Bedtime resistance

The New York Longitudinal Study, which lasted from 1956 to 1988, found that 26 percent of 2-year-olds exhibited bedtime resistance behaviors, and that figure rose to 50 percent by the time kids were 5. But kids whose behavior was documented in similar longitudinal research in Switzerland weren’t as rebellious. A 2005 study using that data found that, for them, bedtime resistance peaked between 2 and 4 years old, at around 18 percent. And rates of youthful rebellion changed as parental behavior changed. The 2005 study also found that bedtime resistance had been decreasing over time. The peak for kids born in 1974-78 was about 30 percent prevalence at age 5. Meanwhile, resistance among kids born in 1986-93 peaked at age 3, closer to 10 percent. Over that time period, the authors wrote, Swiss parents had shifted toward later and later bedtimes. In Switzerland, at least, putting kids to bed later meant less frustration for everyone.

Koerth, Maggie. “Don’t Tell The Kids, But Bedtime Is A Social Construct” fivethirtyeight.com
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Putting Fleur to bed later might also help with her 4 am waking. Of course, that takes away our adult winding down time to go to sleep ourselves. On the other hand, if we didn’t have to spend an hour getting her to sleep, then we could spend that winding down. (I wake up around 6:30 on my own with a good night’s sleep and have my best quality sleep shortly after falling asleep. My wife gets hers later, so these 4 am wakings are more disruptive to her than me.)

The next paragraph goes on to talk about the sleep need may vary by child and within themselves. For instance, Fleur sometimes sleeps more and sometimes less. We suspect the periods where she eats and sleeps more might be growth spurts.

Humpty Dumpty

When Fleur breaks something, she probably exclaims, “Humpty Dumpty!” Thankfully, most of the time it is easy to put back together again. So, she uses it wrong. Plus, neither she nor her family are horses or kingsmen.

Also, where did the anthropomorphic egg originate? Maybe because eggs cannot be put back together once you break them. Still, kind of odd. Like the English. Especially if it is true the song really is a pun of identical slang terms for a clumsy drunk and a drink.

Nursery rhymes are dark!

Of course, I am pretty good at fixing some things, for which I get her momentary adoration. For the things I cannot, I get her long last complaint. I guess really that means I need to work on my DIY fixing skills.

Daddy = personal handyman

Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years

Cognitive scientists have known for decades that simply mastering comprehension skills doesn’t ensure that a young student will be able to apply them to whatever texts they’re confronted with on standardized tests and in their studies later in life.

One of those cognitive scientists spoke on the Tuesday panel: Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who writes about the science behind reading comprehension. Willingham explained that whether or not readers understand a text depends far more on how much background knowledge and vocabulary they have relating to the topic than on how much they’ve practiced comprehension skills. That’s because writers leave out a lot of information that they assume readers will know. If they put all the information in, their writing would be tedious.

But if readers can’t supply the missing information, they have a hard time making sense of the text. If students arrive at high school without knowing who won the Civil War, they’ll have a hard time understanding a textbook passage about Reconstruction.

Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years by Natalie Wexler. The Atlantic.

We were low-income growing up. But, we were rich in other things.

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  • The air conditioner wasn’t run in the middle of the day when I was young. We couldn’t afford it. The library was close by, so we spent most summer days there. Supposedly I was reading when I was three.
  • Later, when we were better off financially, my mother got us encyclopedias so my brother had easy access to information from a young age without having to leave the house.

So, we had easy access to background knowledge and vocabulary.

To help students practice their “skills,” teachers give them texts at their supposed individual reading levels, rather than the level of the grade they’re in.

According to Shanahan, no evidence backs up that practice. In fact, Shanahan said, recent research indicates that students actually learn more from reading texts that are considered too difficult for them—in other words, those with more than a handful of words and concepts a student doesn’t understand. What struggling students need is guidance from a teacher on how to make sense of texts designed for kids at their respective grade levels—the kinds of texts those kids may otherwise see only on standardized tests, when they have to grapple with them on their own.

We were always pushed to read well above our reading level. Growth requires tackling harder challenges. Of course, standardized tests claimed I was reading at a college level by middle school, so I image that was always a challenge.

For Fleur, we have a good library of board books. I have been enjoying the professorial approach of explaining how things work. (The wife long ago detached her retina rolling her eyes at my doing such to her and Galahad.) Now, I have an appreciative audience. Developing her background knowledge and vocabulary is my life’s calling. Hopefully, I can excite her learning about various things.

Doll clothing entropy

An unexpected example of entropy is doll clothes. We have a number of nudist dolls.

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It seems the dolls tend to lose their clothes. Fleur takes off their clothes. At times, she will ask us to dress them. I think because the motor skills for dressing them have not yet manifested, she needs help. But, she doesn’t often.

