Swallowing button batteries

Recently, I shared a funny story about doctors swallowing LEGOs for science. This is a darker story about children swallowing more dangerous things. The number of foreign objects swallowing deaths is up in part because of a proliferation of button batteries which stomach acids can rupture.

Kids under six tend to swallow things. As electronics have gotten smaller, button batteries have become more common to power them. Several hundred thousand kids are estimated to have swallowed something enough to warrant an ER visit. Thousands of cases are fatal.

The recommendation is to give the kid older than a year honey to help neutralize the stomach acid and take the kid to the emergency room.

Shaving

I let the beard get too long. So much so the child was terrorized by seeing me. She didn’t think I am her loving father.

The laughter probably didn’t help. Nor did the change of clothes.

I usually do not go so long between shaves. Guess I ought to go back to the more frequent schedule.

Storytelling as behavior modification

On how the Inuit control anger starting with young children.

Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children.

Traditional Inuit parenting is incredibly nurturing and tender. If you took all the parenting styles around the world and ranked them by their gentleness, the Inuit approach would likely rank near the top.

The culture views scolding — or even speaking to children in an angry voice — as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”

Traditionally, the Inuit saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child.

Where the article gets really interesting is the use of storytelling. They have oral stories passed down ever generations that are designed to shape behavior to prevent bad behavior. So, instead of raising your voice, you seed their imagination that they are going to suffer if they do the bad thing and softly remind them about this potentiality. Or perform satire of the bad behavior to make the perpetrator of it appear childish.

I also love how this ties into the traditions of storytelling. I view blogging as the modern equivalent: a medium of passing along information for the social group. Bloggers are modern griots. A tribe’s storyteller holds a prized position in the group, which is due, I think, to how our brains are wired to better understand information in the form of a story.

Cousins

My cousins were geographically disparate. I had quite a few of them. They came to visit during Christmas or during the summer. We played together during these periods, often getting into trouble over our misdeeds. Or getting heated while playing video games. Being an only child for about half my childhood, my cousins were my “siblings.” They were who I thought of as family my age. In middle school, one family of cousins lived in town for a short while, which was amazeballs. (Yes, that is a technical term.) They came back to permanently stay in high school.

Researchers found that individuals responded they were far more likely to help kin, including cousins, before they would help out friends. This remained true even when the researchers controlled for emotional closeness, suggesting that even if there was not a close emotional bond with the family member. the likelihood of offering help was still high. They called this a “kinship premium.”

We get to choose our friends, but we are stuck with family. I consider myself lucky to have a good family. If anyone considers me intelligent, then I point to aunts and cousins and brother and parents who routinely destroy me at board games requiring advanced thinking. My ability to speak on any subject came from having to hold my own at after dinner conversations. (At some point it was more important to win a debate than win Mario Kart.)

My family is also pretty politically diverse, which helped see and understand different sides. And my practices of ingesting information came from wanting to hold my own in such discussions.

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.

Kid jokes

I love reading about the incongruity of the kids of friends. Part of why I started this is in hopes of reporting on the best of Fleur’s. The Atlantic has a good article “Knock Knock. Who’s There? Kids. Kids Who? Kids Tell Terrible Jokes.“:

“Even when their parents are feeding them ‘dad jokes’ to try to teach them about humor, half of the jokes that kids hear, they don’t quite get.” So it’s only natural, Dubinsky says, for some children to believe that a couple of absurd or mismatched concepts assembled into a familiar “knock-knock” or “What do you call …” structure adds up to a joke.

“Kids say, ‘Oh, jokes are about incongruity. I’ll show you some incongruity,’” Dubinsky says. “But they haven’t got the sophistication to construct an incongruity that’s going to be resolvable.”

Which, coincidentally, sometimes results in jokes that resemble a more advanced form of humor: an “anti-joke.” Anti-jokes deliberately deny the audience a clever or satisfying punch line, and they often serve as edgy or sophisticated commentary on jokes themselves.

Poor Fleur will suffer from “dad jokes.” She already hears them. She just has no idea she is inundated with them. And I love me some incongruity. So much of my attention is analyzing rules from social behavior to code to business process rules. I am always interested in the how and why to tease out mismatches to learn from them. Maybe that is why I love “dad jokes” so much?

Entropic Infant

Fleur is crawling on the verge of walking. And, being my progeny is… Into. Every. Thing. Too early to diagnose ADHD, but if she hears something, then she “Speed Racer” crawls to investigate.

The triumphant look when she pulls down something makes me think of Godzilla. Often it causes a cackle. Destruction lies in her wake. Always.

Definitely, do not attempt to tidy a room in her presence. She tosses things back on the floor as though saying, “That is where I wanted it.”

Entropy is a law of the universe. Matter tends not to stay ordered unless energy is put towards it. Our civilization exists because of the massive amounts of energy exerted to create and maintain infrastructure and materialism. Forces acting against entropy are responsible for the creation of the Milky Way galaxy, our Solar System, and life. The beauty and miracle of all these processes resisting entropy are why we are special.

And at this stage, my child is bound and determined to bring it down.

P.S. It is ironic that she uses gravity to spread disorder while gravity was used to consolidate matter to create the stars and planets.