Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hypothesis: Sexism and Congratulations on New Baby!

Let me know if you think I'm right about this.

There is research from around the world that parents tend to favor having boys. For example, we know that parents are more likely to have a second or third child if their first and second are girls.*

Recently, a friend of mine had her 20 week sonogram to find out the sex of her baby.

It is a girl!!

Around the office I heard lots of congratulatory remarks, one of which I have heard before but only now made this connection. Here's the remark:

It doesn't matter what the sex is, as long as its healthy!

I am wondering if people are more likely to say this when they hear from the prospective parent that it is a girl.

What do you think?

*Here is some relevant research:
Dahl, Gordon B. and Enrico Moretti. 2008. “The Demand for Sons.” Review of Economic Studies, 75(4): 1085-1120.

Emerson, Patrick M. and AndrĂ© P. Souza. 2007. “Child Labor, School Attendance, and Intrahousehold Gender Bias in Brazil.” World Bank Economic Review, 21(2): 301-316.

Duflo, Esther. 2003. “Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa.” World Bank Economic Review, 17(1): 1-25.


So yesterday at preschool a teacher was reading a book to a group of kids.

She got to the word DRAT! when she paused, and pondered, aloud, whether or not the kids knew of that word.

I bet that you all don't know what this word means! Do any of you know this word?

One child, whose name will be left out of this post for reasons of confidentiality (suffice it to say that he is one big kid) responded:

Is it like JESUS CHRIST!!!?

Friday, October 23, 2009

National Writing Day

Circumstances beyond my control have enabled me to, at least in part, write over the anniversary of my mom's death (Oct 20, 1978).

First, my cousin had her first, a boy, 23 years later.

Second, I am now able to participate in National Writing Day!

Check out their gallery of writing!

Scholastic censors book because main character has same-sex parents

Scholastic has decided to censor Lauren Myracle’s new book Luv Ya Bunches (Abrams/Amulet, 2009) because they say it failed to “meet its vetting process because it contains offensive language and same-sex parents of one the main characters.”

Bushwacking for Beavers!

While Upnorth (I'm adopting this as one word not unlike how Newyorkers might say Upstate), we found this awesome beaver dam while on a hike!

The beavers had, incredibly, created an entire pond that, apparently, wasn't there before. You could see signs for blue diamond cross-country ski trails nailed to trees that were flooded by the water. Here's a picture of the den from a different perspective. The above picture was what I will call in front and below it, while the below picture was above and, sort of, behind it.

Here's the den.

There was beaver scat everywhere which we couldn't help but pick at with sticks only to find bones, bugs and all other sorts of goodies that had been through the beaver's digestive system. Big and Nine were enthralled.

As a souvenir we took a particularly gnawed-on trunk that must weigh at least eight pounds. You can see from this picture that it was gnawed on at both ends AND in the middle. Big carried it in to school today for show-and-tell!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do You Have Food Rules?

Cousin pointed this out to me, a blog about a New York Times article by Michael Pollan on your food Do's and Dont's, inviting people to write in their own (sometimes bizarre) rules about food.

I'm sure I always had food rules, but they have certainly manifested themselves with kids around.

Like when it is 8:30 a.m. and they want a candy bar?

Or when they want their fourth bowl of cereal or sixth plate of spaghetti?

For me, food usually falls into one of two categories. It is either a) a means to an end: my stomach is yelling at me so I put something in there to quiet it down or I am wanting to go on a long bike ride and need energy or b) it is an event: Coffee over a book looking out a window, homemade blueberry pie on vacation, or a cheese-filled burger at the local Jucy-Lucy joint.

Same Age, Similar Pose

They might look similar, but whoa. They don't ACT the same.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stealing Time Up North

We were lucky enough this weekend to be able to head up to Ely (pron: "elee" for all of you non-Minnesotans) again for a long weekend at Camp Du Nord.

As was the case last summer, it was so incredibly peaceful and connecting and spiritual to be able to get away that far north, to focus on each other and to enjoy nature. The camp is located on an incredible lake (Burnside) to its east and amazing hiking and skiing trails to its west, all along the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

I was completely regretting our reservations on Thursday, the day we made the 4.5 hour trek to the Northland because I had traveled to and from the SOUTHERN part of the state that very day, and the kids both had colds.

On the way up, Big sneezed into his arm and exclaimed "I have some bless-you on my shirt!!"

Once we were there, though, I remembered why we had done it. There is just something about taking time away from your home and your regularly scheduled activities that creates a space to open up, relax, and focus.

It's not just that though. The camp surrounds you with like-minded-people who are there to do the same, and that shared experience creates something bigger than the sum of its parts.

The camp also inadvertently teaches the kids values that we just can't do all on our own. The camp is run by an incredibly committed staff that go out of their way to make your stay special, and we found out on the last day that, due to budgetary reasons, they volunteered their time for the entire weekend.

It was amazing to tell Nine this after she had kvetched her way through the end-of-weekend cleanup process at which she balked at doing the recycling, earning her the job of cleaning up the bathroom as well, which she clearly thought that she was above.


There is always time to teach humility, and if we can't do it, life certainly will.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Woman to Win the Nobel Prize in Economics!

Here are some links to blogs and other commentaries on Elinor Ostrom's Nobel Prize:


The American Academy of Political and Social Science

Greg Mankiw

Free Potatoes

This morning Nine and I were enjoying our breakfast at Starbucks before school when we met a plant geneticist.

I love meeting interesting people, so we started talking. He was passionate about potatoes and explained that he does for potatoes what other geneticists do for apples in creating the lovely varieties that we all enjoy like Honeycrisp.

I asked him what the potato equivalent to the Honeycrisp was, and he ran out to his truck and brought in a bag of P1995_R18 (or some such reference number) potatoes which he subsequently cut open to show me the beautiful red outside and combined yellow inside which he reported was high in vitamins C and A as well as potassium.

Then he gave me the whole bag!

I then had to inform him that I would be talking about potatoes in my ECO308 class this week as the classic example of the so-called Giffen Good!

If you'd like a free potato or two, stop by the econ office.

If they are a true Giffen good, I suspect people will demand fewer of them as the price falls to zero.

Chalk One Up to the Obvious Category

Lesbians are more likely to be kicked out of military due to the don't ask don't tell policy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Interesting Graph

Here is an interesting graph about support for gay marriage by age and state via Taggert over at A Random Walk.
The age relationship is obvious, particularly to those of us who interact with the (ahem) younger crowd (as in: You're gay? So what?) but I'd like to see how the authors ordered the states. Obviously it moves from liberal to conservative at some level, but by what measure?