Silence is acceptance

Project managers enjoy using this phrase. In a meeting, they will throw out what is the plan and seek anyone to challenge it. Hearing none, this phrase gets used to basically say, “Last chance.”

I find myself using this and similar tools on the toddler. When she dons a skeptical look as I try to put on her clothes, I outline the goal and how this less than desired step is part of getting to what she wants to do.

Role Models

The best thing about “The Biggest Fan” is the intersectional role models.

  • African-American
  • Female
  • in the “desired” work
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I like that Fleur sees someone with similar traits doing the kind work she is playing at doing. This is about the age where kids start to collect patterns of groupings. Certain kinds of people being shut out of highly desired jobs makes impressions that last a lifetime.

I love that she is being afforded the opportunity to see someone like her doing the work that she pretends to do. And that she enjoys being around this role model so much. It makes me happy we lucked into having this person.

(I put desired in quotes at the start because really she is just role-playing. I dunno there is any real evidence she desires to become a doctor or medical professional. Or if there is any desire now that it will persist strongly enough over the next few decades to make it a reality.)

My wife’s quasi-adopted daughter is another role-model. This time for art. How Fleur lights up when she gets to be around this person is a sight. How I am just an afterthought.

The Biggest Fan

Fleur still loves her real and placebo bandaids. As she is back in daycare, she gets more and better opportunities to need real ones. Which is okay. Her motor skills are improving as she can now sprint the length of the house without bumping into anything. They call it the bleeding edge for a reason.

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Doc McStuffins and other doctor-esque characters are ones she enjoys quite a bit. And the need for bandaids becomes more vocal after exposure. There is also a need to break out her toy doctor kit with stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, hammer, etc to give well-checks on all the family members.

Fleur also liked her pediatrician at the last well-check. This was after a year of being scared. A sudden reversal prompted by my wife digging into the connection and taking the toy kit for Fleur to practice the things on her doll before having them done to her. It worked like a charm.

Only with her own illness, she started talking about going to see her doctor. By name. We did book an appointment, but the one tasked with seeing sick patients was not the doctor Fleur wanted. She was in denial, telling over and over my wife and the nurse on the phone she was going to see her doctor.

She got to see another doctor, but she was emphatic that she will see her doctor. I think we have a fan.

Smelly poop

A friend complained about the smell of his kid’s poop and the lack of warning. It made me realize I have never really been bothered by poopy diapers from Fleur. But, I may have just gotten lucky.

I think there several factors at play.

  1. Epigenetics make parents sensitive to certain smells. Nausea defends against poison.
  2. The epigenetics play into his digestion by affecting the processes involved. This can make certain smells with various foods.
  3. As a child’s microbiome develops, the altering of the bacteria composition can affect smells.

Concrete

I operate in a world of abstractness.

  • The hundreds of machines I manage are virtual machines using logical storage volumes and allowed access to CPU & memory on hardware. I can do my job from anywhere because there is not anything physical for me to touch other than my laptop.
  • The fiction I read allows me to craft my own vision of events.
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When Fleur gets to see the things from stories in real life, there is a brightness to her expression of wonder.

My favorite is when she sees a school bus. She breaks out into her favorite song: The wheels on the bus go round-and-round, round-and-round, round-and-round. She does all the verses we know even though the bus is long gone from sight.

Another good one is the horses. They have most been silent and stamping when they want pets. When Molly neighed at her, Fleur was astounded because it was the first time she’d experienced the sound in person.

This process of attaching something concrete to an abstract concept makes me happy for her.

I’m thinking I need to take notes of these things from the books in her collection and brainstorm ways for her to experience them in person.

Help is a four letter word

I do it myself!

Fleur, just now and all the time

I am torn about this stage.

I love that she wants to develop these skills.

  • She perseveres.
  • She makes small tweaks to form to find the one that works if it doesn’t initially work.
  • She learns from the past mistakes.
  • She develops a preference.
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My hope is experiences like this will help her pass the marshmallow test.

I dislike having to wait. I am not good at padding the timeline to include how long it could take her. I hope to get better about accommodating this.

Thankfully, when I offer to help, she rebuffs me. This tends to be a bit more intense than my preference, but I respect that she wants to do it. Also, if we try to intervene by putting on her socks or shoes without permission, then she will get upset and remove it and get even more determined to do it herself.

Micromanager

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I have a few bosses. My work situation has been a little unclear who is really my boss, but my work has been mostly self-directed for a decade, so that is fine. Then there is my wife.

Now, I have the toddler. The others are far more lassez-faire. The toddler?

  • Everything is now.
  • Everything has to be done in a very specific way.
  • And the visions are poorly explained, so meeting the expectation is difficult when the thing is something new.

Thankfully, most of the time, I meet or exceed expectations.

I need to do some looking into the etymology of the term micromanager to see if the original description was of a boss who acts like a toddler.

Friendship

One of the family stories is my brother has this friend. They were in the same daycare class when they were months old through college with a brief hiatus where they still maintained the friendship. This was the best man at his wedding.

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A former coworker of mine and a current one of my wife has a daughter about the same age as Fleur. They’ve had many a play date growing up. And ended up in the same daycare. COVID put a halt to that, but now they are around each other again.

Pre-COVID, they would play around each other. They acknowledged the existence of the other. They might allow the other to play with a toy that is theirs, but it wasn’t playing together. It saddens me that I cannot peek into the room to observe if this has changed.

This morning, I was informed that the crayons she was taking were:

  • Blue for friend
  • Red for self

Which makes me happy. Our child is growing up and making friends.

That which should NOT be named

I don’t want to say Minnie Mouse’s Bow-Toons are Voldemort, but… Wait, no, they are WORSE.

These are sub four minute segments that suck out your soul over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

The other thing is Fleur gets up at 5 in the morning asking to watch them. “No” results in an hour of crying and screaming where no one gets any sleep. “Yes” results in 4 minute increments of peace until it ends.

We are good with the obsession with Minnie. I got her a Lego Duplo set with her and her cat Figaro. That might have started all this. We got her a plush doll who is number 1 and almost always in her arms while playing. A Figaro plush is on the way which I expect her to adore.

Impractical Science

Something that irks me is the notion that the only science worthy of being conducted is that which has a direct practical application. I think if humans were omniscient enough to know what is useful, then we really would be past doing science.

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The case which prompted this post: the reconstruction of a mummy larynx. True, it doesn’t directly help a living person. Plenty of people damage theirs in car accidents, falls, etc. By acquiring an 3D image of the person’s and building a replica, we could replace lost ones. And the person could have their same voice. Voice is part of identity given we recognize others by the sound of theirs. Mechanical replacements that sound inhuman are like wheelchairs: approximation, but the user still loses a lot.

Science and technology are collaborative endeavors. Others replicate a finding. They take an idea and do something similar but different to see if there were hidden variables that change the finding. Or, produce a product from the idea.

Too much focus on practical science is what led us to the Replication Crisis in psychology. People needing a useful result, meant not enough people replicating experiments to see if the results held. Mythical results went years without anyone publishing they were bunk.