Decoding your child’s brain

August 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Your baby looks up at you with eyes that appear so wise and caring, and you wonder: How much does she know? What does she feel? What’s going on in her mind?

For a long time, science could tell us little about the minds of babies and young children, and, as developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik points out in her perspective-expanding new book, “The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life,” philosophy shrugged at the subject as well. The last thirty years, however, have seen a revolution in our understanding of the way babies’ minds work — and why they work the way they do …

5 minute time out: Alison Gopnik (Babble)

It’s not just you

August 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Time and again, while reading Melanie Gideon’s sharply insightful “The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After,” I had the vaguely unsettling feeling that someone else had written the story of my own current life. No, it’s true, my husband is not prone to buying hulking, macho adventure vans on the Internet, as Gideon’s is, nor have I had to contend with the death of a beloved family dog or, to my knowledge, ever had Julia Child over to my home for dinner. But (I say, waving these plot points away with the back of my hand) these are mere technicalities. Gideon has cast a hook down through the amusing surface details of her own more-or-less happy modern middle-class family life and come up with deep truths about marriage, motherhood, aging, friendship and other things that occupy women who’ve confidently cruised past 40 — only to panic and weave as 50 looms large ahead …

Review: “The Slippery Year” by Melanie Gideon (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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