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Toddler brain

1 Aug

Noted without comment, except to say that I will convince him of Elmo’s death by gruesome means before I let that part of his brain get even close to the influence it has in this chart. Via.


Tantrum Quantification

18 Apr

A graduate student friend of mine, who is interested in all things quantification, points me to a story about how psychologists have begun to quantify tantrums, so as to more carefully study them. Well, quantifying tantrums isn’t quite right. They give little ones onesies with high-performance microphones sewn into them, so as to record, then isolate, the sounds of a tantrum. There are, it turns out, phases to a tantrum: 1) Yelling and Screaming; 2) Physical Actions; and then 3) Crying and Whining. As the NPR correspondents point out:

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.

Ya, not easy to do is right. I find it’s a bit of area of disagreement between me and the missus is that I am more likely to sit and do nothing while baby cries, and she is more likely to immediately go to comfort (our neighbor, incidentally, noted that she is pretty much done with nursing except for comforting the baby when he cries. I think this is not uncommon, and new mothers everywhere have been whipping out boobs in response to crying baby for longer than we’ve had civilization). In my less flattering moments, I’m also likely to say to baby, ‘aw, come on, quit faking’. Which as you might guess makes everyone delighted round my house.

I also like the idea of sewing the high-performance microphone in baby’s onesie. This is just another reason why SCIENCE is so freaking awesome. I would have gone for attaching electrodes directly to the cortex, but that may have required boring a small hole. And while SCIENCE can do what SCIENCE wants, the Mothers-Against-Young-Baby-Experimentation lobby is unrelenting…

(incidentally, I’m tagging this post as Science! but really it should be tagged with ‘awesome’, right?)

4 months

15 Apr

So, we took BB to the pediatrician for his 4 month checkup and vaccinations. He’s now 16 lbs. 3 oz. (with shoes, but not with the bar). Let’s call it an even 16lbs. And he’s 26.5 inches tall. This puts him in the 70th percentile for weight, and 90th percentile for height. I put together an instructive (and predictive) graph:

Doing a little math, we can compute linear equations to determine his height/weight going forwards, as I’m sure you all remember from your high school math classes (y=mx+b, where y is the value for height or weight, m is the slope of the line, x is the number of months, and b is the y-intercept).

For height, in centimeters: y = 4.445x + 49.53
For weight, in grams: y = 1041.875x + 3090

So, at birth, he was 49.53cm, or 19.5 inches. At four months, 26.5 inches (2′ 2.5″)! At 12 months, we can predict that he will be 40.5 inches (3′ 4.5″)! And we can predict with confidence that our five-year-old will be 124.5 inches (10′ 4.5″). Hello basketball scholarship!

Likewise, at 1 year, he’ll weigh 34 lbs., 6 oz. And at 5 years, he’ll weigh almost 145 pounds. He’ll be the tallest, skinniest man in the whole wide world! Finally we’ll have someone who can change that pesky light bulb that went out in our bedroom fixture.

I’m sure I don’t need to run the numbers on his neurological development, needless to say we’ll have an insanely smart teenager (and don’t even get me started on the trajectory of his genital growth).