Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today I'm grateful for people who say "Is there anything else I can do to help?" and really mean it.
Yesterday I was grateful for a partner who made the morning happen while I was going nowhere with a gastro bug. I'm also grateful that I haven't turned this into a way to beat myself up, and I didn't get back out of bed to post this last night when I realised I hadn't put it up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Which kind of single?

Am I a bad person for being disgusted by the coverage of Breeanna Till's circumstances? I'm not particularly interested in getting involved in exactly how much she receives and whether or not it's adequate - they are valid questions but I need to have read more than the Sunday Telegraph's article in order to have a meaningful opinion.

On the other hand, the fact that she is quoted as saying
"What the DVA are offering ... is the same as if I was on the dole as a single mum. It's disappointing."
is something I find quite disturbing. I understand that Sergeant Brett Till was killed doing something that was foreseeably risky that our Government nonetheless asked him to do, and most people feel that it's reasonable that those he left behind should be looked after by that Government. I'm not disputing that at all. What I find most distressing that it is "disappointing" to be treated like a single mum on the dole. Because you know, getting to be a single mum as a result of a car accident, surviving abuse, cancer or ending a toxic relationship clearly makes you and your children less worthy of support.

I'm not trying to vilify Till, I am quoting her via the Terror, so she may never have said it - but somebody did. Somebody felt that comparing her treatment to that of single mother without a job showed that she was hard done by, without any hint that women who came to be alone by other means deserved better.

The demonisation of single mothers gives me the irrits - I know that some women have had babies to get the money from the Government and I DON'T CARE. I will support every one of them rather than punish the women and children who are trying to survive, not trying to rort the system. And this is without going into what contribution those "rorting" the system might actually make to society.

So by all means support Till's campaign for better support for the families of those lost at war - I am completely prepared to believe that she is going into bat for all of them, not just herself - but please don't use it as an excuse to enforce the vilification of the other kinds of single mother.
I'm truly grateful that it is only 6 more sleeps until daylight saving - then sleep may last a little longer...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Today I am grateful for good friends and the thoroughly enjoyable conversation an afternoon with them brings. I am also grateful for children growing up, it's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm struggling today - I think I am grateful that I have pain killers upstairs that I am about to avail myself of.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Courage of my convictions

It's past the solstice, and as such my position on Islamic women's dress has officially switched from winter's "Looks like a pretty cool way to avoid the oppression of women through obsession with looks and to never have to worry about your hair" to summer's "Looks like an atrocious oppression of women by making them wear excessively hot and uncomfortable clothing."

You can see that I have considered this deeply and carefully and from all viewpoints. My viewpoint represents everyone else's, right?
I know it's unimaginative, but today I really am grateful for Friday. I'm grateful I get to live somewhere where there is a weekend, and that I get to enjoy it. I am very grateful that there is lovely wine waiting for when those kids are in bed...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today I'm grateful for fresh salmon cooked beautifully by my husband, and new season mangos which I will be scoffing shortly.

I'm not racist but... again

Australians aren't racist. It's true, ask any one them, you'll tell you they aren't racist. I'll tell you I'm not racist, because I'm not, obviously. Only truly stupid people are racist.

I was having a conversation about Aboriginal people with a (younger) friend the other day, and we had a "I'm not racist but..." moment, regarding the assumption that it is reasonable to judge people on the basis of their petrol sniffing and other self-destructive behaviour. There was a discussion about choice and all the reasons why it isn't justifiable to judge people on that basis. We moved on to our own prejudices in various contexts and a discussion of the messy line between "I really don't like many of the acceptable behaviours in X culture" and racist thought and behaviour.

The thing that stuck out in all of this, is that racism means two things, and most people only consider one. Racism, as it is understood by most of the people I have known to say "I'm not racist but" (including myself) is about believing a particular race of people to be inherently inferior. I don't think very many people in Australia really hold this kind of racist belief.

In fact, it is precisely because they believe that Aboriginal people (or insert whatever racial group here) are inherently equal that they look down on those who engage in self-destructive behaviour. Everyone has the same potential as everyone else, so it is their own fault if they don't live up to that potential, right? This isn't really racism, this is just ordinary ignorance. Very, very destructive ignorance, but ignorance just the same. (I'm not going into why it's not "their own fault", because I'd be here all day - just take it as read that I don't believe it is "their own fault".)

