenting. (Here is my preferred list.)

In reference to that first article though, the one thing I would actually take to heart is #1: “Great Job.” However true the author’s rationale may be (let’s encourage the development of internal motivation by reducing generic external praise), my real reason for trying to banish “good/great job” is this: it gets so stinking old and exhausting to constantly say it. There are times in the day where I could be tossing out a “good job” (or the lazier version: “goooood”) every 30 seconds and it becomes a bit mind numbing. It takes a bit more brainpower to think of specific affirmations, but it’s way more fun!

As with any toddler, Ben is making leaps and bounds in development every single day. Today he found John’s tennis rackets and decided to take up the sport.

NOTE: You did not catch me saying “Good Job” in that video. (Oops!) Oh, and to explain Ben’s immediate fall from happiness into a tantrum:  well… 1. he is a toddler, but 2. he is battling double ear infections (sad!) and has been falling apart at the drop of a hat all weekend. Poor guy!)

This was at 6 months old (ish): Right-handed Baby Federer

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And here he is now at almost 20 months: Lefty Toddler Nadal?

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We’ll see which hand he picks as time goes on, but I think secretly John is praying that he is left-handed (and 6’3″ of course). That would certainly help him meet our expectation of winning at least a few Grand Slams in his career.  haha!

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up & down the stairs

Two times on weekdays that consistently fill me with so much joy are walking UP the stairs to get Benjamin out of his crib in the morning, and walking DOWN the stairs at his daycare to pick him up.

Most mornings he is sitting up or standing quietly in his crib waiting to start the day. The first thing he says when I walk in is usually either, “All done” (with sleepytime, that is) or “Down” (as in, let’s go downstairs).  Occasionally he says HI and it’s such a pleasant surprise.

Before I went to get him up, I recorded these videos from his monitor. The first one is all “mama dada mama dada mama dada” in case you can’t understand what he is saying.

Just ignore those creepy evil baby eyes from the night-vision monitor there at the end.


I think I would climb stairs up and down for all of eternity to see this beautiful kid each day!