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Nov 21, 2010

Boy vs. Girl behaviors

Now that we are getting into the winter time, it's getting more difficult to go outside to let Daniel run and climb. But he definitely needs the running and climbing, as proven by his choice of activities during rainy days. Daniel has been spending a large part of the past weekends putting together all kinds of constructions (using pillows, stepping stools, even legos) to replicate climbing structures. Our couch has become his favorite place to jump and our carpet is perfect for rolling. It also seems that Daniel got inspired by the circus performance we attended a few weeks ago. He loves to have us sit around the carpet and gives us his "athletic" performance. We try to offer other, more quiet activities. But within a few minutes, Daniel is back to his props, preparing the next construction.

I am wondering how much is driven by character vs. how much comes from the fact that he is a boy.

Yesterday, we went to a dinner where we met another 2.5 year old boy and a 2-year old girl. While the 2 boys enjoyed themselves jumping and rolling on an old mattress, the little girl was a lot more shy, playing with a stuffed horse on the side. Also, the 2 babies that were there (Charlotte and another 3-month old baby girl) were very calm. Not surprising for Charlotte, she seems to just be a quiet baby. But it was interesting that the other 2 girls in the party had similar behavior while the boys had much too much energy. Was it just coincidence, or is this how nature has addressed gender differences? It would be an fascinating topic to research on if I had time besides my more-than-full-time job at Tinyprints, which by the way has the best Holiday cards this year. Maybe when the kids are older? By then, I might have come to a conclusion with my own experiment...

Quick update and additional thought: Daniel seems to be currently fascinated by the idea of fighting against monsters. He thinks of a variety of scenarios (monster attacking his little sister, monster coming in our car, etc...), and he explains what he will do to fight it. This always involves hitting, biting and kicking. I like to see that Daniel sees himself as the fearless and resourceful hero. I assume all kids go through that phase of learning to deal with challenges, but I am wondering if boys and girls process this the same way. Do all kids think about fighting monsters at some point, or just boys? It will be interesting to see what Charlotte has to say about this in a few years.

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Nov 20, 2010

Talking like an American

My husband and I are hoping that Daniel grows up learning 3 languages. Each of us speaks in our respective mother tongue (me French and my husband German), and he goes to school in English. Not surprisingly, over the last few months, English has become his main language by far. But we are still seeing progress in French or German. Slowly but surely, we hope he is getting closer to speak somewhat decenly in these languages. But he is probably a year away at least.
Daniel's English is also getting better every day. At age 2.5, he is now making complex sentences, and we can have serious discussions with him, about astronomy, business, science, etc... Very interesting.
Daniel is also sounding more and more like an American. This is surely related to his interactions at school. He regularly says things like: "what are you doing, guys?", "Cool", "Oh boy", "hi girl". I guess he really blends in with his American friends now...

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Nov 2, 2010

Learning to shop in the 21st century

As we raise our kids with all the new technology that is now at our fingertips, my husband and I often wonder how different our kids' perception of the world will be from ours. We already have had to answer questions such as why there are pay phones on the street and where the movies are saved on the TV. These questions certainly wouldn't have come up 20 years ago.

And this is just the start. The other day, I got a recent reminder of this question - and an obvious confirmation that kids are seeing the world very differently. Daniel and I were going through an activity book that asks the kids to put images showing steps for a particular activity in the right sequence. We had been doing other similar exercises for a while so he understood the concept of the game. The new topic was about shopping and the images showed a little boy browsing a store, trying on a jacket, paying at the cashier, etc... Typical shopping activities, you would think.

Well, Daniel struggled with this one. The problem was that he rarely goes shopping in a store. For him, the steps of shopping include:
- sitting at the computer
- clicking to buy a product
- waiting for the delivery man to bring a box
- opening the box at home

And this is clear when we talk about things he wants us to buy. His first comment is always, we need to find it on the computer and wait for the mail man. In particular, I don't think I have ever been clothes shopping with Daniel. So the images in the book just didn't make sense.

Since my work focuses on online retail (did I mention I work for Tinyprints? I will have to write about the great selection of Christmas cards soon, by the way), I find it fascinating to realize that online shopping might become the norm of shopping for the next generation. This would have huge implications if the behavior change is so drastic. It remains to be seen how much focus Daniel might give to in-store shopping eventually. To be continued...

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