Tag Archives: children

I Don’t Understand Cereal

6 Aug

I’m not sure who came up with pouring milk on a grain.  This makes it soggy, and I’m pretty sure not that many people love soggy food.  Did someone just come up with the concept in order to make the right amino acid balance?  Or carb/protein?  Or maximize vitamins or something?  It seems sort of thrown together.  And who thought–wow this tastes like a$$, I’ll fix it by pouring a bunch of unrefined sugar over it?!  And sell it to kids!  It seems to negate the whole idea–of balanced breakfast.  Why else pour milk over something that’s supposed to crunch?

Another thing I don’t get is why cereal is marketed to primarily children, then secondarily a diet food for moms on the go?  Do you have to be a child or mother to like dairy-covered sugar-grains?  Cereal commercials and cartoons are intertwined–you can’t tell when the program ends and the advertisement starts!  The Trix Rabbit, Lucky Charms Leprechaun, Cheerios bee, etc. . .  do for sugar and obseity what Joe Cool the camel did for cigarettes and cancer.  It’s not ethical.


Fact:  “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!  In a study of 65 cereals in 10 different grocery stores, Cornell researchers found that cereals marketed to kids are placed half as high on supermarket shelves as adult cereals—the average height for children’s cereal boxes is 23 inches versus 48 inches for adult cereal.” 


(it wouldn’t let me past the link, I don’t know why)

Fact:  “The team measured the eye angles of 57 different kids’ cereal characters in 10 grocery stories across New York and Connecticut, and found that the character’s eyes were cast down at an average angle of 9.6 degrees. By contrast, cereals that were marketed to adults featured spokespeople whose eyes looked almost straight ahead, or looked up at a 0.43 degree angle.”  Forbes

(I tried to post the link to each of these websites and wasn’t able to?)

Fact:  “(Reuters) – U.S. children are consuming more than 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) of sugar annually if they eat a typical morning bowl of cereal each day, contributing to obesity and other health problems, and cereal makers and regulators are doing little to address the issue, according to a study released on Thursday.  The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based health information non-profit, said its report covers more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.”





cereal--to kids

As a child I was insanely jealous of these brothers at my daycare–they got Cookie Crisp for breakfast every morning, and my cereal was not allowed to contain sugar.  Now I look back and think–who the fu(k is giving straight sugar to children first thing in the day??!  Inappropriate.

I’ve never liked it.  Doesn’t matter the brand, flavor, or concept of the cereal–I think it’s pretty gross.  But I’m not a fan of milk by itself either so maybe that has something to do with it.  Not liking it is unfortunate because it IS fast.  And as a busy hypoglycemic, it’s imperative I eat a fast and “balanced” breakfast.  I’ll take a spoon of plain peanut butter over cereal.  Another reason I don’t like it is eating it is effortful.  You have to use a spoon, catch the grains, then you have icky colored or grain-infused milk at the bottom of the bowl.

Who eats this stuff?  Unless they’re in a dessert bar or something, that is.  I’ll stick with my oatmeal.

Teasing Isn’t the Worst Thing

12 Apr

Let me distinguish teasing from bullying. Bullying is never OK, and it needs to stop. I would categorize it as persistent to relentless, threatening words or behavior +/- physical attacks.

We watched a video about children with hearing loss in class. I thought the movie really bent over backwards to ensure that none of the profiled were teased about their hearing aids. And I felt all of the parents were very preoccupied at the prospect of their child being teased. And I felt like that shouldn’t matter as much as they were saying it should.

CI flower

It is human nature to categorize and notice difference. There is RESEARCH that shows people rated most attractive are the most healthy. Humans learn to classify and notice differences in order to ensure genetic survival. Also, in order to readily see cultural boundaries or find “friendly” tribes. You can’t just un-do millenia of evolution.  You should watch this, because it is awesome and it is interesting–also it goes into the evolutionary categorization I’m talking about:


Also, let me just say that I don’t think getting rid of teasing all-together isn’t practical and it may even be detrimental.

