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Language Log

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 - 9:27 a.m.

I should report that my brother got increased disability benefits approved, and they paid him some in arrears and he and his girlfriend bought a trailer in what mom insists is a nice trailer park. So he's not homeless now.

I think everyone who plans to become an alcoholic should go into the army for a bit first; that way they'll help you maintain your lifestyle later.

That was a really mean thing to say, not fair to our service members and not fair to my brother really, who for all that I don't think he deserves to be taken care of by the government, I don't want him homeless anyhow. Just being him is punishment enough.

Q worries me a bit lately. I have yet to see her express empathy or concern for anyone. J stubbed his toe really bad and she laughed. I tried to explain that when someone hurts themselves you do not laugh, you check and see if they're ok and if there's anything you can do to make them feel better and she just laughed again. Now I'm afraid she'll laugh at people in pain just to get my goat. I guess sometimes it has to be taught more explicitly. Doesn't it? Never mind all my friends with children younger than her who spontaneously express concern over others' well-being.

Also she has never said "I love you" to either of us-- she will say it to her grandparents when prompted, but not to us. I suppose that means she doesn't really know what it means and it would be meaningless if she did say it. Lila Gleitman did a study on when children acquire the word, and showed it's not till they're 4 or so that they really get that one. It is very abstract. But still.

I will try to chill and not worry. Every child is different and I'm pretty sure she's not a psychopath.

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