a report on Developmental Logics of Reason and Desire.

Mac is talk­ing more, real­ly start­ing to abstract.

I want anoth­er one.’

I want to do it again.’

Here he’s using sub­sti­tu­tive pro­nouns, that of course can stand for any num­ber of things. This also tends to get him what he wants since I stand a bit agog that Mac’s lan­guage skil­lz seems to have jumped up anoth­er lev­el in the past week.

And But late­ly, he will take mom by the hand and lead her to the kitchen and point to the refrig­er­a­tor and say,

I want some­thing dif­fer­ent.’

What Mac here is doing is trans­for­ma­tion­al pro­cess­ing. He knows he doesn’t know the words for what he wants, but knows ‘some­thing dif­fer­ent’ means that Jenn or me will present him with a list of food options that he then picks as he pleas­es. Of course this is ripe for spoil­ing the kid, but in the inter­est of observ­ing how trans­for­ma­tion­al-gen­er­a­tive gram­mar rules work, I’m OK with this.

He is show­ing this high­er order think­ing that prob­a­bly doesn’t seem inter­est­ing at first glance, unless you take your time to see what is actu­al­ly going on. Kind of like those lazy Sun­day after­noons when I would be stretched out on a couch, flip­ping chan­nels and be inter­mit­tent­ly nap­ping but then at some point I’d left the PBS chan­nel on and with­out actu­al­ly being aware of it had become engrossed by a three hour doc­u­men­tary on the mat­ing habits and rit­u­als of Egypt­ian dung bee­tles. I’d sit there com­plete­ly removed from myself, real­iz­ing how big the world is and how much I don’t know and but so like in their lit­tle heads, real­iz­ing how much is actu­al­ly, real­ly going on in there and how lit­tle access any of us real­ly have to these lit­tle kids’ heads.

Where­as Mac favors the syn­tac­tic approach, Scar­lett tends to solve prob­lems via brute-force search algo­rithms which is the same way moun­tains suc­cumb to oceans, being worn down to nub­bins and even­tu­al­ly dis­ap­pear­ing alto­geth­er which is what Jenn appears to be—nubbined and worn away—when I get back from a day of work and she has spent the kid’s every wak­ing-moment-sans-nap-time with them with­out a break.

The prob­lem with brute-force attacks is they have no built-in ter­mi­na­tion event oth­er than solv­ing the prob­lem which can be frus­trat­ing when their isn’t actu­al­ly a solu­tion, e.g. Scar­lett try­ing to wedge her head in between slid­ing doors to force them open. I have watched her attempt to crack unsolv­able prob­lems, try­ing out var­i­ous solutions/​con­di­tions for five to ten min­utes1 dur­ing which her reac­tions will range from eardrum per­fo­rat­ing shrieks to tears that rank with the best of the Feed-the-Chil­dren ads fea­tur­ing Sal­ly Struthers. But before any real psy­chic trau­ma can be done, she will sud­den­ly stop and lie flat on her stom­ach, her arms and legs splayed to the four cor­ners of the room, her left cheek rest­ing on the floor, her eyes blank and Zenned out.

Scarlett’s oth­er log­ic tic is that if Mac is doing some­thing, then Scar­lett must be doing that same thing; this doesn’t apply to nap­ping though. If Mac is tossed through the air onto the bed, Scar­lett will tod­dle over with both arms held up above her head and insist—insist—that you toss her too onto the bed even though it would gen­er­ate some DSS reports, if wit­nessed.

  1. which I sup­pose must feel like hours to a one year old []

Certain facts. Provable and otherwise about cookies.

  1. Mac states it is nec­es­sary, but suf­fi­cient, that his cook­ie be Big.

  2. For Scar­lett, it is nec­es­sary and suf­fi­cient that she have a cook­ie.

  3. For Mac, it is sufficient—but not necessary—that Mac and Scar­lett each have a cook­ie(cf.1).

  4. For Scar­lett, it is sufficient—but not necessary—that Scar­lett and Mac each have a cook­ie(cf.1).

  5. State­ments #3 and #4 are not iden­ti­cal. The proof is left for the read­er.