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Tsunami and I like to communicate. He is two months old so he cannot actually talk yet. He also does not have very good control of his hands and arms yet, so no sign language either. Of course he knows how to cry when he needs something, but what about when he just wants to chat?
Tsunami has mastered the use of his tongue for chatting. The other day Chris was sticking her tongue out at him and he mimicked it. Ever since then, whenever I walk by him he sticks his tongue out at me. Then I reply by sticking mine out at him. We go back and forth like that for awhile. It is usually a pretty good chat.
Some consider sticking a tongue out at someone to be a rude gesture, but when Tsunami does it all I feel is love.
I have been wanting to go up to the top of the Gateway Arch since the first few times I visited St. Louis a few years ago. Unfortunately for me, no one wanted to go with me. Something about a cramped pod experience that they did not care to relive. I would have gone alone once, but on that particular occasion it was a weekend and there were patrons lined up far outside the security gate and I was not going to imposition my wife and in-laws to wait for me to wait in line. I ended up having to wait until I lived here to go.
I thought that a Monday morning would be my best chance to get to the top without waiting in too many lines, and I was right. This morning I asked Jupiter if he would go up with me since no one else wanted to. He said he would, perhaps not knowing what I was talking about but excited about going on a ride, and so we went.
On our way up Jupiter and I were the only ones in the pod. It was far from cramped for just the two of us. It looked like something from the future if my perspective was that of a person living in the 1960′s. It was comfortable for the two of us, but I could see how it could get easily cramped with a full pod.
At the top we looked out over the riverfront and over downtown St. Louis. It was a sight to behold. Jupiter was very interested in all the moving trucks driving on the road beneath. I saw the stadiums, the capitol building, and a lot of other neat buildings. I also saw some moving trucks.
On our way back down we had a couple of passengers with us. They were a nice couple from Florida who were up north for Thanksgiving and stopped in Chicago and here in St. Louis on their way back home to see the heights. Even with the four of us in the pod, I did not feel cramped. There was even enough room for the man to show me pictures of he and his wife in the Sears Tower (yes, I am still calling it that).
When we got back down, there was a museum under the arch that we did not spend to much time in. Jupiter does not have the patience for me to read all the signs describing what we were looking at. As with many museums, I will have to go another time when I am either alone or with someone who has more patience.
I am glad that I finally got to go up in the arch and that I got to take my little guy with me. Unlike the naysayers who would not go with me, I would have no problem visiting it again sometime.
I was recently remembering strange emotions I started going through when Chris and I first found out she was pregnant with Jupiter. The realization that I was going to be responsible for a tiny human was very scary.
I think it started with me being in a daze for a couple of months not knowing exactly how I should feel. I was excited, but I was constantly taking note of the fact that I was not feeling quite as excited as I maybe should be.
I think I was more scared for the little guy. This human life was going to have me for a father. Me. That did not seem like a good idea at the time. It seemed like I might possibly be subjecting someone to the life long punishment of having me for a father. I did not know what kind of father I would turn out to be and I am sure I over-thought the prospect.
There was more than once that I was freaking out. Balling even. I was convinced for a moment or two during those nine months that I was in no way responsible enough for this task. I am always pretty hard on myself. I make mistakes. If I was not cut out for this though, I would not be the main beneficiary of the consequences of this action. That is what scared the crap out of me a couple of times. I was just afraid of the unknown.
When Chris was pregnant with Tsunami there was a little bit of freaking out too. I did okay with one. My fears were, as it turned out, completely unjustified. But could I handle two? I was not ready for this.
The freaking out was not near as bad as it was before Jupiter was born, but it was there. Again it was unjustified. I can handle two kids just fine.
Something that Chris sometimes says certainly rings true for me: “If a new parent to be does not get at least a little freaked out about being a new parent, that is scary.” Too much confidence can be seen as scary. Especially when it is confidence about something that the person has no experience with.
I think it is pretty normal to be freaked out about being a parent. I think it is also arguably a good thing.
Historically, Thanksgiving is a day which celebrates the Puritans and the Natives enjoying a meal together. This happens just before the Puritans decide to slaughter a lot of the natives and steal their land.
Still, I like to take this day to think about some of the things that I am thankful for. I am most thankful for my family. They give me reason to get up in the morning. They give me reason to better myself. They give me reason to try to make the world a better place to the best of my ability. I love them more than I could possible describe. I am thankful to them for putting up with me every year.
From time to time, my 3-year-old son will whine about how he wants something. Something like, “I want to watch Cars!” or “I want some candy!” or something else he does not really need.
