Toddlers are cats

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  • Both have an insatiable curiosity.
  • Both rail about the indignity of being handled against their will.
  • Both like to knock things off tables.
  • Both give you betrayed looks when you take a photo before letting them out of a predicament.
  • They have the same enterainment. Things that rattle. String toys. Chase the red dot. Kitty TV (a window they can look out).
  • They enjoy the same food. Cheese, veggies, pretzels.
  • They both want to sleep on you.
  • And both want to establish their place above the other in the social pecking order.

Personal Cherry Picker

Fleur wants things that are put out of her reach. She often comes to me to ask my help in picking her up to get closer to them. Most commonly, she wants to look at the photographs on the mantle. She usually does this when we are home alone and points and says, “Mama!” (I much prefer this to her screaming.)

She also wants to be lifted closer to the pottery collection.

The bathroom counter with Mama’s lotions, hair clips, and other tools of the beauty trade is another destination.

All these directing to someplace is where pointing often comes into play.

Impatience about not getting to touch above things is where the Daredevil climbing comes into play.

Civilization Is Built on Code

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Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

How did we humans manage to build a global civilization on the cusp of colonizing other planets?

Maybe it’s our unique capacity for complex language and story-telling, which allow us to learn in groups; or our ability to extend our capabilities through technology; or political and religious institutions we have created. However, perhaps the most significant answer is something else entirely: code. Humanity has survived, and thrived, by developing productive activities that evolve into regular routines and standardized platforms—which is to say we have survived, and thrived, by creating and advancing code.

As a technologist, this article was written to attract my attention. In a nutshell, code, aka the instructions for describing a process is in everything humanity creates. From RNA in the cell interpreting DNA to make the proteins that are the building blocks of life to the 0s and 1s in binary data telling computers how to draw the text in this blog, code is everywhere. Our technology going back to making stone tools and fire is built on creating and refining processes.

The concept of the unit of knowledge passed along through culture is the meme. The idea was based on the concept of the gene passing along hereditary behavior. The meme has been co-opted to mean a funny picture spread over the Internet.

Storytelling as behavior modification

On how the Inuit control anger starting with young children.

Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children.

Traditional Inuit parenting is incredibly nurturing and tender. If you took all the parenting styles around the world and ranked them by their gentleness, the Inuit approach would likely rank near the top.

The culture views scolding — or even speaking to children in an angry voice — as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”

Traditionally, the Inuit saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child.

Where the article gets really interesting is the use of storytelling. They have oral stories passed down ever generations that are designed to shape behavior to prevent bad behavior. So, instead of raising your voice, you seed their imagination that they are going to suffer if they do the bad thing and softly remind them about this potentiality. Or perform satire of the bad behavior to make the perpetrator of it appear childish.

I also love how this ties into the traditions of storytelling. I view blogging as the modern equivalent: a medium of passing along information for the social group. Bloggers are modern griots. A tribe’s storyteller holds a prized position in the group, which is due, I think, to how our brains are wired to better understand information in the form of a story.