Proper Names

Fleur calls me Honey. I am sure it started as parroting my wife. But, she does it now as a replacement for Dada. Well, when she wants my attention.

Fleur: Daddy.
Hoooonnneeeeeeeeeeyy!

Actually, you know what? That latter is similar in approach to how the wife calls the teen. Booooboooooooooooo!

Fleur has taken to calling the male Little People toy in the toy house “Honey” too. I need to observe the name she has for the female. Curious if she has a name yet. I am also curious if she will call other adult males Honey. (And their reaction to it.)

The first toy I noticed she named was an annoying unicorn that makes noise. We never named it because, honestly, we hoped it would disappear (burn in a fire). Fleur named it Lady. Same as a dog down the street she loves to visit.

I ponder often the psychology of names.

  • They occupy space in our brains. And they seem important due to processes in the brain encoding and retrieving them.
  • Our language seems built around labeling things. English has a subject and an object, both of which are “things” and the verb saying what we are doing with the things. So we need nouns to identify and distinguish between the things with greater and greater accuracy.
  • I think what I like most about science is the precision I gained in thinking about what things are by developing ever increasing vocabulary about them.
  • We start with physical things and move into more abstract. I call myself a technologist which is not an actual object. It is a job title with a loose and very subjective sense of duties.

Decoys

The preference for adult artifacts noted the television remote. Here is a more expansive yet non-comprehensive list:

  • an old DVR remote that doesn’t work
  • an empty deodorant
  • an empty face cream
  • an empty lotion bottle
  • a brush
  • a purse
  • a plastic cup
  • clothes
  • shoes

For each she uses it as it ought. She clearly has studied how we do and wants to do it herself.

This morning, I brushed my teeth in front of her. The idea being to tap into this mimic center. It worked pretty well. She was so busy studying me brushing my teeth she was not at all resistant to hers getting brushed. This might be the avenue to getting her doing it herself.

Pre-Theory of Mind

Fleur picked up something off the floor, popped it in her mouth, stood up, and met my gaze. She spun around and took off. She knew I was coming for it without me having to say it.

She is about a year from having developed the Theory of Mind. With it, she is able to know what I am thinking about the situation. In the classic situation, a researcher shows putting something in a box. Another moves it while the first is not present. Then the child asked where the first thinks it is located.

The taking off means she knows something of what I am thinking. She just would think I know what she knows.

Platonic uncles

My father had a single sister. My mother had brothers and sisters. I should ask, but I wonder if this lack of paternal family is why my father’s friends were my uncles. I cannot think of any friends my mother had who were platonic aunts or uncles.

I still honor these men with “Uncle” titles. Occasionally, if it becomes confusing, I will explain they’re a friend of Dad’s.

What led me down this thinking is I also have the single sibling. Maybe I should label my friends as uncles for Fleur? How does one go about this? Ask permission?

Ride FOMO

This past weekend on Saturday, we went to the mall where there is a place with bounce houses and a new marry go round with three horses. It has a warning that a parent needs to be present and not allow the child to be off the horses. Easier said than done when your child has ride fear of missing out.

Fleur wanted on any random one at first. I put her on the red one and started the ride. As she started to get off it, I stopped the ride. She got on the yellow one, the one in her eye sight. I started the ride and within a minute I had to stop it again as she transferred to the blue. Then she wanted on the red one then yellow then blue then red.

On Sunday, we went to the park she loves. This time the FOMO reared its head in getting upset about other children trying to use the same slide. And wanting to use the next swing over, even the one identical to the one she was in.

That said, once she found the right slides (one rated for 5-12 year olds), she wanted to do them over and over and over. The issue with the other children is they were preventing her from getting back on it fast enough.

Pink diaper bag

As a male, I am supposed to be emasculated by wearing pink or having such colored things. They signal my effeminate nature? Or homosexuality? Something like that. Of course, the same men upset about it wear the pink shirts their spouses make them wear.

Fleur has a couple diaper bags.

  • Justice League backpack with Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl symbols. It is pink and blue.
  • Solid pink messenger bag.

Occasionally, people make comments about how much I must hate it being pink. Not at all.

