Little kids sort of freak me out. That is not to imply that I have child related phobia, it’s simply that I’m never quite at ease when one is around due to the fact that they are 1.) small and 2.) ignorant of the notion of their own mortality. As I understand it, children don’t have a real sense of self until around age 21. Or I guess more appropriately, they have no sense of self as a distinct object careening around in a 3-dimensional space where objects are often hard and unyielding. Or sharp. Or fire. Not sure if I have the age right, and I’m certain it varies. If any parents or shrinks have some actual data they’d like to share, feel free to correct my heresies.
In any event, the defining attributes of children seem to be inquisitiveness and utter disregard for safety. As a result, their investigative methods are somewhat lacking in the necessary sophistication to ensure relatively safe experimentation. It essentially boils down to “Ah, look! An as yet unidentified object! I ought to put it in my mouth to determine its nature and origin.”
The point being here, that you have to pay attention to them. At all times. I’m bad at focusing on anything that is not aggressively demanding my attention2, so that is more than a little intimidating to me. It is also possible that an infant might make both better reasoned and less impulsive decisions than I do.
This attitude and its exploratory trial and error manifestation in and of itself is rather delightful to observe. When not distracted by an immediate need such as hunger or the need to be cleansed of its own feces, small children are almost exclusively preoccupied with figuring shit out. That’s pretty cool.
My sister had a kid this past October, and whenever I’m around him, I find myself fascinated by his fascination with that which I have long since considered mundane3. If not for the expense, mess, time consideration, pregnancy, labor and general responsibility, I would have a child of my own.
Of course I fully recognize that, absent those factors, I’m essentially left with a learning algorithm. Which is why I intend to craft my children of metal and light instead of settling for the product of our baser exertions45.
Right. So anyway, I’m looking for edutainment toys for my nephew – or at least something sort of science-themed. As opposed to plush, squeaky-themed toys, because those are for dogs. I ordered him a baby version of a Hoberman Sphere and was very pleased with myself. I went back to check on my order and found my money had been refunded, as they were out of stock. I griped about this in front actual parents, who were horrified because playing with one of these things is obviously a death sentence for a child. Again – it was in the infant section. They’re in stock again – I’m still going to order one because, well, there’s a picture of an infant playing with it on the site, and that seems to pretty solidly support my case.
I’ll hear other suggestions for toys if anyone has any. Obviously he’s a bit young for a chemistry set. Which is to say that I asked my sister, and she said no. Rendered terrified of an accusation of child endangerment, I’m basically just compiling a list of ideas now, which I will present to her for approval. And before anyone mentions it, it is also apparently “too soon” for a rock tumbler.
Oh, and since I’m discussing my sister’s kid, I will mention that she and baby-daddy tied the knot last weekend. Here’s the best picture taken that day:
Amber, from now on, it is inappropriate to refer to your friends as anything other than your crew.
1Incidentally, I’ve also read that children do not develop a sense of other until around 5 or 7. For some reason that seems rather late to me, but it would explain why kids are kind of assholes.
2I have taken some pretty intense stimulants designed to forcibly wrangle my thoughts into some sort of manageable direction. I am, on occasion, uncomfortably energetic.
3Although to be fair, I was also pretty fascinated by watching my dog figure out how to eat a tortilla off of the kitchen floor.
4No offense intended to current parents. I’m certain your progeny are all the very essence of cherubic perfection, yet as individual and special as a snowflake crafted by the hand of a loving god.
5Have I been using superscripts correctly? I feel like they are supposed to go before the punctuation when used on the last word in a sentence, but it doesn’t look right for some reason.