What anxiety can look like in little ones

“A video of a child of about 18 months using a hammer and peg game in play with his mother shows the mom pretending to be hit by the hammer. The child laughs, and playfully hits her again, but when the mom pretends to cry he looks worried and kisses her finger. Some observers interpret the child’s initial reaction as one of aggression. However, others familiar with observations of young children see the response as one of anxiety.

“Often when young children get an unexpected response to their behavior from an adult they are unsure about what caused it. They may repeat the behavior to try to figure it out. It is as if they are asking a question, ‘What happened? What did I do?’ A familiar example is when a child bites someone for the first time. This brings such a strong reaction from the adults on the scene that it is almost a given that the child will do it again to try to understand the event and its response.”

Good Enough Mothering: What Do Babies Know?

“If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.”

“It’s fun to satisfy our intellectual, emotional, and physical curiosities, in fact that’s the only way we can do it. Fun is real. Fun is not frivolous, it’s central. Fun is the most valuable thing there is. I’m here to tell you, if it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.

“My hope…is that it’s the anticipation of fun that puts your feet on the floor each morning, because that’s the real life for which we should be preparing our children.”

— Teacher Tom, The Real Life For Which We Prepare Children

This week’s link collection

Why People Love to Get Lost in Books:

“Lifetime exposure to fiction predicts social skills such as perceiving what other people are thinking and feeling…”

Why Do We Get Transported by Stories We Know Are False?:

“The older parts of the brain evolved to see things, detect predators, manage emotions, and other, older cognitive skills. The newer parts of the brain are capable of reasoning and reflection. What this means is that only the newer parts (specifically the frontal lobes) “know” that what you’re reading is fiction. The older parts of the brain have trouble distinguishing real from fictional faces, and even true from false sentences!…

…The paradox of fiction is resolved because our minds are torn about the reality of what we’re experiencing.

Half of our minds believe these stories to be true.”

A Healthy Stepmother . . . and the importance of place:

“It is the space you occupy when you are being you, when you are fully engaged in the living in your stepfamily, when you are giving and receiving what is there to be given and received.”

This week’s links

Mommy Guilt is a Misnomer: “‘Mommy guilt’ is something far more serious and harmful than guilt; let’s stop calling it that.”

Six Words You Should Say Today: “‘… College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: ‘I love to watch you play.'”

So That’s What We’ll Do: Teacher Tom on building a swing with five interested preschoolers.

How To Use Math To Crush Your Friends At Monopoly Like You’ve Never Done Before

We Need a Fixer (Not Just a Maker) Movement

Liam’s Handmade Guidebook:

“I… had him POINT (no forced reading, just point) to pictures of things he wanted to do. No input from me,  no gentle nudges about the excitement of the crown jewels or the Nobel Peace Prize Museum.   If he were in charge of this trip,  what would he do?  Then we made copies of those pictures and he cut and pasted them into a blank book. The result was his own personal guidebook; a completely kid-centric itinerary….

Here are some examples of Liam’s top travel picks:

Find Pippi Longstocking, eat ice cream every day, eat Swedish hot dogs from “korv kiosks”, find a new candy, see the Little Mermaid, see a viking ship, collect Swedish and Danish money, ride the coin-operated public bicycles, go on the rides at Tivoli, visit cupcake shops for a traditional 4pm treat, take a boat to an island, run in a beautiful field.”

Link collection: What I’m reading lately

Teacher Tom: The Technology of Treating Children Like Fully Formed Human Beings: “Well, here I am today, the parent of a 16-year-old, a kid learning to navigate all the regular high school stuff we worry about, and I’ve yet to feel the need to ‘come down’ like a house of bricks. In fact, just as I did when she was 5, I find it much more productive to lay it all out for my daughter as honestly and informatively as possible, revealing my emotions, my dilemma as a parent, my concerns for her safety or her morals or her future or her reputation or whatever. No one makes great decisions all the time, but she’s had a lifetime of practice, and most of the time she comes up with perfectly reasonable solutions…My primary responsibility is to speak informatively, and to leave a space in which thinking can take place.”

The Metallic Snow-Capped Mountains of Venus: “Mountains on Venus are…capped with snow. Except that Venusian snow is mostly made from heavy metals.”

What Trolls Have Taught Me About the Privilege Created By Being Loved:

“This is the both the wonder and problem of being in healthy relationships: You forget just how crazy and toxic people can be. You walk around in this privileged bubble of kindness and genuine good intentions. So you can forget about how many people are abused, how limits don’t matter to rapists and wife-beaters. And you are gobsmacked when you run into people who are unkind for sport and have malicious intentions…

The experience of being loved, if it goes on long enough, makes you start to expect goodness and become less tolerant of even marginally abusive behavior. You think you are doing something right because you “attract positive people” and repel those who are toxic. People are kind to you, respectful and even fall in love with you because there is something about the privilege of being loved that reproduces itself.

Those of us who have good relationships are like people who are born wealthy and become even wealthier because of their work. Many wealthy people believe that if they can make a couple of extra million dollars a year by working hard, the rest of us should be able to make our first million the same way.”

Watts for Lunch? (Or Why Humans Are Like Light Bulbs): A human runs on the same amount of energy as a 120-watt light bulb.

What Marketers Don’t Understand About Motherhood: “…being mom is about being real.”

Bruce Schneier: You Have No Control Over Security on the Feudal Internet

Deep-Sea Dump: ROVs Expose Trashed Ocean Floor: Pictures of things found on the ocean floor.

Paul Krugman: Sympathy for the Luddites: “If the picture I’ve drawn is at all right, the only way we could have anything resembling a middle-class society — a society in which ordinary citizens have a reasonable assurance of maintaining a decent life as long as they work hard and play by the rules — would be by having a strong social safety net, one that guarantees not just health care but a minimum income, too. And with an ever-rising share of income going to capital rather than labor, that safety net would have to be paid for to an important extent via taxes on profits and/or investment income.”