Categories
Comedy Parenting

Shocked, I tell you, shocked!

"Maggie can't believe that you would have thought otherwise. She is shocked. Shocked!"
Day One Hundred Fifty-four” by maggie-a-day is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Whenever there is an interesting noise, Fleur looks to someone else and does the shocked expression. Raised eyebrows and narrows the lips. Then she turns that into a smile into a smile when I make the “Whaaaaa?” sound.

She does this to loud trucks, someone opening the door, noises from another room, and (of course, my personal favorite) farts.

The world should probably be terrified that she acquires my sense of humor. Early signs tells me we are going to have a lot of fun.

Categories
History Linguistics Parenting

Baby cadence

Vectorized British Library book illustration of an orator orating.
“Orating Vector”by sjrankin is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The baby babble took an interesting turn with these monologues that remind me of… well, there is no good way to say it… but, I really don’t want to… so, here goes… Hitler.

She has the cadence down. The cadence sounds German and very, very passionate about whatever it is that is the subject of her monologue.

English is at its core a Germanic language. It is named for the Angles who were a Germanic tribe who migrated to the island that is now the home of England. Another major influence comes from the Saxons who were another Germanic tribe. Frisian provided yet another Germanic influence. William the Conqueror brought a French influence so the royal court spoke it while the commoners spoke English, but eventually, the two merged into modern English.

Guess this makes me wonder if most English speaking kids go through an oratory phase like this? Or is this cadence thing more universal such that all kids speak something similar?

Categories
Parenting

The parenting happiness gap

As social scientists we rarely completely explain anything, but in this case we completely explain the parental happiness gap,” said Dr. Glass. In countries with the strongest family-friendly policy packages, “the parental deficit in happiness was completely eliminated, accomplished by raising parent’s happiness rather than lowering nonparents’ happiness,” the authors wrote.

It’s not just one policy, like paid parental leave, that makes the difference. It’s the magic of a package of policies spanning over a lifetime, that allow people to care for children, support them financially, and even enjoy them every once in awhile on a holiday.

Who would have thought work-life balance policies could help make people not as miserable?

I am fortunate to have an employer that makes this stuff possible. Guess I should use it for more recruiting.

Categories
Anthropology Parenting

Civilization Is Built on Code

javascript screenshot
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.

Categories
Discipline Parenting

Defiance of parental authority leads to success?

toddler with red adidas sweat shirt
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on Pexels.com

Fleur pauses if you say, “Careful!” She complies with commands to help, but… only if she wants to do so. If she does not, then she just continues on with what she wants and ignores my presence. When it gets to her, the babbling back, though, is too utterly cute because it feels like I know what she is saying even though she cannot yet say it. We call this her being “strong-willed.”

A while ago, I noticed articles claiming that strong-willed children are more successful according to science. Intending to bookmark one to remind myself that I want this in my child any time I feel frustrated about this behavior, I found they linked to the actual study which is not behind a paywall.

Spengler, Marion & Brunner, Martin & Damian, Rodica & Lüdtke, Oliver & Martin, Romain & Roberts, Brent. (2015). Student Characteristics and Behaviors at Age 12 Predict Occupational Success 40 Years Later Over and Above Childhood IQ and Parental Socioeconomic Status. Developmental psychology. 51. 10.1037/dev0000025.

Note that this study is using income for occupational success, is longitudinal, and is somewhat self-reported. I do wonder if being willing to admit to “rule breaking and defiance of parental authority” in a study makes a difference to who gets rated strong in that measure. Like, they are so defiant that they are essentially bragging to authorities about doing so. Also, the people talking about their strong-willed kids have toddlers. The study they cite looks at pre-teenagers. Lots of behaviors at ages 2 or 5 or even 8 don’t persist to age 12.

That said, I was pretty defiant of adult authority in school. It did persist from elementary through high school. I guess I can only hope that Fleur keeps it up? That won’t stop me from having her do what I want her to do. I just perhaps might be a bit proud of her doing it.

Also, the article basically seems to be saying that after controlling for IQ, parental socio-economic status, and educational attainment, this rule breaking and defiance of parental authority seemed to be the best predictor of higher income. But, they admit that they don’t really have a good, non-ad hoc explanation so the causality needs to be explored. (Basically, don’t train your kid to have these behaviors until psychology understands why.)

Categories
Parenting

Preference for adult artifacts

It amuses me how we try to get baby friendly equivalents, Fleur much prefers the real version for adults.

