May

17

Many people have commented how ironic it is that I’m writing computer games these days because I’m one of the least playful people you’ll meet.

I have a confession to make, although confession is perhaps the wrong word because I don’t feel the least bit bad about it.

Playing with small children bores me.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my children and grandchildren and I would do anything for them. I taught my children to read, took them to soccer/ judo/ track/ swim practice , to piano/ bassoon / guitar/ drum lessons and ballet / tap/ hip-hop classes. I worked thousands of hours of overtime to pay for camps in Europe, in marine biology, private universities.

And yes, I went to the park, played with my little ponies, pushed children on swings, threw them up in the air (and caught them – any problems they have are NOT because they were dropped on their heads at a young age no matter how much their behavior during adolescence might lead you to believe otherwise). I read The Perfect Jennifer her favorite book – Where the Wild Things Are – so many times that I still have it memorized years after she finished graduate school.

AND YET …. when I hear those women rave about sitting down with their children and eating carrot sticks while they played with my little ponies together were the most fulfilling moments of their lives, I think to myself,

What? Are you fucking kidding me?

And apologies to the nice man at SAS Global Forum who reminded me that some people read my blog at work and asked me if I could not swear quite so much. I did post four days in a row on factor analysis and no swearing was involved, so I made a good faith effort, I really did.

Seriously, though, that’s what fulfills you? My little ponies?

Because as I was listening to my granddaughter talk about my little ponies what was going through my head was how I could use a statistical test for the difference in sample proportions to prove that a set of data I was asked to analyze was fraudulent. I’ll probably post about that next week. I was also intrigued by the very simple way the Muthuens had demonstrated comparison of competing factor solutions by using a table showing the chi-square, RMSEA and presence/ absence of Heywood cases.

When my four-year-old granddaughter told me she wanted to be a princess when she grew up I told her,

Princesses suck and I hate princesses. They’re useless and they don’t DO anything.

To which my darling daughter number one responded that “we” don’t say “hate” and “we” don’t say “suck” and I believe she muttered under her breath something about it being a wonder that she turned out normal with a mother like me. Obviously, this is a new meaning of the word “we” that doesn’t include the other person.

I am certain that I muttered under my breath, “Well, it’s true. They DON’T do anything useful.”

As penance I was forced to go to Disneyland and visit the Pavilion of Princesses. My granddaughter ADORED it. I was bored out of my mind by the princesses but the radiant look on her face DID make it worth taking a day away from work and paying Disneyland the equivalent of the median annual income in many countries for seven of us to eat churros and buy random pink crap bearing the stamp of useless women a.k.a. princesses.

The truth is, as much as I truly loved my children – and I had three under age five while working on my PhD – at the end of each day, when they were all asleep, I sighed deeply, sat down and read books on multivariate statistics and matrix algebra and was satisfied with life. I did NOT wish they would wake up so we could dress up like princesses.

There you have yet another of the 55 things I have learned in (almost) 55 years – you can be bored to death by Curious George, Strawberry Shortcake and every other thing designed to appeal to people with the mind of a three-year-old and still be a good mother.

It reminds me of a story I heard about someone who had a son who was crazy about baseball. The father bought season tickets, attended every home game and when the team made the World Series he flew to whatever city it was being held in to attend the games. When someone said to him,

I never knew you loved baseball so much.

He replied,

I don’t. I think baseball is the most boring game ever invented. But I love MY SON that much.

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1 Comment so far

  1. greg sonnier on May 17, 2013 11:35 pm

    YAY!!! A SWEAR WORD, FINALLY!!! The posts were getting boring, Dr. D, and not just because the previous ones were WAY the hell over my head!:)
    I have 8 grandchildren with #9 on the way and I’m 44 yrs old (I’ll explain one day). The secret to truly enjoy playing with small children is to make sure that whatever you are doing appeals to YOU! I’ve found that my gk’s are just interested in hangin’ with me no matter what we do, so I just make sure that whatever goes on is interesting to me. I know it sounds selfish (honestly, it is) but it’s better than an hour car ride home without connecting with them.

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