First, we have them because they represent Fleur. We want to teach her to be a hero by standing up for truth and justice. The bag is sized for a child not much older than her. We carry it as a diaper bag until the time when she can wear it herself. (She has expressed interest in wearing.)

Second, the solid pink bag would be better if it were purple, but the loot crate service that sent it went with pink. It is a great bag outside the color. And, pink is a good clue to her being a girl. (A woman told me purple is not a girl’s color. Only pink is.) Her hair curls up on top, giving her a fauxhawk haircut. Plus, she is as tall as older boys.

Finally, in my archive of family photos is one of my uncle carrying his granddaughter’s pink diaper. This is from a dozen years ago. I don’t remember anyone commenting on this when it happened. It only stood out to me lately when looking through my photos. It seems like the most trivial of details that a male carried something of a singular unallowable specific color. And it only stood out because of late people seem to want to comment on it.

Apparently, there are men out there bothered to have a girly baby carrier or diaper bag. For them, there is tacticalbabygear.com so they can spend a $100 cajones tax.

Kindness over achievement

baby children cute dress

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This is another thing to add to tracking my responses to Fleur’s behavior. I know she monitors my behavior, so it is important to behave in the way I want her to model. But, also to what I respond matters. From an article:

Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention. And in many developed societies, parents now pay more attention to individual achievement and happiness than anything else. However much we praise kindness and caring, we’re not actually showing our kids that we value these traits.

Well, that puts on the pressure. But, I already thought that I need to be the person I want her to emulate.

 

Raising a homebody

Fleur spoke her first sentence. She wanted to make sure that it was a day where we would all stay home. She has really been using “home” quite a bit whether we are there or not. Usually she will ask whether each person on the list of family members are going to be home. For the week that my mother stayed with us for Christmas, she was included in the list of people.

This repetition on “home” seems likely tied to the disruption daycare has played on her. She seems to have done well at daycare other than some frustration at dropoff and pickup. Her vocabulary has exploded. She has gone from being a passive listener of books to being an active participant wanting to turn the pages and point at interesting things on the pages. Still, she doesn’t like being left there.

I think home really means getting to stay with us. Even if it is just me. And she learned it from The Littlest Family’s Big Day where the big payoff page is a fold out with HOME on a banner. We read it loud and emphasize the word. And she loves it so much.

It seems like home is one of her first words because being there is so very important to her. She needs to hear that we are going there to be happy about being where we are. It has me thinking about language acquisition may be dependent on desire. The things that are most important to her are the words she is going to pick up earliest.

Boxing Day

photo of white and brown cardboard box toy figure

Photo by Matan Segev on Pexels.com

This is a day traditionally for eating leftovers and giving to the poor. Supposedly the origin is possibly about the wealthy allowing their servants to take gifts to their family. Or churches collecting “alms boxes” during Christmas week. The day after Christmas is also the feast of St. Stephen who is known for his acts of charity.

It is British tradition, so growing up, I was not aware of it. I suspect bankers were too hungover from Christmas to want to return to work, so they created Boxing Day.

I guess it came about after the United States left, so it is not something in our consciousness. Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth have it.

Christmas Eve

brown bear plush toy

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

My uncle shares a Christmas letter every year. About 20 years ago, it became a Christmas email. So, here is a Christmas blog roundup of the year for the kids.

Galahad

He has turned 18 and is now and adult. I think my wife is still in denial.

Fleur

Last Christmas saw the first serious attempt to crawl. My brother drove a BB-8 toy just within her reach and drove it outside the reach. We got a couple hand and knee placements. She basically stopped for a couple weeks, but recreating the situation got her seriously crawling. Today, she is a runner and navigates the baby gates better than the adults.

Also, she climbs, jumps, and routinely falls from getting out of her depth. She tries it again and again until she masters it.

Last Christmas she had a couple phonemes. Today, she has several words and applies them correctly to get the things she wants. My favorite is when she is hungry she yells, “Eat!”

She knows what belongs to which individuals. She will hand me my phone or bring my bottled tea. (One at a time until she brings me the entire 12 pack.) She also shares and wants others’ food.