Monthly Archives: December 2008

Lillian and Gabby

Gabby is one of her best friends.  This taken at child care, in their last month there.


Today Gabby’s mum took them swimming in the afternoon, then Lillian went back to Gabby’s place for dinner.

This was Lillian’s first time going to a friend’s place for dinner.


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Gradations of ethical awareness

Lillian had just cut one of her elastic hair ties with her scissors.  She seemed to be following her curiosity, wanting to see what it felt like to do something a bit wrong, and what my reaction would be. 

“Look, Daddy, I cut it” she said, holding it out before her. 

“Uh huh” I said, rather more interested in the next item coming up on the TV news.

She held up another, fancier hair tie.  “Now I’m going to cut this one” she announced.

I said, firmly but nicely: “Well, I don’t think you should, and if you do, I’ll be unhappy, but it is your hair tie and you can cut it if you really want to.”

“Oooowwww” she griseled.  “Daddy, I really want to.”

She was very conflicted.  I hadn’t said she couldn’t do it.  Indeed, if I had explicitly forbid it, she probably would have gone ahead anyway.  The situation would have been clear cut, and from past experience she knows that no terrible consequences follow from her disobeying clear instructions.

No, this was different.  Now she sensed that she was being challenged to make her own choice.  She couldn’t just misbehave in light of some arbitrary standard. 

“Its your decision.  I won’t like it, but you can if you want.”

This was an altogether more confronting experience than she had bargained for.  Her social curiosity had taken her into uncharted territory. 

Even more upset, she complained again.  “But I really want to!” 

She didn’t cut the hair tie.  She climbed into my lap, still miserable, but sensing that she’d made the better choice; she’d gained my approval for deciding herself to do the right thing. 


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Lillian, graphic designer

Lillian’s “art” was selected to grace a flyer:

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Lillian just called…

… for the first time

She was at her grandparents’ place.  Soon we would be picking her up to go to the birthday party of one of her best friends, Lily – a “fairy princess party”.

The phone rang.

Me: “Hello?”

No immediate response, but I can hear voices in the background.


Hi sweetie!

Can I talk to mummy please?

She’s in the shower…

In the SHOWER!!??


Can you ask mummy to bring my gold shoes?

You mean your ballerina shoes?


OK sweetie.  See you soon.

Bye Daddy…

So that was my first phone conversation with my daughter.

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