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3V0001.1

3V0001.01 Recollections of Peggy’s birth 1/23/78

After telling our landlord, as I returned from walking the dog Sunday night, that the baby was not expected for a week, I realized on coming inside that Gretchen was showing the classic signs of imminent labor. All day she suffered lower-back muscular pains, she frequently experienced shooting pains in her legs. Consequently, I was not too surprised when, upon waking at 4:30am, I found Gretchen already in labor. I was surprised she was so far along, with contractions every three to four minutes. Gretchen explained she had wakened at 2 with contractions at 15 minute intervals but felt I needed sleep and saw no reason to wake me.

The suitcase had long been packed. We dressed, readied the car, considered then skipped breakfast, and left for the hospital with deliberate haste. The roads were passable but still in bad condition (24″ of snow had fallen on the 20th and 21st). There was no traffic at the hour and we proceeded without difficulty to the hospital by 5:30am.

By 6am, Gretchen had been admitted and undergone the regimen of delivery preparation. The doctor arrived, checked the cervical dilation, broke the bag of waters, and said he anticipated delivery between 8 and 8:30. The pains were very bad. He ordered a shot and directed me to massage Gretchen’s lower back. By 6:30, it was clear the foetus would not wait. I called our landlord at 6:35 to wake the children and send them to school as he had agreed. During the call, Gretchen was removed from the labor room, I hurried after to the delivery room.

The doctor held the head as it emerged…. Holding her upside down, the doctor suction-cleared her mouth, checked her breathing, and laid Peggy on Gretchen’s stomach.

Peggy was pale blue at birth, as was Robby; I don’t recall Miriam’s color. Peggy’s color led me to ask her Apgar rating (it was 8 at both the first two judgments). Her weight at birth was 8 pounds 8 ounces (Robby had weighed in at 9,2 and Miriam at 8,10). She was delivered at 8:46. The labor was very short (compared to 14 hours for Robby and 10 for Miriam) and painful, since in effect Peggy was delivered without anesthesia. The umbilical cord was cut and Peggy was removed to a warming basket.

At 7:30, Gretchen and Peggy were back in the labor room, resting. I called home to find Robby and Miriam puzzling over whether they should go to school or whether it had been canceled. During a third call, at 8:15, I found school was canceled. The children had to stay at home alone, but had our landlord to call on should any need arise. None did. Robby was able to talk to Gretchen during this call, and he seemed very happy that things had gone so well and that Gretchen could assure him she was allright.

Around 8:30, Peggy was taken to the nursery where she spent most of the morning. Gretchen got cleaned up while I had breakfast, then we spent the morning together in her room in the maternity section of the hospital.

Gretchen added later in a marginal note, about suffering terribly at the delivery — ‘a relative statement – who knows how bad it would have been. Also there is the knowledge you are truly on the home stretch. The entire extent was “really bad” but it was less than half an hour.’

3V0015.1

3V0015.1 Sheldon Wagner proposes Meltzoff Experiment 2/6/78

Sheldon Wagner called with congratulations on Peggy’s birth today. During a long conversation, he asked if we would be willing to informally try an experiment on infant imitation which seriously refutes Piagetian theory (I found the reference in a back issue of Science: imitation of Facial and Manual Gestures by Human Neonates, Andrew Meltzoff and Keith Moore, 7 Oct. 1977.) Gretchen and I agreed to go ahead and do it. (This means we will do it very soon, maybe hard to get the videotape equipment and a mirror — maybe we shouldn’t get that fancy.)

3V0017.1

3V0017.1 Early body movements 2/8/78; 0;17

Peggy’s umbilical scab has fallen off, so it no longer matters if she rolls over on her belly. She and I were laying on the bed after Gretchen fed her. I proposed her up on her right to aid in digestion, but she would not be still. Still rooting a diaper, she flopped onto her belly in a squall of tears and wailing. She was vigorously kicking with crawling gestures and continued doing so. With her left arm placed as if she were doing a pushup (and her right seemed trapped under her body), Peggy kept on “crawling.” She had no traction on the sheet so her motions seemed to be a general flailing until I put my hand at her soles, giving her a surface to push against though still no traction at the knees. Even though she could not lift her head up, Peggy pushed herself forward over four inches (in about two minutes) before I restored her to her initial position.

