Researchers looked at preindustrial mortality records in Quebec and Finland and found that families with a grandmother in the household had more kids and kids who lived longer, aka the “grandmother hypothesis.” Up to a couple points:
- Just 1.75 more kids.
- Younger grandmothers increased survival between 2 to 5 by 30%. Grandmothers over 75 reduced survival probability to age 2 by 37%.
Also, this is fairly indirect data looking at old records. It would be more valuable with more direct evidence. Though, how one could do an experiment where some kids get to have a grandma where others don’t would likely be deemed unethical.
I wonder how much that means for today’s society. My cousins with the largest number of kids live closer to their mothers.
When I moved here for a job, it was when I was single and a pretty decently easy drive to get home to help out when needed. It doesn’t seem so easy anymore with a family.
Reading Farsighted by Steven Johnson. He is one of my favorite nonfiction authors.
He quotes a friend: “Change like this slows time.” Then goes on to talk about how inside a routine, time moves fast. Stress focuses our brain including how much time we still have.
It got me wondering if the cliche about kids growing up so fast is related? When Fleur was born, being a new parent was very stressful. Time was definitely dilated to me, but now that we have achieved a routine groove, it seems to move too fast.
I imagine there will be times the stress hits again. Buying the house a few years ago caused similar dilation. So, I could see a major illness, a death in the family, planning a first birthday party, etc.
Also, I need to muse on whether either slow or fast is better. Right now, I feel like they are both neutral with pros and cons that negate.
Before Fleur, I was comfortable being Norm at a variety of places. People knew me, greeted me, asked how I was doing. When the wife and I started dating, a friend of hers instantly recognized my name and asked if my Facebook profile was me.
Now, places still know me and greet me, but I am now the, uh, chauffeur. I am a baby deliveryman. They want to see her and hold her and earn smiles. Some still ask about me when they realize how I am being ignored.
Somehow I thought my celebrity wasn’t that big and not that important to my identity. Now, I realize how much I miss it. Maybe it was more central to my being than I thought?
As a child, I dwelled in the shadow of my parents who knew everyone. My brother had to endure high school as comparisons of my little brother. People don’t believe that I am an introvert because I know so many people. (The secret is that I learned to tune out the certain backgrounds and direct interactions with one or two people is good. Things like house parties, clubs, concerts, football games are what drain my energy.)
Started reading some dad blogs and ran across something that felt pretty right on Biff the Runner:
At times I feel completely useless. With the baby as I don’t know why they are crying or what I’m supposed to do. At work I’m less productive as I’m tired and find it harder to motivate myself and focus.
This means I over compensate particularly at home trying to make myself useful cleaning, cooking, anything. This makes me more tired.
For me it meant:
- Managing the water bottles. We have 2 Brita filter containers that I try to keep full and a half dozen bottles. I end of tracking them down across the house & car and filling them.
- Changing diapers.
- Soothing Flower, especially when she was upset with gas between 4 and 8 am. Ant’s Go Marching and Dear Liza are my go-to songs.
- Keeping supplies full & shopping. Diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, snacks, cat food, cat litter. (Still pretty terrible at this. Writing this reminded me that I need to get litter despite going to the store before work to get toilet paper because I did not realize we were out when I went yesterday.)
- Dealing with the teenager: cajoling to do chores, getting things needed, taking to places.
I have a much younger brother, so I wasn’t scared of changing a diaper, especially because she cannot shoot pee at my face. Other things new fathers are supposedly scared of like holding her, giving her a bottle, etc all are skills I’ve had for decades.
Well, maybe the first bath. She had a five wiper blowout where poo was still everywhere. I needed to give her a bath, but the wife had gone somewhere so I was on my own. I had to make all these choices on how to handle it on my own. So many potentially wrong choices, but we both survived it.
From an interesting article, Fathers are happier parents: Study:
- “Fathers reported greater satisfaction with their lives and feelings of connectedness to others.”
- “They also reported greater positive emotions and fewer daily hassles than mothers, or relatives or peers without children.”
- “They even showed fewer depressive symptoms than men without children, whereas mothers reported more depressive symptoms than women who do not have children.”
Yeah, it is weird. It does seem like there is a brain change. Thinking about this reminded me that I read something years ago well before I became one saying there is a rewiring in the brain due to fatherhood. (paper) The new areas involve reward processing, which could be the greater satisfaction (dopamine) and connectedness (oxytocin); hormone control; emotional processing; memory; decision making. Yeah, I definitely find myself analyzing Fleur’s behavior looking at how she is problem-solving, learning, and adapting to her environment. For instance, now that she is crawling and exploring, she has learned we hover and watch what she tries to put in her mouth and tries to new tactics at getting things that are not toys into her mouth. (Of course, that means we have to adapt, so our Pre-Frontal Cortex [memory and decision making] has to learn her new tactics and try to new things to interrupt it.)
Fleur is ten months. She is crawling and standing. She has preferences and willing to enforce them.
Galahad is seventeen years. He has a year and a half of high school left. He wants to become an engineer. We get along okay for me being a recently a stepfather.
Ada, my wife, works full time in financials. She tolerates my constant need to improve processes. She loves the dad jokes and dad bod.
I intend to post about my kids, my experiences, my expectations, and interesting research.
My undergraduate degree was in psychology. I had an intention of going to get a master’s in library science, but I got sucked into information technology. I did government documents working in the library as a student, but I also had expertise in reference.
I am an avid reader without a real single genre. Popular science books are an area of passion. Psychology (of course), sociology, economics, behavioral economics, biology, and physics dominate my reading. I might pick up something in between as an article that seems interesting.
I am also an older new parent. I worry my child might get autism spectrum disorder as this was the big American risk factor until Wakefield’s bullshit. Older so slower. Older so more patient.