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Archive with last of tag-string Evl


3V0091.04 Personality Scale 4/23/78

An article, “The Origins of Personality” in 8/70 Sci. American, presents a “temperamental quality” chart of personality characteristics (9) which the authors claim define life-long inclinations.




activity level





regular (most)

regular (some)

not distractable








no recall














3V0233.05 Miriam as Instructor 9/12

MIRIAM AS INSTRUCTOR — Miriam frequently gets stuck with the job of caring for Peggy over short intervals of time. For example, she may care for her while Gretchen bathes in the morning. Miriam’s play varies considerably. Sometimes she plays interactively (cf. 8/26); other times she plays with Peggy more as an object than a person. Sometimes Peggy is little more than an excuse for Miriam to play with Peggy’s toys. For example, I tied a string to a small silver rattle and placed it around Peggy’s neck. It was soon a favorite toy. Miriam took it from her, made the loop smaller and placed it around the neck of Charlie (Peg’s bear) despite Peggy’s immediate and vociferous complaints.

At the beach, Miriam has been teaching Peggy to walk. (She supports her under the armpits and directs her feet by the pressure of her own legs.) She has been teaching Peggy how to play ring-toss with the ring tower. Peggy has many times nearly got one of the larger rings on the pole. Seeing her pick up the yellow ring (which Miriam left in the scatter of the floor) and reach up and out, hitting the pole with her hand in which the ring is grasped, inclines me to believe she is trying to get it on but has a motor skill inadequacy for the task. Finally, Sunday morning, Miriam sat on the floor with Peggy and pointing to the fire in our floor- level hearth, said, “Look, Peggy, look at the fire.” That is, she is giving labeling instructions in a format out of the Dick and Jane books. Peggy followed her pointing from where they sat together.


3V0233.09 Debugging (major story) 9/12

A LITTLE DEBUGGING — Sunday morning I gave Peggy the “Fermi Spool” experiments wheel and axle: two 3″ wooden wheels with a fat pencil between them as axle. This was Peggy’s first rolling toy — and it was able to get away from her. When it came my way I rolled it back to her. Other times she would crawl over to where it stopped to retrieve it. In her little bedroom play area, one boundary is our bed, raised clear of the floor by a simple metal frame. The spool rolled under the bed and the axle caught on the upright. Peggy approached the bed frame from the end of the bed — some 12″ from the support. Crawling directly toward her goal, Peggy first whacked her head on the bedspring (a box spring). Then, reaching, stretching her arm to its utmost, she still fell inches short of the target. what a wailing was there! Crying too. Peggy was angry and frustrated. My strong inclination was to help her, roll the spool over. Instead, I waited. As she flailed about, her head made enough of an excursion [?] that she could see one of the wheels around the corner of the box spring. She stopped crying and began a different solution, crawling around the corner then parallel to the bed till close enough to search for the spool directly.

RELEVANCE — This is a straightforward example of Peggy’s stumbling [into] the “bypass” solution to an impasse. It would be most interesting to return her to the same situation and observe if she has remembered the specific solution — then present her with an analogous problem (or maybe do so first).


3V0243.01 Surface phenomena: chewing on the duck appliqué 9/22/78

Last Friday (9/22/78) Peggy went to the doctor’s. I was wearing a blue T-shirt with an anchor appliqué in the center.

Peggy showed quite a bit of interest in the anchor and tried to chew on it. Subsequently (9/27 and other times), I noticed her playing a good deal of attention to the duck appliqué on her orange suit — plucking at it and pulling the material far enough out and up to get it into her mouth.


3V0247.01 Naming buttons in verbal imitation.
Gretchen’s instruction “cookie”: 9/26/78;

The older children in school and Gretchen chauffeuring a house guest to the bus depot, Peggy was left alone in my care for a few hours today. After her nap and my tending to a variety of her needs, Peggy decided my lap was the place to be. In no time at all, she was investigating my buttons. My flannel overshirt was a rich field — buttons up the middle, on the pockets, and even (ahah!) on the cuffs. I attracted Peggy’s attention to those on her sleep suit. “Those are BUTTONS, Peggy, BUTTONS.” She paused, then “/b/\t/.” When I pointed to those on my shirt and said, “BUTTONS, Peggy, BUTTONS” she repeated, “/b/\t/.”

RELEVANCE — In this incident we can see coming together the labeling instruction that Ninio provoked and Gretchen more spontaneously provided with the verbal imitation first documented in session P 35 (9/24). The initial and final consonants are not the same as were all the examples of P 35. I would make no claim at this point that Peggy associates her production /b/\t/ with buttons, but it must be absolutely clear that through such situations as this Peggy will come to make naming associations. (Down stairs, now, I hear Gretchen feeding Peggy: Peggy, would you like a COOKIE, COOK-IE.” I assume she talks to herself partly for her own amusement at a monotonous task — as in this case she was partly imitating Sesame Street’s cookie monster.)


3V025401 Miriam naming people for Peggy. 10/03

NAMING — This was one of those bad days for Miriam where her wheezing/ upchucking of medicine kept her home from school. Thus early in the morning she was saddled with responsibility for Peggy. Miriam played with Peggy on the bed and as is frequently the case with Miriam, the instructor came to the fore. Touching Peggy, she said, “Peggy. Peggy,” then pointing to herself, “Miriam. Miriam.” I rose from the typewriter to recover some notes from another place. As I walked across the room, Miriam pointed at me. “Dada,” she repeated several times. Peggy mumbled some sounds which Miriam interpreted as “Mama.” “No, Peggy. Not Mama. Dada.”


3V0256.01 Verbal Imitation of “shoe” 10/01

Gretchen left Peggy with me while she made cookies in preparation for the first meeting of Robby’s cub scout pack. After trying to constrain Peggy various ways and failing, I let her roam around the floor of our bedroom/ study. After beating the log carrier with her toy giraffe and munching on her hairbrush, Peggy crawled in my direction and as she has done frequently, began beating on my shoe. Catching her eye, I said, “Shoe, Peggy, shoe.” Peggy repeated, “Shoe.” Her imitation, tentative and lacking clear enunciation, had nonetheless the right components.

RELEVANCE — Miriam first, then the rest of us, finding that Peggy has begun verbal imitation, began instructing Peggy in naming. The main focus is on people, but buttons, spoons, and shoes come in for their share of attention. It’s very hard to say why. It’s clear there is some element involved of simply taking advantage of a new opportunity to have a hand in doing something significant. We must view acculturating Peggy as a very significant accomplishment. There is also the long persistent drive to help Peggy reveal to us who she is.