But then there is the other kind of racism - the racist thought. It is widely held that a person has to be truly stupid to adhere to the first kind of racism, but the second kind of racism actually takes some pretty serious higher level functioning to overcome. To give you an example - recently I saw an Aboriginal woman driving out of a car park looking decidedly anxious. The thought crossed my mind that she had stolen the car. It was rapidly chased away by "WTF? Lots of people look stressed driving out of car parks!!!"and then a good dollop of shame. Holding racist opinions and thinking racist thoughts are not generally regarded as "real" racism by the local dominant race (white people in Australia), but of course they are.

The problem is that they are created by two of the biggest influences on our thought (at least - no doubt there are more, but these are the two that I know contribute to my thinking). The first one is just straight socialisation - you hear other people repeat stereotypes and you just absorb them. Even after spending some serious time analysing and debunking these things, it can be hard to avoid falling back on them out of habit.

But for mine, the second is harder to fight. It is the massive inductive power of our reasoning. This is based on a combination of our direct experience and that delivered through the media. I'm going to switch to discussing Indian people now, because this is one where my racist thoughts are based entirely on experience and not on media. I have had an overwhelmingly negative experience with Indian people I have met in my real life. I know it doesn't match the way Indian people are portrayed in popular culture, or the way people discuss visits to India. And you know, obviously, I've met people who don't fit my own created stereotype. Indeed, my friend has had quite different experiences and holds totally different stereotypes. So where does it come from? Human beings are hopeless inductive reasoners. We can generalise like there is no tomorrow. It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view (with thanks to Robbie who stated this so succinctly years ago) - If you eat the purple berries and then you get sick (or you see someone else eat the purple berries and they die) you never touch another purple berry. The cost of incorrectly deciding that it was the purpleness of the berry (excluding purple berries from your list of food options) is much smaller than the cost of incorrectly deciding it was a coincidence (getting sick again or dying). So our logic circuits are optimised for not concluding coincidence. Which means patterns stick with us much more strongly than is deserved.

I need to state very clearly here that I am NOT justifying racist thoughts and opinions in this way. Quite the opposite, I am thinking that I understand why racist thoughts and opinions are so easily (incorrectly) reached by people who know they aren't racist. If you add the false correlations with the valid statistics, you end up with a driving force for racist opinions. By valid statistics, I mean the simple fact that a person of X race is more likely to be Y. This is valid - at least as far as such a statistical statement can be valid. But it never means that any given person of race X should be personally regarded as more likely to be Y - or indeed that we should assume that this statistic will continue to be valid in the future, or that it reflects some "truth" about...well anything really. In other words, the fact that an Aboriginal person is more likely to be stealing a car than a white person, combined with my personal experience made me think that thought, but it does not justify it. That woman did not deserve to be a target of suspicion, no matter how fleetingly.

This is racism. It is the racism that dominates Australia, and I think we need to accept that everyone is prone to it (member of the dominant culture or not). It's one of those kinda sorta instinctive behaviours that we need to keep in check, and that we need to acknowledge, override and defuse. We need to extend that understanding of racism from "inherently inferior" to the thoughts and opinions that feel so much more justified in our own minds - and with it accept that not just stupid people have them (ie other people).

I'm not racist, but my brain throws up racist conclusions that I must reject. I must recognise them as they happen and do everything in my power not to let them affect other people. Otherwise, I'll justify myself right into holding exactly the kind of racist beliefs that only stupid people hold.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crafty Day Reminder

Don't forget about our sing-a-long crafty type day on Sunday starting from 10am. If you've been lurking and you're interested in coming, you don't need a personal invitation, you are welcome. Just send me an email (first name and my domain is m8s dot org) and I'll send you details.

See you there!
Today I'm grateful for a bladder that woke me at 5:50am so I could see the world in eerie, blood red. It was worth seeing, if not quite worth staying awake long enough to photograph and blog - although I seriously considered it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I mentioned a while back that I had started asking Ben to name one thing that was fun and one thing he was grateful for each day. We're still doing it, and it's definitely improved his overall demeanour. So I figured, if it's good for him, probably won't hurt me either. So I might try to pop up a short one liner about what I'm grateful for each day.

Today, I'm grateful for the music of Eskimo Joe. I was listening to music on shuffle, and a song started that made me smile before my brain had even registered who it was. So I'm grateful for music that makes me smile.