Every kid is “other” somehow: Glasses, gay, height, weight, athletic ability, pointy nose, etc, etc. . . Teasing isn’t limited to just one difference or one child. And I think it’s a good teaching point. When a child is teased you can remind them it’s their differences that make the unique and special person they are. You can also teach them that their self-esteem shouldn’t be tied to what others think [IMPERATIVE POINT].  Kids need to learn not to care about what others think. Also, even if adults are able to shield kids from all teasing (impossible) they are going to hear it at some point. They ought to be given the tools to cope with the situation, otherwise they will crumble at an older age when they don’t have an advocate.

Trampled & Awkward

5 Nov

I am still here.  I was house-stting and studying for my 2nd exam in a week span.  This one went much better, by the way–I’m only uncertain of two questions.  And no moldy coffee was consumed for once.  Anyway, I’ve been very, very tired the last two days, dispite pretty good sleep.  I think I need to 1)  take vitamins 2) buy and take some B vitamins.  I did however, drink an unprecedented 6 cups of water this morning before 9AM.  I feel it’s a real accomplishment as I have never had more then 4 cups in a day and I didn’t even start out dehydrated so it all added to my fluid level instead of trying to break even.

I’m drinking coffee now and that un-does a little of it, but I’m trying to get some energy so I can file old exam info, type the new outline, study the new flashcards, and clean the apartment.  So I’m getting my momentum by typing this. . .  Though as I type, I’m pretty disatisfied with the content and syntax.  But it’s better then no post at all, so bear with me.

The real topic at hand is names.  I always thought gals who knew their future children’s names when they, themselves were in college (or elementary school, as the case may be) were. . .  INSANE.  I mean, the spouse does have a say in the matter and genders are unknown, and a lot of factors go into this huge decision.  But now, I guess I am one of them.

stegotortoiseWe have named our future tortoises.  “Awkward” and “Trampled.”  Since the slogan of awkward turtle is funny and I like the band “Trampled by Turtles.”  Also, we have begun to name future cats.  So far there is “Britches.”  Obviously this is a thing with me.  And there turtle eating strawberryis “Bison,” and “Bernie.”  Last but not least Cool and I decided that if ever, which this would be a long, long time away and maybe never at all.  If ever we had a child–we would name it the gnder-neutral Austin, with the middle name Reathel to honor my grandma.  But not Reathel as a first name, because if anyone made fun of the name, including the kid itself, it would break my heart.  So I guess I’ve joined the ranks of the insane in the naming frenzy.  Austin Reathel!

That is all I have to say–time to bleach the mold in the bathroom.  Fun-times.


Syntax of a 5 Year Old

21 Nov

OK, I spared you from seeing my work when coding and slashing for morphemes, calculating MLU, and finding percent mastry on this huge assignment.  Here is some syntax +/- pragmatics (we’ll see) for my language sample.  Then, maybe an updated to-do list.  Exciting, I know.  BUT–I’m sure my trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving will inspire an awesome post that will be interesting to you, my dear readers.

[D]=declarative statement

[N]=negation (complex syntax)


c [D] It smell/s bad.

c [D]  Ok, let me go.

c [D]  You never take a bath.

c [D]  I do!

c [D]  See this is [unconcop] my bath.

c [D]  And this is [unconcop] my table.

c [D]  I/*’m [concop] bigger then it.

c [D]  See he/’s [concop] bigger then this guy.

c [D]  But if there/’s [concop] no straw this is [unconcop] bigger.

c [D]  There is [concop] a straw. [11] 52/11 = 4.73

c [D]  One-hundred-thousand!

c [D]  More, more!

c [D]  Yeah.

c I took Bethany, Pee*

c [D]  Donut-hole!

c [D]  That/’s [concop] my new one.

c [D]  Today! [6 very short utterances] 12/6 = 2

c [D]  Mallory!

c [D]  Mallory we have a cat, we have a horse, we have a cow, we have a chicken, {phrasal coordination} but coordinating conjunction it look/3s like nothing of our/3s. 2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c So there/’s [con-]>

c [N]  (and and) and (we) we don’t have a dock.

c [N]  We don’t have a dock.

c [D]  No, it/’s [concop] not.

c Yeah, (and then and then) and then>

c [D]  I/’m [concop] just born.

c [D]  No, I/’m [conaux] fish/ing.