So, the dolls go without clothes most of the time. As I write this, I think the doll named Emma has been wearing one of Fleur’s newborn dresses for a while now. She did say Emma was pretty in the dress. Maybe I need to track which dolls go with or without clothes and for how long to determine if there is a pattern. Perhaps, displeasure with the clothes is why all these dolls are going nude.

Raising confident kids

Found this “What’s the Key to Raising Confident Kids? Here’s What the Majority of Parents Say…” article interesting.

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  • “54% inspire confidence in their kids by allowing them to do things themselves”… CHECK… It takes longer, but I like Fleur doing it herself and getting the practice, chance to problem solve, and muscle memory. As she develops the skill, the muscle memory takes over and there is more consistency and less issues. Of course, she demands doing more things herself. The challenge is the balance between taking the time and being on time. (Well, the challenge is abandoning MY need to be on time all the time.)
  • “78% of parents make an effort to celebrate all those little ‘firsts.'” … CHECK… We celebrated many firsts and continue to cheer when she does inconsistent things we want her to do. Right now, that is potty training. When she does it, we celebrate it. The beaming smile she has when we do, suggests to me it is effective as a positive reinforcement, so I think it works in her case. If she didn’t react this way, then I would find something else.
  • “79% of those surveyed said they encourage their child to think critically and use logic on a daily basis.”… CHECK… Probably jumping the gun on this, but I am already asking questions about how something is similar or different to others to think about categorizations. Last night, we cooked pasta and I cut and scooped a spaghetti squash. Fleur mentioned it, so I asked her what have we recently scooped that looks similar. I answered the Halloween pumpkin and asked why they might have similar seeds and insides: because they are both kinds of winter squash.

Familial scatologist

From the first poop, we have paid attention to them. Are they too wet? Too dry? Right colors? Have undigested material?

The intensity waxes and wanes. At the moment, Fleur is fighting off a stomach bug, so we are at the zenith of scrutiny. Relief at a normal one amused me.

Twelve year old me laughs at my continued interest in poop.

Being in with the doctor, I was able to describe what we had seen. I need to learn the technical terms.

Battle cry of the Valkyrie

I knew about from my little brother the kids on the playground screaming while they played. But… I guess I forgot?

Well, my wife is running the Roomba in the living room. And Fleur is squeal screaming in and out of the room around it. On the else’s end she dives into the couch. On my end, end runs into my leg.

Girls are princesses… and Knights by Danielle Pioli is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

I lose this facing her fears. Running into danger. Using her battle cry to boost morale.

Though, I also caution her about reckless stuff like jumping in the bathroom with the tile.

The cry is so high pitched. She is starting to lose her voice.

I am hoping this means she takes a hard nap.

Rock A Bye Baby

This was never my go-to calming song. But, now that Fleur has her own babies (dolls), she sings this to them.

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I have taken of late to holding her and singing it to her. Naturally, as this is for fun, at fall, I drop fake her and catch her for the next line. The laughter is the full on belly ones from when she was a baby.

Today, she started singing to her doll and came to ask me to do it. I am so glad we have found this game.

The Feynman Technique

I learned about Feynman in my teens as my mother had a couple of his books. I enjoyed them and have read all the others.

This post reminded me that I’ve used the Feynman Technique since then. Part of why people think I should be a teacher and/or am so smart comes from leveraging it. In a nutshell, one…

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  1. Choose a Concept
  2. Teach it to a child
  3. Identify Gaps and Go Back to The Source Material
  4. Review and Simplify

For more details, read this Feynman Technique post.

Instead of a child and instead of writing it down, I simply explain concepts completely outside the expertise area of average people. It could be talking about computers, quantum mechanics, government, or in these days the immune system and vaccines and COVID. Putting myself in the context of someone else, what they might know, and especially getting the feedback of what they ask puts me in a better position of better understanding the topic. Especially, coming back and simplifying when I go to explain it again and again.

The iterative nature of the process is really scientific.

We can do it!

My wife mused about ordering some food for Thanksgiving. Galahad said not to. He has been helping with the cooking.

Having never cooked Thanksgiving, he had no idea this meant more than a meat and two sides. A typical meal might be chicken plus a green vegetable and a starchy one. These are typically an hour or so to prepare.

He objected to the broccoli casserole. So mac and cheese was added to compensate. (But that meant two different ones as some of us have special dietary needs.)

He called this a nine course meal. There were six things. We shared working on the various things, so while my wife took the brunt, we all helped. He felt this was all too much.

No worries. Sounds like he will remember for next year to let us order.

We also invited friends over for pie and hanging out on the patio. Fleur gets quiet around people she doesn’t know. Amazing not to hear her constant conversation for so long. Once she hit her playground, she was good.