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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.)

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 ?

3V0092.1

3V0092.01 Visually tracking a conversation (4/24/78)

On 4/24/78 We went to visit the Clamans (and Peggy received the rabbit mentioned above). After the usual greetings and milling around, the children disappeared in the basement to watch baseball and the adults settled to talk in the living room. I sat on the couch with Priscilla, holding Peggy seated in my lap. Bob and Vic sat in chairs across the room, one on each side of the fireplace. Peggy began scanning this novel scene, her head moving from Priscilla on the left to bob in the center to Vic at the right and back again, pausing perhaps half a second to eye each person. she performed this back and forth viewing cycle continuously for a period of several minutes.
G.

3V0111.1

3V0111.01 Beginning of the “bathroom-robe incident” (5/13/78)

Peggy now chews on her fist, holding both hands to her mouth. She does not show preference for a thumb, but rather sucks the thumb end of her hand, including the index and middle fingers. She has begun to vocalize extensively, maintaining a continuous noise, frequently in conjunction with chewing on her hands…..

Over the past weeks, Peggy has become obviously very “visual,” looking and looking, trying to absorb everything with her eyes. This morning I carried her into the bathroom, where Bob was in the tub. She fixed her attention on his pajamas and robe hanging from the back of the door. When Bob called her name, she stared fixedly at the clothes, looking for his face (which was in reality only a little to the left). It took repeated calls, plus my shifting her around a bit, before she realized where Bob was. (Gretchen)

What I found most striking was Peggy’s straining to look at the top of the hook, where my head should have been. The aural evidence might have been confused by the funny echoes off the shower wall tiles. She finally found my face after, as her head sagged down, I raised my hand into her visual field, waving it, and gradually drew her gaze to my lower level in the bath tub.

A few days later: Gretchen again brought Peggy while I was on the bath. Sitting on Gretchen’s lap again and oriented to the door, Peggy saw my robe, followed the material up to the hook and back down to level, paused, and slowly turned her head left where she saw me and smiled. After she recognized me, I said , “Hi Peggy,” and waved, returning her smile.

3V0112.1

3V0112.01 Edie Priemer and “Here comes Charlie” 05/14/78

My mother came to visit the first week in May. She and Peggy got along very well, and she managed to amuse Peggy for considerable periods by a new game, “Clap hands, Here comes Charlie,” [chanted or sung (tune vague) three times, with action at “clap hands” – now!] The last, drawn out, with hands raised. Peggy thought this was great fun. A variation involves the presence of a small, furry teddy bear, a new present from G.G.. (Bob’s grandmother). He is hidden until the “Now!” and then he pops out onto Peggy’s lap (gently, otherwise she is too startled). It appears that his name will be Charlie. Peggy makes efforts to grasp and hold Charlie, sometimes trying to nibble his ear.
G.

3V0123.1

3V0123.01 Mimi Sinclair; Meltzoff move (5/25/78)

Yesterday Peggy came as Gretchen and I went to MIT to hear Mimi [Sinclair] speak on language and pre-linguistic development. Peggy put on a good smiling show for every one looking at her & was generally quite well behaved. She let out a few squawks during the lecture but was distracted enough by Gretchen not to be a nuisance. Before the lecture, we had introduced Peggy to Mimi and she told us not to be upset if Peggy made a little noise, only to take her out if she made a lot of noise. Mimi stuck out her tongue at Peggy, who immediately responded in kind, then “You imitate already. You’re not supposed to do that yet.”

3V0123.2

3V0123.02 Videotape Series Beginnings 05/25/78

Peggy was 4 months old on Tuesday. I’ve thought of starting a videotape series on Peggy’s development — to begin at 4 months — but don’t really know what to do. I would buy the tape and begin this early — partly to keep for my own memory a sense of what Peggy is like as a baby.
Bob

3V0126.1

3V0126.01 Nursing: socialization and vocalizations; “owl cup” fascination 05/28/78

text needs to be recovered from earlier documents

3V0127.1

3V0127.01 Grabbing and sucking an extended finger (5/29/78)

Monday (5/29) we were preparing to make our first videotape of Peggy at 18 weeks. she sat in her chair while Bob got the camera set up and observed the effects on the bedroom TV. I came over to investigate and held out a finger to Peggy. She reached for it, grasped it, and almost immediately conveyed it to her mouth where she sucked on my finger and as much of her hand as would fit.

