Dandelion wishes answered!





Wish 1 Sprite: I wish that Dr Laurie Marker won’t be too sad without Chewbaaka and that the Chewbaaka Memorial fund will bring in lots of money for cheetah conservation.

The day after I posted Sprite’s dandelion wish I received this note from the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
And today there was another note bringing news of the cheetah cubs who are being trained to follow in the tracks of Chewbaaka and become the future ambassadors for the species





Wish 2 Sprite: I wish that someone would help me to clean up my room and get organized!

Sprite has been visiting Angela Esnouf’s Creating Order from Chaos website at http://www.creatingorder.com.au/  and Angela has promised she will write a letter to Sprite giving her some basic tips for getting organised.





Wishes 3 Sprite: I wish that Ginger Pony had a friend because it is really lonely if you don’t have a friend
and 4 Sprite: I wish that I could work out why Bea doesn’t like me. I wish someone could help me work it out!

Both these wishes were answered by a invitation in the Comments Section from Sue Weatherill of Horse Instincts http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helpn-Oz-Horse-Programs-for-the-Community/165217303502821


Hi Sprite,
You and Ginger pony and all your friends can
come and join Buddy and his team at Horse Instincts
during the school holidays if you like?

Buddy, Maestro and the herd help train people of all ages
in the subtle cues of body language and communication.
They are great at it. It is fun and easy to learn.
It can really help reduce your stress levels when making
friends and being around lots of people or new ones.
We hope you can come and visit.

Sue Weatherill

Dandelion wishes


Sprite was sitting on the grass with Columbus cheetah and the Dabrowski Dogs, blowing dandelion seeds into the air and making wishes.

This is the conversation I heard.

Sprite: I wish that Dr Laurie Marker won’t be too sad without Chewbaaka and that the Chewbaaka Memorial fund will bring in lots of money for cheetah conservation.
(You may remember that Sprite chose Dr Laurie Marker for her notable person to study for Night of the Notables http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/blog/?p=545   and she and Columbus Cheetah dressed up as Dr Laurie Marker and Chewbaaka)

Intellectual Dabrowski: There’s a link here for the Chewbaaka Memorial Fund http://www.cheetah.org/?nd=donate_chewbaaka

Sprite: I wish that someone would help me to clean up my room and get organized!

Intellectual Dabrowski: I think Jo was talking to Angela Esnouf from Creating Order from Chaos about that a little while ago. Her website is at http://www.creatingorder.com.au/

Sprite: I wish that Ginger Pony had a friend because it is really lonely if you don’t have a friend.
(I was not sure whether she was displaying genuine empathy and concern for a real problem Ginger Pony was suffering, expressing her own loneliness by projecting it on Ginger Pony, or whether this was a ploy to get a second real pony!)

Sprite: And I wish that I could work out why Bea doesn’t like me.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski: Don’t worry about it! There are dandelion will- o- the -wisps to chase!

Emotional Dabrowski:  It makes people feel sad and confused if they think people don’t like them and they don’t know the reason. It makes me sad too!

Intellectual Dabrowski: Let’s look at this logically. Do you have any real evidence that Bea doesn’t like you, Sprite? Has she said or done anything mean?

Sprite: No, not really… but…

Imaginational Dabrowski: Maybe it is the way she looks at Sprite. Sprite isn’t very good at understanding what people mean by their facial expressions. Maybe she thinks Bea is sneering at her but she isn’t really! Maybe Sprite is just imagining that Bea is sneering.

Sensual Dabrowski: I don’t know. I think Sprite picks up a lot of things, sort of by osmosis, from subtle cues like body language; so she can’t quite work out why she thinks Bea doesn’t like her; but she just has an overwhelming feeling that it is true.

Sprite: I wish someone could help me work it out!

Getting Organized – Side steps!

Getting distracted is one of the things preventing Sprite (and me!) from getting organized!

Sprite was supposed to be using the using the new hourglass type egg timer to give herself four minutes to complete a particular homework task but I found her with her alarm clock, a stop watch and the egg timer turning it over and over . She was sitting with first one expression on her face, then another, changing her facial expression each time she turned the egg timer.

“What ARE you doing?” I asked.

“I don’t think I can use the egg timer to do homework because I don’t think it is accurate!” she said. “I’m trying to check whether four minutes on the egg timer is the same as four minutes on the clock and the stopwatch is. And then I have to keep on trying it because I don’t think the sand runs through at the same rate each time. Do you know why I think that?”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well because I wonder whether the grains of sand go through the middle in the same order each time and whether they approach the middle on the same angle and whether they would go faster if they approached on a different angle and if the size of the grains makes any difference in how fast they go (because what if a big one goes first and gets stuck and the others have to jump over it?)

“What experiment could you do to find out?” I asked

“Well I think you would have to film the sand grains under a powerful microscope and analyze the film frame by frame and measure it in microns and millisecs and I don’t think I can really do it with an alarm clock and a stopwatch!”

So I posed Sprite’s question to my friends on Twitter and very speedily received a reply from @ljconrad See http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25194/

“And why were you putting on a different facial expression each time you turned the egg timer over?”

“Because I don’t think all seconds are the same lengths of time anyway! Time seems to go faster when you are happy and excited and slower when you are unhappy or bored. So I was trying to find out if that made a difference. But then it might not have worked; because even when I was pretending to be bored I really was interested to see whether it made a difference; so I wasn’t really bored and the grains of sand might know!”

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon 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!”
See http://www.theage.com.au/news/web/winking-emoticon-trademarked/2008/12/12/1228585088693.html

“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.