Conversations with Elissa - aged nearly 2

Me: Can we put this shirt on?
Elissa: Yes, it's very, very cool.


Me: Is Dolly a boy or a girl?
Elissa: NOOOOOO! It's a baby.
(I only asked this question to work out what pronoun to use, I guess I'll go back to oscillating)


Ben or Charlie: [Just about anything]
Elissa: Me too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

International Adoption

This article in the ABC news feed got me thinking about international adoption again. It's a story about international adoptions out of Ethiopia. The article starts with this:
Sit for any time in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, and you'll see a procession of Americans and Europeans wandering from their rooms across the marble floor to the restaurant or swimming pool with their precious new possessions - babies or infants they've just adopted.
It's actually a pretty balanced article, but it draws a few incorrect conclusions, in my mind. This one would be one of them:
There is overwhelming evidence to prove it is far better for a child to remain with its family or, if that's not possible, with another family in his or her own country than to be shipped off overseas.
Well, ok, there is absolutely no way I am going to argue that the child is not, in most circumstances, better off staying with their own family, but clearly better off being adopted within their own country isn't really backed up with evidence.

I should back up a bit. International adoption is amongst the most complicated issues I have ever given serious attention. At a first pass, it seems nothing short of insanity that children are living and dying in institutions while people in other places would do anything to raise a child.

I reject the notion of parents buying children as possessions as a minority at best (or worst, as the case may be). They may be showing off their newly adopted children in poorly chosen finery, but that does not imply that they have adopted the child as a fashion accessory. At at least some point, just about all parents have done the dress up thing with small kids. They are inherently cute, and it seems silly not to enhance that on occasion - especially if you are just now holding the child you thought you'd never have.

When I went looking for information on international adoption for an essay last year, I discovered a number of things. Firstly, there is bugger all real information about international adoption. What does exist primarily compares children in the country of destination, not of origin. So it compares children adopted from Romania to the US with children adopted within the US, for example. Sweden did an enormous cohort study, but again, it was all about people who grew up in Sweden. Where studies have tried to tease out the effect of being adopted to a different country from all the other possible issues, they have overwhelmingly found that the major predictor of outcome was how long a child lived in an institution before adoption, and the quality of that institution. This effect swamped the effect of cultural differences and racial differences between the child's place of origin and place of adoption.

So, looking at outcome evidence, the most appropriate conclusion is that any child that is in an institution anywhere should be adopted as quickly as possible, irrespective of the location of the adoptive parents (but clearly not irrespective of the merits of those people).

Interestingly, the size of the effect of racial and cultural differences was found to be quite different in different places, suggesting that it has more to do with the destination culture itself than the difference. As well as obvious things like racism in the adoptive culture, there is also the possibility of a self fulfilling quality to predictions that children will suffer by growing up in a different culture than that to which they were born. If you spend a lot of time making a big deal about it, it will be a big deal. I am not suggesting that people should dismiss it, just that perhaps accepting it as one of your family quirks that needs to be discussed openly and sensibly might be a more appropriate approach. This is merely my speculation, I have no further data to support this.

Still, all of this assumes a situation in which children's residence in an institution is independent of the existence of international adoptive parents. Hard experience in Romania, India and Ethiopia (to name the ones I have specifically read about, rather than any sort of exhaustive list) tells us that this is not the case. Donations by adoptive parents or their agents to institutions to support those children not yet adopted become incentive to find more attractive children. Many of the children in institutions have severe health issues, or are too old to be likely to be adopted, and so institutions are known to steal healthy, young children or to deceive parents into giving them up.

There are UN guidelines, mostly borne of the experience of Romania, as to how international adoption should be conducted, however as with all guidelines, they are only useful when fully enforced.

So what to do? Ban international adoption? Make it really, really hard?

I think this is misguided. For children living in institutions, every possible effort should be made to get them adopted. The governments of the adoptive countries have an obligation - not to charge a fortune in order to restrict international adoption to the rich few as in NSW - but to spend whatever they charge adoptive parents on programs to ensure the integrity of the adoption process where the children are. I realise this isn't all that simple, but if we don't even try, we are letting absolutely everyone down. There should also be an active program to encourage families who are in a position to do so, to adopt an older child, or one with health issues who face an awful future where they are.

In NSW it costs $40,000 or so (last time I looked) to adopt a child from another country. There should be no cost to adopt an older child or one with health issues. Clearly normal screening needs to take place, but this price barrier, not to mention the general assumption that adopting a child is a selfish, somewhat questionable choice, stops the world's most needy kids from being looked after.

