Wink, wink!

Sprite and I had been discussing a chart of facial expressions depicting emotions and then how the pictures could be written in text format to create emoticons
We were reading the Wikipedia article and discussing the difference between the side-on emoticons and the Asian ASCII images which can be read without tilting the head. We were interested in the fact that the Asian emoticons were chiefly expressed by varying the characters used for the eyes whereas the Europeans put more emphasis on the mouth.
“It looks as if Picasso was putting side on AND front on emoticons on his portraits!” said Sprite. She had been playing with her Paint like Picasso kit which she was given at her P Party.
“Look!” I said “A Russian man tried to put a trademark on the wink emoticon!”

“I don’t like Winks” said Sprite.
”Why?” I asked.
“I never know what they mean!” she said. “Sometimes it feels like people are talking behind your back if they wink at each other and don’t include you. I don’t know whether they are talking about me or about something only they know about or about a secret they have with each other.
And when they wink at me I don’t know whether they are happy to see me or being encouraging or referring to some secret I am supposed to have with them and don’t remember.
And sometimes people wink when they trying to flirt and I don’t know if they are doing that and whether it would be appropriate to wink back or not.
Or maybe they just have a bit of grit in their eye”
” And it seems to mean different things if they wink once or wink twice. Sometimes they even say ‘Wink, wink!’ in a sneaky sort of voice as if they are doing something they should not be doing.
I’m never sure whether I missed seeing the first wink or if there is another one coming and I don’t want to stare at them to count the winks because maybe they have some sort of facial tic and can’t help winking and they don’t mean anything at all when they wink.”

I wanted to tell her about the significance of the wink in the film ‘I, Robot’ but I just didn’t have the energy for a full scale debate about physics, ethics and emotions in robots.

The Ultimate Homework Excuse

There was a piece of scrumpled paper in the bottom of Sprite’s backpack.
When I had smoother it out I realized that it was a History homework assignment which was due to be submitted in two days.

“What’s this?” I asked “Have you finished it already?”
“No” said Sprite.
“Well have you done any work on it?”
“No” said Sprite. “I went to see the Professor and Paula the Physicist and Paula said…”
“Don’t change the topic young lady!”
“I’m not! Paula said I didn’t have to do it yet!”
“That doesn’t sound like something Paula would say” I said.
Paula had been a very encouraging mentor for Sprite but she had always been firm when necessary. “Did she suggest that you could ask for an extension?”

“I didn’t tell her about the History assignment. I was asking her about dimensions after what you said about the chair. And she was talking about time as a fourth dimension and vectors and relativity and tesseracts and lots of other stuff. We were talking about the Wikipedia entry at
We were also talking about how different dimensions could have different times.
And I remembered that you said you drew all my backgrounds. So that means the dimension I’m in only started when you did that first picture and that was about one of your years ago.
So that means, unless my time scale is really different from yours, it couldn’t possibly be March 2010 for me and so I still have 2009 years to finish the History assignment!”

The Big Bang Theory

Our family really enjoys the TV series The Big Bang Theory so I was delighted to find a blog about the science behind the science. It is the Big Blog Theory at

Sprite loves The Big Bang Theory too and often invites Intellectual Dabrowski in to watch it with her.
“But there’s one thing I don’t get!” she said “Why does everyone laugh when Sheldon gets upset when people sit in his place on the couch?
I don’t think that’s funny. I would get really upset if you sat in my chair!”

“Don’t worry.” I said “that is not likely to happen!”
“Why?” asked Sprite “Because you’re too fat to sit in my seat – like Goldilocks?”
“No because you are not even in the same dimension as I am; so I can’t sit in your seat.”
“Yeah, like I said, the dimensions of your seat are too big for my seat”

Annie Fox says

Annie Fox says:
March 6, 2010 at 6:27 am
Hi Sprite,

You’ve asked a really important question. “Why are kids mean to each other?” Wow! I could write a book just on that one! Actually, in a way, I already have. If you haven’t yet read “Real Friends vs. The Other Kind” you should. In it you will definitely find some answers to the most common friendship issues.

But you don’t have to read the book to realize that people (that includes adults, kids, tweens and teens) are incredibly complex! Sometimes we want to do the right thing and we do it. The “right” thing can include: being respectful to other people, being kind, being true to yourself, etc. And sometimes we’re not sure what the right thing is. Why? Because at that moment you might feel very scared or very angry or very embarrassed. Those intense emotions can make it really hard to think straight. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m not thinking straight, I am much more likely to do or say something I later regret… something that’s rude and hurts someone’s feelings.

Back to your question: some kids are mean to other kids because the adults in their lives haven’t been very nice to them. So those kids feel bad about themselves. When a person feels that way a lot of the time he or she lashes out at others. It’s not fair, and it doesn’t make it OK. No way! But it may help you understand where the “mean kid” is coming from.

In those situations the best thing you can do is first to take some slow deep breaths to calm yourself down. Then calmly and maturely let people know (by your words and your behavior) that you don’t appreciate what they did. Do your best to put yourself back in control of your own behavior. Know that you deserve respect and show, by the choices you make at school and at home, that you always respect yourself.

Oh, one more thing that can help in these annoying situations, is to remind yourself that you won’t be going to this school with these kids forever. Thank goodness! As you get older and move up in the grades the other kids get more mature and less interested in putting down other people.