Vn69.1 Chatterbox 8/19/77

In Vignette 3, I noted one of my objectives was to render Miriam
more willing to reveal her thoughts than was formerly the case. Such
a change has gradually but very definitely taken place. Gretchen now
complains that Miriam is never quiet, that she talks about every least
action she undertakes; for example, “I’m taking my dishes over to the
sink.” A more typical example is what Miriam said just now. (She is
making a “card” for a friend; Gretchen and I are sitting in the same
room, 10′ and 20′ away.


I am coloring the flower red. . . and blue. . . and now yellow. . . .
I am coloring the cloud white, Daddy, isn’t that a good idea?


Do you know why I am making the cloud cry?


Because the sun is very hot and it can’t rain.

This is a description of ongoing action, mixed with request for approval
and her explanation for the meaning of her drawing.

First ask is it a good thing for Miriam to be so open at this
point in her life? I believe it is good now and that she will eventually
learn when to bite her tongue. What is one to make of the very
pervasiveness of Miriam’s chatter? Is this a regression of sorts to
ego-centric speech? I choose to think of it differently, in a way
recently suggested to me by Laurie Miller. In this view, Miriam is
giving evidence that she has discovered self-description as an inter-
esting thing to do. . . and is overdoing it. (Recall G. B. Shaw’s asking,
in a paraphrase from the book of Proverbs, “How can you know what
enough is, unless you’ve had too much?”) Such self-description may
result from the reflection and explanation I have asked of her in the
Piagetian tasks of April’s experiments as well as from the rudimentary
debugging we have undertaken in our Logo sessions.

In the little snippet of dialogue above, Miriam was not using the
description of her actions for any purpose which is reflected back into
the action. However, to the extent that she articulates her actions,
it is clear that she can reflect upon them when that engages her interest.

This vignette notices the change Miriam shows in the public
description of her actions. This indicates she has available descriptions of
her action upon which she can reflect if she finds such an activity

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