January 24th, 2013


My Job, in the Ten Hundred Most Used Words

I changed jobs a short time ago.

At my old job, I changed words in questions about numbers and how they work to make sure that all the parts of the questions were true. I also made sure that the words were not too long or too hard, and that the questions used the smallest number of words that said what they were supposed to. I made sure that the right answer to each question was there and that the wrong answers were wrong because of not understanding how numbers work (instead of wrong because of not understanding the words).

I did the same thing for questions about how the world works. I also put these questions in order to make groups of questions taken all at once. I made sure that each group had questions about all the different parts of how the world works that each age of student was supposed to know, and that each group had easy, less easy, and hard questions about each part of how the world works.

Before I had the job of changing the words in the questions, my job was to check that other people's changes to the words in the questions happened the way they were supposed to, and that the changes did not make new problems in the questions. I still did that sometimes when my biggest job was changing the words.

Right now my job is to play with my baby. I give her food from my body to help her grow. I keep her safe and help her learn how to feel safe. I show her fun things to play with and take her to new places. I help her to sleep when she is tired and change her clothes when they are wet. I read books to her, I make songs for her (and play songs other people have made), and I talk to her a lot. I wave her around in the air and pretend to eat her head, which she thinks is very fun.

She is learning how to move around in a room by herself and how to eat food that I didn't make in my body. I think she might be learning what some words mean, but it is hard to tell what she knows about words since she can't say them yet.

Soon, I would like to have a job where I help people learn about how the world works. I would most like to help people learn about the places where animals live and the ways that different living things change each other and the world they live in. But I like helping people learn about other parts of how the world works, too. I like helping people learn by talking to them sometimes but not all the time. I would most like to help people learn by writing and making things for people to look at and play with. In a month or so, I will start looking for a job like that. I plan to start with jobs that don't pay money, because there aren't very many jobs like that that do pay money, and I want to make sure I have the right kind of job for me.

I used the Up-Goer Five word checker to make sure all the words I used here were in the ten hundred most used words. I was surprised that these words weren't used enough: math, science, milk, plants, common, affect, interact, cannot, sing, teaching.

Pink Is Just a Color

My general policy, when buying baby clothes (and other baby stuff) is to get clothes I would be happy to put on either a girl or a boy. Babies are pretty gender-neutral, and I resent the attempts of society to keep them clearly labeled at all times. So I tend to buy pretty neutral things, when I can find them, and I also ignore most of the intended gendering on less-neutral things. For instance, dinosaurs are apparently supposed to be a boy thing. Nuts to that, says I. My little velociraptor can wear all the dinosaurs she wants. We have a lot of dinosaur and monster stuff, because it is super adorable.

My other policy is that if I have stuff, why not use it? We've been given some things that are girlier than I'd buy, and we've been handed down some things that are more boyish than I'd buy. I put her in both sets of things, and try to stuff down any weirdness I feel about it. My baby can explore the whole gender spectrum, darn it. (I have noticed that I feel pretty okay about any individual item of clothing, but if the outfit as a whole gets too far away from center it looks funny to me. I had her in a onesie and pants that both had feminine detailing the other day, and it didn't look quite right to me until we were heading out the door, when I added colorful socks and a jacket with a stegosaurus on it.)

She's just grown into the most girly stuff we have, so we've been bumping up against that end of the gender spectrum lately. The other day, when Andres and Cathy got home, she was wearing an all-pink outfit that is pretty much as girly as it is possible to be. (Well-constructed, though -- I actually quite like it, because it's soft and comfortable, sturdy and warm, easy to get on and off, and generally good functional baby clothes, which is not true of a lot of the girly stuff.) Cathy reacted with shock and horror, partly because of the not-gender-neutral and partly because the baby and I have the same skin tone and shouldn't wear pink because it makes us look yellow and blotchy. Andres reacted with even more shock and horror: "She can't wear that! She'll be walking soon!" What? "We'll want to take pictures! We can't take pictures in that!"

So that was interesting. I am amused that they're having more trouble with pink than I am. I mean really, you'd think of the three of us that would be most likely to bother me.