Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Check yourself... being a gentleman is rarely easy.

A great article here from the Good Men Project. Reminding us how our actions impact others and what it requires for role models to rise above the fray.
"Sure, there are high school girls with Johnny Depp fantasies, but guess what? You’re not Johnny Depp. (If you were that 48-year-old actor, you’d be devoted to your 38-year-old French girlfriend.) Yes, some young women do flirt with older men. Some do it for validation, some do it for excitement, but a hell of a lot of them do it because guys like you have already taught them that’s the only thing that older men want."

More relevant information here.

"Many men insist they’d be “thrilled” to be shouted at on the street. So why don’t women feel flattered? Because we live with the threat of rape—the knowledge that one in every six American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Even if a man has “innocent” intentions when he yells “Hey sexy!” at a woman, he has a good chance of making her feel uncomfortable, angry, or frightened. She’s likely to automatically connect the moment with other negative street harassment experiences she’s had—or, worse, with memories of more serious assault." 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I just love this song and thought this was a great version. I'm mainly posting it here so I can find it later, but I encourage you to give it a listen.

Soulshine by Gov't Mule

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who steals a blanket... seriously?!

J Bean was sick as only a two year old in the throes of a stomach bug can be on Friday night. It was one of those nights when VeeVee and I were looking forward to a bottle of wine and a movie soon after J Bean's bedtime. Instead we spent the evening worrying about and caring for a very sick little girl. At around midnight we were contemplating whether our supply of clean bed clothes would last the night or if we should do a few loads of laundry before we pass out from exhaustion in the wee hours of the morning. Rookie parent move of the night: We did do laundry before bed. Then we soon realized we would be doing laundry again in the morning. Advice: Don't bother starting laundry until you have had several hours of your child not going off like old faithful.
J Bean was fine by mid-morning the next day and our laundry was done. The family was no worse for wear other than some sleepy parents, a missed birthday party and a tired and cranky J Bean. We later learned someone had apparently swiped a blanket from our dryer during the all night launder-o-thon. Not just any blanket, it was J Bean's favorite blanket, a hand-made gift from her grandparents. If any of you have been through pacifier weaning lately or has a child who is hooked on their nap-time accessories, then you may better comprehend the importance of all the right "fuzzies", "lovies" and "blankies" for a peaceful transition to bed. I've searched the house, double-checked the laundry facilities in our building and am now trying to decide if it is worth my time to post a nasty-gram in the public laundry area or if building management would be willing to put out an all-points bulletin and allow a full search of all 200+ units within our building. I will not rest until this culprit is found and the blankie is returned to it's rightful owner! No, seriously. Until we find it we may not get any rest. Not due to my one man quest for vengeance, but because J Bean may not understand why her favorite things are disappearing. She has to be thinking, "First my paci, now my blanket... what kind of a place are you guys running here? Cheesy Pizza!" Cheesy Pizza has become my preferred replacement for other less kid-friendly expletives and calls or curses to deities. J Bean has quickly picked up the verbiage and will sometimes proclaim "Pee-eww... cheesy pizza!" while having a particularly odoriferous diaper changed for example.
We are working on gaining J Bean's acceptance of other available blankets by talking about how fuzzy and cozy there are and I think we'll be just fine by tonight... but seriously..... Who steals a blanket?! That's just not right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Like to Move It!

In celebration of J Bean's triumph over the paci addiction!

Sorry about that... not a lot of songs about the pacifier apparently. If you are not disturbed after having watched this video then you may need to seek counseling.

We have been trimming the tip of the pacifier for weeks since J Bean's last trip to the dentist and the resulting scolding for allowing her to use it at 2 years (Oh, the horror!). Although we were only using it at night, the dentist said the night-time sucking was causing a small gap (or tongue thrust) which could ultimately cause teeth alignment issues and even speech problems if we didn't make a change. Reluctantly, we opted to take her medical advice and the trimming approach worked very well for us. We poked a hole in the pacifier, then began to slowly trim the tip a little every day until J Bean had nothing but the hard plastic part of the pacifier left and she just lost interest in it. There were a few rough nights when the pacifier reached the size she could not longer hold it in her mouth, but it wasn't too bad at all. We had several discussions with J Bean about how the pacifier was "broken" but that it was OK as this time had coincided with her recent fitting for glasses which obviously make her more of a "big girl" as well.

Next stop... potty training. We are moving out of our current apartment in the next few months and I am hoping to leave any unseemly stains or odors behind when we go.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baby Talk

There has been an interesting piece circulating about an MIT scientist who recorded over 90,000 hours of video of his son learning language and his study of that process. If you have a new child or are just interested in learning more about the amazing feat of learning a new language, it is certainly worth a read.