3V0018.1

3V0018.1 Bob comforts Peggy during the night 2/9/78; 0;18/

Near midnight this morning, Peggy woke Gretchen, apparently ready for a late night snack. After nursing for only a few minutes, she lost interest. Gretchen got quite frustrated at being waked to no purpose and returned Peggy, crying again, to her crib. When I could stand the noise no more (it was not too loud in itself, but I felt Peggy was keeping Gretchen awake), I picked up Peggy and walked her up and down the loft. I had no intention of continuing this exercise, but Peggy would not suffer quietly being put down. I climbed back into bed, still holding her and continued to do so for half an hour or more before rising to write this note. Peggy has taken my place in bed, but she is quiet.

3V0030.1

3V0030.01 Why we abandoned Meltzoff Experiment; Infant communication 2/21/78; 0;30

Gretchen and I agreed to do Meltzoff’s experiment as requested by Sheldon but later changed our minds. Upon a close reading, I decided the only valid replication of the experiment would require both videotape and the mirror in my office. The only practical way to effect the experiment would be to go to the Logo Lab and do it there. My scenario included a social call to introduce Peggy, perhaps with Sheldon helping in the experiment on the 13th.

This vision of the work was rapidly undercut (perhaps overlaid would be a better word) by the Blizzard of 1978. The 27 inches of snow, clogged courtyard, impassable streets, and driving ban kept us marooned in Brookline through the 14th. Indeed, on the 11th, our situation still looked difficult enough that Robby and I hiked the mile and ahalf to the Star market and back to get staples in preparation for a second storm predicted on Monday the 13th.

The other factor causing abandonment of the experiment was the inhibition its potential was introducing to our interactions with Peggy. Specifically, the problem was this. Gretchen knew the gestures used in the experiment, and having read the article also, knew the claim that the parents were unaware of them. That fact was the basis of excluding one explanation — that the gestures were not rehearsed by parents and baby outside the lab in any biased way. For Gretchen to avoid that sort of rehearsal, even unconsciously performed, would have meant her stifling her communication with Peggy. We both decided this was intolerable for the protracted period our snow bound isolation imposed. The major difficulty is that the parents’ dominant inclination is to establish a communication link with this child. This is attempted naturally by the parent through his imitation of the child’s facial gestures. Since the baby’s repertoire is quite limited, the gestures the parent isolates are those used by the Meltzoff experiment, i.e. any care provider for the baby, attempting to establish communication with the baby would be lead to imitating the baby’s gestures, I believe there is no way to prohibit this cycle of reinforcement though one may, as experimenter, chose to remain ignorant of it by refusing to inform the baby’s parents what is going on. Just because you don’t tell the parents what your experiment is, does not imply you can claim they have not biased it beforehand. This is especially the case where the process involved, adult-baby communication, is central to the social binding which must be established for baby’s to be deemed worth the trouble of caring for and enduring.

Not only Gretchen, but the children and even I, were imitating the baby’s gestures at every turn of our attention to her. By the middle of Peggy’s third week, i.e. the 15th, Gretchen was claiming that Peggy was really smiling at her. By the 20th, I was willing to concur. That is, Peggy was sufficiently socialized to be either responding to some non-obvious cues or to be attempting to manipulate the person holding her when recognized (she smiled at me also, but more often at Gretchen).

A final quibble: how did Meltzoff get those babies to take a pacifier so placidly, to have it popped in and out of their mouth without a considerable objection ? Were all bottle fed and expecting that sort of nipple ? Peggy absolutely refuses a pacifier, even one purportedly in the shape of the human when deformed by sucking. She would take it in her mouth a little, then spit it out after a few seconds. Was this procedure followed at some uniform time in each baby’s feeding cycle ?

A suggestion of Gretchen’s: the “imitation” of facial gestures may be at the same low level of mental processing as the contagion of yawning. (This is analogous to Seymour’s point raised by a discussion in the fall in one of Marvin’s classes when he spoke of unmediated communication between afferent and efferent systems — such is a reasonable perspective if one claims that one comes to build up perceptual recognition by projecting one’s own actions into the perceived situations.) Has anyone ever done adult experiments on the contagion of yawning under experimental situations comparably controlled as is Meltzoff’s ?

