Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pamela's Brain Waking Up OR Terrible Twos? Part I

Pamela has been doing some amazing things lately. Last Saturday, she did not really feel like watching birds with me, requiring me to be extra patient and encouraging in guiding her. Since all our men were out of town on a ski trip for Valentine's Day (which I never celebrate anyway because it reeks of commercialism), a friend, Pamela, and I attended The Whole Megillah. This Purim ballet set in Ancient Persia tells story of Esther through brilliant costumes with a contemporary dance twist. We bought wooden graggers for only three dollars for the dramatic climax at end of the program. Unfortunately, Pamela lasted through intermission after an hour of dance supported by minimal dialog and narration. Talk about broadband communication overload!

We are so glad to see Pamela becoming more assertive and interested in experience sharing. Sunday morning, she infused her gragger with new purpose: she wanted to sit where the gluten-free, casein-free dog was sitting. She whirled the noisemaker and said to Loa, "Wake up!" Then, Pamela grabbed her by the collar and hauled her off the chair. I have even seen Pamela try to carry the dog of Flubber in her arms like a baby. She has even mustered the courage to grab the leash of the brat dog (the Arwenator) and bring her to me for safe-keeping.

Canine aside, there are other neat developments. The other day Pamela asked me, "What is half past seven?" After I explained it meant 7:30, she quickly caught on as we verbally explored other half-pasts. When I use the N-word (no), she asks, "Why?" or "How come?"--which I have been waiting sixteen years to hear her say (as annoying as it is). She not only loves her babies, she now brakes for real babies in restaurants and at David's co-op class. Pamela tells me when she feels proud of herself, "I did it," and tells me exactly what she did. When I smother her with scaffolding, she announces "I'll do it myself!" like any huffy toddler. When the electric toothbrush ran out of power, Pamela squealed and I told her that all it needed was a good recharge. She danced and said, "Just like the computer!"

Last Sunday, she and I dined at the Chinese restaurant. Picking out food from the buffet gave her more practice with guiding me verbally and physically--this girl LOVES sushi! While we were seated, the waitress asked Pamela if she wanted more Coke. Pamela looked at her and said "No!" Later, the waitress came back again and asked the same thing. This time Pamela handed her the glass and said, "Get rid of it." The waitress put it on the table and tried to pour more. So, Pamela then said, "Get rid of it," and carefully used her palm to push it back to the waitress and shook her head. The waitress, who like Pamela seems to be learning English, finally realized what Pamela wanted and whisked away the glass. When the waitress came back to retrieve Pamela's plate, my reflexes were not fast enough to stop Pamela from licking it first . . . sigh.

What we are seeing is more evidence of intersubjectivity, or "the developmental process of linking mental states between people." Through RDI, Pamela moved past primary intersubjectivity, "the way that infants, in their first year of life relate directly to others through emotion sharing and coordinated movement" and into secondary intersubjectivity as described in My Baby Can Dance:
Secondary intersubjectivity, which begins to be observed towards the close of the first year, involves a "triangulating" relationship between two persons and an external stimulus. The experience of triangulation opens the door to understanding other's minds, relative thinking, and the development of a conscious self, as the young child experiences the distinction between their unique perceptual stance towards a stimulus and that of their partner.
She is becoming almost too intersubjective. I am sitting at the desk while I type this blog with my back to Pamela (on my left) and the television (on my right). I turn my head to see what Pamela is watching and she chides, "Stop looking!" I reply neutrally, "I'm just peeking!" After a minute, I repeat the head-turning and she responds more mildly. I will blog more about the consequences of greater intersubjectivity in my next post!


MasterpieceMom said...

It's wonderful to see the progress Tammy! I love how you're chronicling how she's moving thru the stages.

Anonymous said...

So great to hear about more progress being made! You know the terrible two's aren't all bad; you mentioned squealing and dancing. That kind of uninhibited exuberance is part of the fun of this stage!