3V0262.01 Peggy Imitating Robby Noises.. 10/11

IMITATION — Peggy was sitting in her seat at the dining room table. Robby was seated at the table also. He made a series of loud kissing noises directed to her. Finally I asked him to stop. In the silence that followed, a soft but distinct repetition of the sound came from Peggy. Robby cried, “Look, Mom, she’s doing it! She’s answering me!”


3V0263.01 Waving, communication through imitation. 10/12

WAVING — Peggy sat in my lap after dinner. We had indulged in some conversations with Peggy. Robby approached my chair and Peggy said /ae/, flapping both her arms as she has long done when excited. Robby repeated /ae/ and waved his right arm. Peggy smiled then /ae/ /ae/, waving one arm (her right) once for each sound. Robby imitated her precisely. Both continued this communication, varying the number of sounds and wavings, for over two minutes, with Peggy always directing.

RELEVANCE — (see comments in V0263.02)


3V0263.02 Social Selection of some actions

Social Selection of some actions as interesting leads to their entering the repertoire.
RELEVANCE (of preceding story in V0263.01) — Here we see an accidental correspondence of two actions selected as significant, of interest, to another person. This stumbling upon an interesting new pattern so pleased Peggy that she elevated the combined element into a new pattern in her repertoire. Both actions were well under Peggy’s control when it happened. This is clear evidence that she can assemble joint actions from single actions. It also shows the build[ing] of a repertoire of ‘interesting’ actions which can serve as a pool of potentially meaningful communication transactions.


3V0267.01 Associating Sounds with People. Interesting Action. 10/16

Peggy went through a period of several days where she seemed to associate her sounds with people. The most striking case was ma-ma(repeated an indefinite number of times with no obvious relevant stress on intonational accenting), which she apparently connected with Gretchen. This delighted Gretchen, who would typically respond, “That’s right, Peggy, ‘mama’, that’s me!” [note by Gretchen: to establish that connection firmly.]

The non-standard variation that made this so striking and amusing was Peggy’s putting on me the “label” /b/\b/ /b/\b/ /b/\b/ instead of da da.
RELEVANCE — As with her discovery that waving was an “interesting” action, i.e. one she could use in social exchange with another person, Peggy appeared on the verge of discovering naming as such an interesting action.


3V0269.01 Standing in her crib (Miriam did it) (10/18/78)

Peggy has shown much more inclination to stand than to sit. It has been hard even to get her to sit down in a lap. Today, Miriam called out from the girls’ room most excitedly, “Mom, Dad, come see. Peggy’s standing by herself.” And Peggy was standing in her crib, holding on to the top bar. How did she get there ? Miriam pulled her up from a sitting position, but Peggy’s hands on the bar and let her go. She has done so on subsequent days.

Relevance: This incident shows Miriam’s intrusiveness, driving Peggy forward to “the next major achievement.”


3V0277.01 Rolling Objects (10/26/78)

At home alone with Peggy, I brought her from the living room to play in the bedroom while I worked there. Peggy had been playing with tinker-toy connectors of this sort (sketch of wooden cylinder with holes on the top, bottom, and around the side).
Even when I put her, sitting, on a multi-folded quilt, Peggy dismissed her block, ring tower, and rattle to play with this object. It was round and should roll. thrown onto the quilt, it did not roll much. Peggy threw it on to the floor and pursued it when it rolled. Most striking were those situations, they were frequent, when the piece landed on its flat side and did not roll at all. These clearly puzzled Peggy. She picked up the piece, put it in her mouth, tried again.

Relevance: Peggy may have solved this problem represented by this piece sometimes rolling and sometimes not. The incident suggests a clear experiment – give her two objects, of about the same size: a ball and a cylindrical solid, follow her experimenting with both to see if she can dependably get the cylinder to roll. Problem: how can we tell whether she has it figured out or not ? Does she lose interest ? Does she get it to roll consistently ?

Finally, this contrast, if still a puzzle to her, could be a situation where we could witness the mouthing “shape-verification” that Mimi believes she has seen.


3V0278.01 “Pick me up” gesture as precursor of causality. 10/27/78;

When wanting to be picked up, Peggy’s habit has been to crawl to your feet and look up, crying and wailing. Oftimes, we would hold out our hands as she crawled over to show both our readiness and that we wanted her to come to where we were. Gretchen mentioned yesterday a new and more explicit tactic of Peggy. She believes that as Peggy drew near her hands, she pulled Gretchen’s hands under her armpit. Did that really happen ? Peggy just did it again, with me, just pulling my left hand and then my right into those places.

Relevance: the really intriguing question here is whether to Peggy this is a sign or an action through which she “expects” to effect her picking up. I can’t imagine any test that would differentiate between the possibilities — and she most likely makes no such distinction herself. you can almost believe in a primitive association, a magical -going-together (as Levi-Strauss puts it) as the precursor of the idea of cause. This may be an example of it.


3V0278.02 Pipe play: giving as a communication protocol 10/27/78

PIPE PLAY — When sitting in my lap, Peggy frequently ends up with one of my old pipes. (I still carry them about in a shirt pocket and chew on the stem, though I no longer smoke.) These pipes of mine have become a favorite toy of hers. I am only marginally concerned that she may eat a little carbon — but it does make a mess when she chews on the wrong end (her standard practice). I have become accustomed, occasionally taking a pipe from her, to “instruct” her by putting the stem end in my mouth. Playing [in] my lap tonight, Peggy had a different idea — she offered the pipe-stem end of the pipe to me by raising it and poking it close to my mouth. When I took it between my teeth, she laughed then took the pipe back from me.

RELEVANCE — This seems a spontaneous example of play-giving. Its significance is that this sort of game can (and probably will) develop into another kind of social communication ritual. — She has given the pipe to me, and I let her have it back immediately. Will she “turn around” this communication protocol? If I give to her, will she give back?


3V0283.01 Trapped fingers: a really bad bug (11/01/78)

Twice in these last several days, as she played with her box of blocks, Peggy has closed the box lid on a finger. The problem quickly magnifies because she leans on the box with her other hand. Peggy screams and cries; it has been clear that she doesn’t understand the problem at all. Her desire to solve the “problem” couldn’t be clearer.

With her finger hurting so much, it should be “obvious” that the cause is its being caught in the box — but it probably is not.


3V0283.02 Clear Example of Object Concept crudeness -> prefer gradual elaboration (11/01/78)

Relevance: This is another example , albeit a peculiar one, of Peggy having a very crude object concept. she obviously recognizes that objects have an “inside”: This blocks box does — for it can be opened and blocks taken out; her cups have an inside into which balls may fit. It should not be expected that with the discovery of object permanence one “inherits” some knowledge about how surfaces relate to substances. Peggy apparently knows that blocks can go into her box – But she may not yet realize that the lid must be open for the blocks to get inside; so I would interpret her banging them on the lid of the box as an attempt to get them inside. Similarly, when she frequently bangs a ball against the bottom of a cup, I interpret the action as an attempt to get the ball into the cup, but one which does not acknowledge the need to pass through an open face of the object.