c [D]  No, that/’s [concop] my dad.

c [D]  Someone is [conaux] paint/ing, too.

c [D]  A little boy.

c [D]  That/’s [concop] Steve, and that/’s [concop] Tom, and then me, {phrasal coordination} and coordinating conjunction that/’s [concop] all. 2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c [D]  Give me a llama mommy, andcoordinating conjunction I/’ll ride it home.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c [D]  Let me out. [13] 91/13 =

c (Mmm hmm).

c [D]  This cat is [conaux] (this cat is um) sit/ing on the present. [1]

c [D+N]  SantaClause, but coordinating conjunction I don’t believe in him.  is a proper noun alone, an independent clause?

c [N]  No.

c [N]  That/’s [concop] not real.

c [D]  When subordinating conjunction you/’re [concop] at work, temporal, embedded phrase? you get us present/s to go home with.

c [D]  Mommy told me that.

c [D]  (And then) And then she leave/3s them, and coordinating conjunction she go/3s back to bed.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence.

c [D]  Yeah!

c [D]  And Mommy, she told me that,

c [D]  Mommy she told me. 

c D]  She/*’s [conaux] wear/ing a mustache.

c [D]  She/*’s [conaux] wear/ing a mustache. [11] 70

c [D]  It/’s [concop] so funny. [1]

c [D]  I/’m[conaux] sleep/ing with somebody!

c [D]  That/’s [concop] our cat.

c [D]  That/’s [concop] our cat, Mom.

c [D]  Momo.

c [D]  And he has [3irr] a pink nose.

c [I]  And (oh la I) I can find it faster then him, see?

c [D]  No I can find it faster.

c [D]  No I can. changes voice to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  No I can.  changes voice again to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  No I can.  changes voice back to original character to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  I can play basketball now!

c [D]  Yeah.

c [D + N]  (I I can) I can do nothing, and coordinating conjunction I don’t like anything.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence. changed voice again to reflect pragmatics


play- 0

talk- 0

pic- 3 instances of sentential coordination/conjoined sentences

book- 2 conjoined sentences, +/- 2 embedded sentences


total- 5-7 complex sentence forms in 55 utterances = 9% to 13% complex forms

–>  I’m glad I did put the sample on here, because I immediately saw an e among all the c, which trew off a bunch of my previous calculations.

Day 2–Cementing the Learning

27 Sep

I actually wrote that last post yesterday.  And you can see there’s a lot less red (things I got wrong or couldn’t remember).

Also, as a side-note, it really bothers me that whoever it is, doesn’t use the terminology genetic and environmental influence, which I find more technical and accurate.  Plus nature and nurture are pretty similar words–both starting with n and containing two syllables, and could create confusion.  Not to mention being sort of watered down in meaning. . .

Anyhow, back to it:

Nurture (Enviro)

1.  Behaviorist Theory-

Language is not innate or special, it’s just another behavior.

Operant conditioning- Reinforced behaviors are strengthened, punished behaviors are REPRESSED.

Exp:  Swearing.

2.  Social-Interactionist Theory-

Language is learned through SOCIAL INTERACTION with a more capable person.  Then, it’s internalized to a psychological plane.

ZONE of Proximal Development (ZPD)-The difference between the child’s actual ability (as evidenced by individual problem solving) and their potential development (found through collaborative effort with someone more capable).

Exp:  Scaffolding rhymes.

3.  Intenistist Theory-

Child drives own language learning.  The tension between wanting to communicate own intentions to other people, and the ability for communicating drives the child to learn language.

Exp:  “Zip me up!”

4.  Cognitive Theory

Cognitive development must precede language learning.

Evidenced by monlogues (egocentric speech) turning into dialogues.  Draws on theory of mind where the child understands other people have different ideas, feelings, and thoughts AND can put themself in someone else’s perspective.

Exp:  The phoneme acquisition order follows general development stages.

5.  Competition Theory

Different forms of language compete, until a reliably heard (correctversion is strengthened.

Evidenced by over-generalization-applying the rule too much.

Exp:  Preschool positive language learning environment vs. neglect situation.