3V0138.1

3V0138.01 More on heads and faces (see note #9) (6/09/78)

About a week ago I carried Peggy to the bathroom while Gretchen was in the tub. Motioning to Gretchen to be quiet, I sat on the toilet seat – directly across from Gretchen’s robe hung on the door hook. Peggy scanned up to the top and down once, then started turning her head right, toward the window. She was interrupted by Gretchen calling her name and immediately rotated her head left toward the tub and voice. When a few days later, we entered the same scenario, Peggy looked first at Gretchen’s robe, then turned her head left immediately toward the tub where Gretchen sat silent (until Peggy saw her).

3V0138.3

3V0138.03 Siblings Playing with Robby and Miriam: 6/9/78, 4, 18

text recovery needed for this vignette

3V0143.1

3V0143.01 Finger sucking game — an elaboration (6/14/78)

While videotaping Peggy at 20 Weeks, I noticed the second lower center tooth coming in.
For quite some time we have had a sort of game, wherein I would try to pounce on her hand with my mouth, going “Aumh” (a “seizing” noise) Two days ago, as I held Peggy, she waved an arm and accidentally brought her hand in contact with my mouth. I opened it and sucked gently on two of her fingers. Peggy thought this was very funny. Several times in succession she offered me her fingers to suck, each time laughing with delight. Yesterday, she expanded upon the game. After offering her fingers to be sucked, she gradually drew close to her own mouth, then firmly removed her fingers from mine and immediately put them in her mouth. But after a short time, only a second or so, she removed her fingers and again offered them to me. This sequence was repeated four or five times.

3V0179.3

3V0179.03 Splashing in the bath 07/20/78

Whenever she has a bath, Peggy kicks vigorously and with great concentration, watching the splashing she creates.

3V0180.1

3V0180.01 At the beach (7/22/78 )

Yesterday, Miriam, Peggy and I went down to the beach. I took Peggy to the water and held her about knee deep (her knees, not mine). When I moved her into deeper water, so that she was up to her hips, she kicked as she does in the bathtub, but without so much splashing. She enjoyed being swung back and forth so that her feet grazed the water at the bottom of the swing.

3V0180.2

3V0180.02 Playing “Peek a boo” begins (7/22/78)

Last night dinner was late, and Peggy was already fed in her seat. As we were not paying much attention to her, she amused herself by playing with the damp washcloth I had used to clean of her face, hand, stomach, and her legs after feeding. She chewed on it and dropped it over the top of her head, holding on to it with both hands. this morning, she was playing with a diaper in similar fashion while sitting in my lap. Bob was seated about three feet away. Peggy draped the diaper over her head so that it covered her eyes. After a few seconds, she grasped the diaper with both hands and lowered it to neck level, then looked at Bob and laughed. She did this three or four times in succession – a genuine game of peek a boo all on her own. Bob joined the game by asking “Where’s Peggy?” when she covered her eyes, and crying “There she is!” when she removed the diaper.

3V0189.1

3V0189.01 Rolling Over (7/30/78)

This past week we have not observed Peggy’s intensive chatter in positions other than on her back in the morning or in her infant seat at feeding time — until just now. Peggy is lying babbling on her stomach. How she got there is a small tale in itself.
After being fed, Peggy was left alone on the bed while Gretchen went to bathe. I played with her, as she lay on her back — babbling and playing with her toes. when she made noises of the kind that usually precede spitting out just eaten milk I sat her up, patting her back, then folded behind her one of the pillows which prevented her from falling off the bed. Peggy “sat up” — showing a persistent tendency to fall on one side. As I propped her up with a hairy arm, she began plucking at the hair and her back slipped down from the pillow. This put her in a clearly uncomfortable position. She began pushing with her legs — the move of her on-the-back-accidental crawl … the result I ascribe to an attempt to escape a wet diaper while rolled on her back. Then came Peggy’s big surprise. As she kicked hard with her left foot, she rolled over her right side onto my arm (she had been leaning much in that direction). Peggy looked quite surprised. she showed a big smile right after her look of surprise.

