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
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
communication Parenting

Tangible

Itsy Bitsy Spider is a favorite Fleur song. Sitting on the porch after a rain, I thought it would be good to connect it to tangible things. Rain drops still fell. The yard was bright with sunshine. And at the end of the porch was a gutter, aka water spout.

I sang the the song and pointed to the drain and explained it was a water spout and sang the song again. She looked at me and the gutter and did the hand motions for the song. The excitement just grew about there being a spider specifically in the water spout attached to the house.

She had to tell Mom all about it. And brother.

When do we get to the part of language where we explain the use of metaphors and simile as explanation tools?

Categories
communication Linguistics

Shortcuts: Labeling (repost)

These are reposts of a series I did years ago on mental shortcuts.

Recently, Fleur and I have been having debates on the proper label for some pictures. I call them whales whereas she calls them sharks because they look like the animations from Baby Shark. Instead of a post about that, I decided to repost this series.

(This post is part of a series. Intro > 1. Illusions > 2. Labeling > 3. Math > 4. Multitasking > 5. Rules)

Homo Sapiens Sapiens cheated evolution in one critical way by creating language. Rather than rely totally on instincts passed along by genes, we pass along an enormous amount of information to our proteges through memes. These may not even be the descendants of our genes. In working together on something, we share enormous amounts of information.

Everything including physical objects, ideas, and behaviors all have a label. Sometimes more than one. A label is a way of identifying something without having to go into the gory details of explaining it every time. (Like I just did.) I can call something an “apple” and anyone who understand this word knows what I mean. Labels bring efficiency to language. Until it does not.

Framing and metaphors are a couple of the tools behind labels. Through them labels acquire properties which then influence how we think. We can be manipulated by these thoughts simply by others choosing one label or the other. A great experiment has test takers write random number at the top. The larger the number, the better the test takers did on the test. How a question is phrased in a poll skews the responses. When we use metaphors also we constrain our thinking. Using the metaphor of a clockwork universe makes us think of mechanical devices and how everything around us are such devices.

Maybe English is a special case. Between Frisian (the ancestral language that make English belong to the Germanic family) and French from the Norman Invasion, English has multiple words for things. Throw in the Melting Pot that is the United States with making up jargon for everything. This language is an absurd mixture of strange meanings. Certain words like “set” have so many definitions one needs to hear or read it in context to understand it.

Then we also have LABELS. LABELS are also labels but have the special nature of how we classify other people. They are how we split people up into groupings to say one is not like another. White vs Black. Extrovert vs Introvert. East Coast vs West Coast. Democrat vs Republican. All are arbitrary. Many are misunderstood. They drift into caricature stereotypes causing hurt. This is where our -Isms arise. Nationalism, racism, or sexism would have no place without powerfully overly broad LABELS. As our conversations become more mature, we need more and more LABELS to express the nuances even while others resist change.

We need labels in order to communicate with each other. We just need to recognize their fallibility. And somehow avoid hurting each other while expressing ourselves.

(This post is part of a series. Intro > 1. Illusions > 2. Labeling > 3. Math > 4. Multitasking > 5. Rules)

Categories
Linguistics Parenting

Rage Against the Parents

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Language acquisition is hard on a toddler. Fleur knows what she wants. It is a matter of getting me, the parent, to understand.

And dealing with the frustration when I fail to get it. In true toddler fashion there are moments where there is pulling at me while vocalizing displeasure because I am not doing the right thing or not the thing in the right way.

Then maybe I figure it out and we are both happy.

Or maybe she improves the pronunciation / enunciation or pick an easier term to pronounce. And we are both happy.

My personal favorite is when Fleur improves the pronunciation or enunciation. It shows problem solving through experimentation. Okay, far too often I feign ignorance just to see if she will try. I want her to work through how to manipulate me through communication. After all, persuasion is why we have the big brains we do. And language acquisition is how we persuade.

Categories
Parenting

Eagle Eyed

Confident the toddler does not need glasses. She can spot desired objects from a mile away. Desired objects could be the sweets Mama put on a shelf not visible from the floor but Fleur can see while I am holding her. Or the random item for which she has a current obsession. She desperately wants the thing at that point. Which is often where the “use your words” plea comes into play.

This ability to find things also applies to the single piece of trash on the floor in a room. Or a single strand of my wife’s hair in the bath.