Archive for July 2013

The simplest things amaze you: cottonwood fluff, a new toy, water boiling on the stove. We hear your exuberant “WOW!” often. It’s the best defense against becoming old and jaded.

Another nugget of wisdom you’ve shown me? Cheer for yourself, even when you don’t succeed. You clap heartily upon completion of the tower you’re building and just as heartily if the blocks topple.IMG_3900

New understood words: cute, dance, sing, hot, airplane, twist. New spoken words: honey, squeeze (gee), love you (ohw voo) and 爱你, 阿公 (grandpa), 抱, banana, shoes, bath, 妹妹 (little sister), again, cheese, butterball. You employ simple sentences like “妈妈 抱!” (Mama, up!)

Butterball is the name of your rotund stuffed sheep. I think it’s your cutest word. You pronounce it “buh-duh-BOWH!”

Still dancing up a storm, and singing, too! The aforementioned twist is one of your dance moves, which you break out on command. You’ve picked up simple melodic refrains from a few songs – the “oh oh oh” part in Lincoln Brewster’s “Today is the Day,” the coda of Vienna Teng’s “In the 99.” (What children’s music?)

Somehow you’ve decided that burps and toots are funny, giggle-worthy, all on your own. And sneezes, you gleefully imitate sneezes: “Ah-chee!”

IMG_20130724_231838Daddy is your hero. You shriek, “Ba BA? Ba BA?!” whenever you hear a noise outside that could conceivably be him, whether it’s a car driving by or the mail carrier. You have half an eye out for him all day. Except at night it’s all mama, all the time. You don’t go to sleep for anyone else, at least not without a fight. An epic one.

Sometimes you run around with both arms outstretched behind you, kind of like an airplane, or the soccer goal victory run. You’ve also discovered spinning in circles.

I’m impressed by your fine motor control. You can pick up stray hairs (mine, of course) from the hardwood and kitchen tile. At dinner, I’ve observed you peeling the skin off a (cooked) peanut and picking individual roe off sushi rice.

And you often pop grapes into your mouth whole, only to spit out the skin afterwards. Once I gave you a plum, then promptly forgot that I had given you a plum … until you came up to me several minutes later and spit the pit, sucked perfectly clean, into my palm. (I know, I’m terrible.)IMG_20130727_151025

You can find a tiny bell in the odds-and-ends bowl and know it comes from one of my flip flops. I know this because I caught you in the coat closet trying to reattach it.

I can be stubborn about not listening to anybody. Even so, I’ve read three books about raising littles, and The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland is the second.the-science-of-parenting

It’s okay.

It advocates a way of parenting that aligns with what I’m already doing, so reading mostly felt like a continuous pat on the back.

However. If I were parenting differently, I’d probably feel nothing of the kind. I’d probably feel like a recipient of Chinese water torture, an insidious drip drip drip of you’re doing it wrong.

And how exactly is that helpful?

Most parenting tomes are biased in one way or another, naturally. But I expected a book called The Science of Parenting to be, I don’t know, truer to the spirit of scientific inquiry and reportage.

The Science of Parenting is biased interpretation, not scientific synthesis. Really, its neurobiology never moves much beyond “stress chemicals are bad.”

I think we can all agree that persistent high levels of stress chemicals have harmful effects on the developing brain. That’s why we don’t abuse or neglect our children. But is it enough to tout the scientific superiority of attachment-style parenting?

I doubt it. Because the momentary, infrequent stress caused by controlled crying or spanking or time-out is a far cry from long-term neglect or abuse, and to lump them all together is expressly unfair. It’s hard to believe that a child who is receiving plenty of love and affirmation overall will suffer irreparable damage from, for instance, a few hours of sleep training. Besides, I’m sure separation anxiety is stressful, too, but I still need to shower sometimes.

(Not that I mean to defend corporal punishment or controlled crying. That’s a separate rabbit trail.)

There’s nothing really problematic with The Science of Parenting, except that it doesn’t actually uncover the science of parenting. These days motherhood feels more like art than science, anyway. Sunderland preaches nicely to the choir but I don’t see this book drawing new converts. For a more solid foray into the existing body of research, I’d recommend John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby. The writing is better!

Hi, Ashelyn! Show your Uncle D what happened to your blue steel FACE.


It’s turned into a pout! Now, what if I say MOUTH? What expression will you make then?


We still don’t know where you picked that one up. Wasn’t me … but hey, you’re cooperative today! Let’s see if I can actually catch a photo of your BLINK BLINK.


Yay, I’ve been after that shot for ages weeks. Awesome, girl! You rock.