When Mykala was just three months pregnant with Ess, one of the challenges I anticipated was a sick kid at home. How difficult it must be to watch your little one run down by aches, a runny nose, a tight cough and tired lungs. It has been about two years since that thought, and through a combination of luck and hand sanitizer, our family has threaded the contagion needle through birthday parties, sick relatives, and an entire cold and flu season. Then there was last week. Ess was down, down, down. The primary prodrome was her tendency to sit on our laps for extended periods, paging through a book, resting her head on our encircling arms. Kid must be fighting something, we guessed.
But the thing I hadn’t considered was when you have a sick kid, you’re pretty likely to be sick yourself. And so we were. All of last Monday, Mykala could not even move she was so nauseous. Eating or drinking were suspended indefinitely. And that night, Ess was up about every two hours, feeling awful. After Mykala went to bed I began tablespoons of water, separated by decreasing intervals, trying to get some liquid in her and keep it there. Feeling just a little achy and a little coughy myself, I thought I had dodged the sickening. My immunological hubris was quickly corrected during the the next few days, which I zombied through, performing my work and father duties while looking through the dirty fogged lens of illness. Each phase of it rolled in and lingered since there is no true down day of recovery when you have a toddler. Through this my mom helped us every time she could: taking Essie so Mykala could nap and convalesce, watching Ess while I fought cabin fever with some exercise, supporting us at each stage. How helpful it is to have one healthy person to help!
Slowly, slowly we have been recuperating. Essie recently had her first normal-kid morning again and only then did Mykala and I realize how stressful it had been to watch her hurting and coughing and fitfully sleeping. Delivered from the illness crucible, we found joy in little daily activities: feeding Ess in her high chair, chasing her around the house, coloring, cooking, grocery shopping, reading. As the quote goes, having a child is “[deciding] forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
If Essie doesn’t know or can’t say the word for something, it is always always ‘dahVEE’. “Can you say ‘refrigerator’?” we ask. Then, with utter confidence comes the response: dahVEE. “What’s that?” we query, pointing to something new. It’s a dahVEE. Obviously.
After hearing on the radio that the Powerball’s jackpot value had climbed to something like $900 million, we found $2 in the car and picked up a ticket when we were getting gas yesterday. We had no idea what the rules were, so imagine our surprise when we discovered that our four matched numbers were worth $100! What a return on investment. It also gave me insight into the twisted psychology of the lottery — there’s this impression that we were “just” one number away from the next prize up, when in reality you are 320 times less likely to match five numbers for one million dollars than the four numbers required to win the $100 we did. Best case scenario, the lottery makes you happy to have what you have.
Ess has been super-interested in putting things back lately, or as she says “bach”. Pick up something, bach. Walking around with something… bach. Holding a diaper, bach. Then, when you sit on the couch, she toddles up to you and goes “up UUUUPPP” which, when you’re standing, means she wants you to pick her up. When you’re sitting, though, it means she wants you to stand up and play with her.
In my case, that means chasing Ess with Dante Fiero the dragon, or as Ess knows him, bee-lah. I spend a fair amount of time walking around the house, saying “blaaah” at Ess, with my hand working the dragon puppet. Inevitably, she runs over to our curtains and stand behind them, her shearling-slippered feet sticking out from behind, shuffling around until Dante peaks in and gently clomps her face with his fabric teeth and 5 inch red felt tongue. She laughs, runs out from behind the curtain, and then behind the next curtain. If I try to go sit down, Ess will bring Dante over to me and push him into my hands. She won’t take no for an answer, and insists on being chased. She’s particularly fun to watch when she’s moving at top speed, because her little legs haven’t yet learned a full running stride. So, she’ll bobble along for about three to four paces until she kind of takes a double skip-hop beat to get her feet back under her. It’s the kind of movement kids only have for a little while, and I feel very lucky to be able to have so much fun playing with Ess at her age right now.