One of the most interesting revelations of the study was that:

“Caregiver speech dipped to a minimum and slowly ascended back out in complexity.” In other words, when mom and dad and nanny first hear a child speaking a word, they unconsciously stress it by repeating it back to him all by itself or in very short sentences. Then as he gets the word, the sentences lengthen again. The infant shapes the caregivers’ behavior, the better to learn.

UPDATE----------- 3/10/2012--------------------------------------------

I already love TED talks as evidenced by the rest of this post, so I was very happy to see the researcher I just mentioned above, Deb Roy, is on the most recent Ted talk discussing the very study mentioned above. Check it out... simply fascinating:


It's amazing to me that not only our children's learning is highly advanced, but our methods of teaching... not too shabby either. This is very interesting and dovetails nicely with the TED talk below in which Patricia Kuhl discusses how babies learn language and what age and exactly how the human interactions pertaining to language during those periods are so important. Television or audio only do not provide the environment for the super learning babies are capable of. The knowledge we hold regarding infant learning and brain development is astounding... I intend to use this knowledge for the betterment of any other children we have and plan to help J Bean now by introducing her to a new language before her ability to learn new languages begins to taper off though we have already missed the window for "wiring" her brain to excel in the differing sounds of foreign languages. This is certainly not to say she can't still learn a new language and learn the native sounds/pronunciation, but the sounds would have been easier for her to discern and to learn had we exposed her to another language earlier according to the video.

If you made it this far, you are really bored or very interested in the workings of baby brains... I am too! What an amazing mechanism humans have for learning, its almost as interesting to hear how it works as it is to watch it unfold in your own child. Below Michael Merzenich discusses the wiring (or rewiring) of the human brain that makes the learning we heard about earlier, as it relates to language possible. His discussion of learning disabilities is interesting as he describes what sounds a lot like the GIGO concept (garbage in, garbage out) as it relates to children's perception of sounds and how they learn languages and ultimately learn. Hearing problems result in children with native languages of "muffled English" or "degraded Japanese" for example... and how brain (language processing) problems can result in children who have a native language that is "noisy" or degraded as well.

From there, I just continued down the rabbit-hole of brain mechanisms and workings. I think I've already gone over-board for one post, but if you are interested in more I also found a few other related talks here and here. I find this subject fascinating and I'm sure I will revisit in the future.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playgroup Socialism?

Some of the recent political happenings surrounding healthcare, government spending cuts and labor unions set me to thinking about the values I hope to instill in J Bean. After thinking about it a little and speaking with other parents I came to realize most parents want to instill similar values with their children regardless of their political persuasion. Parents of differing political views teach our children similarly in many ways: share your toys, don't snatch from others, no hitting, take turns, don't pick on people who are different. It seems that much of what we are teaching boils down to empathy... we work to help our children understand what others may be feeling and how their actions may affect others, so when does that change? When should children grow up and stop caring about the principles that were important on the playground? I hope my child never forgets those lessons.

This point is illustrated wonderfully in a a great article here from Steven Almond circa November 2009 which also ran in the Boston Globe. Why do we teach our children one thing on the playground then rail against the same principles as adults? Maybe we should all learn to play nice.

"...most parents are mortified when their children refuse to share on the playground, when they hoard toys, when they decide it is their right to smash a sand castle they played no part in building. 

These basic rules of the playground are sometimes given a more sophisticated, adult name: socialism. Which makes all us good parents de facto socialists.... opponents of President Obama have attempted recently to turn "socialism'' into a slur. Displaying the zeal exhibited by naughty children the world over, they have equated socialism with fascism, Stalinism, and even Nazism.

For the record, they are wrong. Socialism is a theory of economic organization that calls for equal access to resources for all individuals, along with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended. Translated into playgroundese: Everyone should have a turn on the swings, and if you built the sand castle, you get to play with it."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Goodnight, Dune...

Simply awesome... Check out this take on the Children's classic "Goodnight Moon"... this cover story is based on that book and the Sci-Fi hit "Dune".
"Good night two moons.... Good night Shai- Hulud bursting out of the dune... Good night glow globe and the floating baron"

This one used to be on this list of children's books that should exist... now it does. I wonder if I could find a physical copy of this?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toy Story Redeux

I always keep an eye on to see who is covering what songs and once in a while I find a jewel in the mix. I'm impressed with these covers of Toy Story songs.