Tuesday, March 30, 2010

So what's your favorite word?

Loading Wombat in the car a couple of days ago, it's the usual scene: he is wriggling and screaming and kicking as he resists being strapped into the seat, and I'm talking at him mindlessly while folding all his flailing limbs into the straps:

"Blah blah blah.... Now now come on now here we go let's go to daycare it's a short ride. Don't you want to go to daycare? Blah blah blah blah...."

And, at words "don't you want to go to daycare" my baby stops wriggling, stops screaming, stops flailing, looks straight at me and says, quite clearly, "No".

My 'load-you-into-the-car' talk before was always more of a soliloquy. So, I am more taken aback by his response than Hamlet would be if someone came up to him and, during his 'to be or not to be', said "I'd say: not to be". So, still in shock, I say to Wombat:

- No?

- No.

- You.... don't want to go to daycare?

- No.

- But....

- No.

- You.... don't want to see your friend Evan?

- No.

- Emma?

- No.

- Ronald?

- No!

- What about your teacher, miss Marilyn?

- No, no, NO!

At this point, Wombat is clearly frustrated. The look on his face says "Listen, lady, how many times do I need to tell you NO for you to get the idea that I mean No? Jeez. The people in this place!" But, still in shock, I continue:

- You don't want to see anybody in daycare?

- NO! No no no no!

- Hm. Well, I'm sure they want to see you though!

Wombat makes an incredulous "Naw" noise.

- Sure they do!

Wombat makes a skeptical-looking face.

- Yes! Every time we come in in the morning, they scream "Elijah!" and are so happy to see you and run to you and want to play with you!! They really want to see you! And you don't want to see them? That doesn't seem nice! They want to be your friends!

At this point Wombat becomes lost deep in thought and contemplates his social network all the way to daycare. He still looks thoughtful as we come in, and once he sees all his 'friends' (whose names above have been changed to protect the innocent), he sighs, pulls up a chair to his snack table and looks resolute to get through whatever social interactions he must.

I know, kid. I know. You don't see yourself as part of any group. I am the same. But both of us have to try. Just try. Make friends. You don't have to be part of a crowd. But you do need people by your side, and do get there you will need to make an effort. Pull up your chair to the table, share your snack and ask them how THEIR car ride to daycare went. Ask them if THEIR mother can understand what they say in fewer than 15 repetitions. I bet that will get you a lot of common ground with anybody. Give it a try.

A message from your friendly developmental psychologist

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Regret Minimization Framework?

Really, Jeff? I feel less geeky now. In any case, what Mr. Bezos is trying to say below is, I believe, true, and was much better stated by Mr. Twain:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Faux Pas

This is, um, not subtle. I guess the French have decided that just dirty looks no longer work. In fairness, I must sigh and admit that this is the reason I don't set foot in Russian restaurants - it's like dining with 100 guys from this video. We are not all that bad, my French friends. Take courage. Some of us can sing better than that. :P

P.S. These guys are also "Russian Store Offical Stamp of Authenticity". In front of every authentic Russian store you visit, one of these gentlemen must be posted, with his shirt unbuttoned, his hairy chest out, a cellphone glued to his ear and Russian curses coming out of his mouth. Unless he's there, your food has not come from a Russian kitchen, ladies and gentlemen. The more you know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For the Finches

This reminds me of Pixar's For the Birds cartoon, except this is awesomer. :)

Every single line is true.

From The Gaping Void, via Change Everything.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cool Photography Links

Tilt Shift Maker: turn your photos into tilt-shift masterpieces

Find cool things in your neighborhood with Noticin.gs
The Golden Hour Calculator: find out when that magical golden light moment happens in your neighborhood

What school looks like

The City in Tilt-Shift

There's only one.

The Sandpit from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Links of the Week

Happy Friday!  Here is some fun reading material for your weekend:

We can now see what unborn babies are thinking (sort of).  Jonah Lehrer tells us why passionless marriages are the best (sort of).  Zappos has a cool new (sort of) commercial (make sure to also check out the "Making Of").  Kottke.org explains genetics using only 3 shirts (sort of).  I Can Read on Tumblr has a great summary (sort of) of what women do.  And speaking of what women do, there is good news: we can all stop bathing our children in Purell because it doesn't really work (sort of).

And, the only link without a 'sort of' attached to it: dogs in slow motion. Happy Weekend. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Right now, Elijah is this perfect height - the top of his head (makushka!) fits perfectly right under my palm. I love that.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Food Rules

Michael Pollan's Food Rules, as posted by the Grey Lady.   I highly recommend his Omnivore's Dillemma to everyone who feeds anyone else.

The Infant Brain

An awesome show from the awesome BBC "In Our Time" program. It's a very well done summary of how the baby brain works - and, as an added bonus, it pokes holes in Noam Chomsky's nativist theories, and I love anything that does that. Take that, Chomsky/Pinker. We always knew neuroscience would prove you wrong.

Listen to the stream of the show here, or download the podcast.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The first marching band performance that I like.

There is a first time for everything. Thank you, OK go.

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Neuroscientists have pitch.

Monday, March 1, 2010

All children, except one, grow up.

Today, Elijah fed the dog. Nothing unusual about that, except that today he had to first unpack the groceries, then find the dog food bag, then drag the back all the way to the pantry, then scoop the food and take it to the dog bowl, then invite the dog to the bowl, all of which he did. By himself. And then he fed the cat.

He is becoming more and more every day. More of everything that he is. He can serve his own food, he can sleep on a cot, he can walk on the street. He can break eggs, mix them and dump them on a pan. He can take clothes off and almost can put them on (there are too many holes in shirts to figure out how to use them!) It's all good news. Except that he is certainly, definitely, no-doubt-about-it not a baby any more.

My son is in a hurry to grow up.

And I wish he weren't in such a rush because I know how growing up goes. You get knocked, then you get tougher and more guarded, then you rinse and repeat until the desired level of jadedness.

(The dog bowl corner is a tough neighborhood I tell you. You can get pretty jaded pretty fast feeding the dog. And feeding the cat is a school of hard knocks as well.... not to mention the dangers of putting on shirts. Ok, so may be this part of growing up is not so bad. Obviously I am skipping ahead like 10 years, people. Stay with me. I tend to go fast when I get all sentimental).

So, where were we, oh right, growing up. I did it. It wasn't nice. Sometimes I wish I weren't so rough around the edges. I wish my son could keep this wide-eyed innocence, and his carefree laugh and his thrill with the world. But he has to grow up, and all of that has to go - or he won't make a very, um, functional adult. It's just a shame it has to go so fast.

You don't remember being little. You don't remember yourself as this wonder-filled, simpler and somehow better person. You don't regret the innocence lost, because you don't remember ever having it. But in your parents' minds, you still are that kid. They remember you before you started making snide remarks and playing power games, before you learned to be sarcastic and show off, before you started politicing, before you worried about how you looked. To your parents, as to me right now, that loss of innocence must have been somehow profoundly sad.

But yet, your parents know (they remember! they have proof!) that underneath all your layers of defense, somewhere still lives that awesome kid. Even once you grow up. And that, I guess, is what James M. Barrie must have meant when he said "all children, except one".

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