6.  Usage-Based Theory

Children attend to and understand other people’s intentions, and mimic communication actions in order to learn language.

Exp:  A baby laughs when the adults laugh during an adult conversation.

Nature (genetic):

1.  Modularity Theory-

Language is innate and localized in highly specific structures/modules of the brain.

Exp:  Children with one area of impaired language can excel in a different language area.

2.  Universal Grammar Theory-

All children are born with knowledge of grammar and language catagories common to all language in general.  Input shows children parameters of language rules specific to their own language community.

Exp:  Children’s language acquisition vs. Alex the talking bird’s.

3.  Semantic Bootstrapping-

Figuring out an unknown word using other words in the context.

4.  Syntactic Bootstrapping-

Ascertaining the part of speech from place in the sentence an unknown word is located, and using grammatical context to learn the word.

Boring for You, Studious for Me

27 Sep

I’m posting on an off-day, but it doesn’t really count, b/c it’s actually studying.  I’m going to attempt to write key features (from memory) of important language development theories that I have to know for my exam tomorrow.

Nurture (Environmental) Influence:

1.  Behaviorist Theory

Language is not special or innate, it’s just another behavior.

Operant conditioning-Positive reinforcement strengthens correct forms, while punishment represses wrong forms.

Example is swearing.  The curse word might be initially reinforced/strengthened by a parent that swears often.  When the child utters the bad word in front of the wrong person the resultant punishment will supress the curse word.

2.  Intentionality Model

The tension between wanting to share intentions with others, and the ability to do so drives language learning.

Example I used is a child who asks someone to zip them up.

3.  Competeition Model

Multiple forms of language compete, and the reinforced forms are strengthened.

Evidenced by over-generalization (applying the rules too much).

My group talked about language developing normally in a positive communication environment that strengthens correct forms by singing, story-telling, and chants vs. disordered/non-exsistent language in cases of neglect.

4.  Social-Interactionist Model

Language emerges through social interaction with a more capable person, then is internalized on a psychological plane.

Example is a teacher scaffolding with a child to walk them to to correct answer.

Book example was a mother asking what rhymes with cat and the child couldn’t answer.  So mom said, “Does cat rhyme with book?  Suit?  Hat?  And the child could say cat rhymed with hat.

Zone of Proximal Development-The difference between the childs current development (based on individual problem solving) and the potential level of development (collaborative problem solving with a more capable person).

5.  Cognitive Theory

Cognitive development milestones must precede language learning.  

This makes sense when you think of the order of acquisition of phonemes.  The bilabials are first because the infant has control of their lips at an early age.  The alveolars are later, because they require more precision and children’s motor skills can’t handle that until later.

Children’s speech moves from egocentric to dialogue.

6.  Usage-Based Theory

Children attend to, and understand intention, and mimic communication actions to learn language.

Example is a baby that laughs (even though they don’t understand what is being said) just because two adults are laughing during an adult conversation.

Nature (Genetic):

1.  Modularity Theory

Language is innate and localized in specific structures of the brain.

Example is people that have a stroke in the left hemisphere (language side) but still have speech and language skills.

Another Example is when a child has a language impairment in one area, but excels in another area of language.

2.  Universal Grammar

Children are born knowing general rules of grammar and catagories common to all languages.  Input gives them parameters of own language that supplements their innate knowledge.

Example is comparison to Alex the talking bird.  Alex was taught a lot of phrases through years of training and work.  Still, his language skills are equal to a young elementary-aged child, AND he does not put together sentences, have syntax, or understand grammar.  Children know these things without formal instruction.

3.  Semantic Bootstrapping

The child uses contextual words to figure out an unknown word.

Example:  Gaven will figure out medical jargon based on other words in the sentence.

4.  Syntactic Bootstrapping

The child ascertains the unknown words part of speech based on its position in a sentence and uses that grammatical context to learn the new word.

Example is when Gaven was given a comparison of the verb, spayed, to figure out what neuter meant.  He used contextual grammar to learn the unfamiliar word.


1.  Connectionist Theory

The brain is composed of connections and nodes.  Input strengthens connections.


