Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ontological question from a 3-year-old

"How do we know if someone is reading a story about us? And if we went outside there wouldn't be anything, but if he read about us [being] outside, then there would be something."

Sometimes my children are a little daughter, after asking this, decided it was just hilarious to imagine. Which is certainly better than deciding it was scary and keeping us up all night with nightmares.

But this is an example of how interesting it is to watch my children develop an understanding of language and narrative and their connection to reality, or our perceptions of reality. Even more interesting, they don't develop understanding in the same way. One of my daughters seems to really grasp the larger structure that stories typically have (based on the sample she's encountered so far) and she has an idea of what kinds of elements are needed when you make up a story, what you need to tell people. My other daughter doesn't seem to notice this as much, but she is much more aware on a micro level of what kinds of things people typically say or do in every day situations that might occur in a story--eating, cooking, arguing, going out, going to bed, etc.

At least they aren't playing funeral any more; that was rather disturbing!

On top of all the other challenges and joys, having kids is just so interesting, it raises so many questions and ideas for me, about things I research. I never expected that.

Their questions often reveal my assumptions about all kinds of things. It's cool. And since I can't resist dragging my work into everything, it's a kind of remediation, looking through my children's eyes.

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