It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Being Piagetian* Again

The boys requested that I cover them with a blanket. I obliged, using this afghan lovingly hand-crafted by my MIL, and which, despite not being anything like a pink girl, I love – it’s a throwback to my childhood and all the stuff my gran and my mum crocheted. My gran, who taught me to knit, and practically stood on her head trying to understand what little lefty me was doing with those needles! But never once did she suggest I do it the “right” way.


So there they all are, covered with the blanket, giggling and squirming and generally being adorable. I recognize a blog-worthy photo op. when I see one, and race for the camera.

I stand before the giggling blanket with the camera. Suddenly, the wriggling stops and from the blanket comes a unified chorus:



*Children at this age are solidly in the middle of the time when it is very difficult for them to understand the world from any perspective but their own. Piaget noted this first – not that parents throughout the milennia hadn’t twigged to it already – but Piaget was the one who gave it a scientific name (the egocentrism of the Pre-Operational phase) and stuck it in a neat developmental framework. They say “cheese” because they can see me with the camera, and not a one of them realizes that I can’t see them. Not a one.

December 1, 2005 - Posted by | Developmental stuff, the cuteness!


  1. I think child development is so interesting. Have you ever seen a show called The Baby Human? I think it’s on the Discovery channel or TLC. It’s fascinating–they show all kinds of studies where researchers test babies on what they understand about the world.

    I just love learning more about how their little minds work.

    Comment by Sharkey | December 1, 2005 | Reply

  2. But how would we play peek-a-boo if they understood that just because they can’t see you, it doesn’t mean you can’t see them?

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | December 1, 2005 | Reply

  3. The princesses are so used to being photographed that they do things and ask to be photographed now. I think they think that they’ve figured out what counts as cute and they will sometimes deliberately try to be photogenic.

    Comment by Simon P. Chappell | December 1, 2005 | Reply

  4. I remember playing hide and seek with my older sisters, and “hiding” in the middle of the room by covering my eyes with my hands.

    Once I figured out that that didn’t work, I remember hiding in the same spot 29 consecutive times.

    I didn’t win much at hide and seek. The baby of the family always has it so tough.

    Comment by Q | December 1, 2005 | Reply

  5. Everyday when I go through my blogroll I always know I’m going to get something good when I come visit Mary P.

    I love how they stopped wiggling long enough to say cheese. Like it even mattered…hehe!!

    Very nice afghan too!

    Comment by kimmyk | December 1, 2005 | Reply

  6. Beautiful afghan and nice camera work. I finally have a CHEAP digital and I’ve been practicing but clearly not enough. Head over to granny when you’re not too busy to view some of Rebecca and half of Rochelle along with just the paws of the cat.

    I’ll try for better tomorrow.

    Comment by Granny | December 2, 2005 | Reply

  7. “egocentrism of the Pre-Operational phase”…hmmm, I guess my daughter has moved up to operational…she MIGHT ask if I could see her too but my son would be right on the couch with your blanketed boys, grinning from ear to ear!!!
    (Of course, EVERYTHING we do is photo-worthy! My daughter may understand more, but “do you want to video me?” is a daily question!)

    Comment by LoryKC | December 2, 2005 | Reply

  8. AHHH!! Piaget… flashbacks of Educational Psychology… but at least I got it, even before the explanation at the end…

    I’ve been lurking for a while, but this was one I had to comment on…

    Comment by Angela | December 3, 2005 | Reply

  9. Oops! Somehow I managed not to respond to comments on this post! Sorry for the delay.

    Sharkey: No, I haven’t. My family members will tell you I almost never watch TV, but that sounds like the kind of show I would enjoy, and we get both those channels, so I think I’ll look it up. Thanks for the tip!

    MrsA: True, true. Good thing this phenomena isn’t liable to change anytime soon! Generations more mummies and daddies will get to play this game!

    Simon: I’m absolutely sure they have. They wouldn’t be normal little kids if they hadn’t, and they’ve had lots of experience with camera-happy daddy! Camera shy tends to come later, when it comes at all.

    Q: Poor baby! Given that when you were three, your sisters were in their teens, you were lucky they played with you at all. Must’ve been ‘cuz you were just so cute!

    Kimmyk: Like it even matters! That’s what amused me first, before the “cheese!” Weird, too, because half the time when I’m trying to take snaps, they’re whirling past me at ferocious rates.

    Granny: The afghan was made by my MIL, originally for the cottage, but when they sold it, we got the extra bedding. We have three more, in different colours. With seven kids sleeping here routinely, not including the daycare tots, who have stuff I’ve made just for them, we need all we can get!

    Lory: “Do you want to video me”? The star of the docu-drama that is her life!

    Pre-operational ends about seven, I think, so yup, she’d be on to the next one by now.

    Angela: Hello, and welcome, and thanks for de-lurking! Hope to see you again.

    It’s been a long time since teacher’s college and my educational psych classes, but Piaget was one I really liked. He just seemed to have it nailed, you know? However, the only phase (stage? schema?) I’m at all familiar with anymore is Pre-Operational, for obvious reasons!–>

    Comment by Mary P. | December 3, 2005 | Reply

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