The other obligation that the adoptive country has is to put the same number of dollars into general welfare, infrastructure and other projects that aim to make international adoption ultimately unnecessary. The one unequivocal statement is that it would be far, far better for these children to never be in the position to need to choose between institutions, local or international adoption.

It is possible, in my opinion, to recognise the dangers of structured international adoption without leaving children in institutions - even well funded ones - and without vilifying adoptive parents as baby buyers. And while I recognise that growing up in a culture different from where you were born is an issue, it's on the list with all the other issues children and teens deal with - needing some appropriate understanding from those around them, but hardly insurmountable. This is not to say that it hasn't been catastrophic when it has been very badly handled, but then teens have been destroyed by personality clashes with their parents and any number of issues.

Ultimately, improving this situation requires strong leadership, clear vision and an iron will to look after the children's interests first on the part of adoptive countries' governments, and I am sadly pessimistic that I will ever see that. And I utterly despair of seeing anything even vaguely like it from the NSW government.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Advanced Parenting

I took Charlie for an eye check up today (and got told to come back in a year - yay!), and on the way I had a conversation with him that really stretched my psychic parenting ability.

So I offer this as a challenge to the reader. What do you think this question means?

When you go down the green when you go to the light do you crack into bits?

I had him repeat this several times.
Then I thought about it some more.
Any ideas?
I'll give you a hint, if you've never watched the Simpsons, you have no hope in hell.
Got it?

He was essentially asking if you always crack up into dust if you go through the purple light in your wall and end up in a higher dimensional universe and proceed to fall into a singularity.

I said "No."

I don't need another source of nightmares. The giant Mr Squito that eats him is quite enough.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In defense of home birth

There is a big kerfuffle in Australian politics about home birth at the moment, and it was born out of good intentions. There has been a review of birth in Australia, and lots of good things came out of it, including that midwives should be protected by insurance, just like obstetricians.

I should declare my hand, I was treated by a private obstetrician in all my successful pregnancies, and also dealt with two miscarriages in the Sydney public system.

Home birth is not and never was for me. I am not afraid of home birth, I simply don't want to clean up after it. Frivolous - no, in reality, with good thought about this, as soon as I went into labour, I wanted to be elsewhere. I didn't want to be in my home for my deliveries, but I understand that I am not definitive. Lots of women feel much more comfortable in their own home. It doesn't take a great deal of understanding to get that mammals only progress in their labour when they feel safe. Any and all stress hormones delay and restrict labour. If you look at the science, the answer is clearly in favour of providing the best possible environment for a woman to give birth in. For me, that was a birth centre (the labour ward at my hospital was not as bad as I expected, but definitely inferior), but for others, that is a well-attended home birth.

In The Daily Telegraph there was an unbiased report (cough, hack) about this. It claimed that "All studies done on homebirth confirm there are three times more complications for the mother and baby". It failed to cite a single study.

Lauredhel has cited a study, and it conflicts violently.

Lauredhel's citation comes from Canada. Call me crazy, but it seems at least within the realms of possibility that the Terror's quote and Lauredhel's could both be right. (And I could be really wrong here - please shout if there is an Australian study that disputes this.) If there is insufficient support of home birth in Australia, we might see complications that produce the scary numbers quoted. In fact, in my ante-natal classes we were told about a tragic event in which a baby died because those responsible couldn't reach the baby from the folds of a bean bag in time. This isn't about home birth, this is about having well-prepared people present at a birth. Most babies are delivered without drama. 30% of babies in the Netherlands are delivered at home, and their infant mortality rate is lower than Australia's (thanks Mim).

Delivering a baby safely requires skill. So do home improvements. We expect that appropriately trained people can build or extend their own homes, why don't we expect that appropriately trained people can deliver children?

Part of this is clearly based in the fact that a baby is so directly involved. Everyone feels the need to advocate for the baby. That's not a bad thing - that we all feel some need to protect all infants, regardless of their association with ourselves. The problem is our evaluation of risk. We place faith in science, and we allocate that faith to doctors. I share that faith in science (although I know not everyone does), nevertheless I question every single claim to the authority of science. It can never claim right, only wrong. In the case of medicine, there is mostly neither. Science attempts to guess the best path. Science is done by people, many of whom have a vested interest in the outcome. In the case of obstetrics, this vested interest is obvious. It's about power. Science has no ability to overcome the intention of its protagonists. Anyone may pervert science to support their own ends. The only thing that keeps science in check is other scientists. It cannot find truth in an oligopoly (except by accident). FRANZCOG doesn't exactly represent diversity of opinion, and its estimate of risk needs to be seriously assessed on that basis.