3V0032.1

3V0032.01 One month checkup 2/23/78; 1;0

Today was Peggy’s first post-natal examination. At one month, she weighs 11 lbs, 9 oz. (having left the hospital at 8,3). The two “stork bites” on her eye lids may actually be birth marks, in which case we should assume they will remain for several years. She is 22 inches long. Cranial circumference is 15 inches. Doctor Morse said we should not expect her to focus well or recognize anything until she is 6 to 8 weeks old (this in response to my remark that she always appears to be looking over a person’s shoulder). Her nightly fussing he described as her first period of coming “awake”, his positions being that babies sleep most of the time and only gradually become conscious in the sense we are when awake. He said her weight gain is positive proof that she is not colicky or ill. The first infant reaction to sickness is loss of appetite — of which she shows none. She breathes well, has a heart and a well formed pelvis. She appears to be in great shape.

His advice about the crying was to amuse her if we chose to do so, not to worry about it, perhaps to place here where there is a little noise (radio or TV) or where there are people moving about frequently — such as in the kitchen — in the kind of infant seat we have already.

Comparing her weight with the other children, Gretchen noted that at one month Miriam weighed 10,14 and Robby 11,7. Peggy, being born near her calculated due date, is, in effect, being measured a week earlier than they were (both were born about a week after the calculated due date), so her gross weight seems quite in line with Miriam’s.

Gretchen: a note about fussing – 4/23/78
By the time of the visit to the doctor, we had realized this was not a hunger problem. We simply resigned ourselves to putting up with the problem as best we could, knowing that she would go to bed after the final feeding around 11, and hoping that by three months it would be over. One night, right before her ten-week post natal checkup, I fed her around 7:30 pm and 8:30 she was sleepy, so I put her down and to my pleased surprise she slept right through until 7:30 the next morning. Since then, she has pretty well given up the last evening feeding and gone to bed for the night around 9 pm, give or take 30 minutes.

3V0040.1


3V0040.01 Showing off Peggy at Logo; sibling reactions 3/3/78; 1;9

Peggy is gradually being introduced at the Logo Lab. On Saturday, the 25th, she, Gretchen, Robby and I trekked over to loan Robby’s camera to Jose Valente — who needed such a one for his project at Fall River. Peggy met Jose and Greg at that time. Yesterday, I took in part of a paper to Seymour — and we took the whole family. And encountered Danny, Hal, Glen, Seymour, Gordon Oro, Gary Drescher.

Within the past week Peggy has become much more alert generally and in far better control of herself that before. This appeared in several ways at once! She now travels around in her crib, she prefers to be carried on the chest and looking over the shoulder to being held by arms in the feeding position, when in the infant seat, she readily turns her head to follow peoples’ movements where last week she did not do so.

Miriam has tried playing with but is getting frustrated by having too little feedback. Robby has said that he hopes any other child we have will be female “because I like having little girls around.” I interpret this as a hope to preserve his specialness as a son. But Robby some times feels threatened/overwhelmed at the thought of so many girls and says he would prefer a brother

4/23 Gretchen made additional margin notes on Peggy not wanting to feed in the middle of the night.

3V0052.1

3V0052.01 Peggy begins sleeping through the night 3/15/78; 1;21

Peggy is showing considerable motor development now. Starting yesterday, when left alone in her crib, she has been straining very hard to lift her head and succeeding (before collapse). By lifting her head, I mean raising it straight up by contracting her neck muscles. She gets even higher by raising herself on her arms — this permits her crown to be seen down to the eyes above the top of the crib bumper on a horizontal line.

For the first time, she rolled over on her back when put on her stomach. (She did so at least twice.) Robby took Peggy’s picture while straining to raise her neck and, after, suggested we keep a note book describing her development.

My general impression is that she now shows about the same motor development as a new born kitten (this is a kind of dumb comment — the intent of the statement is to mark how much more competent she is now than at birth).

3V0054.1

3V0052.01 Motor development: rolls onto her back (CF. note #19) 3/17/78; 1;23

Peggy is showing considerable motor development now. Starting yesterday, when left alone in her crib, she has been straining very hard to lift her head and succeeding (before collapse). By lifting her head, I mean raising it straight up by contracting her neck muscles. She gets even higher by raising herself on her arms — this permits her crown to be seen down to the eyes above the top of the crib bumper on a horizontal line.

For the first time, she rolled over on her back when put on her stomach. (She did so at least twice.) Robby took Peggy’s picture while straining to raise her neck and, after, suggested we keep a note book describing her development.

