Lately, I often play the game of eating my daughters nose, and
then spitting it out again to put it back. I am amazed how well
my daughter is with manipulating with virtual (imaginary) objects.
It is a false idea, that children cannot think in abstract terms.
They do it all the time when they play. They only do not have to
vocabulary to talk about abstract things like we adult have.
This reminds me about the whole discussion whether thinking without
words is possible. I think that most thinking is done without the
use of a language. It is a matter of what you define as thinking.
I believe that the misconception that thinking always uses language
comes from the fact that thinking about thinking is very hard without
the use of a language. I trying to explain we can think without words,
a constantly find myself saying words in my head.
When I phoned with Annabel, she
suddenly said `Okay' in the middle of the conversation. It is really
funny to see how she learns to speak. She acquires the Dutch language
in a different way then I had expected. Often I feel she uses complex
phrases, and certain adjectives in the correct way, while she seems
not to master all the basics. I always had thought that children
would first speak a rather simplified form of language, and gradually
start to use more complex constructs. But now I realize that children
start to simply repeat what others say to them. And if those others use
certain complex expressions, they too will use them. From the start
of this week Annabel has been going to a day-care centre. We immediately
noticed that she started to talk more.
This afternoon, I noticed that I was looking forward to
coming to us this evening. She is going to stay with us for two
nights and days. Last Saturday, Andy
came home from the hospital. He has stayed there since December 17
last year. Of course, we are happy to have him home with us again,
but in the last days we also noticed how much time it takes to take
care for him. While he has staying in the hospital we could leave
early in the evening, and only return the next morning. Now we have
to stay up till late, and wake up early to feed him.
But this was not the main reason why I was looking forward to
my mother coming. The older I become the more I begin to value
my family, and especially my parent. There have been times, when
I just went to University that I did not speak nor think about them
for many weeks in a row. Lately, we have been seeing each other almost
every week, and phoning each other each other day.
This afternoon, I was throwing the chestnut, which I
stole from Annabel, in the air, when I
dropped it on the floor. It made a cracking noise, and when I
picked it up, I noticed that it was broken in two
pieces. Of course, I got some glue to glue the tow
parts together. From a distance you cannot
see the cracks, but I feel them clearly if I play with it.
This evening, I went to pick-up our friend, Professor Zhu,
and tool Annabel with me. It was a clear
evening, and Annabel was caught by the sight of the stars and the moon.
While we were on our way she suddenly exclaimed: They go with us.
I told her that the stars always go with you. When I asked her later,
if they were still with us, the said yes.
When driving home with Professor Zhu in the car,
I notices he had brought a box about
80 cm (31 inches) long, and square 10 com (4 inches) thick.
Knowing the Chinese customs, I knew that it was a present
for us, but I had no clue, as what was inside. It was one
of these typical boxes used for presents. Chinese often do
not put paper wrappings around present.
At home, we heard that it was a gift from Professor Dong,
another good friend of us from Shanghai. A remarkable woman
who can hardly say: `How do you do', but she did write several
scientifical articles in English. The box contained a
large calendar rolled up. Each month of the year had a
cleverly made reproduction of a traditional style painting of
a tiger by a Chinese painter who specializes in painting
tigers. It's only a few days ago that the year of the tiger
the 4695th Chinese Year
started with the spring festival on January 28.