3V0329.02 Reflections on putting (12/17/78)

If Peggy has yet to distinguish the interior of objects from the surfaces (in the sense of not understanding hollowness, how can it make sense to say that she is putting one thing ONTO or INTO another ? What is required is an imputation of a goal to her — one impossible to infer with confidence because when we see Peggy put one object ON another, we can’t tell if she is trying to get it IN and failing. Despite the caveat, that is precisely what we must try to do in the hope of trying to appreciate what reality the baby is constructing. The only (way?) of describing this may be through specifying the specific problems the infant is trying to solve, e.g. why do cups go together in one place, boxes sometimes do and balls never do ?

I speculate that “putting into” is the more profound of the relations being explored because it connects directly with the problem of surfaces and substance. The latter is an essential problem to solve in the construction of the visual ordering, i.e. three dimensional descriptions of 2 dimensional signal reception. “Putting onto” may have, as Marvin claims, profound consequences for the logic of thought — but surely it can be no more profound that the construction of space with objects.


3V0354.01 Functional Application: using a comb (1/11/78)

A day or so ago, I washed Peggy’s hair. As I could not find her little brush, I had to use a comb and a regular baby brush. I used the latter while Peggy held the former. She chewed on it a bit, then held one end and tapped her head above and behind the ear with the other end, as it to comb her hair. she might have been trying to pass it in back of her, but she did not let the free end droop, nor put the other hand way back to reach for it, nor move her grasping hand any further up and back.


3V0355.03 Picture Gallery: extensive discussion: 01/12/79

The change in Peggy’s behavior after I mounted our collection of children’s pictures in the bedroom was so profound it marks a watershed in her development. Let me elaborate, and begin by describing that collection of pictures.

When Robby was young, I bought a Nikon 35 mm camera and began taking many pictures. Of the many pictures of Robby — and soon after, of Miriam — I selected favorites every six months or so. The favorite slides I had blown up to 5 x 7 inch prints. We framed them and thus created our collection. During the 2 years we were in Boston, we found the printing too expensive, but our collection still contains about 15 pictures of each child from infancy on.

The first consequence of my mounting these pictures was on feeding. Gretchen typically put Peggy to suck early in the morning in bed. Peggy had been tailing off from breast feeding and demanding more solid foods. The first morning she saw the pictures, she began pointing, (/thaet/,/thaet/) excitedly from one to another. All those familiar children;s faces on the wall ! Thereafter, she might, on one day or another, get the breast wet but she was so distracted she stopped breast feeding. Could Gretchen move to another room and try there ?

Peggy has discovered other vertical walls with other things on them. In every room its /thaet/ and pointing — some times at the foxes (2 pictures) in the living room, wall hangings in the kitchen, and even the telephone the radio (which appears to be another telephone).

I believe Peggy has discovered vertical space as visually explorable. But she surely was aware of walls before ? Yes, surely. And trees ? Certainly so, here (our house was in the woods). But typical of her interest in walls and trees was her response to the sight of sunlit trees through the window, especially on days of a light breeze when the leaves sway gently. Many times I carried her to such a window — but the trees went away beyond her reach. Sitting in a patch of leaf-splattered sunlight on the floor, Peggy would try to pick it up, hit, even mouth the shadows.

The pictures are fascinating to Peggy and they don’t go away when you get close. (They even come off the wall for her to play with). Peggy’s exploration of wall-things is still very tactile. By this I mean that, although the sight of a picture wakens her interest, she is immensely frustrated if she cannot touch it. she will point from one to another and call our attention to them (which I interpret as a request that we lift her to touch them) but I have not seen her sit quietly and study them visually.
This change in Peggy’s range of visual interests has already affected our videotaping sessions. In P49, Peggy was so interested in our wall things that she hardly played with the physical objects in her set of toys. I expect that in future sessions she will be more distractible. Even more of a difficulty will be the task of being sensitive to what Peggy is interested in at a given moment.

If I say Peggy;s world has opened up in the vertical dimension, I don;t imply that she knew nothing of height (or other foolishnesses). I mean to imply that her view of space was as of a surface whereon people moved (and this space had multiple layers, as in our living room where one could look up to a second storey balcony). I believe this new interest in my childrens’ picture gallery has literally added a new dimension to Peggy’s life. How can one follow up that speculation ? Will we soon see her building towers of blocks (of course there would be other influences) ? Has it already had an impact on her standing with no hand (probably not directly). Gretchen says it has only been within the past week that Peggy has stood up and disengaged her hands from supports. She stands on the bed, one hand holding the bedstead, the second pointing at pictures right above her. Since we give her pictures to hold, is it that she now has reason to want free hands while standing (and being able to do so has become also an independent objective) ?

I don’t find myself able to conclude this note in any clean way. This merely shows my confusions about what to expect, even more, about what to look for in following up this event.


3V0380.02 Prosodic features dominate sounds in meaning 2/6/79

Peggy’s name — At supper this [evening] Gretchen and I discussed with Robby what words Peggy knew. The question arose when Robby asserted that surely she knew her name. I argued that her response when I said “Peggy” was to the prosodic features and not to the name as such. I said “Peggy” in the tone in which I censure our dog Scurry — and Peggy did not respond. I asked Robby to call her using any other name. He tried “Murgatroyd”; Peggy looked at him and smiled. Going further, I called “bazz fazz”. Peggy turned again. I stopped his going further.


3V0384.01 More verbal specificity; productive uses of signifiers 2/10/79

Returning from a three day trip to Boston, I have Peggy in my lap more than usual. At one point, she indicated she wanted Miriam’s belt which lay near by on the floor: /zIt//zIt/. I gave it to her. Peggy chewed it over, and because I figured she might poke herself with the buckle closer (the rod going through the holes in the leather), I fastened the buckle. Peggy took the loop and put it behind her head, then she put it over her head [to] bring it down to her neck.

Casting the belt aside eventually, she pointed to a toy on the floor: /zIt/ /zIt/. I got for her the Snoopy dog (a pull-behind noise maker). Peggy pointed at the dog’s eye — and then at the buckle on its collar. It looks quite similar to the larger one on the belt she had just cast away. When did Peggy notice the similarity? Was it not when she put the belt around her neck as a collar? (The [dog] had been lying upside down; I believe the collar was not visible when Peggy showed she wanted the dog.)