A Kid in the Hospital

31 Jul

Veterinary hospitals are often run by families.  I’ve worked for 2 married couples, had relatives of the vet as co-workers at 3 different jobs, entertained kids of co-workers/vets at 4 different places, had sick children coming to work with vets at 2 jobs, and had newborn babies crying/nursing/getting raised during work three times.

I think it’s somewhat nice to have such a closeness at work.  And I am FOR mothers working.  For equality and feminist purposes, working mothers are a good thing.  Except I do not think kids should be brought to vet hospitals (or any place of work for that matter, save for a daycare) for extended time, especially if that hospital is open and trying to do business.

Here is why:

When the kids are sick–and there is no one else to take them on short notice, I don’t mind if they are brought in, tucked in one corner, and quietly sleep, read, or watch movies all day.  BUT if the kid feels well enough to walk around, make messes, and be underfoot, well, I say they are well enough to be at school.  Plus, I don’t need a sick kid getting me (and everyone else) sick.

Vet hospitals only have so much room.  Especially on a busy day, it gets tedious shuffling a child out of the way.  And sometimes the kids are being noisy so the clients can hear them–or worse startling the animals when you are trying to get things done.  Pushing a wheeled chair around when I am trying to restrain a scared cat with a short fuse for a blood draw = not helpful.  A kid in the surgery room–during a surgery–really makes me crazy.

I challenge that the parents are not fully concentrating on the job when their kids are present.  The child is constantly trying to talk to their parents, asking questions, demanding food, wanting entertainment.  There is no way the parent is accomplishing regular job tasks at the normal level of competency with so much distraction.  And it looks terrible when the client can hear the kid trying to interrupt Dr. Mom while she’s on the phone or in an appointment.

Co-workers (employees in general) find it disruptive.  I am not a teacher or a baby-sitter.  I did not sign up to work with kids, try to discipline them, or answer their incessant questions.  At one job the vet’s (really obnoxious, precocious, undisciplined) daughter hung out every day after school.  And one of the boys at work literally knocked her down and mashed her face in the grass.  It sounds super-uncool and unethical now, but believe me–we all wanted to mash her face in the grass.  Plus, even if I am OK with a kid being there–I have work to do.

Cleaning with a kid in the place is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos.  Totally not my quote, but true all the same.  As an example, I cleaned during lunch Friday per the usual.  Kid ate crusty cheese in 3 rooms.  Kid ran amuck upstairs.  Kid touched everything with sticky (possibly germy) hands.  So I went in early Saturday to re-clean.  The kid came back Saturday.  Got crumbs in one room.  Spilled water in the hallway.  Trampled weed remnants in 2 other rooms.  So I had to go in early on Monday to clean a third time. . .  Then I found an apple core in the laundry. . .  It’s just too much.

Safety is an issue.  The child usually is not aware of animal handling.  They could get bit, scratched, kicked, trampled, poisoned, step on a needle–possibilities for getting injured (for anyone, but especially a kid) in a medical setting are endless.  I was especially worried when the vet’s daughter was around horses, but seemingly unaware that they startle.  Things could go really bad having someone around who is small and not always paying attention.  OSHA would not like it.

Having a child at work is in no way professional.  And having the kid actually doing stuff to “help” is problematic.  Counting medications or or really doing anything makes me worry.  Employees often make counting or medication mistakes–a kid could easily do it.  It’s a liability.  And I’m 100% certain clients would NOT like it.

Boredom–it’s a long day for me, I can’t imagine having nothing to do during that span of time.  For kids, it must feel like forever.  Especially when no one is paying attention to you, there’s no entertainment what-so-ever, and you keep getting barked at.

And of course, employees feel compelled to say something for all of the above reasons.  But it is a lose-lose situation.  There is no (fucking) way to talk to the mother, as I am 100% certain her reaction would not be desirable–no matter the mother.  Mothers that bring their kid to work in the first place obviously don’t have or understand the above concerns.  She figures her kid is smarter, more well behaved, and more likable then the average kid so common sense shouldn’t apply.

So parents, leave your damn kid at home, in school, or with the sitter.  No one may say it to you, but they HATE when you’re bringing them to the work-place.

