I’m Jason Kottke, Creator of Kottke.org, and I’m a Parent.
Jason Kottke knows how to find things that will make you stop, look, and think. When you visit his blog, kottke.org , you feel like you’ve fallen into a rare internet hideout – a place to explore curious things on the internet that haven’t been posted 23 times on your Facebook feed. (Recent publications include the history and future of the hardware store , photographs of Tokyo with a fractal lens, and the etymology of the word “orange.” ) Jason has two children, Ollie and Minna. That’s how his parents have it.
Name: Jason Kottke. Location: Vermont. Job: I run a microscopic media empire at kottke.org . Family: My son Ollie is 11 years old and my daughter Minna is 8 years old. They divide their time between Mom’s house and mine.
Tell us a little about your family and your career. Was life mostly according to plan, or were there any surprises?
I am not a single-minded person. I was not one of those people who set out to make a specific career or X kids or whatever. I always just followed my interests and came up with them along the way. When our son was born, I thought, “God, maybe I should have thought about this a little more,” but like everything else, everything turned out just fine, even wonderful.
Tell us about your morning routine. What are your best tricks to get out the door?
One thing that we as parents have been very consistent with is instilling a sense of independence in our children. Even as infants, they were encouraged to calm themselves down. We let them go about their business in the playground. If they fell, we let them rise on their own. (The next time you see a small child fall, if boo boo is insignificant, watch them look for their guardian before they start crying – their reaction often depends on how the guardian reacts.) clothes and dressing. themselves as soon as they were physically able. We believed that they would stop running or galloping on the street corner. Minimum helicopter. Raising children is always difficult, but their independence has paid off in this regard – they know what they need to do, how to do it, and usually (usually!) Do it with minimal discomfort and murmur.
Has parenting changed the way you work?
I took a two month break when my son was born and it was difficult at first to get back to work. But after about 6 months I noticed that I was much more productive, as if I had found a higher gear. During the week I had X hours to work and the rest for my family. I realized that I really needed to focus.
On the other hand, being a father of small children means that a large part of my brain is always occupied by them. It’s harder for me to fully immerse myself in the creative flow than before Ollie was born. So there was definitely a trade-off between performance and creativity.
What does your evening routine look like?
I love reading to my children. Or even children. When Ollie was born, reading a children’s book out loud was one of the many things I never did, and when I first read to him I felt like an idiot, just super shy. But I really loved the presentation, interaction and intimacy. One of the hardest things about dividing our family is not to read to them every day.
Even now that they are older, we still read before bed. We read the entire Harry Potter episode together (including the published script for The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts script). This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done with them. These books are a treasure trove of interesting things to discuss. We are currently working on the translation of Emily Wilson ‘s Odyssey .
What are you most proud of as a parent?
This winter, Minna competed in a free ski competition at a nearby ski resort. They usually send a bunch of kids down the hardest trail of the mountain and judge them by how well they are doing. We ran down the track together, took the elevator again, and since she was the third rider to leave, she hurriedly walked to the starting gate with a friend. The computer started up, and it was her turn, and then she went. No, Minna. A few minutes later, she appeared, sobbing , where I was looking. She missed the turn to the starting point and thought that she would not be allowed to compete. She really wanted to run, so I consulted with one of the judges, and he said that she might fail. So, we went downhill on skis and jumped on the lift.
She was still upset and sniffing at the chair and I asked her, “Can you still imagine the line you are going to ski on? Do you see it? “
“Something like …” came the hesitant answer of the usually quiet and confident little girl.
I thought, “Hell, I don’t know if she can calm down over time.” So we took a little time out. I pulled out my phone and played a couple of her favorite songs. We looked at the track from a chair and watched a couple of other participants walk. By the time we reached the summit, Minna was in her usual playful state. I watched her run and met her at the end of the course, we were both tired and happy.
At the awards ceremony at the end of the day, when it was announced that she took first place in her age group, I almost burst into tears. I am so proud that she was able to fight when she was upset and she skied so well.
What moment are you least proud of?
In the early days of fatherhood, I let anxiety, impatience, and anger take over me better than I would have liked. This led to a lot of troubles, which I still feel ashamed after years. I still struggle with these problems, but my response to them has changed through therapy, study, and lifestyle changes.
What do you want your child to learn from your example?
To be fair. Curiosity. Never stop learning and growing. That there is something interesting in absolutely everything and in everyone … you just have to keep digging.
What are your favorite funny / weird / special family rituals?
We have a “Car Tunes” music playlist that we constantly listen to in the car, with songs from Prince, The Beatles, Janet Jackson, Nirvana, Nicki Minaj, Lorde, Deadmau5, Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder.
We host Summer Olympics events in the courtyard, including a Timed House Sprint. I’m still faster than Ollie, but he’s steadily closing the gap.
In spring and autumn we go down to the river to skip stones and collect interesting stones. There are a couple of good places with flat water and flat rocks that have become our favorite spots.
What’s the hardest part about being a parent?
You are always in touch. Becoming a parent means that you, perhaps for the first time in your life, are responsible for someone in everything. Responsibility to your children is different from the responsibility you might feel to your parents, siblings, your job, your relationship with your partner, your dog, friends, or even yourself. It’s always been the hardest thing for me to come to terms with.
This is the application of sunscreen for babies.