Easter Observations

The kids are get­ting their first real over­load of choco­late. We got back last night from anoth­er day long flight start­ing at 4:30am and end­ing at 8:30pm, so the kids zonked out fast and hard last night, but this morn­ing they are charged up on choco­late eggs and bun­nies. Once they real­ized the can­dy is for them, they hold it close like pok­er play­ers hold­ing cards. Choco­late runs down their chins like messy dip chew­ers, which is per­haps an extreme descrip­tion but should give you the idea that their sali­vary glands are work­ing over­time.

Jenn is putting pink but­ter­fly tat­toos on their arms and cheeks and they are play­ing with kalei­descopes which gives this East­er a slight­ly psy­chdel­ic feel.

Nor­mal­ly, they’d be out­side East­er egg hunt­ing, but it’s blow­ing hard again with cold rain. Kind of sucks, real­ly.

More Developments

Mac is in the full throes of defin­ing him­self as a sep­a­rate body —dis­tinct & indi­vid­ual— by try­ing to throw, stomp, crush, rip, draw on1 and gen­er­al man­gle every oth­er body/​object around him. For the most part, it is easy to antic­i­pate what he is going to do next and cir­cum­vent it by hid­ing the pens, pen­cils, knives, CDs, books, mag­a­zines, remote con­trols, shoes, opened pop cans, any and all loose cords, lap­tops, key­boards and com­put­er mice that tend to get dis­con­nect­ed and then dragged around by the cord like Pull-String toys2 &etc. It’s tir­ing and I have tried it only a few times by myself and so I salute Jenn here, now.

Scar­lett on the oth­er is not so easy to antic­i­pate. This is com­pound­ed by the fact that she just came up to me and said, “hi dad“3 and while I sit there dumb­found­ed, she climbs up the ottoman, scram­bles onto the din­ner tray table, stands up and smiles. Ini­tial­ly I thought her beam­ing smile meant she was hap­py about what she just did, but on sec­ond thought, I do believe she is show­ing off. “Look. At. Me.” is exact­ly what she is think­ing. That’s right. At 14 months old, Scar­lett is show­ing off which is as an unan­tic­i­pat­ed turn of events as Mac look­ing me in the eye, ask­ing me a ques­tion4 and then quick­ly nod­ding repeat­ably, urg­ing me towards the cor­rect answer, which feels like being the cen­ter of atten­tion of an extreme­ly per­sua­sive sales man.

ps. if you want to see a pho­to of scar­lett doing the above, let me know.

  1. Cat­a­log: Doors, fresh­ly var­nished doors that almost made Jenn cry, door frames, floors, chairs, tables, books, Scar­lett and basi­cal­ly any­thing that isn’t a col­or­ing book. Not to be out­done, Scar­lett tends to just grab pens and stab the couch, repeat­ed­ly. []
  2. I have a Via­gra logo’d com­put­er mouse shaped like a Nascar car that’s a real favorite of theirs. []
  3. haaa daaa” is what I heard but I tell ya, she’s speak­ing! []
  4. He usu­al­ly is invit­ing me to get some can­dy that we can share. “We get can­dy?” fol­lowed by quick assertive nods of encour­age­ment and an unbe­liev­ably sweet smile. []

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 []