Categories
mental Parenting

The Way of the Flowers

At the botanical garden, Fleur started singing, “the way of the flowers,” over and over. I think we gave her the correct name. She loves being at the gardens and looking at the flowers. And even just being in nature. We try to go to places where she can.

Photo by Creative Free Stock on Pexels.com

Thinking about the way of the flowers…

Living in sub-tropical zone, it really hurts to be outside right after school in July and August.

Categories
communication Parenting

Unreliable narrator

Occasionally, she will tell stories about an event that happened at daycare. Almost all of them are another kid pushed her or her BFF. That, of course, raises our alert. But, in asking follow up questions, I sometimes question whether it really happened at all.

  • The name of the perpetrator will change.
  • The teacher present will change.
  • What the individuals did will change.

I know her class has lots more boys than girls. I am fairly sure the boys are all the youngest with older brothers. On the other hand, I am pretty sure Fleur is as tall as any of them, though not has heavy. If the class were a baby fight club, then she would hold her own.

Usually she says the perpetrator said they were sorry.

Categories
communication Evolution Parenting

Fairness

Fleur went through a fairness phase. It especially escalated around age two where she would express displeasure about unfair treatment. I have no doubt her like and dislike of daycare adults is based on her perception of their being fair. She is getting better about expressing that position. But, I would agree she has been evaluating this since around a year old.

The results suggest that toddlers reward those who are acting fairly, adding to the evidence that very young children have a strong sense of what is “right” or normative. But, interestingly, these kids don’t seem to punish those who have been unfair (in fact, the researchers suggest that the children instead tended to avoid making responses towards unfair distributors, as they touched the screen fewer times overall after seeing those who acted unfairly).

At Just 16 Months Old, Toddlers Will Reward Someone For Acting Fairly

Lots of ideas about evolution suggest the human brain is geared towards communication. However, I would suggest that brain power is about evaluating fairness. People suck at mathematics and logic until it deals with fairness for themselves. Communication is also about fairness in that we talk and write to establish common ideas upon which to make judgements.

Categories
Parenting work-life balance

Dad, interrupted

Being a parent is constant interruption. There are the things in my mental list I want to do. And the list of things everyone else in the household wants to ask me to do.

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Kind of like being a database administrator. There is the operations list of maintenance work. Then management (the kid) throws in project work assuming your 40 hour work week is for that. Then things break.

And the 3 am alarms go off about either peeing in the bed or a server crashed. Who knows anymore?

The challenge to interruption is getting back on track. I tend to interrupt even myself.

Thankfully, I have had years of preparation as a DBA for this. The difference is that as a DBA, I was able to hand off on-call duty to someone else after a week or two and only came back into rotation after a couple weeks off.

My strategy?

  1. Prioritize the doable: they are quickly done and off the mental load.
  2. Prioritize the biggest impact: they ensure the greatest contentment.
  3. Rely on the external brain: tools that track things (lists, reminders) work better than my brain.

Categories
Parenting Physics

Static electricity

Fleur was playing on the slide and getting quite the halo of hair from the static electricity. Guess it means we need to do better about getting lotion on this child?

As her clothes slid across the plastic of the slide, her body built up an excess of electrons. These atomic particles lie in wait for a way to get discharged. They are in a state of tension, just waiting for something to allow their release. That build up results in some hairs floating.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Now that the kiddo’s hair is getting so long, stuff like this is much easier to see. I would have thought the curliness more resistant to the halo. I was wrong.

Hilariously wrong.

Worth it wrong.

Categories
cousins Parenting

In the shadow of big cousins

Fleur looks up to elder kids. She studied walkers before she could. She enjoys playing with older kids as she can attempt the things they perform. So, today, spending the day with her cousin was a treat.

Sophie is over a year and a half older. With more experience and maturity, she helped and taught Fleur how to play. She showed how she isn’t scared of some things on the playground to entice the younger to try. And interacted with Rosa as a “not a baby”, talking about things, playing games, and making suggestions. (I’ve seen Fleur hold her own against another cousin who is too assertive.)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This isn’t to say they didn’t argue. They did, but it was more socially mature than I have seen in many cases where it devolved into physicality over not being understood.

