Shaving

I let the beard get too long. So much so the child was terrorized by seeing me. She didn’t think I am her loving father.

The laughter probably didn’t help. Nor did the change of clothes.

I usually do not go so long between shaves. Guess I ought to go back to the more frequent schedule.

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Camera Spidey-sense

How do kids have such great awareness about the presence of a camera? Back in the old days, I noticed they would stop what they are doing and stop acting natural before the camera could finish booting up. You had to wait them out to get the photo.

Someone needs to put a kid in an fMRI and see.

Storytelling as behavior modification

On how the Inuit control anger starting with young children.

Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children.

Traditional Inuit parenting is incredibly nurturing and tender. If you took all the parenting styles around the world and ranked them by their gentleness, the Inuit approach would likely rank near the top.

The culture views scolding — or even speaking to children in an angry voice — as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”

Traditionally, the Inuit saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child.

Where the article gets really interesting is the use of storytelling. They have oral stories passed down ever generations that are designed to shape behavior to prevent bad behavior. So, instead of raising your voice, you seed their imagination that they are going to suffer if they do the bad thing and softly remind them about this potentiality. Or perform satire of the bad behavior to make the perpetrator of it appear childish.

I also love how this ties into the traditions of storytelling. I view blogging as the modern equivalent: a medium of passing along information for the social group. Bloggers are modern griots. A tribe’s storyteller holds a prized position in the group, which is due, I think, to how our brains are wired to better understand information in the form of a story.

Cousins

My cousins were geographically disparate. I had quite a few of them. They came to visit during Christmas or during the summer. We played together during these periods, often getting into trouble over our misdeeds. Or getting heated while playing video games. Being an only child for about half my childhood, my cousins were my “siblings.” They were who I thought of as family my age. In middle school, one family of cousins lived in town for a short while, which was amazeballs. (Yes, that is a technical term.) They came back to permanently stay in high school.

Researchers found that individuals responded they were far more likely to help kin, including cousins, before they would help out friends. This remained true even when the researchers controlled for emotional closeness, suggesting that even if there was not a close emotional bond with the family member. the likelihood of offering help was still high. They called this a “kinship premium.”

We get to choose our friends, but we are stuck with family. I consider myself lucky to have a good family. If anyone considers me intelligent, then I point to aunts and cousins and brother and parents who routinely destroy me at board games requiring advanced thinking. My ability to speak on any subject came from having to hold my own at after dinner conversations. (At some point it was more important to win a debate than win Mario Kart.)

My family is also pretty politically diverse, which helped see and understand different sides. And my practices of ingesting information came from wanting to hold my own in such discussions.

Tiny dopplegangers

It took a while to get a good ultrasound of Fleur’s face. When we did, there was no denying she was my kid. That wave of emotion was interesting. It felt like a huge connection to this new entity. Of course, it is good she now looks more and more like her mother not just because why look so ugly but to maintain that bond with mom even as she gets more independent.

Apparently the father feeling like I did indicates good things for their children.

We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father. The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs.

Momo

I mentioned the Momo Challenge to Galahad who scoffed at it. Rightly so.

Momo was perfectly tuned to set off alarms in the mind of any parent: There’s something online that you don’t know about, and it’s about to kill or traumatize your child. Just one problem: There’s little evidence to confirm that the Momo challenge is real. Although multiple deaths are often attributed to the challenge in warnings about it, none has been confirmed.

Several parent friends shared news stories about it. G correctly noted that it was back, which adults seemed to have missed. Attaching the concern about teens committing suicide elevated the danger that overwhelmed the downsides of failing to share it. Death is a cheap and easy button for parents.

In my day it was Satanism and heavy metal music. Parents were concerned about kids listening to the music would be seduced by Lucifer and thus kill themselves, I guess so that would go to Hell because you cannot go to Heaven if you do that. Anyway, it was easy to get parents to worry each other by sharing with others how bad it would be for the teens to participate in that stuff.

That watching Youtube is something kids are doing outside the view of parents helps with the worry. We don’t necessarily know everything that kids are watching. So, it is easy to be concerned that they are getting influenced like parents in my day were terrified of what we were listening to under our headphones.

Kid jokes

I love reading about the incongruity of the kids of friends. Part of why I started this is in hopes of reporting on the best of Fleur’s. The Atlantic has a good article “Knock Knock. Who’s There? Kids. Kids Who? Kids Tell Terrible Jokes.“:

“Even when their parents are feeding them ‘dad jokes’ to try to teach them about humor, half of the jokes that kids hear, they don’t quite get.” So it’s only natural, Dubinsky says, for some children to believe that a couple of absurd or mismatched concepts assembled into a familiar “knock-knock” or “What do you call …” structure adds up to a joke.

“Kids say, ‘Oh, jokes are about incongruity. I’ll show you some incongruity,’” Dubinsky says. “But they haven’t got the sophistication to construct an incongruity that’s going to be resolvable.”

Which, coincidentally, sometimes results in jokes that resemble a more advanced form of humor: an “anti-joke.” Anti-jokes deliberately deny the audience a clever or satisfying punch line, and they often serve as edgy or sophisticated commentary on jokes themselves.

Poor Fleur will suffer from “dad jokes.” She already hears them. She just has no idea she is inundated with them. And I love me some incongruity. So much of my attention is analyzing rules from social behavior to code to business process rules. I am always interested in the how and why to tease out mismatches to learn from them. Maybe that is why I love “dad jokes” so much?