Peggy next turned her attention to my writing table. The clutter thereon demands specific reference. She began /zit/ and kept it up while I offered her first one object, then another. She wanted neither one pipe stem nor the other. After three or four trials she burst out: /thaet//iz//zit/. (The unaccented syllable iz may have been no more than a falling tone on /thaet/.) I turned to Gretchen across the room. “Did you hear that? Did you hear her say ‘That is it’?” Gretchen responded, “That’s what I heard her say.”

Relevance — I judge this last observation to be an important one precisely because it shows Peggy assembling a new grammatical form, i.e. we interpret the utterance as [THAT IS IT]; its genesis is probably an intensive agglomeration of signifiers, i.e. /thaet/ and /zIt/. When she learns some names, we will expect this emphatic agglomeration to produce such phrases as /pen//zIt/, /paip//zIt/, and /thaet//dog/.


3V0384.02 Usage extension; second person agent of imperative 2/10/79

Peggy and I have passed pipe stems back and forth for quite a while. Long ago we began the giving game. That is, when she offered a pipe stem (or some other object to me) I would take it, say “Thank you” and return it with the statement “Here.” At times Peggy has wanted me to take a pipe stem from her when I have been reluctant (recall her still on-going cold); in such cases, she has tried to simply push the pipe stem end into my mouth.

Peggy has used /hae/[th]aet/ as an emphatic form meaning “I want to have that.” She has also used it to mean “I have that.” Sitting in my lap today, she took a pipe stem and held it out to me. /hae/[th]aet/ she said in a commanding voice. (The declarative “I have that” has a different, lower level of stress.) Here the extension of this imperative usage is from the implicit agent being Peggy to its being me — the person spoken to.


3V0387.01 Peggy varying elements of a transient game; like phrases 2/13/79

Wooba wooba — Peggy hates to have her face washed or her nose wiped. But she does like to take things out of my shirt pockets. Her usual pocket-picking targets are pens or pipe stems. Today, with my having two shirt pockets, she discovered a handkerchief in the second (I was prepared because her extended cold has left her nose frequently run[ny]). I was not happy when Peggy extracted the hanky and held it high. I took it from her, rubbed her mouth and nose, exclaiming ‘wooba wooba’ and returned the hanky to my pocket. Peggy was delighted. A new game! She again extracted the hanky, and the sequence was re-run about ten times, at which point I gave up. Peggy took the handkerchief. When I failed to respond, she looked puzzled at first, then drew the hanky up to her nose with a big smile. I laughed and replaced the hanky in my pocket. Peggy once more extracted the hanky. When I did nothing, she lifted the hanky and put it against my mouth.

Relevance — After the incident of “Peggy’s nose”, I find this little story striking testimony to the coherence of the kinds of actions and transformations of meaning of which Peggy is now capable. It was Peggy’s idea to generalize her game (to keep it going) by varying the agent; it was her idea to generalize immediately the patient of the action (when she wiped my nose) although this was not required to keep the game going.


3V0410.01 Activity –> social game; flexible roles and naming things (03/08/79)

Jigging — Jumping up and down rapidly, i.e. bending at the knees while
holding on to something, has been one of Peggy’s favorite actions since
she became able to stand. She does that by herself at the couch. She
jumps up and down in my lap when I play chop-sticks at the piano. I
often play Irish instrumental music on records. When I do, Peggy
enjoys my dancing around with her, bouncing her up and down.

One night at supper, such jigs were playing in the background. Peggy
started bouncing in her seat and waved both arms at once. She looked
at me. I imitated her gesture. She enjoyed that imitation tremendously
and now both older children imitate her flapping arms. This gesture
(which she will still begin spontaneously when she hears a favorite jig
start) split off from the activity as a content for the imitative game.

This evening at supper, [as] Peggy led Robby and Miriam in her jigging, I
told the older children to stop flapping (to make the scene less like
bedlam). Miriam, holding both hands aloft, began opening and closing
her hands. Peggy, seeing neither child following her lead, noticed
Miriam’s activity and began imitating it. Subsequently, I asked both
older children to hold up one arm instead of two. Peggy did not imitate
the one arm form.

Relevance — This set of incidents records how an expression of simple
activity boils over into a social interchange/game. Peggy’s flexibility of
roles, with quick shift from leader to follower and back, is what I note
here. It may be that just this sort of role reversal is implicated in
learning names of things when someone else specifies the name.


3V0415.01 Functional classification: two examples, one in error (3/13/79)

Peggy has begun to classify objects by what she knows their use to be.
Some examples are equivocal, though I remain convinced of their
interpretation. For example, Peggy has been “brushing” her hair. This
could be from having her hair brushed, from seeing Miriam brush her
hair, or it could be her use of the object according to a functional
definition of what it is for. A further complication, with a hair brush, is
that Peggy passes so many things behind her neck, it is hard to be
certain that she is really “brushing.” (The best evidence is that she
repeatedly brushes her hair even if she eventually passes the brush
behind her neck.)

There is less certainty about the second example, depending as it does
on an incorrect assimilation, Peggy hates to have her nails cut. She
carries on terribly. She sat in my lap demanding objects from my table.
One of the first that came to her hand was a pair of tweezers. Peggy
held one end and touched the other to each of the toes on one foot in
succession. (The day before, she had had her nails clipped.) I infer
that Peggy saw the tweezers as a nail clipper (both are of the same
length and have a small set of jaws at the end). The functional
classification it witnessed by her application of the tweezers.


3V0417.01 Putting-in with no pockets! insensitive to the “obvious” (3/15/79)

After many games of “wooba wooba”, pockets still confuse Peggy.
Equally, they interest her. When my shirt pockets have the flaps tucked
in, she can occasionally get enough of a hanky in for it to stay in place.
Similarly, she succeeds more or less well getting my pipe stems or pens
(even two at a time) into my pocket. With the flap down, but not
buttoned, she fails. When Peggy fails to insert an object in a pocket,
she tries a second time, holding the object in place and (it seems)
pressing slightly or holding long. This response applies even when I
have no pockets. In one case, I wore a sweater about the same color as
my green shirt and , when we played with a hanky, Peggy tried putting it
into a non-existent pocket in the sweater.

Peggy tries putting objects, especially pens, into her “pockets.” Her
infant clothes have none, but whenever she sits and the material
puckers up between sets of snaps, she has a pocket which she pokes
about in.