It makes me think about my own older cousins who would from time to time pop into town. We played games, explored, tussled, and told stories. I learned much about the world hanging around them even into my late 20s. It may be fair to say I idolized them and followed on the paths they trailblazed for me.

Human transmission of information built societies. And maintains them. It makes me happy to see my child benefitting from socialization. And developing bonds blooming that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Categories
Mini Us Parenting

Nicknames

Fleur knows her name. She will correct you if she catches a nickname she doesn’t accept, then she responds, “I’m not <name>, I’m Fleur!”

On the other hand, I am rather proud at the wide variety of affections we have for her.

  • Little Miss (Can’t Be Wrong)
  • Little Stinker [1]
  • Baby [2][3]
  • Sweetheart
  • Fleur Darling
Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

[1] Often used after she toots

[2] She now tells me, “I am not a baby! I am a Mama. This is a baby,” and shows me one of her dolls.

[3] My go-to when she is doing something and I want her attention

But, the best set, I think are the behavioral descendant ones. When she exhibits behavior we think clearly reminiscent of a specific ancestor, then I like using them.

  • MJ, aka Momma Junior
  • DJ, aka Daddy Junior
  • GS, aka Galahad’s Sister
  • C4, aka my maternal grandmother’s great-grandchild
  • S3, aka my father

These are the ones to which she will most strongly object. So, naturally, I often use them when I want to take umbrage.

She seems to have stopped calling me Honey. And she recently master our names.

Categories
Caregiving Parenting

Why is my toddler crying?

Here are a collection of anecdotes about the breakdown of communication where I misunderstood the desired outcome which resulted in upset feelings:

Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on Pexels.com
  • Fleur handed me a banana saying, “do this.” When I started to peel it, she wailed.
  • She asked me for strawberry oatmeal. Like the dozens of times before I poured pecans into it. She howled about them.
  • She asked to watch Frozen. So, I clicked on Frozen. The screaming was because she wanted Christmas Frozen. (aka Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.)
  • The past three times she has had a particular food, it has resulted in her needing to be held because her tummy hurts. But, it is sweet, so she wants it. When I say no, she throws herself on the floor with intense crying and tears and hurt.
  • The prize for potty training is candy which often gets dropped on the ground, making it inedible but that doesn’t mesh with the prize loss. Inconsolable. Until I replace or wash it, nothing else can be done.

Categories
Parenting

Pockets

Fleur’s clothing often has pockets. Dresses with pockets. Which seems at odds with the trend of dresses for adults which almost never have pockets. To the point women often find that a dress which has them significantly adds value.

Fleur loves her articles of clothing with pockets. She often says to me, “Look, Daddy, it has pockets!”

Pants for women too are strange. I found a pair of jeans in with mine and in checking the pockets was like confused by how tiny they were. They belonged to my wife.

This is probably also why my wife doesn’t give me shit about cargo pants or shorts (see I & II). Any time we go for a walk where she doesn’t want to deal with her purse, she needs me to carry her phone because she doesn’t have the pockets to do herself.

Yesterday morning, Fleur was happy enough with the pockets in her coat that she didn’t need mine for the rocks she acquired on the walks. (Yes, plural, there were two. One to see the horses, chickens, and dogs. Another to see the creek and throw the rocks into it.)

I hope the Long Tail (the Internet makes niche products more available) works in Fleur’s favor so we can keep her in clothing with pockets.

Categories
Parenting Reading

Reading to dolls

I stumbled across the cutest of scenes. I went looking for Fleur because it was too quiet.

She was in her room with the Olivia book between her and Cora the doll. While not yet able to read, she does have it mostly memorized and was telling it to Cora.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

She also will offer to read to us. Usually they are her favorites, so she basically memorized the story.

What amuses me most about her play reading is the made up parts. There is a slight pause where she realizes she doesn’t know and composes something to go with the picture. I can see why she picked it.

It reminds me of how the brain fills in the gaps for memory retrieval. If the actual memory has pieces missing, it finds relevant information and inserts it into the recall. The problem is that is what gets remembered in future retrieval instances. This is what distorts recall such that eyewitness testimony can be manipulated by police or lawyers.