Friday, December 10, 2004

clapping to please

Here is something that I have noticed with a couple of different
children: once they have learned something that pleases you, they will
try it out at odd times to see if they can get the positive reactions.
As an example, I'll use . . . David!

I mentioned earlier that he learned to clap, which earns cheers from us
all. So, out of the blue he'll clap and look at me like "are you going
to cheer?" But it gets more interesting. He now claps when upset. He
now hates being on the changing table because it interferes with
sticking every object in the house into his mouth. So when I lay him
down and start to undress him (which he hates) he'll whine, and then
start to clap. I assume that he is trying to turn the situation
around. "Dad is putting clothes on me, he must hate me, I'll clap to
win his favor." I've been doing some work with a learning-disabled
toddler who is struggling to learn speech. Every new word is cause for
celebration. When asked to do something he has not yet learned (or
just doesn't want to do) he will point to something that he knows the
word for and identify it.

Me: "What sound does a dog make?"
Him, pointing to the clock: "clock!"

In grown-up terms it is something like this:

Press: "Why is the economy in the hole?"
President: "I unified this nation after 9/11."

or, to be fair:

Press: "How are you going to get the economy out of this hole?"
Candidate: "three purple hearts!"

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