Monday, October 31, 2005

Every little girl ends up in something pink and frilly for at least one Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

in living memory

What exactly does "old enough to remember it" mean?

L is at the age where parents can cause lots of damage but they're unlikely to make any fond experiences stick. My own earliest memories start around age 3. My husband remembers a multi-colored dresser from when he was 2. Philip K. Dick wrote a novel about a man tormented by "memories" of the future; this consists of some pretty creepy in-utero and buried-alive scenes.

But sci-fi aside, most kids won't have conscious memories until age 3 or 4. From then to 7 years old, our memories are sparse. Psychologists call it infantile amnesia. Patricia Bauer points out that very young children have rich stores of mnemonics even before they develop language. She believes that the problem is not so much that kids don't remember as that they forget.

So why am I rambling on about memory? All the little decisions--going to a park, playing "where's your nose" together, holiday rituals, visits from grandparents who live thousands of miles away--are mostly for our benefit rather than hers. Yes, some of it is learning, and some of it is just developing good habits, but the vast majority of these experiences belong to the adults in L's life.

To quote my own mom, who quotes Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

In L's case, ticklish.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

waves of sleepiness

I'm so wide awake in the midst of ridiculously overworking that I Googled "sleep deprivation." According to the well-rested people at the Sleep Foundation, there are five types of sleep groups. Which one are you?

  • Healthy, Lively Larks (27% of the market)

  • Sleep Savvy Seniors (21%)

  • Dragging Duos (20%)

  • Overworked, Overweight, and Over-Caffeinated (17%)

  • Sleepless and Missin' the Kissin' (15%)
  • iPod-mania

    I pulled this off the toy shelf at Target to show my husband and scoff at it, but it quickly became the MUST-HAVE item for the little one. She was mesmerized instantly. Come to think of it, it was the same look on our faces when we bought an iPod.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    I'm cheap

    Eat worms - feel better

    The title is stolen from this BBC article in 2003.

    I dug it up while trying to find a nonfiction supplement to the book How to Eat Fried Worms. I'm teaching two classes during our school's intersession program (equivalent to summer school). Sixth graders are amazingly docile people. They pay attention, do their work eagerly, volunteer to read, and laugh at all my jokes. It's eerie.

    Anyway, this article was too gross to pass up. At an age where bodily functions are still fascinating, my students will probably love it or hate it. I just hope they aren't serving pasta for lunch today.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005


    name that movie

    I must have a strange vocabulary of movies. Some radio station had a "name that movie" contest, and I found myself surprised that I was the only one who knew it: Friday. Or earlier, a colleague was telling an anecdote about someone with a short term memory and said, "You know, like that movie where that person can't remember anything for very long." "Memento?" I ask. But no, she's talking about 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore. Slight difference.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Arson radio

    I misheard an advertisement for a BBC "arts and entertainment" radio program that sounded suspiciously like "arson enertainment." Instead of their planned interview with Salmon Rushdie, I imagined muffled recordings from prison visitor rooms with convicted felons. What goes on in the mind of someone before torching an apartment building? Reporters interrogate the perpetrators and victims alike to cover all sides of the tragic story.

    I think I've been watching too much CSI.

    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    catching up

    The best part of working at a year-round school is the chance to catch your breath at the end of each trimester. With my newfound freedom, I'm diving into everything I've missed doing. This includes blogging, now that I finally guessed my correct username and password.

    The fog is settling in, and it's starting to feel a bit more autumnal. Halloween is my husband's favorite holiday. We bought the obligatory frilly fairy costume for the little girl, and I stocked up on junkfood. Last year we carved up a few jackolanterns, baked a pumpkin pie, and had some friends over for a rousing game of Zombies. This year, who knows? Is it wrong to go trick-or-treating when your daughter has only four teeth? I guess we could eat her candy, but that seems even worse.

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Party hats are awfully silly, aren't they?