Cups for babies are designed to be leak resistant. They can take a drink without drenching themselves. She always wants to drink out an adult water bottle or glass whenever she sees one. Usually drenching herself in the process. (Okay, she actually is correct on that one because sippy cups are bad for speech development. The leak resistance is good for parents not babies.) It is good for her to practice so that she will eventually be able to use them on her own.

art board cooking flowers
Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

She has another tendency to attach to kitchen utensils. Tongs, whisks, spoons, strainers, and the like got carried around for a few days at a time when she first discovered them. I guess we could get baby equivalents for her, but she is generally fine with the real ones. Thankfully, we integrated households, so we have a few of everything. We can handle her carrying around something for a few days until she moves on to the next thing.

My favorite decoy was her desire for the television remote. I gave her the old one that did not work except to turn off the TV. I removed the batteries. She finds the decoy and hits the buttons. Lately, she has gotten a hold of the real ones enough that she sees how it does things to the TV and only wants the real thing.

Categories
neuroscience Parenting

Fostering kindness

Turns out, kindness is complicated. We’re born with the wiring for both kindness and cruelty, so altruism is not inevitable. It’s a skill and a habit that we have the power — and responsibility — to foster, one good deed at a time.

I love the concept of mirror neurons. When watching someone else do something, the parts of our brain for doing that activity light up as though we are doing it. One of the reasons why I enjoy watching sports that I have played, especially the players of positions, is because I feel it when they make a play. They also have a dark side, in that when others experience pain, our brain experiences it as well.

two gray monkey on black chair
Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

My first experience with seeing early empathetic distress was in helping my aunt babysit twins. When one would cry, the other hearing the cry would also start to cry. Nothing was wrong. At the time, we chalked it up to attention seeking, but I bet really it was empathetic distress. Hearing the the cry bad made the other feel bad and crying was the way to express it.

Kindness is not just about feeling bad about another’s distress, but doing something to resolve it. Fleur likes to take my glasses. Unfortunately, I have turned it into a kind of game. Lately, I have had to shift my reaction to expressing sadness about it. She is much faster about giving them back when I do. Wonder if that would work for the throwing food thing?

Categories
Parenting School Admin

Student Handbook

book shelves book stack bookcase books
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Being a technocrat, if I have a question about school policy, then my instinct is two-pronged:

  1. find the document that explains it: the student handbook (K-12) or bulletin (university)
  2. find the data.

Naturally, not trusting a teenager to even know where his student handbook is located, I went to the web site. This one is terrible. It took me half an hour before I was satisfied I had found it.

Worse, the document reads as though it was written by an Ed.D. and a lawyer. It sought to define terms in legalese like governments do, such as what an infraction is, the severity levels, and the recourse the school administration will take. If the parents typically have a reading level of at least a bachelor’s degree or above, then I think this is fine. If the parents lacked upward mobility because historically this school system failed them, then they probably will struggle to understand these rules.

It makes me wonder if part of the reason the school system has such problems with discipline is due to parents and students not really understanding the expectations because the school is obscuring it from them. The students find out things are wrong after getting caught. Which makes things seem arbitrary.

Of course, parents have to report they understand the rules. How many actually do? I suspect not many teachers do.

They have their own classroom rules and probably only enforce the school ones when made to by the administration. Of course, this means navigating a random set of rules in each class plus another set outside them.

Categories
Parenting

Nail Trimming

Reading this reminded me of the trials trimming Fleur’s nails.

You can learn a lot about someone’s parenting style by how they trim their baby’s nails. There are the crunchy moms who suggest chewing them off, saying the nails are usually soft and flexible and the baby won’t care. There are the got-it-all-together moms who somehow knew to buy baby emery boards to gently file the nails down. There are the smug moms of easy babies who trim their nails while their infants sleep, undoubtedly through the night. And then there are the idiot moms like me, who actually think using nail clippers on a newborn will result in anything other than a bloodbath.

613knpqghzl._sx522_It really only took one session of fifteen minute bleeding amd my wife crying on shoulder over injuring Fleur for me to go find an electronic nail file like this. Both have been happy with the result. No bleeding for Fleur. No causing an injury for my wife. No having to console both for me.

Personally, I feel like I have Parkinson’s at times. Indeed I make myself nervous clipping my own nails and bleed often enough. Best not to inflict that on the kid too.

Categories
Child Development Parenting

Sleeping through the night

img_20180414_112436
The hairy baby sleeping

A 2018 Pediatrics study found sleeping through the night overrated. Though, to be honest, I have skepticism about the potential for its validity due to:

  1. it was based on self-reporting by the mothers
  2. it only measured development through age 3.

RESULTS: Using a definition of either 6 or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, we found that 27.9% to 57.0% of 6- and 12-month-old infants did not sleep through the night. Linear regressions revealed no significant associations between sleeping through the night and concurrent or later mental development, psychomotor development, or maternal mood (P > .05). However, sleeping through the night was associated with a much lower rate of breastfeeding (P < .0001).
 2018 Dec;142(6). pii: e20174330. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4330. Epub 2018 Nov 12.