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Archive with last of tag-string W33

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.”

3V0233.4

3V0233.04 Her Question /ae/? 9/12

This text has been absorbed into the preceding note “Understanding ‘No’.” for the time being….

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.

3V0233.7

3V0233.07 Object Permanence and Throwing Away Toys |

Peggy sat in my lap, Sunday, playing with her rattle. The chair had several inches of space between the wooden arm and the seat cushion. Peggy’s legs dangled over mine at the left near that gap. She threw her rattle over the arm of the chair and immediately twisted about in my lap to look for the rattle through the gap of the chair arm and cushion.

RELEVANCE — The first incident testifies to Peggy’s experimenting with objects and space.

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?

3V0233.9

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).

3V0234.1

3V0234.01 Gretchen Instructing Peggy in Naming. 9/13

WORDS — For the past week or so I have been talking more to Peggy concerning simple everyday actions. The prototype is getting her out of the crib. “Peggy, give me your hand.” (Holding out my hand to her.) “OK. Give me your other hand.” “Good girl. Now. Sit up…. Stand up…. OK. Hold on [while I change my grip].” And so on. She generally gives me her hand shortly after I hold mine out to her, with no coaxing necessary.

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.