Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smarter than the average 2nd grader

After a few days of rain or otherwise cold and raw weather, it's nice and sunny out today. While I was working on dinner, Xander went out to play. I asked Jessica if she wanted to go out and play with him. No.

I was slicing up some watermelon and asked her if she wanted any. She did. Then I asked her to go outside and ask Xander if he wanted any. My theory was that once she got outside, she'd realize she wanted to play out there. She came back in and told me Xander did not want any watermelon. I thought my plan had failed but a minute later she grabbed her bowl of watermelon and told me she was going outside to play.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


In the spirit of Earth Day, yesterday was Clean up Waltham Day. The girls from Jessica's Brownie troop went to a nearby park and cleaned all the trash they could find.

This reminded me of a recent conversation I had with the kids. Their current favorite dessert is a package of gummies (gummy fruit, gummy Cars, gummy anything). However, almost every single time they eat them, they just drop the wrappers on the floor or the couch or wherever they happen to be. Now, I've drilled my contempt for littering into the kids so I tried to appeal to that contempt. I told them dropping trash on the floor is just like littering inside. They knew what I meant but thus far I still keep finding wrappers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Peer influence

I took Jessica to the Museum of Science today. We wanted to see the gecko exhibit before it closes in a couple of weeks.

After we were done, we went around the museum. They had this one exhibit where it demonstrated the prisoner's dilmenna , only with the theory that if both people cooperated they could share $100 ($50 each). If one person wanted to keep the money and the other person opted to share it, that one person got $100 and the sharer got none. If they both opted to keep the money, neither of them could keep it.

There was a 10 or 11 year old boy sitting in the other chair, as player 1. Jessica was player 2. The game went through 5 iterations, to see how your behavior changed based on how your opponent acted. Round 1: the boy hit "keep" and Jessica hit "share" so he got $100. Round 2: both of them hit "keep", Jessica because the boy had done it the previous round. Route 3: both of them hit keep. Round 4: Jessica tried to share again and the boy hit "keep." Round 5: they both hit "keep." Final result: the greedy boy got $200 and Jess got nothing. They played another set of 5 and the boy hit "keep" on every round.

I found this very annoying, particularly because when the boy got up and I took his place, I played a set with her. The first round? I hit "share" and she hit "keep" because she'd learned to do it from this kid. Round 2: I hit share, she hit keep.  Round 3: we both hit share. Round 4: I figured she'd hit share and wanted to teach her a lesson, so I hit keep. Round 5: we both trusted each other and hit share. She ended up with $100 more than me.

I know that if the 2 of us had sat down and she'd never interacted with the boy, we'd (probably) both have hit share every time. It made me a little sad.

* * *
I think I've been talking too much about money. What with taxes due, I've been keeping a tight rein on spending and when the kids ask for something, I say, "Not today, we're saving money."

Today I bought a new grill. When I picked Xander up from school, I told him I had bought it . He immediately responded, "So, how much did it cost?"

I didn't tell him.