May 31, 2010

Dolphins, Teenagers, and Only Using Half Your Brain

Did you know that dolphins can never really completely fall asleep?

Seriously...they have to be conscious to breathe and will drown if ever completely asleep. How do they rest? One HALF of their brain at a time!

And why am I telling you this now? There really is a point to all this trivia stuff. Bear with me.

7YO had an assignment to do a 'report' on an ocean animal. Granted, the report in question had to be at least 10-12 sentences long, spread out amongst five pages and a cover page, with a picture either drawn or printed out on each page. Given the fact that she is SEVEN, this meant that I had to help her with the research part. (Plus, I couldn't possibly let her try to research this herself when being one letter off of a legitmate word could easily lead to a porn site. Dontcha just LOVE technology?) Basically, I had to learn about them too!

It's actually really fascinating the way they get their rest. Half of their brain sleeps at a time and one of their eyes is usually closed in the process. They do this 'half-sleep' for a total of about 8 hours a day, mostly staying in shallow water so that they can more easily breathe and watch for predators. So, a dolphin is only half-awake for about 8 hours a day.

That got me thinking about teenagers. (See, I told you I was going somewhere with this!) Maybe they are just growing and changing so quickly that their brain goes into a semi-permanent state of half-sleep. Instead of the 8 hours of half-consciousness that dolphins require, maybe human teens just go into that state for, say....8-10 years?

That certainly would explain a lot, wouldn't it? It might explain why they need so much more sleep during these years and why communicating with them is so much harder. After all, they are only 'half-there,' right?

Don't get me wrong...I am SO BLESSED to have the 14YO daughter that I have. She doesn't seem to have a rebellious bone in her body. Right now. I have to stay alert and remind myself that this could change at any given moment. What's that saying? Is it, "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best?" That seems to ring true for getting through illness, tragedy, and (evidently!) raising teenagers. My oldest just seems to have a sweet, pleasing nature that I can't take any credit for. She's my mom. I'm thinking that the whole 'sweetness and light' gene skips a generation or something because that's NOT how I've ever really been!

As easy as it has been to be her mom, *knocking on wood* I've still noticed some changes in my daughter. It's almost as if half of her mind is asleep...and it's the half that controls basic common sense! Conversations that we've had for years just seem more complicated now. While I am having quite a bit of fun with my newfound ability to embarrass her easily around her friends, having a decent conversation with her or giving her basic instructions have become more overwhelming and frustrating than I'd ever imagined. And when she uses her sweet little perky voice to say, "OOPS! Sooo-rry!" when she does something wrong, I suddenly have the urge to grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. (I don't...but I'm pretty sure that's normal for this point in our lives. It is, right?) I usually just tell her, "You need to use your EYES and BRAIN at the same time!"

If you can find a nicer way to say that, PLEASE SHARE! It's just that most of her 'mistakes' happen because she's just not paying attention to what she's doing. Then again, who can blame her when she's apparently only working with half a brain right now?


So, I'm pretty sure that dolphins and teenagers have a lot more in common that we think. I'm hoping that both halves of her brain can be awake by the time she's 19 or 20...or at least when she gets the first BILL in her name. That's what woke me up!


Laura said...

I love it! I think you are on to something here...

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Smart said...