Peggy has learned to live with accidentally rolling on her back — after first reacting with frustration after doing so (and perhaps fright), she managed eventually to entertain herself by playing with her feet and babbling. I conclude from her early reactions that rolling on her back was one of those defeats, and an important one, to which the growing infant is frequently subject. This incident marks the first indication that rolling over is a reversible operation through an autonomous action.
When I left Peggy on the bed — on her stomach — while writing these notes, I set her looking out the glass doors of our second storey balcony because Peggy has much enjoyed looking at the play of light on moving leaves. I sat on the far side of the room. when I left her vision field, Peggy cried and I remember say a few phrases trying to console her. Then I fell silent. After looking out the window a little, Peggy began a conversation. /aeh..aeh/ (remember that she couldn’t see me). when I imitated her, she broke into a big smile and tried to turn in my direction (I believe she still did not see me). Peggy and I continued talking this way for a while, after which she let her head down and began her current plosive dominated babbling repertoire.
I consider this incident as significant because it shows Peggy using even her small command of language in a social/functional way. She is not crying to get a response, she is using language — the social means for action at a distance [and even out of sight].

Where did this verbal turn taking originate ? Let’s say it began through Robby’s “entertaining” Peggy — which he did by making long strings of varieties of sounds — to which she responded with fascination. It continued with all of our imitations of Peggy’s noises — in what I see as our attempt to establish just this sort of communication with her [doing so massively reinforces of early imputation of personhood to her].

A second specific and probably very important source has been Peggy’s socializing at feeding time. Peggy frequently interrupts her feeding to draw back from the breast and to smile at Gretchen. Although this distresses Gretchen when her milk has first let down, later on in a typical feeding the both have enjoyed the smiling and Gretchen’s imitation of Peggy’s noises. How long has this been going on ? Perhaps Gretchen can recall precisely. A second index of the feeding socialization is Peggy’s distractibility at feeding. How long has it been now that Peggy stops feeding and looks at the speaker when anyone addresses Gretchen.

3V0204.2

3V0204.02 Robby, Miriam play with Peggy; object permanence data (8/14/78)

The second group of interesting observations with the toy focus on my first observations of Peggy’s crawling. Gretchen has remarked on Peggy’s ‘falling sideways’ and thereby going forward a little over the past few days. Today;s behavior was a clear extension of what may have been chance advances into a directed and repeated series of specific actions for accomplishing an obvious objective.
A little reviewing before description. Robby has given Peggy demonstrations of how to crawl. Yesterday Miriam was giving Peggy direct instruction in how to crawl by what is best called “shaping”. Miriam set the clown on the floor beyond Peggy’s reach from her belly based position then lifted Peggy’s hips high as Peggy flailed with her legs, so the legs came up under the hips. Miriam let her go and make [sic] encouraging noises as Peggy fell over and a little forward. Miriam repeated this a second time and pushed the clown to Peggy;s grasping hands at her second forward fall.

Today, on the bed in a field of scattered rings, when all had been knocked out of her reach, Peggy set out to get the purple, green, and red rings – a goo six inches beyond her. It could be no clear(er) that Peggy wanted the rings. She reached out toward them and cried when they were not accessible. Peggy pushed her hips up, falling forward and sideways at least half a dozen times as she reached out for and focused on the rings. She did get the purple and red rings but the green escaped her. Peggy gave up on the green ring and dropped the red. She rotated on her stomach and started to go after the orange ring with the purple ring still in her hand. Peggy intermittently reached for the orange ring and failing, brought the purple ring to her mouth. She reached with one hand as the other – when reaching with her right hand, holding the purple ring, she knocked the other ring away, but did not stop reaching for the orange ring with that hand. The ring was escaping faster than her progress. this activity all took place on an unmade bed where a crumpled sheet lay alongside the path between Peggy and the orange ring. Peggy pulled HARD on the sheet several times (but the ring did not move – begin on a separate undersheet) then pulled the loose sheet to her mouth. Is this an accident ? Or is it a good trick Peggy has already mastered for drawing to her things beyond her reach ?

When Peggy finally began crying over her failure, I placed the orange ring on a different part of the bed, on Peggy’s other side at the outer periphery of her reach. In her first attempt to get it, Peggy pulled on the bed sheet (the undersheet, on which she lay and which was not moveable as the over sheet was). Next, she reached with her hand. when she hit the orange ring, it flipped over the near edge and came within easy reach. When she finally grasped the orange ring, Peggy ended her excursions by rolling onto her back.

My conclusions from these observations are that Peggy does not take account in her reaching of whether she already has some object in her hand; she knows that some surfaces are separable from their substrate and can be manipulated — but she doesn’t yet realize that to access a desired object by pulling at a surface that object MUST be on the surface; the second attempt to get the orange ring b y pulling the fixed sheet indicates why this may not be so easy to figure out as one would first imagine.

