This week I did something special. I took care of my nieces, Gwendolyn and Alice, while their mum was at a conference. They’re seven and four respectively, and not really my nieces. I have a really small family, so I’m forced to adopt. We’re family in all the ways that matter, I think. I haven’t spent that much time with kids since I did counselor training at a summer camp about 15 years ago, and I found it to be not just enjoyable, but educational.
I picked them up from after school care, and we had a lovely walk home where I found out that Gwen has a conception of how the burden of proof works. “People won’t believe you,” she said to Alice about a claim Alice made “Unless you can show them. You have to show them if you want them to believe you.” As somebody who writes about applying philosophical concepts in the public domain, I was practically bursting with pride. I’ve met adults that don’t have that firm a grasp on the burden of proof. I only hope she doesn’t grow out of it.
Throughout the week I stayed at their place, saw them off to school, and generally did parenting type things like make sure they had their meds, lunches, and the like. I found it pretty exhausting, but I’m not sure why. The girls were incredibly well behaved, and really helpful in acquainting me with their daily routine (though Gwen did try to convince me that the daily routine included candy for breakfast). After they were in bed, I crept around the house like a ninja, tidying up and getting things ready for the next day. It was an interesting contrast. I’m used to living with roommates, but with adults, if I wake them, I conceive of the regret as them having to deal with me. With kids, I think of it as me having to deal with them. I think that rearrangement of priorities has something to do with why it was a demanding experience.
I think I learned some things about parenting, but I don’t know how valuable they were. Every experience was coloured by the fact that I had a good night’s sleep, I only had them for a few days, and I wasn’t responsible for them in the way that a parent is. It was a novelty that I’d love to repeat, but I can’t pretend to have learned something about actual parenting from it, though I did learn an awful lot about He-Man and She-Ra. The funniest moment of the week was perhaps when I, upon finding out that they had been watching He-Man, mentioned to the girls that I had talked about Skeletor that day in class (in reference to villains with integrity) and the professor hadn’t known who he was. They were aghast, and offered to lend my professor their dvds so that he could be further educated on the perils of Skeletor. That’s my week. Tiny people, He-man, and fun. I also played at my first open mic this week, at the Kitchener Waterloo Poetry Slam, but I’ll save my reflections on that for another time.
There’s a lot of projects coming down this week, too. Concept Crucible started a series on the Prisoner’s Dilemma and finished up rules of inference, while TPK talked about how the Ideal GM looks at trust. This week’s wiki update was on the stone elders of Temir, the Goliaths. It’s the end of the month, which means the newest Educated Imagination is out, where we talk about lying, and I’ve begun a new video project with a few friends, a Let’s Play called 3 for a Quarter. We started off with a really great indie game, Bastion!
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