My standard response has become, “I want world peace.” At first he was taken aback by this response. Now he tends to go bug mom about his want instead.
I choose that response because it shows that the words “I want” are not some pair of magic words that can make anything happen. I thought it would help illustrate that we can get what we want, but we have to work for it. Even working at something we want a whole lifetime does not mean we will get what we want. People have been working on world peace in some incarnation or another since there was ever the realization that there is a world that we all have to find a way to exist on without killing each other off. Sure, some ideas of attaining that goal have often been, and continue to be killing off anyone who does not agree with their own goals, but the idea I was trying to instill is that we have to work at things instead of merely wishing for them.
A couple of times my response was, “I want a million dollars.” I am sure I used it only because I heard someone else use it as a response to their child’s wants. Perhaps even my own parents used it on me a few times. I stopped using it because I quickly realized that while I could use a million dollars, I could do better. At worst I would get selfish, lazy, and completely lack any motivation to think. I like thinking. At best, I would probably use it to make sure that my and my family’s lives were stable, then invest or donate the rest to the stability of other human lives. That would be great, but not as good as world peace. World peace is something for everyone, and I like that, even if it may not be possible anytime in the near future for our species. As long as I am picking one thing that I want, I may as well be idealistic.
It may not seem to make much sense to use this response with my 3-year-old. While he certainly grasps the concept of wanting things, he just gets confused about the world peace part. We were looking up in the sky at the moon one night and asked my wife and I were Earth was. Obviously he is still getting a handle on the fact that we live on one of many planets. We have not even started working on the concept of peace!
I am going to continue to use it though. He mostly dismisses it as that confusing thing that dad says, but it sinks in little by little. He does attempt to get clarification sometimes. Eventually it will make sense. At the very least, it stops him from whining for the time being and he finds something else to work on that he can attain without magic words or gives him a chance to rephrase his want into a request which he can negotiate.
According to a new study coming out of the University of Notre Dame, spacing out the birth of children is positively associated with test scores in the older sibling. The younger sibling seemed to be unaffected by the spacing of birth, however.
OLS results suggest that greater spacing is positively associated with test scores for older siblings, but not for younger siblings. However, because we are concerned that spacing may be correlated with unobservable characteristics, we also use an instrumental variables strategy that exploits variation in spacing driven by miscarriages that occur between two live births. The IV results indicate that a one-year increase in spacing increases test scores for older siblings by about 0.17 standard deviations—an effect comparable to estimates of the effect of birth order. Especially close spacing (less than two years) decreases scores by 0.65 SD. These results are larger than the OLS estimates, suggesting that estimates that fail to account for the endogeneity of spacing may understate its benefits. For younger siblings, there appears to be no causal impact of spacing on test scores.
The paper will be published in an upcoming Journal of Human Resources.
Since getting moved, we have been doing a little bit of exploring around our new community. It has been keeping us very busy the past few days and my posting frequency has suffered a bit as a result. Sorry about that.
When we found out the house that we rented was so close to an Amtrak stop, we told Jupiter that we would ride trains when we live at the new home. On Wednesday we fulfilled that promise with a short trip down to the nearest stop in Washington, Missouri.
Jupiter had gotten sick over night and seemed to be tired Wednesday morning, but we decided that he would still enjoy the ride and went anyway. We could tell that he was indeed very excited, but he lacked the energy to express it. He wanted very badly to watch out the windows while the towns and other trains were going by, but had eyelids to heavy to stay open.
When we arrived in Washington, we walked up the street a bit to a place which served food and pie. The owners had a sign up that stated “Pie Fixes Everything”.
Jupiter loves cottage cheese, French fries, and well, just about everything we ordered. He refused all of it. We could tell that his taste buds we not properly functioning. He spent most of the meal asleep in either Chris or my own arms. He did not even wake up for the pie. I guess pie cannot fix things if you cannot muster up the energy to eat it.
Since the boys had been a handful through lunch we had little time to continue exploring the town after lunch. Instead we went back to the train station and waited for the return train so Jupiter could go home and get some much needed rest.
I enjoyed the train as a mode of transportation. It is was laid back and had plenty of room to move around, and it had a dinner car for snacks and drinks. I imagine that we will be using the train as a way to take trips to nearby cities such as Chicago or Kansas City in the future, as well as shorter day trips to some of the smaller communities nearby. We also, of course, need to plan a trip for when Jupiter is a bit less under the weather a well.