3V0216.1

3V0216.01 Object Permanence: Miriam’s Peek a boo game with toys (8/26/78)

Miriam is playing with Peggy on the bed. She hid Peggy’s rattle (shaped like a little girl), remarking that Peggy didn’t know where it was, but that when part of the rattle showed Peggy reached and uncovered the rest. “How much was showing ? What could she see ? “The head,” Miriam replied and an instant later, Miriam and the rattle were lying together under the covers with just their heads showing. As Miriam had placed the rattle by her and drew up the covers, Peggy reached for it. She knew it was there and was interested in it. Miriam then covered the head of the rattle (as in the game of peek a boo). Peggy instantly reached over and uncovered the rattle.

3V0216.2

3V0216.02 Social context of learning (8/26/78)

Relevance: I see this example as an outstanding example of how a child could discover ideas such as object permanence in a most incremental fashion in the midst of social situations — especially in children’s play with each other. when the older child draws out a simple situation to keep a baby doing something more interesting than mouthing everything in reach, that child will play with what the baby desires and pushing at the boundaries of the baby’s ignorance — so the baby may be surprised and delighted — but babies learn quickly and can’t be surprised the same way forever.

This is an example of intrusive, socially driven learning. The perspective in which this is seen as important agrees then that learning in a social situation is most affected by the quality of the play. Having people around is not what’s important. Hugging the baby is not the factor that directly promotes learning. the active/interactive play where the more learned uses his understanding of the less learned’s knowledge prods the less learned kid into situations where insights are likely to occur.

3V0216.3

3V0216.03 Experimental and Natural Life for the Child 8/26

In the videotape session P 30 (8/20), we introduced Peggy to new toys — blocks, the ring tower (modified so that no order constraint exists, i.e. the conical pole was removed and replaced with a straight stick onto which the rings fit in any order). Earlier Gretchen had said she felt Peggy needed more toys to play with — at first because Peggy enjoyed her bath and Gretchen felt she would enjoy having toys float around with her. (She does — but has trouble grasping them). When I asked that we introduce more toys in P 30, Gretchen agreed to wait till then after being assured that we were not raising Peggy in some Piagetian analog of the Skinner box.

3V0216.4

3V0216.04 Robby Pretending to Speak for Dapper Dan;
Peggy talking to toys and Scurry

One of the toys not shown on videotape is Dapper Dan — a baby-size cloth doll. After the session, I propped Dapper Dan in the corner of Peggy’s playpen and left her with the two older children reading in the library. From my reading alcove, upstairs I heard a conversation going on. Robby “hid” outside the playpen behind Dapper Dan. When Peggy started talking to Dapper Dan, he responded in the appropriate turn. After a while this lost interest for him. Over following days, Peggy addressed Dapper Dan on occasion and received no response and has stopped doing so (recall she also used to address Scurry with the same expectation).

Can we figure out some simple experiment which will permit us to determine how Peggy classifies things into speakers and non-speakers (or interactors and non-interactors)?

3V0216.6

3V0216.06 Siblings and Play 8/26/78;

The rings clearly “belong” on the pole (of the Ring Tower Toy”). Peggy has several times been present with the toy so assembled. Further, yesterday she saw Robby start a game of ring toy while he played on the floor with her. I believe this is a first exhibit of them being “put on.”

3V0221.2

3V0221.02 Peggy Following Gretchen’s Pointing to a Mirror: 8/31/78;

A couple days ago I was upstairs in the hall about 5-6 feet away from the mirror with Peggy in my arms. We faced the mirror, but Peg’s attention was on something (such as her toes) and she did not notice the reflection. I said, “Look Peggy, look at the mirror.” and lifted one arm up to point at it. Peggy’s head moved as her eyes followed my hands, then along the point. Her face lit up in a smile as she saw our reflection.

3V0221.6

3V0221.06 Putting People Inside Boats (8/31/78)

Another “inside” oriented play with a boat and two toy men, all both toys. After a morning bath, Peggy has appeared to be trying to put the men into the boat but has not yet succeeded.

3V0225.1

3V0225.01 Introducing Books. 9/04

A few days ago Miriam and Peggy were together on my bed, i.e. Peggy was crawling all over and Miriam was assigned guard duty. But Miriam was reading her Nancy Drew mystery. To keep Peggy’s excursions constrained, she introduced her to books, explaining, “See, Peggy, This is a book. This is Nancy Drew.” Miriam tried to interest her in the cover, but when Peggy came close, she put it in her mouth.