Icky Reasons for IVF

5 Jun

I know IVF in Kansas was for infertile couples who desperately wanted a child.  As an egg donor in the Midwest, I felt my contribution was part altruistic, part financial.  The parents on the waiting list seemed to really want a healthy child.  I never got the vibe that people wanted a model-genius or anything like that.  At most, I knew parents wanted a donor that resembled them–probably so the parents could sort of see what their genes looked liked together and also so their family would look more cohesive.

Then, when you get to California and even Seattle, IVF is more a way to genetically engineer a beautiful, smart, child. A lot of the questions on the surveys regarded test scores and accomplishments, rather than just the health background I had in Kansas City.  And no one in Seattle ever picked me as a donor.  Maybe because the West coat market is more saturated with women wanting to donate, but also, I suspect, because I didn’t Ace the SAT or get signed by Ford.  It creeped me out that parents are picking traits they want in a child and trying to exclude different or unique characteristics.

It’s the variability in people that makes us special–however problematic for society.

Plus, that was some of the best (easiest) money I’ve made in my life.  Most definitely the easiest.  Even with the drugs, needles, and 2.5 hour (one way) driving time.  It honestly didn’t inconvenience me very much at all–especially when they handed me those big checks after surgery 🙂  I could certainly use that kind of income now!  Except, I’m running out of time.  You can only be an egg donor until age 30.  I have about one year to get picked.  Listen up, infertile people in Seattle–pick my profile, hurry!  *sigh* I need to go back to the Bible Belt so I can utilize my last 2 donations (you get 6 in a lifetime).  I should see if MT, ID, or Eastern WA have an IVF program. . .

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1 Dec

Who knew going into the Toys R Us would be so political?  Cool and I never go there since we don’t have kids or any young relatives, or even any friends that are parents.  But with Christmas approaching, we wanted to do somthing to help local needy children–and there are a LOT here!

I want to promote learning, but not gaming/computers.  I think kids should spend more time developing their brains, and less developing their thumb muscles.  This rendered a quarter of the store off-limits.

Firstly, when did Legos get so expensive?  Before we entered the store we thought we wanted to get a nice Lego set so our kid-recipient could build.  After looking at (4 aisles!) of the blocks, we realized the good Lego sets were in the hundred dollar range and out of our allotted price bracket.  That alone is political   Why pay so much for the simplest of age-old building materials?  How much could they possibly cost to make?

So we wandered.  I don’t agree with the premise of Barbie, because I think it gives little girl poor self-image, makes kids and adults alike have unreasonable body expectations, and contributes nothing to developing the mind, body, or motor skills for that matter.  And on that same track, I think gifts should be age-appropriate.  I was pretty appalled to see full makeup sets being marketed to girls.  How early must they start fitting into society’s cookie-cutter ideal of the beautiful woman?!  So almost half the store was not a gifting option.

I also have a problem with gendered gifts.  I think little boys and girls should be able to play with anything they want so the rows and rows splashed with pink were out, as were the guns.  Why were there so many toys promoting violence for boys?  Between the video games, afore-mentioned guns, and war-themed trinkets, that was pretty much the extent of their selection.  I thought about GI Joe figures, but decided against it, because I don’t really think little boys should be dragged into the political arena in the form of pro-armed forces at such a young age.

I thought maybe something educational, athletic, or musical would be cool, and fit with my belief system, but again these items were well out of my price range.  I saw some awesome things for myself in these particular sections though.  Did you know they have little microscopes for kids?  Guitars, keyboards, and bongo sets?  Electroplasma Lava Lamps?  It was crazy!

In the end, Cool got an amazing deal on 10 different colors of play dough and I found a whole box of ocean animal figurines.  That way the child that gets my gift can learn about different ocean animals, gain an appreciation (hopefully) for ocean conservation efforts, AND play for a long time.  Oh, and we got an ant farm that has glow in the dark gel instead of sand for ourselves!  I hope the cats are intrigued by it.

Lessons:  Giving to the underprivileged feel really good, shopping for kids is fun, and political agendas are aimed at our youth.  Who knew?  Well, I guess Pepsi Co did.  And McDonald’s.  And Camel.  OK, I guess I knew too, but forgot–and didn’t realize it was so blatant and pervasive.