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Everett is the child of two researchers who at times experience him as an ongoing experiment.  However, he is not always a cooperative research subject, and so in many cases we must rely on observations alone to answer two questions that are of great interest to us:

1. How much does he understand?

2. How long can he remember events?

While he continues the bootstrapping process of learning to speak, reason and navigate through the world, we continually watch for clues that might answer these questions.  Here I will try to capture a few vignettes, some related to our research questions and some are future clues about things we would like to remember.


First, a clue that has to do with our house rather than Everett.  One day we were looking at the stone above the fireplace and noticed something unusual:
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This looks like it might be a fossil, but we never thought about it much until one day at the Milwaukee Public Museum when we saw this:

which seems like a pretty clear match.  So there you have it: our house was most likely built with stone from the nearby Silurian Racine Formation, including a fossil of an extinct cephalopod.


Getting back to E, last year he learned to say “Dada” and soon afterward he would start screaming it when I came home, sometimes to the point of hyperventilating, which had the side effect of making me feel like some kind of rock star.  One night we were on a Skype call with the Gabbys and I said goodbye early to go pick up dinner.  When I returned home I was greeted with “Pizza!” instead of “Dada!”, indicating that he knew what pizza was, overheard me mention it during our Skype call and remembered for the half hour or so while I was gone.  Similarly, last November I took him to the Audubon Center one day when they happened to be showing one of the resident owls, which he repeatedly and emphatically identified.  We didn’t return for a couple months, mainly because of holiday travel and other commitments, but when we pulled into the parking lot in January he started shouting “owl!” as soon as I opened the car door.


Everett’s continues to amaze us with his language.  We sometimes try to teach him specific words, but most he seems to pull from thin air. Elevators, satellites and asteroids are a small sample of recent arrivals.  Also, some of his names for people are changing: for as long as he has spoken he has called Melissa’s parents Gabby & Gabby.  But over the last few days, in the absence of any correction or encouragement, he has started calling them Gabby & Gandaddy.  We aren’t sure if he remembers this from long ago or heard someone else say it, but it looks like it is here to stay.  Lastly, he has started adapting phrases that he hears from us, such as the time his friend Leo was crying, and he crouched down and asked “What go on baby?”.  When he couldn’t get a satisfactory answer he turned to Melissa and shrugged.


Everett has a growing interest in tools and instruments.  It’s too soon to say whether he has The Knack, but he is certainly interested in screwdrivers and power supplies (note to the grandparents: the power supply is not plugged in).
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Oh yes, the force is strong with this one.


Melissa’s maternal instincts continue to become stronger, so much so that sometimes they spillover from her son to her husband, such as the times she unconsciously tried to put a bib on Chris, or served him a drink in a sippy cup, or asked him when he was headed to the bathroom whether he was going to pee or poop.


Finally, there are times when Everett is upset and we can’t gather enough clues to figure out what is bothering him.  At this point we usually attribute his mood to things that each of us experience often: Chris thinks he is overheating, while Melissa thinks that his skin is dry and he “needs lotion”.

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