It is common after her morning feeding that Peggy is left to play on the floor of our bedroom. A few toys dot the floor (usually both teething toys, sometimes the ring tower and Dapper Dan). After a little while, Peggy finds other objects of interest — and those are usually my books! (Just now I needed to remove them from her reach lest some tome come crashing down upon her.) If I were better organized the books might not be in piles on the floor.

It is my intention to introduce books to Peggy (as objects with a specific use in our social world) during today’s videotape (P 32). I have sorted through the older children’s collection of baby books and brought a selection from which Gretchen should pick her favorite. She chose “Baby Animals”, as I would have done also (Garth Williams, Golden Press, NY 1972). I prefer it to others in our set because it has big pictures and offers potential for making animal noises (fun for the parent). Gretchen has NOT read Ninio’s article on labeling in J. Child Lang. as I have. She attempted Bruner’s article on Ontogenesis of Speech Acts but found it impossible to get through. I have not described nor discussed Ninio’s article with her, so Gretchen’s responses should be natural, i.e. specifically not influenced by that article on labeling acquisition.
Anyone could well imagine Peggy’s first reaction to a book — put it in your mouth. To distract Peggy from my books while I moved them, I let her play with a book of Miriam’s (about 5″ x 6″, cardboard covered). I didn’t expect [her] to try so hard to digest the material. Not only had she chewed on the corner,, but she got it open (by accident? probably), ripped out and chewed on some of the pages. This is noted to explain why we will be cautious in Peggy’s holding of books.

3V0225.2

3V0225.02 Recognition Vocabulary 09/04

What words does Peggy recognize at 32 weeks? It’s very clear she recognizes her name (and Gretchen avers she has for some time) with considerable discrimination. The evidence is of various sorts. When I fed her last night (pears on the spoon) she was distracted by her rattle and the liner of her chair,, preferring playing with them to interacting with me. Calling her name immediately attracted her attention. I found myself then giving informed instruction, i.e. emphasizing and using with regularity the word MORE in this fashion: with Peggy’s attention gained (and with the spoon in view) I’d say “more?” If she smiled, I’d bring the food to her mouth, scraping off the pears on her upper lip, and repeat “more?” The criterion ‘smile’ had to be more than that, the “wiggly smile”, a laugh on her lips and arms and legs flailing. I don’t think Peggy discriminates the word “more” from any other. (This might be another question to test in today’s videotape if she is fed in that interval.) Peggy responds to her name when others call her. Yesterday Miriam was overseeing Peggy as she crawled about on the bedroom floor. She talked to her in long phrases which Peggy ignored. When Peggy came near the bed, Miriam called her. “Peggy!” and instructed her not to go under. Since Peggy still continued crawling, Miriam repeated the injunction and its call several times. In every case, Peggy attended to Miriam when her name was called. Sitting on my lap the day before, turned sideways and trying to evade my grasp so that she could chew on the chair arm, Peggy turned to me both times I called her name. In other instances: Oscar….Feathers….Meggy….Peggy [inflections indicated in original] Finally with “Peggy” again she turned back to me.

3V0225.3

3V0225.03 Miriam Giving the Ring Tower Lessons 9/04

During the last week, I found Miriam sitting on the floor with Peggy, playing with the ring tower. “I’m teaching Peggy how to put the rings on,” she explained.

3V0225.4

3V0225.04 Limits of Debugging and Body Awareness 9/04

Peggy not only crawls now, she goes over obstacles such as arms that are in her way. Playing on the bed, I tried to keep her from the edge by blocking her path with my arm. Since she could crawl over it, I held the arm off the bed at her eye height. Peggy solved this problem quite directly. Reaching out her left hand,, she grabbed my arm by the hair and tilting to the right pulled my arm up and directed it behind her. Of course, I did not want her to fall off the bed, but I didn’t want her well earned success to be simply overpowered. Thus, I grasped her left ankle. Peggy struggled to crawl forward and could not go. She could not diagnose the problem. This impasse continued for several minutes, during which time she turned and looked imploringly at Gretchen once or twice.

This incident marks an example of both her successful and unsuccessful debugging in high contrast.

