3V0366.01 Knowing What Peggy Wants 01/23/79
KNOWING WHAT PEGGY WANTS — Peggy says /∂aet/ and it’s clear she wants something, but it is not clear to us. She says /∂aet/ so much, we might suspect she doesn’t want any particular thing but merely enjoys pointing, talking, and being carried around. Such is not the case at all.
I see many of Peggy’s new tantrums deriving from our not understanding what she wants. An incident at lunch today provides a clear example. After feeding, Peggy’s tray was its usual mess. When she complained and carried on, Gretchen picked up Peggy and gave her some orange juice at which she had pointed and spoken of. Now Peggy started /∂aet/-ing in earnest, many times, with increasing intensity. Gretchen offered Peggy a cookie — her favorite food — but Peggy would have none of it. When she seemed to be pointing in the general direction of her tray, Gretchen held her within reach of it. From the clutter there, Peggy picked out a small piece of toast. She did so immediately, directly, and with precision. I am certain Peggy wanted THAT bit of food before she was near the tray at all.
RELEVANCE — How absolutely useful to Peggy would be learning names. How useful to us as well, specifically in restoring relative calm and quiet at meal time especially, would be Peggy’s learning naming or even some other specification procedure — e.g. we could touch things and she indicate whether it was what she wanted or not.
It has not previously been so clear how great a gap there is between Peggy’s specific desires and her inability to specify what she wants.