Friday, December 27, 2013

Understanding

We are in Colorado for the Holidays. Living out of suitcases is difficult even for a single person, but with a family of four, especially with little children, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of all of our junk. We had a particularly hard lesson in property management on Christmas Eve. We had been all over town on that day, struggling to visit as many of our kin as possible. When we finally settled back down where we've been sleeping, it seemed that the day was behind us and we could all rest peacefully before the big day. Of course, things rarely turn out as we plan.

While preparing Carver for his slumber, it became apparent that we were missing the most vital element of his rest: his pacifier. Unlike Avey, who quickly transitioned to snacking on her thumb as she grew, Carver is attached to a specific pacifier he has known intimately since birth. Unfortunately, we had misplaced it somewhere in the city during our travels.

We were a bit panicked. We have a backup pacifier that is the same shape and brand, but Carver instantly senses the imposter because it is firmer than his usual one. A little coaxing combined with his exhaustion convinced him to try it for a few minutes, at least enough that he fell asleep. However, he has also been a little under the weather since we arrived, and needed all of the comfort he could get. He awoke several times during the night, at one point standing up and saying to me, "Gween Beenky [green binky]?" I informed him that we did not know where it was, to which he smiled and excitedly said and signed, "Deah [idea]!" I asked him his idea, and he suggested it was in the "Gween PackPack [green backpack]." That is where we usually keep his pacifier, but alas, we had searched through the entire thing to no avail. I told him that it was not in the backpack, and that we did not know where it was. He again signed and said that he had an idea, and that it was in the green backpack. The cycle continued for a few minutes until he finally accepted that he would not get his pacifier that night. I only hope that he understood it was because we did not have it rather than because we did not want to get it for him.

We survived the night, and the next day tracked it down to my father's house, from whence we retrieved it that afternoon. Such a happy reunion has not been witnessed in my lifetime.

And thus ends another year of The Ricks Experiment. Thank you for your love and friendship. We promise many more adventures in 2014, including Carver's cognitive developments, Eli's whining about dissertation, Kira's experiences in preparing for Baby #3, the latter's birth, and Avey's acceptance to and graduation from medical school (I assume).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Family Pictures

Our little family has been overdue for some pictures. Kira scheduled a photo shoot a few weeks ago, but we got bombarded with some awful weather. We gambled, and postponed for another couple of weeks. The Saturday we were scheduled to take them again was better weather-wise, but I was just beginning to recover from a cold, and the wind was bringing in some frigid temperatures. 
"Why are you pointing that at me?"
We went through with it, even with all of the difficulty, and we are quite pleased with the results. Here are just a few of them. We are excited to have Baby #3 join us next year for more!
Avey Can Hardly Take a Bad Picture
In other news, Carver has become quite dramatic in the last week or so. He is also listening intently to each of us, for better or worse. He overheard one of Avey's tantrums the other day and now he practices in his most accusatory voice, "You!" Kira recently taught him to say, "Totally cool!" which usually comes out more like "Toaly Coo!" Then, just yesterday Carver started making a drum beat with his mouth on the drive home. Apparently I do that in the car sometimes.
Carver Cracks at Some Fake Sneezing
Yesterday, I asked the boy what he wanted to eat for lunch. He looked off into space and tapped his lips with an index finger. Then his eyes shot wide open, and he said, "Idea!" while making the sign for it. I shared in his enthusiasm and asked what was his idea. He then went back to tapping his lips and staring off into space before again shouting "Idea!". The cycle continued for a few minutes before I decided to give him a slice of bread.
Fingers... going numb...
My semester is officially over, and Avey is onto her last week of school. We are excited to head back to colorful Colorado for a few days soon. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tattling

Carver, like most children his age, likes things to be a certain way. If things do not go that certain way, there will be consequences. One of his stronger preferences is in which parent does which task for him. Apparently, a division of labor is something he endorses. For example, he can open his water bottle by himself, but has a little difficulty closing it unassisted. A few days ago, his mother noticed him working on closing the lid while he said, "Hep [help]." She offered an extra finger to get it closed, and Carver angrily turned her away, calling for me instead.
Watching Barbie's 12 Dancing Princesses
Apparently, helping close water bottles is work for daddies. The really funny (or sad) part is that after he had successfully turned his mother away, he looked at me and said, "Mom," with the tone in his voice adding the unspoken "can you believe this lady?"
Not Sure What the Big Deal Is
I am embarrassed to say that he must have picked it up from me, because after I noticed that he would not let Mom help him with certain things, I would jokingly say, "Did your Mom try and help you? Unbelievable!" It looks as if he's caught my meaning.
Drawn into the Story
In fairness, he did the same thing to me last Sunday. We were having a pleasant meal at my grandmother's house, where Carver has a great uncle whom he adores. We call him "Doughy," a decades-old nickname that stuck. Doughy was encouraging Carver to eat his food, and then left to the kitchen for something. In his absence, I stepped in as the encouragement, but Carver shot me a glance of disdain, and then called for Doughy at the top of his lungs. When Doughy came to see what the matter was, Carver tattled on me by saying "Dad" with that same tone of "the nerve of that guy..."
(Click here [second video] for Avey going through animals around this age)

At least he will not need someone's help as frequently the older he gets. With a little luck, he will still let us both feed, clothe, and bathe him until he can do those things on his own.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Third Series of Studies

Background

Our first attempt to propagate the human species (Ricks & Ricks, 2007) served several purposes: (a) to pass on our knowledge, (b) to give purpose and meaning to our lives,  (c) to create a physical symbol of our affection and devotion to each other, and (d) to have a little person on whom we could shower our love and attention. Although the project proved challenging, we were pleased with the overall results. We had hypothesized that our general levels of love and affection would increase, that levels of cooperation and unity would also increase, and that these would also negatively correlate with our energy levels and satisfaction with sleep cycles. All of our hypotheses were supported, yet led us to other research questions.

It had become apparent that the adding of a child to our research laboratory caused many fascinating changes in our interactions, but we also became interested in learning how adding another variable might influence our lab. In line with the previous findings, we designed a second series of studies (Ricks & Ricks, 2012). In these, we retained our hypotheses from the 2007 series, but with three key differences: we hypothesized (a) an increase of the strength of the negative correlation between the previously recorded variables, (b) that our first child would be largely compatible with our second, and (c), that by including a Y chromosome in the second series, many changes in our methods would be necessary. That final hypothesis was non-directional, as we had little data upon which to base it. Our results supported hypotheses again, and it is now necessary for us to further our knowledge by adding a third series of studies, expected to commence near the end of May, 2014. We hypothesize that this third series will be compatible with the first two, that the overall love and affection in our laboratory will increase, that levels of cooperation and unity will remain stable or increase, and that the strength of the negative correlation between each of these and our satisfaction with sleep cycles will begin to decrease. That is, we expect that, rather than becoming increasingly dissatisfied with our sleep cycles, we will simply lower our expectations of what constitutes a valid sleep cycle.

Method

We used methodology comparable to the first two series of studies. Once the development stage is complete, we plan to implement a vigorous schedule of hugs, kisses, feedings, diaper changes, lullabies, and tickles, as we did in the first two series of studies. Some of these will gradually be replaced with encouragement, praise, and sugary rewards. We will record data with digital cameras and video recorders, and keep weekly notes on progress at www.ricksfam.blogspot.com.

Significance

The potential impact of the present series of studies will certainly be life changing, and may prove to change the world. We are confident that this project will improve the state of humanity, at least in small ways initially. We are also confident that our research laboratory is the ideal environment for this project to be carried out. Details are forthcoming.