October 28th, 2003

children of dune - leto 1

amusements with child

Child can be an endless source of fascination to me. In just the most neurotic ways.

I was a part time student when he was born and I decided, brilliantly, I might add, to take a class in child psychology during that semester. Specifically, infant and toddler, requiring a lot of observation and okay, so I experimented a bit, but I like to think I didn't damage him much, since I just followed in the footsteps of professionals who traumatized their own kids in these ways.

My personal favorite was evaluating when he was capable of understanding cause and effect. That was *great* fun. One experiment a psychologist ran on her child I tried on Child--hooking a child up to a mobile to see if he realized when he kicked that the mobile moved. I didn't use that method exactly, since Child wasn't as endlessly fascinated by mobiles as he was by my hair, full bottles, and sleep. However, I did note that reading my chemistry book to him put him to sleep faster than you would believe, and I do believe that Physical Anthropology I used to read him while still in vitro is the entire reason he's fascinated with dinosaurs. Imagine that.

Anyway, the method I used was somewhat similar--Child had this pull toy thing that he could pull around with him, though he had yet to show real interest in it, seeing as it wasn't my hair, a bottle, or attached to his body. Well after the class had ended, I used the book to see where he was developmentally and got this *really* bright idea to tie the pull toy to his foot while he crawled around.

You'd think I'd put him in a cage the way my family carried on when they came by and saw The Reason The World Existed crawling around with three plastic puppies merrily trailing after him. Child was mildly confused at first--foot constriction, he moves, they move--but he got into the spirit of the thing pretty quickly and dragged them around everywhere. Later, after I'd Freed Him From Unnatural Bondage (I come by my drama queen instincts honestly), he was crestfallen he no longer had playmates to run aroudn after him. So I duct taped them to his foot and all was well. And duct tape, by the way, is *much* better than tying--Child is amused by the concept of something being stuck to him for *hours*. To see a similar reaction, try putting tape on a cat's back paw. It's the same, but with giggling.

I'm pretty sure this incident will show up in therapy at some point.

A really odd habit I got into, in the long run, was monitoring his food intake. Child has never been what I'd call lax on going for the sustenance thing, so I never really had to worry, but for class, I did keep notes on how much he ate, when, etc. Pretty freaking boring until we moved into actual food, at which time I developed my iron stomach. Diapers didn't phase me, throw up didn't phase me, I was feeling seriously like I was an accomplished parent, but God help me, the first time Child was seen with mushed green beans on his face I threw up.

I still shudder when I see it. Green, orange, mixing foods, I never really got used to it. I just learned to fix my eyes on something that wasn't him for as long as it took him to eat. And he set a record for how long it took me to teach him to eat relatively neatly. Because, man. Eww.

I look upon it pretty philosophically now. But let me get to the point of this little anecdote.

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