3V0233.1

3V0233.01 Peek a Boo, a Central game for Peggy 9/12

EYE CONTACT AND PEEK-A-BOO
Peggy has been playing PEEK for some time now, and it is a central game for her, i.e. one from which her knowledge of the world and objects’ permanence is growing outward (cf. notes on 8/26). When we sit at table and are satisfied with food, the situation becomes primarily a social one. Peggy’s repertoire being limited while her social interest is high leads me to try simple variations on games I know satisfy her social needs. For example, recently (during this week) Peggy played Peek-a-boo with the diaper Gretchen used to wipe up the food that escaped Peggy’s mouth. I didn’t have a diaper to play with. So, in my turn I first looked at her intently, smiling, then looking away said, “Where’s Daddy?” Then looked her directly in the eye, saying “Peek.” Peggy burst out laughing, a sure sign that she caught on to the way this new game was a variation of her familiar game.

In this same situation (of Peggy’s interacting but having a minimal repertoire), a situation recurring at nearly every meal, I started winking at Peggy. She enjoyed it tremendously (with only one eye closed, I could see very [well] her broad smile and kicking gestures of excitement).

RELEVANCE — these variations on Peek-a-boo are incremental extensions of a social game into the problem of object permanence. Clearly, people (even babies) don’t go away when they put a diaper over their faces. Playing Eye-peek makes explicit the temporary social separation of a very permanent object – an important person. When a child’s important toys — such as Peggy’s humanoid rattle — suffer Peek-a-boo, the extension of the sense of permanence from people to specific objects may be only an incremental step.

3V0233.2

3V0233.02 Peek a boo and the car trunk lid: 9/12

PEEK-A-BOO AND THE CAR TRUNK LID — Wednesday (9/6), when we returned Miriam to school after her appointment with the allergist, Gretchen bought some groceries and left me with Peggy. Peggy was very unhappy, having missed her morning nap and needing a diaper change — impossible till we should arrive home. Do you leave a baby squalling away, abandoned in the back seat of your car? The temptation is very great. I played with Peggy for a while, fetching her rattle (that humanoid again) whenever she threw it away (or dropped it — a distinction hard to make in the circumstance of her intense feeling). One very effective distraction — when Peggy dropped her rattle near me, i picked it up by the “feet”, showed it to her at the edge of her car seat, then as she reached for it, I slipped the rattle under her car seat. Peggy was buckled into her car seat and couldn’t get out — but she strained hard, leaning over the edge of the seat, looking for the no longer present rattle. We did this several times because it worked. She could be interested enough to forget her misery of the moment.

Seeing Gretchen in line, I went behind the car to open the trunk. Peggy’s car seat was fastened facing backward on the back seat. With the lid raised and her crying, I stepped to one side to wave at her through the window, to reassure her she had not been abandoned — and we were once again at playing Peek-a-boo…with the trunk lid in place of a diaper. After Peeking out once, the further novelty of the situation was clear. The trunk lid had two sides. I now appeared on the opposite side, watching Peggy. She was watching the point of my disappearance intently — but caught sight of me at my reappearance on the opposite side and turned to me smiling. I smiled back, disappeared and reappeared at the original side. Peggy was still looking where last I was, but saw me. Next I disappeared at the right (the original side) and reappeared there, found her still looking..; disappeared and reappeared on the left, to which she turned immediately. I left to help Gretchen with the groceries.

RELEVANCE — The first incident shows Peggy’s grasp of object permanence in the context of visible/invisible domains of space (cf. Piaget OIC, obs.____). The second observation is a naturally occurring analog of an object disappearing behind a screen — but with the difference that the permanent object, me, has its own motives for appearing in one place or another. Even observing that Peggy always looked to the right, we should ask — where should she look? If objects appear and disappear in ways one can’t explain, wouldn’t it be an easy theory to attribute to them some lesser quantum of will than those adults who loom so large in the infant’s life?
`
– circumstantial problems impel parents to distract infants
– interest is at the zone of proximal development
– parents provide instruction whether they intend to or want to or not

