Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lots of curious kids, and why we cry

Lately the kids have asked about all kinds of interesting topics.
What is supply and demand? What is capitalism? How does reselling work? Why do we buy so much from China, why is it so cheap there? What is child labor? Fair labor? Minimum wage?

This has kept Ricky and I busy answering all sorts of interesting questions! I love how worldly homeschoolers are! Not that other children in formal education can’t also be worldly, but gosh it’s amazing how much more so homeschoolers are, and from such a young age. There is so much world out there to be aware of and so much to discover. I’m so glad they explore, ask, and ponder so much and so freely!

We did a unit study on consumerism. We watched clips from of the new National Geographic special The Human Footprint. We talked about what we all can do to make our impact on Earth smaller. We also had a good conversation about how we could all take better care of our stuff so that it lasts longer, and as a result we would need to buy less new stuff. Also when we take care of things our old stuff can be used by others more effectively when we are done with it.

The kids asked what slang was and I gave them several examples and had them come up with some of their own. Ethan then asked, "Hey mom, isn’t slang from Uncle Doyle’s time calling a girl a plate?"

I could barely keep a straight face. It was so funny!

"Ohhh you mean a dish Ethan, yes a pretty girl was called a dish."

So cute. I remember years ago telling them about a dish being a older saying (from around Uncle Doyle’s generation) for a pretty girl. And he remembered that, sort-of. Haha.

This was one of the most interesting questions and answers I’ve researched on behalf of the kids. At first I was like 'well we just cry cause our body triggers tears to fall.' Then I said, you know what kids, we’ll go look that up. (I didn’t really want to) BUT I soon found that I never knew how interesting tears were until reading this

First of all there are three types of tears.
Second, and totally interesting is this:

"Scientists have discovered that the emotional tears contain higher levels of manganese and the hormone prolactin"

I know about Prolactin of course, it is the hormone that is primarily associated with lactation. While it is actually secreted by the pituitary gland in both men and women, it is considered a female hormone because of it's connection with breastfeeding. Prolactin is what stimulates the production of milk (along with oxytocin which lets down the milk). It’s these feel good hormones that relaxes the mother, promotes bonding, and promotes maternal behavior. Prolaction has also been associated with not only feelings of well being but also as having a tranquilizing effect on nursing mothers and babies. So, this could also explain why we feel better after crying!

So finding out prolactin is secreted as a part of our emotional tears is very cool to learn for me!
This also explains why women tend to cry more than men. Women produce more prolaction.

From a different article online:

"...women have serum prolactin levels much higher than men. Prolactin is a hormone connected with the production of tears as well as breast milk. "Hormones may help regulate tear production and have something to do with crying frequency."
Interestingly, studies show that there is no difference in crying patterns between boys and girls up to the age of puberty. "Then, between the ages of 12 and 18," says Dr. Frey, "women develop 60 percent higher levels of prolactin than men, and they start crying nearly four times more often." "

Just fascinating!
In addition, Sage knew where the pituitary gland was located when I mentioned it. how do you do so much magic on my kids and teach them so much?!! :)
Also, This site is cool with a diagram of the brain, where we are learning about the parts of the brain.
Charlotte wanted journal prompts and I found lots she loves here Hopefully I will get her in the habit of writing in her blog now. Today she wrote a draft on paper, but didn't finalize it or put it in her blog yet.


tansy said...

the tear thing is interesting. i've noticed in the past few years, when i'm emotionally upset and frustrated, i want to cry but nothing comes out. i just figured i was so beat down that i couldn't produce a tear but perhaps it's because all my prolactin has been used up to focus on breastfeeding (i'm currently nursing an 18 mo and 3 1/2 yo).

perhaps when they are weaned, i'll be able to once again cry! which would be really great because i could use the release.

Mom of a Half Dozen Kids said...

I too don't produce tears very easily. I've been nursing since 2004 and I'll be nursing another couple or few years more since I'm pregnant again. Now that I'm pregnant though the tears seem to come a bit easier (more hormones!):)

I hear you about needing the release. It really does feel like a release!