She’s also learning the slide we got her for Christmas; Mykala has succeeded in showing her how to use both of the steps on the ladder side of it, and then to actually put her feet in front of her before she goes down the slide. This makes us a lot less nervous, seeing Ess go down the slide feet-first instead of head-first. Occasionally, though, she’ll only get one foot in front and will slide down in a full split. She’s always been very flexible, so this doesn’t seem to bother her in the slightest.
Let’s see, what else? Ess is still getting up two times per night on average. She goes to bed perfectly, and goes back to bed just fine at night as long as she gets to nurse with Mykala. Neither one of us, but Mykala in particular, have been ready to let Ess cry at night for the nights in a row necessary to extinguish the behavior of nighttime awakenings. Mykala posed the question to me: how exactly would extinguishing that behavior of waking up at night be about anything other than our needs and our convenience? Does discouraging this natural behavior help Ess in any way? I’ve read of nothing and come across nothing that says getting a baby or toddler to sleep through the entire night is about the baby’s needs. I think when one is anticipating another child, though, it does become a major issue. I can’t imagine two children not sleeping through the night. This, however, is not something we are anticipating or planning for. So, we have the luxury of not having to “sleep train.” There have been a few nights where I have felt hopeless, that Ess will never sleep through the night, but I always feel more optimistic in the morning. It helps that Ess nearly always wakes up rested and happy and ready for the day.
Also, I napped when Ess did today, for I believe only the second time ever. I feel so well-rested and optimistic that it is probably coloring the tone of this post. Oh well, I’m enjoying the rested-ness!
The disrepute into which Formal Logic has fallen is
entirely unjustified; and its neglect is the root cause
of nearly all those disquieting symptoms which we have
noted in the modern intellectual constitution. Logic has
been discredited, partly because we have come to suppose
that we are conditioned almost entirely by the intuitive
and the unconscious. There is no time to argue whether
this is true; I will simply observe that to neglect the
proper training of the reason is the best possible way to
make it true. Another cause for the disfavor into which
Logic has fallen is the belief that it is entirely based
upon universal assumptions that are either unprovable or
tautological. This is not true. Not all universal
propositions are of this kind. But even if they were, it
would make no difference, since every syllogism whose
major premise is in the form “All A is B” can be recast
in hypothetical form. Logic is the art of arguing
correctly: “If A, then B.” The method is not invalidated
by the hypothetical nature of A. Indeed, the practical
utility of Formal Logic today lies not so much in the
establishment of positive conclusions as in the prompt
detection and exposure of invalid inference.
And the conclusion:
We have lost the tools of learning—the axe and the wedge,
the hammer and the saw, the chisel and the plane— that
were so adaptable to all tasks. Instead of them, we have
merely a set of complicated jigs, each of which will do
but one task and no more, and in using which eye and hand
receive no training, so that no man ever sees the work as
a whole or “looks to the end of the work.”
A cogent case for reinstating the Trivium in education. Plus, the author, Dorothy Sayers is a super interesting person. She copywrote the most famous Guinness ads, wrote the slogan “It pays to advertise!”, wrote crime fiction, translated, hung out with as some of the Inklings, and translated The Divine Comedy.
Dante the Dragon: bee-lah
Pine nut: ma-guck
Ess demonstrates the last one for us in this video. The middle one is because the dragon chases Ess and says “blah” at her. I’m starting to understand why parents have such an easy time understanding their kids.
Essie’s word for bug is “bugah” or I suppose “bug-ah” but those two sounds blend together so seamlessly, and she so rarely says it once, that you really get bugahbugahbugahbugah. So that’s anything small and colored dark. Most things requiring a pincer grip. “What’s that?” we ask. “Bugahbugah. BUGAHBUGAHBUGAH.” comes her reply.
The other day Ess had poppyseed bread, a few tiny pieces of it. She was just convinced it was filled with bugahs. She ate it anyway. We should be excited about knowledge transference? We should be concerned about her willingness to eat things which she believes to contain hundreds of tiny bugs? Both? Parenting.