3V0432.02 Foxy Robin Hood: classification. (3/30/79)

Peggy has been playing much of late with Miriam’s stuffed toy fox,
called “Foxy.” Peggy carries the toy about by the ear, pets it as she tries
to do with Scurry. (Has she compared it yet to our pictures in the living
room ? I’m not certain.) Yesterday Peggy sat on the floor in front of
her dresser (which is in my bedroom because of Miriam’s allergies)
pointing to a decal on the bottom drawer, in an attempt to point it out
to Miriam. Today it became clear why. The decal is one of Robin Hood
— but the picture is of a Red Fox in a green suit with a bow and arrow.
Peggy hauled Foxy over to the dresser. then talking only to herself but
with the same delighted tones of yesterday’s talk with Miriam, Peggy
pointed first at Robin then at Foxy, then repeated her pointing and her


3V0432.03 Problem solving: bad bugs; insensitivity to the “obvious” (3/30/79)

Problem solving: bad bugs; insensitivity to the “obvious” (3/30/79) |
One of those many times she has sat in my lap, Peggy began trying to
uncap pens. (She has seen me put the cap on firmly many times, so
that when she put them in my pockets or took them out she would not
get ink all over). she succeeded with various bic pens and today she
tackled a black (?) Flash pen. This plastic pen has a metal ring and a
pocket clip and a white/gray circle at the top of the cap on the end.
Peggy succeeded in separating the cap from the pen. I put the cap back
on to avoid our both getting covered with black ink. Peggy removed
the cap. she began then trying to replace the cap, holding the pen in
her right hand and the cap in her left.

Peggy had a lot of trouble. She managed quite well inserting the pen in
the cap hole. BUT without good alignment, the pen would not go in
very far. She pressed harder. She removed the end and tried again.
After several tries, her persistence coupled with luck to permit the pen
insertion. She repeated the action five to ten times, refining her action
so that he re-insertions were quicker and more sure than the original
process. Somehow, the pen and the cap changed hands.

Peggy tried capping the pen with the cap in her right hand. She could
not do it. The reason is more surprising than the fact. The cap had
been turned around and she persisted in trying to insert the pen
through the white circle on the top of the cap. Can she not, does she
not distinguish a hole (whose appearance is black and round) from that
decorative circle (whose appearance is white and round)? The other
obvious common feature is that both are on the end of a cylinder.
If this is a discrimination failure, is the problem some non-salience of
color ? (Hard to believe.) Is it the complexity of three intersecting
features (being round, on a cylinder, and of different colors) ?
Perhaps it is not a discrimination failure but one of ignorance, i.e.
Peggy does not know that a covered hole prohibits insertion.


3V0440.01 A declarative sentence <[That's Scurry. That's it.]> (04/07/79)

Scurry looms large in Peggy’s world. She knows her name is Scurry; she
thinks of the fox pictures as dog pictures (especially note the
videotape where she first makes that identification). Today Gretchen
asked me, “Bob, did you hear that?” (I hadn’t.) “Peggy said, ‘That’s
Scurry.'” I remarked that it would be nice if it were true, if that’s what
she had said and meant. Here Scurry obliged by walking into the room.
Peggy pointed and said [That’s Scurry. That’s it.]

Importance — This use appears to be an elaboration of Peggy’s
imperative /[th]aet/ and /hae(v)[th]aet/ into declarative use.


3V0453.01 A question: [What that is ?] interior dialogue: (4/20/79)

Peggy toddles around the bedroom-study while Gretchen and I work on
the thesis. Today, she sat by the fireplace in a pile of dried leaves and
wood chips, she spoke to herself [what that is ?] as she patted a “dust
mop” then gave her own answer [broom].
Importance: a number of points revolve around this performance.
1. the non-standard word order is a puzzle. when we ask Peggy the
names of things, we ask “what’s that ?” It is striking that she
introduces a copula in place of recognizing its contraction in “what’s”
If she hears “what that from us. why should she add “is” ?

2. She could have said something else, which I mistook for [what that
is?] Yes. She could have said [what that it.] – a construction similar to
[that’s scurry. That’s it.] Perhaps something else.

3. Here we have an example surfacing of interior monologue in a query
format — perhaps interior dialogue would be a better term.


3V0465.01 “Have Peggy”: adults adjust speech to her understanding (5/early/79)

Peggy has wanted to be picked up a lot lately. Her way of indicating this
is very annoying — she typically comes to where Gretchen is, grabs
Gretchen’s pants leg, and wails. Could we get her to say ‘Up’? No.
Gretchen began saying “Have Peggy?” and continues doing so, even
though this has not inspired Peggy to say what she wants.

Importance — this documents the way we change our speech to try
communicating so that Peggy can understand. There is no implication,
of course, that such speech changes make any difference.


3V0485.01 Action initiation; observations of symbolic ‘up’ from discussions with
Mimi Sinclair (5/22/79)

I discussed Peggy’s development with Mimi Sinclair and we reviewed a
video tape or two. She encouraged me to continue with the study till
Peggy is at least two years old. We discussed several topics.

Peggy and shoes — Peggy has no shoes of her own. (This is true at 16
months, 5/22/79, as it was six weeks ago). She has never had baby
shoes put on her. In cold weather, when her dress has not built-in
‘socks’, she has had socks put on her feet. Consequently, her attempt
currently and even earlier to put her feet in others’ shoes is as clear a
case of imitation as one could ask for. Peggy continues to put her feet
in others’ shoes; once she walked across the room with one moccasin
of mine; yesterday it was Miriam’s cowgirl boots.

The token ‘up’ revisited — When I discussed this topic with Mimi, she
found it interesting but not convincing. Were there any clear signs that
Peggy wanted to be picked up? How did she indicate this normally? Did
she follow or precede this token with such behavior?

In our conversations, I could not agree that she had done so.
Thereafter, it became common for Peggy to place a toy in my lap then
indicate (by flapping her arms, by making eager noises and smiling, by
placing her hands in her armpits) that she also wanted to be in my lap.
Sometimes I refused to pick her up and she indicated her frustration
(crying was usually reserved for cases of minor hurts when I did not
pick her up at once).

Mimi’s general advice on the experiments was that I should try to be
less intrusive…. Perhaps this will be possible in the future if I get more
time to plan the weekly experiments.


3V0485.02 Game-agent flexibility precursor to language (5/22/79)

Toe grabbing — We grownups tickle Peggy (so do the older children)
and she enjoys it. She has begun to try tickling us in return. Her
attempts are good imitations although not very effective. (She holds
her hand over a patch of skin and scratches [with] all her fingers one
after the other.

Another form of activity in which Peggy has ‘turned around’ the agent-
patient relation is ‘toe grabbing.’ Ofttimes when she carries Peggy past
me, Gretchen stops for a moment. Since she is usually standing and I
am sitting, Peggy’s foot is about hand height and it is my custom to
tickle her foot or grab her foot and wiggle it gently. Early in May, Peggy
toddled over to my chair, grabbed a hold of my big toe and shook it.
She looked at me expectantly, so I made loud noises of surprise. Peggy
was delighted. She has kept up this toe grabbing and has even attacked
my feet from under the dining room table. This apparently delights her
and is quite reminiscent of her cranking Scurry’s tail (which she
enjoys, doubtless, more than the dog does).