3V0085.1

3V0085.01 Social development: outgoing; interactions with family 4/17/78; 2;26

Peggy is considerably more outgoing than a month ago.. She lets us know we should pick her up by crying, and she wants to be picked up most of the time. Over the past week, she has become distractible from wanting to be held if anyone plays with her by making faces. An air-intaking, wide open mouth (gesture of mock surprise) is her favorite and leads directly to big smiles. She shows no laughter yet but it is beginning in squeals of delight, as yesterday while she sat in my lap. Peggy now enjoys bouncing up and down to “Ride a horse to Boston” this other rhyme: (Miriam introduced this rhyme– one like Danny Hillis did with her at Logo):
Giddy-up horsie
Go to town
Take little Peggy there.
Don’t fall down !
“Pop goes the weasel!” — with Peggy flying high in the air on the second “Pop” — frightens her a little, but she enjoys it too.
Peggy is sleeping regularly and feeding well — but she now often interrupts her meal to smile and play with Gretchen.

3V0091.1

3V091.01 Social development: outgoing; interactions with family 4/17/78; 2;26


note on the previous fussing (reference to 2/23/78 vignette):

By the time of the visit to the doctor, we had realized this was not a hunger problem. We simply resigned ourselves to putting up with the problem as best we could, knowing she would feel better after the final feeding around 11, and hoping that by 3 months it would be over. One night, right before her 10-week post-natal checkup, I fed her around 7:30 and by 8:30 she was sleepy, so I put her down, and to my pleased surprise she slept right through until 7:30 the next morning. Since then, she has pretty well given up the last evening feeding and gone to bed for the night around 9, give or take 30 minutes.

3V0091.2

3V0091.02 Peggy’s Vocalization 4/23 serial 0091

Peggy is 3 months old today; 13 weeks tomorrow. Gretchen has been making noises at Peggy for quite a while. Her favorite seems to be a drawn-out /kI/ with a moist tongue so that a slight bubbling sound is added. Within the past 7 – 10 days Peggy has been repeating the sound after Gretchen. She has spontaneously been complaining with /ngae/ for over 4 weeks. Over the few days, I heard her say /dae/ and Miriam remarked /gi/. (and just now /gae/).. Gretchen noted a sound she trouble describing – but offered “sort of a cross between /d/ and /th/.” Her imitation sounded to me like an aspirated /d/. (/dh/?)

The speech Peggy is subject to [is] the kind that we pretend she can understand. For example, Miriam went over with a new toy rabbit and said, “Peggy, wanta feel my new bunny?’ then put the rabbit in her hand. Gretchen talks in short sentences or long phrases, sometimes making cheerful noises. When Peggy makes noises, Gretchen responds as if Peggy were attempting to speak meaningfully to her. My speech is rare for I usually sing or chant the bouncing rhymes. Usually I sing quiet songs that I like (such as “Windmills” by Alan Bell) but last night to Peggy’s great delight, I broke out in varied choruses of the Dixieland classic “A Closer Walk with Thee” with all sorts of sounds, each continuing for at least a complete musical phrase. Peggy was especially pleased by the plosives, the la-la-la’s, and the /ch/ sounds.

3V0091.3

3V0091.03 Mothers-view 4/23/78

While Bob entered the previous notes, I was playing with Peggy on my lap, making noises. At one point she laughed, a set of three distinct sounds.

She now, more often than not, takes one long nap (as long as 4 hours) in the day, usually after her second feeding around 11.

Over the past few weeks I have begun taking her out with me when I go shopping because she will cry when left at home where Bob is trying to work. She is soothed by the motion of the car and generally amused by all the bustle and novelty of the store. Except for one occasion she has behaved very well, i.e. sat quietly looking about her or fallen asleep. People stop to look at her (there must be a lot of frustrated grandmothers around). Yesterday the children and I met Paul Goldenberg and his wife Andy in the Chestnut Hill Star.

3V0091.4

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.

Trait

Rob

Peg

Miriam(recall)
activity level

high

high

low
rhythmicity

irreg-medium

regular (most)

regular (some)
distractability

not distractable

distractable

distractable
approach/withdrawal

positive-medium?

positive

positive
adaptability

medium

medium

no recall
persistence

medium?long

?long/medium

long
intensity

intense

intense/mod.

moderate
responsiveness

high-moderate

high

low
mood

positive

positive

positive

3V0091.5

3V0091.05 Grasping 4/23/78

Peggy is showing greater tendencies now to grasp — clothing while nursing, a diaper otherwise. Also to direct her hand to mouth and suck at the thumb end. When she does this with crying, she sounds as though she is trying to stifle the noise by jamming her fist in her mouth. She has also made very vague hand motions at her toy clown when it was held right in front of her at waist level.
Gretchen