Every once in awhile, I come across an article having to do with what is considered by some “higher authority” to be an abusive name. A 9-year-old girl whose name was Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was taken into state custody in New Zealand a few years ago. The judge said, “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap.” More recently, Heath and Deborah Campbell who named their son Adolph Hitler Campbell are in a custody battle their their kid’s over the name. This, despite the judge saying that there was no evidence of abuse in the home according to Heath.
In the first case, I think it is definitely a stretch to call Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii a social disability and handicap. If the girl feels embarrassed by her name she could shorten it to Talula when she introduces herself. The article even said that her friends refer to her as “K”, as if a one letter name is so much more acceptable than a 6 word one. Names are not permanent either. People can change their name if they wish.
With Adolph Hitler, sure, most of us see that name and think of one of the most evil men who lived. But if this family thinks that it is a good name, or there were some redeeming qualities about the man that justify tribute in the naming of their son, who is anyone else to try to control their ideas? As with the 9-year-old, when he gets older and more educated he has complete freedom to reject that name if he so chooses.
These are some extreme examples of naming creativity, but there are some people who wish we all just used the same boring names that are already common. This is so convenient since everyone already knows how to pronounce the name right? The child also gets all the joy of being, for example, ‘Chris A’ as opposed to ‘Chris B’.
An argument for more common names is that common names are more employable. While it may be true that some employers will not call someone with a name that they cannot pronounce, does it seem like a good idea to be working for that employer? To me, it seems like a person who gets a job on the basis of name over qualifications is going to find themselves in a more frustrating work environment due to less qualified coworkers.
I have actually had people ask me how Jupiter (my son’s name) is spelled. It does not take long to spell it for them though. It is really no trouble at all. Tsunami (my other son) is the same. I have no doubt that some have quietly despised these names because they have to learn how to spell a word which is not a hard one to spell, or it is unusual. The folks that want all names to be nice and neatly predictable seem lazy to me. How much effort does it really take to learn a name you have not seen before, or that you may not pronounce correctly? It takes about five seconds. Learn the name, then you are done. Then you can go on about your day complaining about all the other stuff that does not fit into your tiny view of how the world should be.
It is not necessarily that more common names make the task any easier anyhow. Say, for example, someone tells you his or her name is John. Or is it spelled J-O-N? I guess we still need that same process after all. What about Sarah, or is that spelled S-A-R-A? It seems to me that the real frustration is not in the name, but in the element of surprise. The world would be much easier for them if they did not have to ever deal with something new ever again.
Do some folks honestly think that there should be a naming committee who decides which names are okay and which need to be revised? I personally think that Faith is a horrible name as one definition of it is a belief that is based on no proof. But if some parents see the word as a virtue, I am not going to appeal to the naming committee to have it revised. That is their choice and more power to them. If Faith wants his or her name changed once they realize that meaning of it that is okay too. If Faith wants to work for me and is qualified for the position, I would certainly not turn Faith away.
If my children decide to change their names one day, I would not be offended at all. It is their identifier, they can use what they like. It is not as if an official change is needed in most cases anyway. I can easily apply to a college, bank, or other official institution with my legal name, Kirk Augustine, and then ask them to call me “Frank” or whatever happens to suit me better.
Today my hair smells like watermelon. It is not because I got into a food fight in the produce section. No, that is still on my bucket list. It is because my shampoo is packed in a box somewhere and the only shampoo I could find belongs to my two year old.
We are packed up and ready to load up the rental truck and drive it from Lincoln, Nebraska to St. Louis, Missouri. The family finally ready to make the move. It is about time. We have been talking about it for almost two years.
Jupiter was surprisingly helpful when packing. He was eager to help me pack up the kitchen which was by far the biggest headache in my packing yesterday. He also packed himself in a couple of boxes, but we let him out eventually.
Tsunami was also pretty helpful in that he remained mostly quite and sleeping while we were packing. We can not ask for much more than that from him.
Today we load the truck. Tomorrow we hit the road and unload when we arrive. I am excited for some new scenery with some new experiences awaiting us.
Each chapter is designed in ‘ribbons’ and the images and text move at different paces as you swipe through the app, meaning that each screen brings something new and exciting. They also created a very simple but effective navigation panel that allows the reader to jump seamlessly from one section of the book to another. Subtle animation was added to McKean’s illustrations in the myths section of each chapter, which surprises and delights rather than distracts, and we came up with several interactive demonstrations and games to allow readers to delve deeper into the science.
I would encourage reading the rest of the article for insight on the creative process. It really is the best way to read this great book by Professor Dawkins.