3V0233.3

3V0233.03 Understanding the command “No!” 9/12

UNDERSTANDING “NO” — Saturday I sat in my chair trying to write. Gretchen left Peggy on the floor of our bedroom/study while she tended to the wash. Peggy played with the sunlight and shadows made by trees moving beyond the porch and open screen door, then turned her attention to the trash can — a plastic container, about 6 by 8 inches and ten inches high, with a few papers visible at the top. Peggy raised her shoulders on one hand and reached for the lip of the trash can. “Peggy. No.” I interrupted her — and she put her hand down, turning to look at me. She raised her hand a second time. “Peggy. No.” She looked again. Then, still looking at me, she raised her hand toward the lip of the can. “Peggy. No.” After a fourth try came a very surprising response. Peggy asked me a question — one with no words, with only a rising intonation over an indistinct vowel. Was it her /ae/, the vowel of our verbal imitation game? It seemed between that and a shwa. But what did she mean (if anything)? Was it a whimper of frustration? Was it “Why not?” sans words? or “Can’t I, please?” I suspect to her it meant all of these. I said again, “Peggy. No.” She turned away to play with the sunlight and shadow.
After a few minutes Peggy was back at the trash can. Each time as she raised her hand, she stopped when she heard “Peggy. No.” But, after six more tries, I stopped interrupting her. She pulled over the trash can and scattered papers all over the floor.

Since my telling Gretchen that I believe Peggy understands in a limited sense what “NO” means, she has tried to control Peggy with that command — with, I suspect, unrewarding results (“control” here means get her to stop flailing out with eager arms at a spoonful of food as Gretchen tries to feed her).

RELEVANCE – This note continues our establishment of a catalog of words Peggy uses, our attempt to describe their original appearance in the context. I mentioned to Gretchen that we should try introducing to Peggy a distinction between “NO” and “LET BE” — the first to mean “stop what you are doing”, the second to mean “let that thing alone.”

3V0233.5

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.

3V0233.6

3V0233.06 Other Selves in Television and the Mirror 9/12

9/13 (in Guilford)
Sunday morning (9/10) we had our first bedroom fire. To permit that I had on Saturday rearranged the furniture so there was none near the fireplace. After that initial rearrangement I set up the videotape and started viewing P 32 to make sure everything worked. Peggy was playing on the floor when she heard Gretchen’s voice from the TV and saw Gretchen and herself on the screen. Peggy was fascinated, crawled over and touched the screen, hitting it with her hand, even after I turned off the videotape and TV.

On Sunday, I again rearranged the bedroom furniture to make a small play area for Peggy. When she first played there, Peggy crawled over with the small silver rattle in her hand and beat against the TV screen as she had done before against the mirror in the living room.

RELEVANCE — What can Peggy make of these other selves in the mirror and TV screen? They must be a fascinating problem and one, unfortunately, way beyond her comprehension. Will they not complicate for her the problem of understanding the permanence and accessibility of people and objects? I suspect she will be able to handle them only as an accepted but uncomprehended mystery — as TV must seem to most children and adults.

3V0233.8

3V0233.08 Dancing, disappearance, and reappearance 9/12

Last night (9/12) Peggy sat in my lap as we played some records I brought back from Boston. Robby and Miriam had been cooped up inside this rainy afternoon, and when they heard some fast jigs and reels by De Danaan, went into their own version of step dancing which rapidly became a session of dancing around the house. Behind the couch, behind the chair where Peggy and I sat, around again and past the piano. Peggy turned and twisted to follow their path. Out through the short hall past the fireplace — then Peggy saw them reappear through the glass doors on the far side of the fireplace (a see-through one). Peggy was engrossed. Here were important people in her life doing unusual things, appearing and disappearing. These sequences must have been very mysterious. Especially when hidden factors and actions make prediction impossible. Sometimes the older kids would dance past the far side of the fireplace and could be seen. Other times they would crawl past the opening below the level of the high hearth and reappear in the fireplace window from the wrong side.

RELEVANCE — The first incident testifies to Peggy’s experimenting with objects and space. The second highlights again the problem of conceiving of object permanence (in terms of predictable movement) when people with self-control behave in ways difficult to predict. Is object permanence developing the perspective that some things are not willful and mobile?

3V0236.1

3V0236.01 Gretchen and Miriam with “Peggy, come here.” 9/15

COME HERE — Gretchen has been teaching Peggy to respond in specific ways to a variety of simultaneous gestures. When Peggy wants to get up, for example, she usually cries and arches her back. Then Gretchen holds out two arms to her, wiggling her fingers, and says, “Give me your hand …give me the other hand.” On Peggy’s hands being taken Gretchen then picks Peggy up. I have seen Gretchen making similar gestures when Peggy was crawling on her stomach, crying to be picked up, but here “Give me your hand” was preceded by “Peggy. Come here, Peggy.” Peggy did not crawl to Gretchen and Gretchen immediately crossed to pick her up.

