Heuristics at 10 Months

My son has a rather instrumental view of parental love. As far as he is concerned, the affection felt by his parental units is a means for him to achieve certain ends. At 10 months, his main objectives are to be fed when he is hungry and to be taken out of the house so that he can see cars zipping by. In seeking the second objective, he has learnt that  when one of the parental units says “Let’s go Tata”, they often follow  it up by opening the door and taking him out, but sometimes they cheat him and do not take him out. Worse still, the PU pretends to take him out, but then cheats him by leaving him with the other PU and goes tata all by himself. So, he now applies the following  heuristics:

  1. The male parental unit is more likely than the female parental unit to take him out to tata.
  2. The parental unit that is putting on footwear is the better bet.
  3. The parental unit that is standing at the door is more likely to take him tata.
  4. Once the parental unit has gone out through the door and closed it, it means that he will not be taken tata now, but sometimes wailing loudly opens the door.

These heuristics have served him well so far, but sometimes strange things happen when they come into conflict. For example, today, the male parental unit was putting on footwear, while the female parental unit decided to say “Tata” to him and go out. This brought two of his rules into conflict, but he stuck with rule nos 1 and 2 and stayed  calm. Then, after the MPU seemed ready with his footwear, it turned out that the FPU was at the door, offering to take him Tata, so he lunged for her. Then, to his surprise, he found that the positions were now reversed and the MPU was at the door pretending to go Tata all by himself.  A quick wail soon corrected the situation.

5 thoughts on “Heuristics at 10 Months

  1. Nice analysis. On a slightly different note, I have rarely seen White, Caucasian kids wailing their throats out, while it is absolutely standard operating procedure for Indian kids. At least this has been my experience in airports and on flights. Get on to Economy class in any of the flights headed out to or from India, and you will be subjected to the cacophony of tens of kids bawling away. Is it that the Indian MPU and FPU give in more readily and lend themselves to such heuristics?

  2. raj, on the long-distance routes to and from India most of the kids are Indian, perchance so are the crying kids.

  3. 7*6, you have a point. But I have not come across kids of the wailing variety in flights across Europe. Again, these tend to consist more of business travellers, so I can’t come to a definite conclusion. Probably, the reason we come across more wailing Indian kids is simply that there are more Indian kids coming into the world than any other type!

  4. Yeah. That is the explanation. Even within the US, I could see the difference between California and Ohio. You hardly see children in California. You see lots of them in Ohio.

    In addition, Indian parents take their children everywhere, which doesn’t seem to be the case with Western parents. I am guessing here, but it is likely that Western parents are more likely to just curtail their vacations rather than take children on long-distance flights, and are more likely to hire baby-sitters than take them to restaurants.

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