Importance — the turning-around of agent-patient relations is an
important precursor in action to structural flexibility in the use of


3V0491.01 Peggy hiding by closing her eyes; no sense of how others see her (5/28/79)

Peggy likes to hide and play chase. The way she hides is reminiscent of
playing peek-a-book [sic]. She will run to the corner of a wall and its
perpendicular projection and put her head in the corner. When I cry
out “Where’s Peggy?” she will peek and smile and hide her head again.

Playing chase with Miriam, Peggy shows the same sort of behavior. Her
most common hiding place is the corner formed by a cabinet and wall.
This gives her room to hide, but she not merely gets out of sight of the
chaser, she goes deep into the corner, puts her head there, and closes
her eyes.

Today (June 8th) Peggy hid in a different context. She was mad at me
because she wanted to go downstairs and the gate was closed. As she
came crying back to me (I sat in the bedroom), I condescendingly tried
to jollify her. Peggy was unconsoled and hid her head in the corner of
the hallway and the door jamb to the bedroom.

Importance — Peggy seems to have no sense at all of how she appears to
another. Like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand, Peggy acts as
though she does not see herself as others see her. We can consider this
note as capturing a starting point in the expected, long-developing
dissociation of points of view from primary egocentrism.


3V0493.01 Fragmentary sound knowledge contrast to prosodics (5/30/79)

Diaper = /dai/ — Peggy needed changing this morning — so I believed —
and Gretchen upstairs agreed to do it. Peggy was complaining loudly,
toddling around and smacking her plastic pants. To make certain, I
asked, “What do you want, Peggy?” She replied [die] (/dai/) and
toddled over to the stairs eagerly.

When we got upstairs, Gretchen was folding laundry. I asked her not to
use any of her normal phrases. She asked something like “What shall
we do, Peggy?” Peggy, grabbing her plastic pants and smiling, said /gi/
and ran (at a fast toddle) into her bedroom.

Importance — It is very difficult to capture the sense of an infant’s
knowledge of names in speech production. These two incidents focus
on a situation where Peggy’s meanings were clear to me from the
pragmatics. In her attempts to respond to questions, we see her
produce parts of sound patterns we associated with the name ‘diaper’
and the action ‘change’. This very fragmentary speech knowledge
contrasts amazingly with the performances which witness Peggy’s rich
prosodic knowledge described in the later notes under the heading


3V0494.01 Speech as intensifier of interactions; interrelations of idioms, names,
prosodics (5/31/79)

HOW’S THAT? (cf. toe grabbing, 5/22) — Peggy continues to grab my
foot and shake it when I prop one leg up over the other. She laughs
delightedly whenever I cry out in surprise and mock distress /ah ah/.
Sometimes I don’t respond as quickly as she would like and thus, I
believe, Peggy has begun to address me when she grabs my toe. She
asks (so I hear it) [HOW’S THAT?] as she shakes my foot and I respond
“Terrible.” Peggy repeats the transaction a few times then goes off.

Importance —
1. Peggy is applying speech as an intensifier of our interactions, an
additional way to gain my attention when contact isn’t sufficient.

2. Does she say “How’s that?”, an idiom context-appropriate, or does
she say “Have that?” If the latter, it is a variation on her well known
and bi-directional imperative “Have that!” I hear the former and
respond in a consistent way. It could be she has gradually
differentiated this new formula from her earlier well known form and
my mis-interpretation.

3. I noticed myself, as Gretchen paused near me taking Peggy to bed
last night, shaking her foot and saying “How’s that?” I expected her to
respond “Terrible.” (N.B. This was not a planned experiment — just
what I noticed myself doing.)

4. We should ask how this sort of verbal or speech knowledge relates to
Peggy’s knowledge of names and her knowledge of prosodics. Should
we not expect to see from the interaction of these three kinds of
knowledge the sudden emergence of discourse? I believe we have here
the real solution to the puzzle of the sudden acquisition of ‘syntactic’
knowledge by the infant.


3V0497.01 Comprehends [Daddy have the brush]; she gets it (6/3/79)

Peggy comes in the bathroom whenever I take a bath. She likes me to
wind up a little plastic duck and let it paddle about in the water. Today
after watching the duck, she picked up a hair brush from the side of
the tub, [and] stroked her head. I named the brush. Peggy then toddled
out of the bathroom. I expected her to return with it, but she came
back empty handed. I said to her, “Daddy have the brush.” She turned,
walked out of the bathroom, and returned with it.

Importance — This incident marks another variation introduced to
Peggy’s basic imperative sentence, i.e. “‘recipient’ have that”, by
specifying the object’s name. Gretchen may have earlier tried forms
such as “have cookie?” — but it is not clear precisely how Peggy
interpreted such an expression.


3V0502.01 Trash can: comprehension and generalization

Peggy comes to pick at the contents of my writing table whenever she is
in my bedroom. (Just now she took a box of chalk and complained
vociferously when I retrieved it from her). Today she found the cap of
a beer bottle and picked it up. I asked “Will you put that in the trash
can ?” Peggy immediately turned towards it, toddled over, and dropped
the cap in the can.

Questions: 1. how would Peggy have acted if I asked her “Will you put
that in the blitz krieg ?” or made some other equally inappropriate
request ? I should try this.

2. did anyone teach her the name “trash can” ? Gretchen informs me
that yesterday she asked Peggy to put something in the “trash can”
(down in the kitchen, one which is quite different in appearance), and
when Peggy looked blank, she touched it and continued, “This is the
trash can.”

Importance: a surprising response on Peggy’s part is here traced back
to a specific incident in which the name of an object was given and
apparently well-attached to a functionally defined object.


3V0502.02 Pure verbal interpretation overwhelms context: 6/08/79

Pick up Foxy
The older children have a bad habit (likely picked up from me) of
dropping wherever they are whatever they have no further need of.
when I try to get them to pick up after themselves they complain “I
didn’t have that” or “Shouldn’t (the other child) pick up that (other
thing) also ?” With considerable justice, they complain that Peggy
makes an absolute mess of the house, dropping her things, theirs, or
whatever comes to have wherever she is when something else
dominates her mind. Thus, when I asked Robby today to pick up some
clothes he had dropped in the kitchen I turned to Peggy who had
dropped the toy red fox near her high chair and said “Peggy, will you
pick up Foxy ?” pointing at the toy on the floor. Standing near me and
the toy (to which I pointed and which was in her sight), she looked up
at me then crossed the kitchen to the dog’s bed, grabbed Scurry by the
ear, and tugged at it three times.

