Five Books a Day

Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found.

This makes sense to me. Keep in mind this is a number over what kids whose parents do not regularly read to them. The more one reads the more exposure. More exposure improves vocabulary by tuning the brain in this critical period to the acquisition of it.

At these volumes, variety is needed to maintain novelty and stimulation. That means a personal library probably is not going to cut it unless you are wealthy. Fleur has a couple hundred books already. I expect her to have a healthy library. But, we will need to supplement with the library or hanging out in a bookstore.

Libraries also have programs for encouraging reading. A thousand books seem to be the target for the programs I see. But, I think that is the kid reading not being read to.

Causation

fb_img_1552696891627Fleur has gleeful look when adults make weird sounds before doing something funny. Nose boops, tickles, and the like. She loves the stuff from people she likes. And doing it well, is a good way into her favorite people list.

Dopamine is thought of as the reward neurotransmitter. But, it is more complicated. It is what we get anticipating a reward. Say, you are playing a video game, dopamine surges to ensure you focus and persevere to achieve the level or match.

The noise right before tells her it is coming. Classical conditioning pairs a neutral stimulus with a desired one. The prior one is neutral the first time, but after she has paired it with the desired stimulus and anticipates the desired one. It seems like she enjoys the anticipation almost as much.

In getting mobile and manipulating objects, she is learning to use operant conditioning as well. She exerts her will on the world around her. This takes the form of doing the same thing over and over both using the same technique to confirm it works and adjusting to see what might work better. The other day she was trying to get into my tablet and tapping different spots to see how it reacted. You could see the Scientific Method in action: hypothesis, design test, execute test, evaluate result, new hypothesis.

Something I never thought about in university psychology classes was the impressive nature of linking things into causal chains. If this, then that. Over and over. Both forms of conditioning require understanding causation. The sponge that is Fleur’s brain seems to seek out understanding causation. And happiness to me is creating an environment for her try things and figure out how they work.

Tiny dopplegangers

It took a while to get a good ultrasound of Fleur’s face. When we did, there was no denying she was my kid. That wave of emotion was interesting. It felt like a huge connection to this new entity. Of course, it is good she now looks more and more like her mother not just because why look so ugly but to maintain that bond with mom even as she gets more independent.

Apparently the father feeling like I did indicates good things for their children.

We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father. The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs.

Change Slows Time

3989015758_1f29ee2b0c_zReading Farsighted by Steven Johnson. He is one of my favorite nonfiction authors.

He quotes a friend: “Change like this slows time.” Then goes on to talk about how inside a routine, time moves fast. Stress focuses our brain including how much time we still have.

It got me wondering if the cliche about kids growing up so fast is related? When Fleur was born, being a new parent was very stressful. Time was definitely dilated to me, but now that we have achieved a routine groove, it seems to move too fast.

I imagine there will be times the stress hits again. Buying the house a few years ago caused similar dilation. So, I could see a major illness, a death in the family, planning a first birthday party, etc.

Also, I need to muse on whether either slow or fast is better. Right now, I feel like they are both neutral with pros and cons that negate.

The story so far

Fleur is ten months. She is crawling and standing. She has preferences and willing to enforce them.

Galahad is seventeen years. He has a year and a half of high school left. He wants to become an engineer. We get along okay for me being a stepfather.

The wife recently resigned from her job to become a stay at home mother. The job was not a good fit for the time.