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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dharma Initiative

Well, not quite, but I'm seriously missing Lost these days. Any fans know what's up with that?

In other (real life) news...

#1 has been a member of a longitudinal study through the University of Maryland since he was 9 months old.

We have gone once or twice per year since that time, and yesterday was the first of two visits scheduled for year 7 of the studies.

People (and by people, I mostly mean Hubby) are always asking me why I do it.

There are many reasons.

First, they give everyone a cool picture like this to share with your family, friends, and blog readers (okay that last one is probably just me).

Second, they pay me. I don't know about you, but I'm not one to look a $60 gift horse in the mouth. Particularly since this certain gift horse requires only that I sit in a recliner in a quiet room and try not to doze off while my most manageable child participates in various, largely non-intrusive research trials. When they call every summer, I happily answer.

Third, it's interesting. I get to learn all about current child development research and, as it happens, that's kinda my thing. Despite my inability to successfully parent my own children on a consistent basis, I am a highly (maybe not highly, but certainly more highly than a good chunk of the general population) educated. And, while they may not appear to serve me well (or at all) in my current daily pursuits, I can count numerous academic achievements under my name, most of which were gained in the field of child development and education. So yeah, I pretty much dig it.

Fourth, I support research. I find it not only intriguing, but necessary to furthering our current understanding of human nature and possibility. Plus, I remember being a researcher myself, so I have an appreciation for the difficulty of locating and securing participants that are willing and able to participate. I pride myself on being that one person they can count on to return, forms filled out, each year. I realize that this willingness may make the findings based on me a bit skewed, but hey, what can I do?

And, finally, it's my Alma Mater (for grad school at least). I'm all for supporting my Alma Mater maybe not financially (please stop calling me you bloody alumni association telemarketers), but in spirit (Go Terps!). I enjoy going back there on occasion and taking a look around (it has changed SO much), to reminesce on my more carefree days (although, I did have #1 in grad school, it was way less than 3). And, it's fun to take the dude to see what college is all about. You know, give him a taste of what life will be like for him one day.

What's not fun? Going on orientation day, that's what.

Somehow our 7 year old visit date and time corresponded with orientation for giddy-just-turned-18-lost-and-wide-eyed prospective students and their equally can't-believe-this-is-my-baby-deer-in-headlights-like parents.

It was a mad house of people crossing streets inappropriately and committing various other unbelievable traffic violations.

At one point I seriously considered Grand Theft Auto-ing it right through a mob of lost pedestrians as they consulted their handy-dandy campus maps in the middle of an intersection.


But, aside from that, I was pleased with the experience, and #1 and I did a little walking and talking and shooting of pictures.



Kathy B! said...

I think this sort of researchis critical and I'm glad you support it. As a formerly educated person myself I get it. Just don't drink any Kool-Aid while you're there.

I kid.

Barely Domestic Mama said...

That sounds cool minus going on orientation day. :)

lov said...

i think the picture would totally be reason enough to do it! :)

and the money doesn't hurt either

but i do so love a child development person, being one myself. i love love love learning more in the field of development, and maybe that is because the best way to research child development is to play! :)

i'm thinking about going back to grad school just cause i want to do more "research" with those precious babies over at the university....but i'm totally scared to take the gre!

Lauren said...

That is a neat experience. When my son was a baby, we participated in a diaper study by Huggies. They gave us a year supply of Huggies & paid me $160 a month.

Not bad...

~stopped by via SITS~

Mira is triplet crown said...

I am supposed to be cooperating with a study on multiples but they want me to bring each kid in for 3 hours (and wanted me to start when they were just tiny) and I am all 'hell no' about that kind of inconvenience. i would love to know how they're stacking up but 3 hours? I might get into it now tho, because they might think it's a play date or something.

Becca said...

I did this once with my daughter. I wish we were called back to do more.

Shelly said...

I'm still trying to catch up on Lost. I am on season 4 and watching it online. Gets more confusing by the episode but I love it!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is so cool. I mean the research with the added 60 bucks.
Next time you're there for orientation day, take a tip from the Faemom Prank Book. A) Give a tour with your own personal slant on things. B) Give the wrong directions.

Alicia said...

i love the pictures!! and go terps! that has to be the best mascot name ever!

ck said...

That's fascinating. Any chance you can talk more about the actual research? What they do, the kinds of things they ask him? How long it takes to get those probes on and off his head? You know, your everyday small talk.

parentingBYdummies said...

Why yes, CK, certainly. It's a study regarding reaction time following positive and negative stimulus...basically part of their premise is that children learn faster (and have a faster reaction time) when they are experiencing positive stimuli as opposed to negative. It's really more of a neurological based study of child development more than a psychological one since they are focusing on the brain waves reaction. Oh, and some stuff about concentration, too. Whole visit is like 2hrs start to finish and it's comprised of about 8 small tasks. So, yeah. There you have it in my normal everyday speak. Boo Yah!

blueviolet said...

You go, you academia supporter, you!

Last summer I participated in a UPenn study for 2 weeks where I had to talk to a stranger for 10 minutes on the phone every day about a random topic. It was pretty crazy but I got paid $250!!!

Kaylen said...

Good for you!! It is important to have someone take part in research studies! And sixty bucks is sixty bucks!

Love the pic!!

angie said...

Oh my goodness. KathyB just took the words right out of my mouth. My reader isn't updating your feed for some reason........that's my reason for being delinquent in visiting.......I'm going to go have a word with bloglines........:)

Bill and Lorie Shewbridge said...

Oh behalf of mothers, and grandmothers (now that I am included in that group) I want to say THANK YOU!! It is people like you that help people like my grandson, who was born 6 weeks premie and had a few delays, and is now able to catch up with his peer. I applaud you, you are an amazing woman -- and not at all a "dum mom"!! :-)

MamabearMills said...

i did some studies with my daughter when she was like 4 months old. i was happy to help those poor starving college students!

Kimberly said...

That's cool and new LOST episodes don't start until Spring 2010

Giving away two copies of the movie Extract starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. Contest ends 4/2/10.
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