Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Canny Boy

George and Harry are negotiating. Harry has a toy that George would like to play with. "You can have it in one minute," says Harry. This is a common strategy here at Mary's house. The times are generally one minute, two, or three. The children don't know exactly what these times mean, obviously, but it serves the very useful purpose of indicating child A's willingness to share, and tells child B they'll get it if they're patient a bit longer. Not a bad strategy. Mary often tells the child when the time period is up: time being a relative concept, two minutes to the sharer is a much longer period than two minutes would be were the share-ee to determine when it's ended. It's not always necessary, however. Lots of genuinely kind sharing happens around here. So, George has been offered the toy in one minute, which in our parlance means "a very short while". George glances at the clock, and says, "Five minutes." How very strange. Some kids have no idea about the relative value of numbers, but George does. Or at least I thought so. Harry agrees with enthusiasm; seems he knows five is more than one. George nods, well pleased, and keeps watching the clock. He's got a plan, that much is evident. After another twelve seconds or so he anounces, "There! Five minutes!" Harry's a bit dubious, but George explains, pointing to the clock: "You can tell it was five minutes because that hand just went over the number five." Harry hands it over without further protest. He can't argue with that. I'm impressed! He knows a clock is for measuring time. Apparently he understands how the hands move. The second hand was passing the two when they made their agreement; it would thus get to the five before it got to the one again. He could get it sooner that way, and the irrefutable clock would be on his side! Not bad for three and a half. Poor Harry didn't stand a chance.


Blogger Simon Peter said...

That's excellent. And even better that it was negotiated with no screaming or other bad feelings.

11/01/2005 01:48:00 p.m.  
Blogger LoryKC said...

Wow!! Not bad at all!

11/01/2005 02:59:00 p.m.  
Blogger Haley said...

George is unstopable now!

11/01/2005 04:17:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Simon: Exactly my thought, which is why I kept well out of it. This was NOT the time for a clock-reading lesson.

Lory: Nope. I was please with it all.

Haley: As far as Harry is concerned, George is pretty unstoppable, unless you go the brute strength route. Harry is a cheerful and willing little dude, but it is safe to say that George can think circles around him. Sting like a bee, George!

11/02/2005 01:43:00 p.m.  

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