Monthly Archives: August 2007

Rule 1: Always do things differently

If there’s a standard way to do something, Lillian is always looking for some off-beat variation.

At child care, the kids know they can get a sticker as they pass the front desk on the way out.  The stickers are small round ones which come on sheets of about 50.  They are surrounded by a kind of frame of sticky paper.  Whereas other kids like to get a sticker, Lillian prefers to have the frame, which is much bigger, and full of holes where the stickers were.  She’s gradually plastering her trail-a-bike with these multi-coloured sticker-frame things.

As we ride home, we pass a large granite monument-type thing with four sides and and a flat top about 7 feet high.  On each side is a drinking fountain.  Lillian likes to have a drink, and then to climb up on top of the monument.  She stands up there and starts singing randomly.  It is at a busy footpath-crossing on the Melbourne University campus, so people are wandering by wondering what is with this little kid, standing so high and singing away.

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Another snapshot

Last weekend we went to Damian Powell’s 40th birthday party, which was at their block in the Strathbogie ranges near Euroa.  There was a big bonfire, barbecue, cakes etc. and kids generally had a great time running around.

lillian_at_dusk2.jpg

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Fixed… sort of

Lillian has been playing with sticky tape a lot lately.

I dropped a plate on the floor.  It broke in two.  Lillian heard it and came rushed over.

I said “Silly Daddy dropped a plate.  Lets put it in the bin.”

“No, I can fix it!”

So we now have one “fixed” bread plate, covered in sticky tape.   It does actually hold together.

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Sunday at home

We spent most of today just hanging out at home.  Lillian spent a while cutting pictures, mostly of flowers, out of magazines and pasting them onto a large sheet of paper.  After that, she was creating a “museum”, finding things in the backyard and bringing them in and arranging them in a kind of display.  Items included a large ceramic frog, three snails (two live and one empty shell) a weed with long roots, some leaves, some kind of bug thing on a lemon leaf, a spiky stick, etc..  In the afternoon we went to the zoo for a while.  When we came back, she was soaking the backing off old postage stamps and pasting them on herself.  When we refer to them as “stamps” she correct us: they are stickers, not stamps.

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Untitled #386, 2007

holes.jpg

Lillian, Untitled #386, 2007. Paper, pegs and sticky tape.
T. & T. van Gelder collection.

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How much can she remember?

It is a cliche about human memory that we can hold in our temporary
or “short term” memory “7 plus or minus 2” items. So for example if
phone numbers had more than their 7 or 8 digits we’d find them very
much harder to hold in our heads after hearing them once.

Today Lillian invented a little game. We were reading a book called
“Picture this…”. She likes to invent variations on spelling out the
words. This time counted the letters (11) and decided that instead of
saying each letter, she’d name one animal for each letter.
So she
pointed at the P, and said Whale, the i and said Tiger, and so on. As
she was doing this it suddenly occurred to me that this would be a
spontaneous demonstration of her short term memory capacity, because to
name a new animal for each letter, she’d have to remember all the
animals she’d already named.

As she passed the u (the fifth letter) she had to maintain five
previous animals in memory AND think of a new one. So this was actually
harder than a straight memory task. It was an example of a situation
cognitive scientists often put their subjects in, asking them to do one
moderately taxing mental task while trying to do another.

I was eagerly waiting to see what she’d do.

At the r, she said “Tiger again.”

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Animals in the bin

When we return from child care, around 6.00pm, and arrive at our front door, Lillian likes to be picked up so she can ring the doorbell and
shout through the letter slot “IS ANYBODY THERE?”, and then watch Mummy approach (if she’s there). 

If nobody is home, we have to sneak in to the house because there might be a mouse inside.  Last week we found the mouse (an imaginary one) in a loaf of bread on the kitchen bench.  I tossed the loaf in the air, mock-afraid.  Lillian quickly grabbed the mouse and put it in the rubbish bin.

Tonight we sneaked into the kitchen but instead of a mouse there was an (imaginary) possum in the bread!

Lillian grabbed the possum and threw it in the bin.

We went to look at the possum in the bin.  My fingers, out of Lillian’s sight, were scratching the side of the bin, as if the possum was making a noise.

The possum and the mouse were fighting!

Lillian went to the study and got a piece of sticky tape and used it to tape down the rubbish bin lid, so that the possum and the mouse could not escape.

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