Importance: Peggy’s reaction to this instruction was entirely
unexpected. No one has ever referred to Scurry as Foxy. Even though
Foxy (the name we all use for her toy red fox) was in plain view and
further specified by pointing, Peggy apparently considered Scurry the
intended referent of the name I spoke. Clearly, Scurry is the
outstanding exemplar of what a fox is — for Peggy has identified the
Scotty as a fox numerous times on videotape.

It would be a mistake to erect a theory of label fixation on the basis of
a single example, but I incline to see this “error” of interpretation as
similar to the hypothetical process I have otherwheres called the
“nucleation of microworld clusters.” Here, in place of an archetype,
the primary example of Peggy’s class of ‘Fox’, i.e. Scurry, is interpreted
as the referent for a term which has never been applied to her. If no
more, this incident is evidence and a lucid example of how thought
intervenes even in so “simple” a process as the association of names
with referents.


3V0502.03 TIRADES; issue: forming technical terms for phenomena appearing in
observations (6/8/79)

Tirades — I am introducing this word as a technical term in the sense in
which it appears in French and Italian drama. The tirade is a long
speech or declamatory passage by a single actor directed to an
audience but not to other actors engaged in a play with him. A
conversation, in contrast, involves turn taking and more than one

Peggy has begun to speak in a specific way we will name a ‘tirade’. Let
me describe the first such that came to my attention (Gretchen has
witnessed this before. How often?) also because it is a lucid example of
specific aspects of the tirade. Peggy and I were in the bedroom. I sat
writing and she toddled past my chair, over to the sliding glass doors.
She began speaking, not with words but in ‘sentences.’ She continued
talking, without any sound patterns recognizable as signifying to me,
but with intonation patterns and caesurae characteristic of connected
discourse. She did NOT pause or interrupt her speech to give me a turn
(to be sure, I could have interrupted her). She did not, by intonation,
request my response via interrogation.

Was this babbling? No, for I take babbling to signify the repetition of
various sound[s] but with phonological repetition at the base. What
Peggy said sounded like speech in a foreign tongue (one cognate with
ours, i.e. I could not recognize any distinctive, non-English sounds in
her repertoire). Did her speech mean anything? It conveyed nothing to
me in the incident by the door. I can not say what it meant to her, if

Peggy continued from the glass door over towards the closet, on the
lower clothes rack of which are Miriam’s dresses. She began to handle
the sleeves, speaking the while, turning to me occasionally, poking
around some more to extract the sleeve of yet another dress. This
tirade went on for at least two minutes — a significant discourse.

Importance — in the tirade we see surfacing an important kind of
linguistic knowledge — that related to the prosody of connected
discourse and the roles of conversation, i.e. speech is something you
say about a topic to another person. Peggy gives evidence of a very
flexible system of speech. What is lacking is communication through
common reference, the use of words and phrases as socially shared

The recognition of the tirade as a kind of linguistic knowledge as yet
distinct from others permits us to imagine now how Peggy will learn to
speak — i.e. we can propose a first order theory of speech acquisition.
Let’s claim three different uses of language exhibit three distinct
knowledges about language. Let the tirade be one. Let the use of words
as labels for objects (e.g. foot, nose), classes of objects (intensionally
or functionally defined — fox versus trash can) and actions (e.g.
change, get down from high chair) be the second. This second use, in
extension beyond what adults recognize as words, obviously extends to
clichés by which reference is made. The third use of language I have no
name for yet, but by it I mean that knowledge that Peggy has already
elaborated upon her use of “that.” I need a good name for this.

Conceiving of Peggy’s language knowledge as in these three systems
promises some hope of being able to observe how and precisely when
her recognizable speech emerges and from what predecessors(i.e.
there may be more or they may be different from what I have
proposed here but this proposal seems simple enough to understand
and complex enough that it has a chance of reflecting what really goes

Because I deem the documenting of Peggy’s tirades important, I have
begun a series of audio tape records (on 6/9/79) wherein I will try to
capture her speech now before she assembles effective speech
performances. Her speaking is clearly well enough developed to be
interesting and she is outspoken enough that she may say valuable
things before she understands how reference, elaboration of (assembly
of) meanings and large scale discourse are integrated.


3V0503.01 [Who have that?] role of pragmatics; example for analysis (6/9/79)

Miriam, sitting at the table, had left a pair of shoes across the kitchen
despite my asking her to pick them up. When I called them to her
attention and we talked about the shoes, Peggy picked up one and
carried it over to Miriam. Miriam tried to get Peggy to bring her the
second shoe as well, speaking in this vien. “Peggy, get me the shoe. The
shoe. Miriam have that.” Peggy went back for the other shoe but
brought it to me at the table. I said, “No, Peg. Not Daddy. Who have
that? Miriam have that.”

Peggy looked at me, walked away carrying the shoe, then dropped it
and turned. She walked determinedly back to me, poked my arm with
her finger, and said, “Dad.”

Importance — Peggy clearly can label me as “Dad.” Her productive use
witnesses it as much as her pointing to her own head when
asked “Where’s Peggy?”

More importantly, this incident witnesses the not-always evident role of
pragmatics. That is, Peggy took Miriam’s shoe (because they were hers?
Because of the size?) Then, she gave me a turn to receive a shoe and
was confused when I verbally redirected her.


3V0508.01 Over the head: what it means to Peggy (6/14/79)

Putting cloth objects especially (but others as well) over the top of the
head and down about her neck has become one of Peggy’s favorite
activities. This leapt to prominence in our eyes with her wandering
from the living room into the kitchen with a pair of Robby’s jockey
shorts around her neck, her head through the waist and one leg. She
was delighted with her success and kept repeating the action — just
with the shorts and in subsequent days with any piece of clothing she
could pull from her dresser drawers. Latterly (7/1 say) Peggy has
concentrated on putting a small found necklace of Miriam’s over her
head with the same satisfaction.

Relevance — this activity appears to capture what ‘over the head’ means
to Peggy — i.e. to her, clothing is that class of cloth things that goes
over the head. She has been dressed by others so long, that this new
success must be to her an extension of her control of her world that is
significant from her point of view of what life is about (imagine trying
to imagine the existential philosophy of an infant!)


