Monday, August 06, 2007

it has always seemed to me that one of the main things that would be fun about having two kids is getting to do experiments on them

Robert Frank, Falling Behind, page 54:
I came to this view in part because of an experiment I did years ago with my two oldest sons when they were five and seven years old. The experiment took three days. On day one, I poured each of them a full glass of orange juice. On day two, I poured each only half a glass. Then, on day three, I poured David (then age seven) seven-eighths of a glass and Jason (then age five) only three-quarters of a glass. (I am not sure that a human subjects committee would approve this experiment today.)

You can guess what happened. On the first two days, each drank his juice without comment. In particular, neither asked on day two why he'd gotten only half as much as the day before. But things played out differently on day three. Jason looked first at his own glass, then over at his brother's, then back at his own, his face registering growing signs of distress. It was obvious that he was struggling not to react. But finally he blurted out, "That's not fair; he always gets more than me."


Dan Myers said...

Speaking as a two-kid parent, you are right! But the problem is that you only get to do one experiment. Then all the rest of them are tainted by what you did on the first one... :)

dorotha said...

i think because i was in the middle, fair was always a big deal to me. fair usually meant that i should get more. i still feel this way.

Kieran said...

Yeah. Although you also have to watch out for the older one deciding to experiment on the younger one in a "test to destruction" fashion.

jeremy said...

Much of my early years with my sister three years older than me felt like a protracted "test to destruction" experiment.