When I was not much older than my daughter, I contracted a bacterial infection that gave me meningitis. I was in a coma for a couple weeks. As were several other kids. Contact tracing pointed to the same playground. The story I was told was most of the other kids died, but somehow I survived. The recovery was just as difficult in that I had to relearn walking, talking, etc.
Seeing there is now a vaccine made me extremely happy it is on the schedule. No families should have to go through this nightmare.
In the current pandemic, the tables are turned. I am less worried about her than I am the adults she loves and who care for her. We are doing the social isolation as best we can. Hunkered down. Limiting our trips out of the house.
Yes, I previously wrote toddlers are cats. I may have changed my mind.
Videos of the tenacity of honey badgers fascinate me. The toddler makes me think maybe they are honey badgers.
- Toddlers don’t care.
- They have enough patience to wait for you to turn your back.
- They will escape whatever you use to contain them.
- They will get into whatever you hide from them or put out of their reach.
Teenagers have an under developed prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that interrupts emotional responses and considers the potential effects before acting. Teenagers look enough adult-like we want to treat them as adults, but they also have yet to grow the brain into their bodies.
Toddlers DGAF. Stimulus-response. Galahad is having to deal with the consequences of lack of planning, thinking three moves ahead, and a toddler who makes him pay the consequences.
He was in a bad mood, but he came upstairs to make a showing of his displeasure. Fleur who adores him now has made him sit and watch the same annoying video (we all hate) over and over.
She sounds so happy.
He sounds grumpier. Well, until she has worn him down.
My hope is that experiences like this will help him grow into being more mindful.
Galahad disappeared downstairs. Fleur didn’t notice at first. But, when she did, she called his name. More of a questioning. Gaga? When that did not work it became a bit louder. Gaga! Well, then it was ON! She runs around checking and calling. When she realized he was not there, she went to the door to the stairs and screams at the top of her lungs: GAAAAGAAAAAA! over and over until he comes back.
There is also…
- More, more Mama
- More, more Nannie
- More, more Gaga
- More, more Dada
As kids, my brother and I would get into disagreements over our understanding of some facts. We would explain over and over trying to persuade the other we were correct.
Mom bought some World Book encyclopedias. (Later, she would add Encyclopedia Britannica complete entries that become obvious why later.) They became our arbitrator. What they said settled many a dispute over what something was.
Often we both had some correct elements in our understanding. So the encyclopedia entry connected the two sides. Or we both were wrong.
One or the other was right enough to encourage us to continue consulting it. To continue trusting in it. To be willing to pause when Mom ordered us to stop the loud talking until we could check.
I think my introspection and need to fact check myself mentioned in Savage Little Students comes from this.
As Fleur develops language skills, she puts them to very practical uses. She asks for snacks, articles of clothing, and people. Of late, though, that also entails directives. Orders.
Daddy, [throw this] away!
I fear our interactions with the ever listening Big Sister have encouraged this style of direction. The first directives were aimed at it. The “Meow” the cat. Then Galahad. Of late, that has included the parents.
Ah, well, at least she is getting me to eat my oatmeal in the morning.
Parents of toddlers master a patois spoken by a population of one. We come to understand the various mixtures of missing consonants or inappropriate vowels. Then repeat back to the one the correct pronunciation.
A section of the brain is devoted to tracking how they use the phonemes. Then mapping that to meaning. Basically it is like learning an almost foreign language. The usage is similar. The grammar is simpler though growing more complex over time.