As does the refusal of insurance companies to offer insurance to midwives practising in homes. There is no basis for this refusal. But I don't expect private insurance to offer a useful service, I gave up on any faith in that industry a long, long time ago. I expect our government to insure - it is easily covered by the reduction in costs as a result of boring deliveries like mine not using hospital beds. Efficiency is born of good sense, not capitalism.

Handicraft day update

A couple of weeks ago I proposed one day a month in which we could get together, chat, listen to music and make things that we could buy from China for a fraction of the cost. In response, I pretty much got an even split between Friday and Sunday. The only possible solution is to do both. (I know, I make many sacrifices.)

My first suggestion (open to objections) is the first Sunday of the month and the Friday 2 weeks after. Nominal time frame of 10am - 2pm? What do you think?

Update: Choosing the October long weekend was possibly not my most brilliant moment. How about the last Sunday in the month?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Further construction

I've been knitting again - little projects. I figured it would be quick and easy to make head bands, so I visited the bead shop, grabbed some wool to go with what I bought and got stuck in. Some might suggest that I should have read some instructions regarding how to do beaded knitting, but they'd just be silly. (I did look up some instructions when I was about half way through and discovered I might actually have a use for those teeny tiny crochet hooks my mother kept for herself.)

These two were made for the birthday party we went to today - the birthday girl was turning three.

When I saw these little flowers, they leapt out at me as perfect for this kid.

And everyone loves rainbow colours.

The top one was done with 3 ply in moss stitch, with the flowers knitted into the right side purl stitches. The rainbow one is 8 ply and all garter stitch, but done on small needles. I think it had about the right structural integrity for a head band, but I still want to work out the best way to incorporate seed beads and I doubt that 8 ply is going to work for me for that, somehow.

And the real miracle is that they appear to fit properly!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who says watching Oprah is useless?

Ben is a good kid. He's the kind of kid people comment on how lovely he is. People use adjectives like "sweet", "delightful", "kind", "thoughtful"... but not too often "cheerful". By the time he's tired at night, he's often a pack of misery. And I have to admit, I take it personally. It shits me that he behaves as though his life is a catastrophe when it is, in fact, pretty bloody good.

When I get over myself, I also realise that it is not a good thing that my son is growing up with a "glass half empty" sort of outlook. You know, as in, not good for him. I also realise that me getting grumpy with him over his lack of gratitude is unlikely to help.

This is where Oprah comes in. Watching Oprah back in the days when I lounged around at home with a nanny, I first came across the concept of a gratitude diary. I know she didn't exactly invent the idea, but it was the first time I'd heard it. So anyway, I decided that was a more positive approach, and I've started asking Ben at bed time to tell me one fun thing he did today, and one thing he is grateful for. To begin with it was like pulling teeth. I had to prompt with things that might have been fun and things he might be grateful for. Even then he only grudgingly admitted that he might actually have enjoyed that Chinese lunch he specifically asked for.

Tonight I started to walk out of the room and he said "Mummy - remember????". So I asked, and I got an animated response with giggles and elaboration and, well, happiness. All this despite my having picked him up early from after care, which usually results in a whole night pout. This may become a family ritual.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fatty and Skinny went to the beach...

The ABC is reporting a study on thigh circumference and its relation to heart disease. The gist of the conclusion is this (from the ABC article):
The research, published in today's edition of the British Medical Journal, reveals that thigh circumference is linked to the risk of heart disease and premature death.

The study looked at more than 2,800 men and women with an average age of around 50.

It found that the risk of heart disease more than doubled for both men and women who had a thigh circumference of less than 55 centimetres.

Those participants with thighs between 55 and 60 centimetres received a protective effect against heart disease, the study reports.

But that protective effect reduced for people with thighs above 60 centimetres in circumference.
I read that and thought, "Yeah, clearly everyone understands exactly how weight and disease are related." Then I wandered over to Feministe and read this post about the Pro-food movement and its lack of skepticism with respect to the "obesity epidemic", and so I started wondering again about cause and effect.

