Life: July 2008 Archives

Vague Joints

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I was reading through a section of my dissertation that I haven't looked at in a while, and I found myself reading about vague joints. I didn't remember using that expression, so it was kind of interesting to notice it there.

It doesn't exactly sound like the kind of thing you'd see in a Ph.D. dissertation. Of course, neither do gunk or stuff. Metaphysicians come up with some great technical terms sometimes. Of course, metaphysical discussions of holes really are about holes.

Oh, and if you don't have a sense of what vague joints might be, here's a hint.

Latest Cute Kid Quote

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The boys were at their Occupational Therapy, and it was Isaiah's turn. Ethan and Sophia were playing with a game in the gym, which abuts the therapy room. This was late enough for the room to be empty, since they do their therapy from 5:00-6:45 pm, and this was after 6:00. The sanitation engineer, a woman wearing a pink shirt, came in the room to change the trash bags just as I was poking my head into the therapy room to see how Isaiah was doing. When I went back, Sophia said the following:

Daddy, we were sitting here, and that pink lady came in, and she said hi, but we didn't either, because we were too shy.

1. Sophia still refers to people as having certain colors not because their skin is a certain color but because they're wearing clothing that color. She used to do this regularly when she was just beginning to speak in complete sentences. She clearly knows how to distinguish people according to skin color, but she's got a clear enough sense of accuracy not to call anyone black or white, since no one actually is those colors; Mommy is brown, and the rest of the family is peach. It still doesn't stop her from saying a person is the color the person is wearing.

2. The word 'either' seems to be doing the job of 'also' or 'too', either of which would have sounded very strange, so she substituted something that sounds syntactically ok even if it's semantically crazy. Her error-correction has problems in terms of its positive solutions, but she certainly can catch something that doesn't sound right.

3. Many kids are shy. Some will admit to it occasionally if you ask them. What kind of a kid will volunteer her shyness as an explanation for not saying hi to someone, when you didn't ask for an explanation, didn't know to begin with that the person had said hi and she'd refused to respond, and really wouldn't have noticed if you'd never been told? She realizes that she's being shy by not speaking to the woman, but she has this compulsion to tell us not only that she didn't respond but that her shyness is the explanation why she didn't respond. It's as if she has to speak her inner monologue aloud all the time whenever she's just with us, but she won't say a word to other people. That's a weird combination of being shy and being very much not shy.

4. She doesn't just tell us the events that occurred. She's engaging in behind-the-scenes explanation of why she does certain things, and she attributes it to a somewhat abstract quality of herself, her shyness. Do three-year-olds typically engage in such second-order reflection? This is new for us. Since her brothers are well behind her in such things, we have no idea when this sort of thing normally begins.

Here's a good example of the kind of stream-of-consciousness monologuing Sophia engages in most of her waking hours.

Sophia: Daddy, I want to wear my ugly dress today. It's in my closet hanging on a nail, just like my nail polish. My nail polish is over here. Daddy, look. See, my nail polish is melting off.

She'll often move across several different tenuous connections like that within the course of 20 seconds, and sometimes she even goes on for several minutes. We pick up very little of it most of the time because of how quickly she moves through the various stages.

She also likes to throw in lots of irrelevant information just because she likes to talk about it, so she'll tell me where her bear is (next to her blanket) and have to say that the blanket is a certain color or colors and that her Mommy made it for her. Sometimes she ties things to certain occasions or just mentions some term for a day a while back (often Saturday, which just means a while ago as far as she's concerned).

We got to see her cousin last week, who is only six weeks younger, and I was curious to see if she does the same thing. Not remotely, as far as I could tell.

Oh, and I have no idea why she calls it her ugly dress or why she nevertheless likes to wear it.

June License Plates

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U.S. States: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

other U.S.: District of Columbia, U.S. Government

Canada: Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec

U.S. States Lost from May: Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming

U.S. States Gained from May: Delaware, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee

U.S. States not seen yet at all: I still haven't seen Hawaii and Mississippi since I started doing this in October.

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