Playing this morning in our bedroom, while Peggy was crying as described Miriam imitated Gretchen’s gestures and called, “Come here, Peggy.” Peggy crawled over to her.

9/20 I have tried calling Peggy. She usually waits for me to come get her.

3V0236.2

3V0236.02 Miriam as Instructor (9/15/78)

Miriam has been trying to ‘teach’ Peggy to sit up and walk. The latter especially makes me uneasy because I fear her dropping Peggy. Miriam typically props Peggy up on the bed and returns her toys when dropped so Peggy doesn’t fall over reaching for them. I discussed sitting up with Miriam, asked if she wanted to participate in Sundays videotape (P34). she agreed to but, as she went off to get ready for school, she warned me, “Don’t you teach Peggy to sit up while I’m off at school.” Miriam looked a little incredulous when I told her Peggy would learn to sit and walk even if no one ever showed her how.

3V0239.1

3V0239.01 Naming buttons. 9/18

NAMING — Peggy was sitting in Gretchen’s lap, facing her. She began playing with the buttons on Gretchen’s sweater, first handling them then trying to put them in her mouth. “Those are BUTTONS, Peggy, BUTTONS. Don’t put them in your mouth.” Stopped from playing with Gretchen’s sweater, Peggy turned to her own sleeper and played with her buttons. “That’s right, Peggy, buttons. Those are your buttons.”

3V0245.1

3V0245.01 Everyday prohibitions as source of naming 9/24/78

Peggy was crawling about on the living room floor as Gretchen chatted with a house guest. The floor was littered with her toys and the dog’s. “No, Peggy. Don’t chew on that. That’s Scurry’s bone.”

RELEVANCE — The kinds of verbal naming formulae witnessed by Ninio appear in everyday incidents of prohibition. Teaching a kid words from book-reading and looking at pictures appears a relatively unnatural task into which the woman subject apparently transposed the harder to document, more natural occurrence, from situations where verbal commands control the infant.

3V0246.1

3V0246.01 Rejecting food: 9/25/78

Peggy being fed. Deciding she had enough, she stuck out her tongue, full and rounded, effectively blocking off her mouth. At another feeding, she did the same, then looked at me and smiled and opened her mouth for food — (Was it a test to see if she could refuse food that way if she wished ?) A day or so later, she refused food simply by turning her head aside (away from the table).

3V0248.1

3V0248.01 (9/27/78)

Peggy was playing with her ring toy on the bedroom floor. She had two of the bigger rings and was banging them down in an apparent effort to get them to roll. When they did so, she watched most intently.

10/2: Playing with Peggy and the smallest (purple) ring. I rolled it to her and she smacked it on the floor in an effort to make it roll !

3V0254.1

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.”

3V0256.1

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.

3V0262.2

3V026202 Wariness of Strangers

STRANGERS — Peggy seems now much more wary of others. Frank and Annie Schoeman were here Sunday (10/08); and Peggy would not let Annie hold her but screamed every time Annie touched her. Even with Miriam, who plays with her every day and always wants to hold Peggy and carry her around, Peggy will allow herself to be picked up, but will look around anxiously for mother.

3V0263.1

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)

3V0263.2

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.

3V0267.1

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.

3V0278.1

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.

3V0278.2

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?

3V0282.1

3V0282.01 Spoon dropping = food rejection

Spoon play – After the edge has been taken off her hunger, Peggy reaches for the spoon as she is being fed. Or she grips the spoon with her teeth, holding it in her mouth until she can grasp it with a hand. Frequently, she plays with the spoon, turning it over and over, and feeling any food left in the bowl, and chewing on it. When she tires of this, she simply lets the spoon drop. Occasionally, she takes the spoon from my hand and immediately, deliberately drops it over the side of her chair into the floor.

3V0287.1

3V0287.01 Assimilation of the pen to the pipe giving game. 11/05

GIVING — Out at the soccer field, I found Peggy in my arms and no pipe in my pocket. This does appear to be her favorite toy-with-daddy.) She was not dismayed, however, and took from my pocket this black, felt-tipped pen with which I am writing. (It looks a little like a pipe-stem, as it sticks above the pocket edge.) The interesting event followed Peggy’s identifying the object by mouthing — she held it out for me to take in my mouth. I did so, and she took it back soon.

RELEVANCE — Assimilation of a pen to a pipe-giving activity.