Friday with Sting Ray and Dragonfly Twig

Christmas Goes Florida with Santa Sting Ray on Daughter’s Lunch Bag

Word of the Day
alexipharmic, adj. 1. Warding off poisoning or infection; antidotal; prophylactic. 2. (noun) An alexipharmic agent, especially an internal antidote.

From the Baroque period, this one comes from the Greek alexein, “to avert” and pharmakon, “drug.” Apparently was popular until the 1640s when it was replaced by “antidotal.”

Daughter at 5 Years
…was running about with her friends from Girl Scouts while waiting for the meeting to begin while all the other mothers stood around, admiring (or envying) their energy level. I was watching while wondering at how they were meshing socially; they all liked one another and there was an instinct for them to play together despite not knowing one another well yet. Their behavior was fairly undifferentiated: all of them were displaying about the same level of interest in one another and the activity (playing tag).

I was still watching this when one of them fell and skinned her knee, and started wailing.

And… in a very “Lord of the Flies” sort of moment, all of them paused because she was in the way and stopped only briefly to renegotiate who was going to catch whom before resuming their game.

“CHILD,” called Mommy.

“WHAT,” she said with a bit of a grumpy expression because, Mommy, I am playing tag here, very serious business.

“Come here,” said I.

So she came with a sigh and I bent down and said, “Your friend fell down. Did you ask her if she was okay?”

“No?” Child said with brutal candor.

“Why don’t you go find out if she’s okay,” I said. “It looks like she’s crying. She may need help, or a hug.”

With resignation at yet another whimsical request from Mommy, Child marched over to the other girl, who was now clinging to her mother and sobbing.

“Are you OKAY?” Daughter asked.

Child continued crying.

Daughter came right back to me and said, “She didn’t say anything!”

“Well, she’s with her mommy now,” I said as the other children squealed, running past us. “Do you know why it’s important to ask people if they’re okay if they get hurt?”

“No,” Child muttered.

“Because if someone gets hurt while you’re playing with them, they may need help,” I said. “You might have to find out if they need a grown-up, and go get help from one. Or they may just need someone to help them feel better for having fallen down, the way you do sometimes. It’s very important to make sure people who get hurt are okay. Especially if they’re your friends.”

“Oh,” Child said. “Can I go back to playing now?”

Mommy sighed a little. “Go ahead.”

So Daughter rejoined the frenzy. But a few moments later, hurt-girl climbed off her mother and stood there, a little apart, still sniffling… and Daughter paused. She picked up a branch and brought it to me. “Look, Mommy! It looks like a dragonfly! See, with the leaves?”

“Yes, I see,” I said.

She paused, then looked at sniffling girl. Then walked over to her and offered it to her. “Look. It’s like a dragonfly. Do you want it?”

Sniffling girl didn’t say anything. But she did take the dragonfly, and after a while, at Daughter’s encouragement, made it fly.

Maybe empathy is inborn in some people. In my experience, though, watching kids… empathy has to be taught. Oh God, though. What a hard job it is to teach people that other people’s pain has to be looked at. It’s so much easier, so natural to look the other way.

Creative News/Plans
We’re $10 from Earthrise tomorrow… otherwise we’ll see what happens to Very Sick Captain Reese on Tuesday next week.

Writing on Book 3 is now leisurely, but I’m still going on it… 4 pages yesterday. It’s quite likely that both these books will be released in early 2013, which will be long overdue gratification for readers of Shell.

Also, I should do some more Lexember words. Because I have not yet had all the fun! Hmm.

Elsewhere (The “I Guess You’d Find Both in a D&D Monster Manual” Edition)
Humans Make Eye Contact with Monsters. A study tries to figure out where we look first when we look at things without heads, with interesting results.
Scorpions May Have Lessons to Teach Aircraft Designers. How does this critter survive winds that should scour it carapace-less? We want to know!

Quote of the Day
The honey is guarded by bees… the rose has thorns. To enjoy the sweet and beautiful you cannot be cowardly. ~ Rev Run

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