Archive for March, 2008

Steve’s AhhHaa moment

March 28, 2008 9:37 am

The other day Steve came home and explained how he finally understood why people buy jog strollers. “It isn’t” he said, “because they WANT to take their kid jogging with them” [a concept he couldn't understand]. “But because they CAN’T go jogging without bringing them along.”

We are now the proud owners of a jog stroller, purchased off of Craig’s list. It seems to me, that this really is the first time Steve has acknowledged the change that having a kid has on your life. He is so easy going that most changes have been absorbed naturally with no big fanfare.

Steve says:

Actually, I think what I said was:

“Initially I assumed that people bought jog strollers because they wanted to take their kid jogging with them. To share a particular experience with their child and instill an early appreciation for going outside and getting some exercise. And I figured that it was unnecessary to pay for a fancy stroller in order to accomplish this — just let the kid run around in the backyard. But now I realize that when you have a little baby, you don’t have the option of going out for a jog on a spur-of-the-moment whim (which is the only time I would ever do such a thing). You can’t just take off and leave your child to sit around and gnaw on power cords in the living room. That would be a criminal offense. So in fact, it turns out that people buy jog strollers to avoid going to jail.”

Luckily Jace seems to enjoy his new stroller. The faster you go, the more happy little squeaks and smiles you get.

The Steve and Jace Show

March 27, 2008 8:58 pm

Jace patiently waits his turn to talk. [enable sound for full appreciation]

Experimental test subject

March 23, 2008 4:16 pm

Harvard logo

In order to do his part to help modern science understand what goes on in the minds of children, Jace has gone over to Harvard a couple of times to be an experimental test subject.

Here’s one of the experiments he worked on:

Researchers have determined that 7 & 8 month old babies can recognize the difference between a large object and a small object. They’ve reached this conclusion by showing each baby a small cube a bunch of times until they reach the point that the baby is bored with the object, and will look away fairly quickly if shown the same thing again. If a larger cube is then presented, the baby will tend to stare at it for a longer period of time, thus demonstrating that there is some recognition that the new object is different from the one that the kid had already gotten tired of looking at. This same basic methodology has been used for a wide variety of experiments. For example, it has been shown that babies this age can easily tell the difference between one object and two objects.

One of the grad students at Harvard is interested in the ways babies reason about what she calls “non-cohesive” substances like sand and water versus solid objects. Using something like the experimental approach described above, she noticed that babies did not care about or notice the difference between one pile of sand and two piles of sand, even though the same kids easily demonstrate recognition between one solid object and two. She has a few different hypotheses for why this might be true.  For example, one hypothesis is that perhaps infants reason differently about sand than solid objects: “maybe to an infant, one pile or two piles of sand are simply represented as ‘some sand’.”

While Jace was there, she was testing a slightly different hypothesis, which was that, “maybe infants quantify amounts of sand not by number or portions but by total amount and just need a large enough ratio of difference to distinguish different amounts.” So she was comparing babies viewing a large pile of sand versus a small pile of sand. At the same time, she was still also trying to sort out what characteristics of a pile of sand make babies treat it differently from a solid object. So to explore the boundary between these concepts, Jace was actually shown a solid object which was designed to look like a pile of sand. He got to touch it and watch it bounce around on a string in order to understand its solid nature, and then he got to try to distinguish between a big solid fake pile of sand and a small solid fake pile of sand. Unfortunately, I don’t know how he responded, because I had my eyes closed, so as to avoid giving him cues based on knowledge of what was being shown.

So what’s the conclusion? We’ll have to wait until the paper is published before we find out the results…

In the meantime, I have my own hypothesis:

Children view a scene in terms of how they could play with the objects. I can easily imagine Jace thinking to himself, “one teddy bear versus two teddy bears… that’s interesting — I can do all sorts of things with two teddy bears that I couldn’t do with just one. But some sand that happens to be split into two piles instead of one? Who cares? Nothing new to play with there…”

3 down, 6 to go?

3:58 pm

Well, I took number 3 of the 9 architecture exams. This time it was contract documents and services. Got the documents and services part down pat since that is when I do every day. The contract part was a little studying but I think I did okay. Will let you all know how I did.


March 13, 2008 6:57 pm

A little precarious, but you’ll notice the child in this photo is in a vertical position with nobody holding onto him. Of course he would collapse instantly if the table weren’t there…

Photo of Jace standing up

Skiing Weekend

March 10, 2008 9:10 pm

The weekend of my birthday we took our annual trek up to Sunday River, Maine to go skiing. Last year I missed out, being pregnant. I was a little nervous about going this year but decided we should give it a try. What was the worse thing that could happen? Jace crying all weekend?

Well I am happy to report that honor went to poor Miss Eleanor who had a little fever and was probably trying to push through a tooth or two. She was a sad little kid but she survived. Everyone else had a fabulous time including Jace. Friday morning Steve drove up with Scott, Charlotte and Virginie so they could get an afternoon of skiing in. Kelly and I followed later in the morning with a nice leisurely lunch at Pizza Hut to give Jace a break from the car ride.

Once we got to Maine, Kelly, Jace and I fulfilled our duty of scouting out seats at the bar and waited for the skiers and Matt and Ellie to arrive. After couple of beers, we were allowed to check into our condo. Despite being rather pregnant, Kelly (and Scott) offered to sleep on the pullout couch mattress on the floor while Steve, Jace and I got one bedroom and Matt, V, Charlotte and Ellie got the other one. We really appreciated it as Jace goes to bed at 7:30 so it was nice to have a quiet spot to put him down.

The next morning I got to ski then, after lunch in the condo, Steve took the afternoon skiing shift. We managed to hook our ski ticket up in such a way that we could switch it from one jacket to another. Horribly illegal I am sure but we got to sell our extra ticket as a result. The next morning I was back out on the runs although skiing a little slower and much more sore than the day before. Turns out when haven’t skied in almost 2 years and haven’t really worked out in a year and half, skiing is really hard work! While I was hitting the slopes, Steve and Jace decided to try out cross country skiing together. Jace had a great time up in the frame backpack, entertaining himself by trying to take his mittens off. Kelly followed behind to scoop up the escapees.

After lunch we headed back to Boston and the snow that had fallen there. Jace was happy to make a pitstop at Scott and Kelly’s for a little snack and to check out their newly painted nursery for baby-to-be while Scott snowplowed the driveway so Steve could get his car out. Boston actually got much more snow than Maine did that weekend. Skiing on icy slopes didn’t help with the sore muscles but it did bring back memories of night skiing in New Jersey when I was in high school!

I would say the weekend was a great success. The condo was a little small for all those people but everyone was a good sport about the whole thing and I would do it again next year.

Check out the newly added pictures for a shot of Jace ready to hit the slopes.

Latest Count

8:53 pm

On latest count, Jace now has 6 teeth. Warning, do not let him trick you into sticking your finger in there…those are the teeth of a fierce animal despite how cute he is trying to convince you that he just wants to suck on your finger.

A whirlwind of activity

March 2, 2008 9:46 pm

In this video, Jace demonstrates that circumnavigation of large obstacles is for wimps. Just charge on through.

(C) Steve and Heather Leibman, 2007.