The Limits of Cognitive Science

I guess it is sort of inevitable that with two kids, my attention and cognitive resources are now split. Unfortunately cogsci-baby2 gets a bit short shrifted in all this because he is less effective about communicating his specific wants/needs. But once in a while, I try to be as focused and attentive to cogsci-child2 as I am to cogsci-child1. Recently, we tied Nate Dogg up to a mobile just like we did for aMos Def when he was a wee infant. And Nathan enjoyed himself and got to experience a little bit of agency in his largely uncontrolled life.

Now when Mo saw this, he decided he wanted to climb into the crib and get some mobile action himself. For 20 quiet minutes, Mo endeavored to weave the ribbon around his toes and ankles.

trying to imitate nathan

A lot of folks have been asking me how Mo is responding to his new brother… and I thought he was largely okay (I’ve been making a lot of effort to spend time with him too). A few nights ago, he saw a bunch of pictures of the three of us: me holding Nathan and Mo just running around. After silently contemplating the photos, Mo burst into just the most heartbreaking sobs and wanted to hug me for a long time. He was so emotional that I started tearing up as well! (Although admittedly, I tear up on many occasions…)

The problem with cognitive science is that largely we conceptualize people as individuals. But social psychologists have it right — we live in a social context that dominates our psychological lives. I know I’m already winging a lot of this “parenting” business; then the whole parenting “brothers” situation is even more daunting to me because I’m an only child! If any parents of multiple children have any advice or wisdom to share, make sure to leave it in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “The Limits of Cognitive Science

  1. teachingninja says:

    Awww. So adorable. I wonder what was going through his little head?! I want to cry too.

  2. juliepark says:

    hahaha poor nate, he is “less effective” at communicating his needs. NO JUDGMENT natey. well, judgment, but no condemnation. aw sammy gets jealous and clingy to his mom. it’s tough being the older one who can be more responsible for his action. good thing i’m a youngest child!

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