Categories
Games Parenting

Game: Keepy Uppy Bandit

We know the game about keeping the balloon off the ground as “Keepy Uppy” due to the show Bluey. The father’s name is Bandit.

Photo by A.J. Spearman on Pexels.com

Setup: The same as traditional games of this sort. Inflate a balloon.

Action: Someone puts the balloon into the air. Each person hits the balloon back up into the air to keep it from touching the ground. The more acrobatic the better. Easy mode: control the balloon with soft hits so the other person can also controlled hit it.

In the episode, Bluey complains about it being too easy, so Bandit makes it harder. Fleur likes to make it harder by hitting it where I am challenged to keep it from touching the ground. Sometimes she transitions to Hard Mode after half an hour where other times she gets there after a few minutes. Sometimes she announces the change with “I am Bandit” while other times I figure it out because she’s started making it hard.

Anyway, she makes it more fun.

Categories
Engineering Parenting

Engineering project: Stairway to Heaven

Fleur wanted to make a set of stairs. She got frustrated with gravity. So I convinced her to let me help. And made a bracing column.

Stairway

She is happy with it.

Categories
happiness Parenting

Stop to smell the roses

In the summer, before she would get in the car, Fleur had to walk over to the roses and smell them. Usually it meant me lowering one down to where she could.

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It became part of her morning ritual. So, now that the roses are gone, we have shifted into denial for the past month or so. She hasn’t forgotten, but she doesn’t ask every morning anymore.

I need to plant some fall blooming flowers for her, I guess. Though, it would just shift the problem to winter.

Categories
play

Pillars to enhance play

From the Good News Network, “Science-Backed Tips for Maximizing Play Time With Kids“. Thankfully, I do try to incorporate all of these when playing with Fleur.

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Pillar One: Active

Stay “active” as you play and interact with your child, for example, by incorporating literary and STEM elements into your speech and interactions.

Zosh said this could mean counting the apples out loud as you put them in your basket at the grocery store or asking your child what letter each block starts with as you build a tower. She also said asking lots of questions — such as “What would happen if we mixed these blue and yellow paints together?” or “What might happen if we stack the red square block on top of the yellow triangle block?” — can be helpful, as well.

Pillar Two: Engaged

“Try to limit distractions as much as possible, including background television and your own smartphone use,” Hassinger-Das said. “These types of distractions are sometimes unavoidable, but they do have the potential to take away from these high-quality times with your child. Focusing and staying engaged during play can help you make the most of these interactions.”

Pillar Three: Meaningful

Try building on topics the child is already interested in during play. If they like dinosaurs, you could suggest a make-believe scenario where you dig for dinosaur fossils at the playground. Or, you can integrate information about dinosaurs like counting how many bones they have and what they ate.

“If you are reading a book set in a different state, get out a globe or a map app and explore where the state is and how the weather there is different from where you live,” Zosh said. “Helping children build connections helps them weave together a rich world of understanding.”

Pillar Four: Socially interactive

The researchers advised letting your child lead in play time while you offer support along the way. For example, let your child decide what to build with blocks while asking questions like, “What would happen if you placed that block in a different direction?” or “How many more blocks do you think it would take to build a tower as tall as you?”

Pillar Five: Iterative

Children are naturally scientific thinkers — they like to experiment, see what happens, and try again and again until something works. The researchers advised giving your children opportunities to guess what will happen, conduct “experiments,” make up new words to favorite songs, and make mistakes. Every mistake leads to learning.

Pillar Six: Joyful

Finally, making playtime joyful can be done in many ways, including incorporating elements of surprise.

“Playing with shadows and asking which one is bigger or how you can make your shadow grow or shrink is one way to foster surprise and joy,” Hassinger-Das said. “Similarly, think about what helps your child connect with whatever brings them joy, from construction with a cardboard box to playing vet with their stuffed animals.”

Categories
Parenting work-life balance

Micromanager 2

In the original post, I described Fleur as a micromanager.

Micromanager

Almost a year later, I think things have improved somewhat.

  • Everything is now: Except now there is a bit of patience sometimes. I have to acknowledge having received the order and appear to make progress.
  • Everything has to be done in a very specific way: I get much more leeway sometimes, having developed trust in my capabilities.
  • And the visions are poorly explained, so meeting the expectation is difficult when the thing is something new: With better delivered specifications and my asking questions to fill in the gaps.

Much of this is my understanding the boss’ expectations and processes better. Much of this could be her appreciating my efforts to keep her world efficient and well run.

I still am working on how to address the things that still frustrate her. For instance, I need to improve acknowledgement instead of just trying to complete it. Many times the task takes longer than a few seconds, so she thinks I am not paying attention.

Categories
Nutrition Parenting

Toddler metabolism

Being an older parent of a preschool child, I marveled in the toddler stage at how much energy she manifested in the constant need to play, explore, and otherwise get into trouble. I wore a watch that tracked calories in the amount of moving and heart rate. Going to work and the gym, I would burn about 3,500 calories. Staying home with Fleur by myself, I would burn about 4,000.

Seeing this article about toddlers burning 50% more calories, I believe it.

When the scientists plotted metabolic rates across life span, they found infants are born with the same metabolic rates as their mothers, when adjusted for their smaller body size. But between 9 and 15 months, they rev up their cells to burn energy faster, the team reports today in Science.

Children’s metabolic rates stay high until age 5, but the rate slowly begins to glide down until it plateaus around age 20. Interestingly, adult rates are stable until age 60, when they begin to decline. After age 90, humans use about 26% less energy daily, Pontzer says.

Little kids burn so much energy, they’re like a different species, study finds. Ann Gibbons. Science. Aug. 12, 2021

Crazy.

So… I definitely need to get back into shape to keep up with the little Tasmanian Devil for the next decade.

I also will worry less about her eagerness for carbohydrates. She is burning through them hard right now. Will still push the proteins as she needs them to grow muscle.

Categories
communication Parenting

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.
Categories
Parenting toys

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.

Categories
neuroscience

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.

Categories
Family Structure Parenting

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?