3V0516.02 Concrete pipe: putting in (6/22/79)

Peggy often rides with Miriam and me down to the Cox school to pick
up Robby after soccer practice. Beside the soccer field is a play area
for the older children.. One object is an 8 foot long concrete pipe of 4
foot diameter. Peggy was obvious(ly) fascinated by it when Miriam
went through it. She toddled over, leaned in then backed up to me for
comfort. From the other end, Miriam urged her by calling. Peggy did
go through with some unease and was delighted at having finished the
challenge — delighted but not merely relieved. Robby joined us and
calling her to keep her attention on him, he first went around the
outside then came back to her through the inside of the pipe.
Relevance: this records an experience of Peggy’s wherein she goes
through personally a cylinder in the way of various objects she inserts
in the cardboard tubes in our videotape experiments. This sort of
experience could serve as an exemplar permitting connection of
putting-into and going-through kinds of experiences.


3V0522.01 Tirades disappeared; “comments” instead (6/28/79)

What happened to the ‘tirades’ and recording of them? The attempt at
recording failed because they dropped out of Peggy’s behavior —
rather, they took a reduced form which is more appropriate to call
“comments.” The characteristic of a comment is its length — typically
two or three sentences (as judged [by] patterns of prosody) — and its
relation to pragmatics. Most commonly, Peggy seems to be talking
about what she is doing (as in the “discussion” of bean bags noted
subsequently). It is possible that Peggy tries to talk about things she
wants, but I have no clear examples for reference (we should look for
this sort of occasion; its non-occurrence would also be interesting).
We have been able to record a few samples of “comments” on audio
tape. There are also significant examples of this in videotapes P74 and


3V0528.01 Naming [shoe]#3. Silly instruction? “Right, that’s a shoe and you put it
on your head” [foot]…[but = clasp] (7/4/79)

This morning Peggy played in the bedroom as I sat in my chair. Peggy
picked up one of Gretchen’s white sandals and said [shoe]. Gretchen
asked if I heard. I said so and then to Peggy, “Right. That’s a shoe and
you put it on your head.” Peggy looked puzzled by my nonsense and
after a short pause said /fut/, which I interpret as [foot]. She then
pointed to the clasp and said /b/\t/.

Relevance — This bit of nonsense I said shows, by her response, not
merely that Peggy knows shoes go on feet but that [she] applied some
understanding of what I said to what she was doing and knew, rejected
what I said and expressed her own idea. I am somewhat confused now
about why I think this is important. [Later addition: no longer so. cf.
Mallory’s [Selfridge] “Joshua, get on the tape recorder.”]


3V0531.01 COUNTING: beginning of notes. Cookies, hands, and counting (7/7/79)

During interviews at IBM, Moshe Zloof raised the question of whether
or not, in effect, counting is innate. I told him the question was a big
one about which I felt no one could speak with authority but that I had
very strong prejudices. As an example of the kind of experience from
which I felt the knowledge of counting might develop, I cited Peggy’s
reception of cookies. After convincing us to get her a cookie, Peggy
would sometimes open her mouth to receive it directly. More
commonly, she would hold out her hand (usually the right), take the
cookie, and put it in her mouth. Some time ago (we neither can recall
just when), in a situation where a whole stack of cookies was available,
Peggy requested and received a cookie for each hand. In some
circumstances, Peggy ended up transferring two cookies to one hand
and eating a cookie sandwich. The final step, which I witnessed but
can’t date, was Peggy requesting a cookie for each hand, then
transferring the right cookie to the left hand and requesting another.
In this little series of incidents, we see one-to-one correspondence and
a procedure for “getting one more”. These two are enough to base a
counting system on.

Today, Peggy began picking up all the various things on my chair side
table. I gave her three small bean bags to play with. The game of
choice became putting them in my palm and removing them. The
material scraps from which the bean bags were made are all colorful
and quite different from one another. She removed them several ways:
by ones, two first, and two last. When my hand was empty, she twice
scratched my palm after removing the third bag.

Peggy was much engaged with this bean bag play, talking all the while
(the talk is recorded on audio tape #3). I intend to play with these
little bags during our next experiment on videotape. Let’s see if we can
catch the development of Peggy’s knowledge of counting.


3V0534.01 Words and situations: trash can-words, like things seen can be unconsidered (cf. notes # for problem solving analogy) (7/10/79)

A little exploration following Chomsky’s advice that you can probe
language understanding (only) by examining the interpretation of
nonsense — Gretchen’s “snuggle gruggle” shows how easy it is to over
interpret language understanding on the bases of action. This is a
second example (cf. 6/8/79 Trash can).

Peggy picked over the contents of my writing table again today and
found a tulip-shaped tiny metal bell — the end of a light cord. I
directed her: “Peggy, put this in the trash can” as I returned it to her.
She toddled across the room and did so and returned to my table.
Selecting another piece of disposable stuff, I gave it her with “Put this
in the birdbath.” Peggy complied, but carried it to the trash can. In the
third variation, I gave her a roll of scotch tape in a dispenser and said,
“Put this in the icebox.” She put the tape in the trash can. Although we
would not throw it away, Peggy was willing.

Clearly the nouns of destination [?] in these sentences are not
determining what Peggy does. Does she know “birdbath”? No. Does she
know “icebox”? Quite likely — we more often name the refrigerator by
that label instead of “icebox,” but she has doubtless heard me use the
word when trying to raid it. That is, the refrigerator looms large in
Peggy’s life. She tries to get food out of it whenever it is opened and
often is permitted to do so.


3V0541.03 [right!] Comprehension issue (7/17/79)

Peggy and I had a fight today. I was charging about the house, all
concerned with th beam-raising project or its clean up. Peggy was
toddling about with the yardstick, probably looking to chase Scurry
with it.

We collided. The yardstick and my left shin. Peggy was knocked [over].
I was pained and angry and threw the yardstick out of the way. Peggy
cried because she was frightened as well as for her fall, and Gretchen
picked her up to comfort her.

Peggy was frightened of me! I asked her, “You think your Daddy is mad
at you, don’t you?” Peggy said “Right” and dropped her head onto
Gretchen’s shoulder.

Importance — How much understanding need we ascribe to Peggy to
infer that this was a conversational transaction? How different is this
in her understanding from a more direct question, “Am I mad at you?”


3V0555.01 [Car, car, go, go]: (07/31/79)

I was taking Peggy and Scurry for a walk. I carried Peggy out to the
garage and seated her in the stroller. Peggy waved her hand around and
cried, “Ca’, ca’, go ca’,” indicating she wanted to go for a ride. She has
often said “Ca'” under those circumstances, but never before “Go ca’.”
Walking up the street we came to a place where there are dogs on both
sides, a sheltie and a beagle. Whenever we pass, the sheltie growls at us
and the beagle barks. Neither dog happened to be outside. Peggy
looked from one side to the other, the remarked inquiringly, “Vava’.”
She obviously expected those dogs and wanted to know where they
were. Gretchen.