If you think that measuring thighs and concluding anything about future health prospects is silly, you'd be right. It's about as silly as measuring BMI and concluding anything useful about future health prospects. The problem here is that for a very long time, people have been measuring convenient things, and then correlating them with actual health outcomes. That'd be fine if they then spent lots of time trying to work out what those convenient measures were actually proxies for. Obesity correlates well with lots of stuff. The number of storks in Hamburg also correlates really well with the number of babies born.

Still, I very much doubt that there would be too many people arguing that terrible diet and no exercise is a good option. If you read Shapely Prose, the main message is that your weight doesn't matter because there is no demonstrated way to reduce it in the long term anyway. And the vast majority of studies focus on weight, not lifestyle, in predicting health outcomes.

It is not surprising that you find that fat correlates with health problems, there is a correlation between bad eating and insufficient activity and fat. I'd even go so far as to say that far less people would be fat if everyone ate well, exercised regularly and never, ever dieted for their entire lives. However, once you get fat, all the evidence suggests that trying to get thin again is probably pointless, and more importantly, if you fail, worse for you than being fat in the first place. Don't get me wrong, this hasn't stopped me wishing I could just lose 5kg...

Still, the problem here, from a health point of view, is that by obsessing about the weight, we are ignoring the health. The fundamental argument between the two sides of this debate is whether, given that someone follows a good diet and exercise, they will lose weight and keep it off. Kate Harding and others would tell you the answer is an unequivocal "No". Others (and not just the diet industry) will say "Yes". But ultimately, who gives a shit? If the focus is health, and most people are agreed that good diet and exercise are the better predictors of health, why do we discuss weight at all? If the "No" camp are right, focussing on weight completely defeats the purpose. If a healthy lifestyle doesn't result in weight loss, and weight loss is the only thing that is valued, why bother with the healthy lifestyle? Hands up if you or someone you know has or does say "Fuck it, I'm fat when I eat well, and I'm fat when I don't, may as well eat whatever the hell I want." Under those conditions, you will see an excellent correlation between BMI and bad health.

If the "yes" camp are right, taking the body image issues out of the equation and encouraging people to be healthy irrespective of their weight will result in weight loss anyway. And if they are right, why do they care about weight? It's just one of the side effects of unhealthy living. Surely we want to be thin because it's healthy, not healthy because it will make us thin? So focus on the healthy and forget about the weight.

My personal anecdata is that on the CSIRO diet, I feel better. Sometimes I lose weight, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I put it on. But following a menu plan is good for me, I can feel it. It results in a much broader range of food in my diet, and apparently I do have a body that prefers it when I don't eat carbs at night. When I am eating badly and not exercising, I feel crappy. But I can't find a correlation between well-being and weight, personally. I'm not saying others can't, just that at least one person doesn't*.

The only really positive thing I took out of this report about thighs, is that the authors focussed on the fact that muscle mass was the most important thing - in other words being fit is important, and more so than the amount of fat sitting over the muscle. They did imply that more fat reduces the bonus from muscle, but lack of muscle was clearly the big risk indicator. It's still just another dodgy proxy indicator, and I won't be measuring my thighs to calculate my risk, but pointing out that lifestyle is what matters, not measurements is definitely a Good Thing.

*I have lost lots of weight deliberately, and kept it off for more than 5 years, but it was crazy making getting there, and I'm fairly convinced that living on a salad roll whilst riding a bike 10km each day is not good for me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Brain rewiring

Today marks the beginning of Elissa's ability to express narrative memory. When I picked her up from day care, I asked her what she did today, and she told me, for the first time. It started as "I made it" and "I sleep", but then it was like she understood the concept and she told me "I play Kiara", "I ride scooter", "I outside, had hat" (with dramatic gesticulation at her head) and so much more I lost track. There was reading and eating and, well, you know, day care stuff. She seems to have gone from blank stare to almost full recount (in telegraphic speech) in one day.

By bed time, she was still giving me a rundown of all the events of the evening. I think she's a bit keen on this recount thing.

The boys were still getting their heads around recount at nearly 3 - I remember asking them what they did and having to prompt them. All I ever got was a slightly confused "Yeah". Why are you asking? You clearly already know...

I wonder if, by starting to build up those narrative memory pathways earlier than her brothers she will form permanent memories sooner?

Regardless, I suspect we have found that on switch that has no off.