John's daughter: Marlo

John's daughter is called Marlo (RL162, RL177, RW47, RW69, RL229, RL256, RL271. RL280, RL302, RL304, RL307).
She was born March 18, 2011 (RL240, RL183, RW68, RL281).
Picture from November 2016, Picture from January 2017. Picture from February 2018, Picture from June 2018

During spring break in April 2017, Marlo was in the room when John recorded RL241 and RW63.
She sometimes announces things that don't need to be announced, like "I'm going through the door now". (RW63)
They have established that ignoring daddy is a thing we certainly do in his family. (RL272)


Marlo won't stop eating if John would let her. She has very little impulse-control when it comes to food. When in a restaurant, she will just pace in front of the buffet and give those poor eyeballs to all the adults walking by until somebody would give her a shrimp (see stories). (RL177) Marlo’s favorite cake is carrot cake, which is unusual for a 7-year old. (RL258) She finds fortune cookies to be the best cookie, but they don't let her eat chocolate and in the absence of chocolate that might be actually true? (RW16)


In the advent of Marlo's sixth birthday in March 2017, John asked her if she wanted to go to the museum, the zoo or a wide open park, but she wanted to go to the Family Fun Center, which has the charm of the airport in Reno, but for kids. It teaches them slot machines, there are rides inside, a pizza parlor, miniature golf, and gas-powered go-carts. For months, every time her birthday came up, which is often because it is an important milestone, she mentioned the Family Fun Center. (RL240)

Graham, her "boyfriend"

John really approves of his daughter's little boyfriend Graham, because Graham is beautiful. He is beautiful looking and he is wonderful inside! Graham is a very sensitive little boy who has connections to his feelings. They both agreed a long time ago that they were boyfriend and girlfriend and this alliance doesn’t seem to change or break. Graham does like to play Pokémon and war, but that is fine, because when they play superheroes, she gets to be Supergirl and he gets to be Superman. They have accommodated each other as if they had been married for 15 years. John hopes that Graham will still be around when his daughter will be 30 and he likes Graham's parents as well! (RL272)

Pets and siblings

His daughter has never pestered John about a pet. Even though periodically says that she wants a pet, she will drop it immediately. She doesn’t want a pony or a dog and is just fine with not having a pet. If somebody brings up a pet, she is not against it, but she never pesters John about it. What she does pester John about is a baby sister or baby brother! She probably thinks she is going to get a 5-year old sibling, but of course it would be a baby and John and her mother would press her into service. John doesn’t have a good answer for why she doesn’t have a little brother or sister or for why mommy and daddy aren’t married. He does have plenty of answers, but none that satisfies her and none that is better than ”Why don’t you guys just get married?” In a way she is right, there isn’t anything that prevents mommy and daddy from getting married, except for daddy! (RL272)

Screen time and movies

John's daughter has almost zero screen time and she almost never pesters about it. She does not want a gizmo and she never wants to watch TV. Every once in a while when she is doing some physical therapy exercises she wants to watch a video, but those are not new videos, but she has a number of videos she watches. She likes Singin' in the rain and she wants to watch tap dancing and people dancing in the rain, Gene Kelly in particular. All her class-mates have a million things and all the little characters from The LEGO Movie, but there has never been a moment when she came home and started to ask for one of those toys. Her best friend from the time she was 2 years old was watching three Disney movies a day. They would just put on Pinocchio every day. Her friend would watch that and then either watch it again or watch Frozen over and over, but John's daughter does not have any interest in it. She never wonders why daddy doesn’t own a TV or why she doesn’t have her own iPad or why she can’t watch Frozen right now. (RL272)

John’s mom had an old iPhone earlier in 2017 and suggested to put some videos on it and give it to John’s daughter. John thought about it, but because his daughter has never asked for it, they would be introducing a vice she didn’t know about, like "This year, let’s get her a pack of cigarettes. She might like it!” (RL272)

In June of 2015, John's daughter got her tonsils out. To make her feel more comfortable, the nurse at the hospital asked her if she would like to watch Frozen on the iPad. She is fascinated by Frozen although she had never seen it. She was singing this one line incorrectly over and over, like ”Let it go, let it go, I can’t hold it back anymore”. When John started to sing it, she would tell him to stop and start singing her version again. (RL159)

The only thing she ever watches on TV with her mom is House Hunters International. She does not yet have her own phone. (RW68)


John’s perception is that a lot of games like Pokémon, Minecraft that are based on buying something, interacting with a machine or collecting things, are boy's games. His daughter is interested in Pokémon as a concept and as a character with a narrative, but those things don’t really have a narrative. They all have backstories, but they don’t participate in a story. Minecraft is an extension of LEGO, but John's daughter was only getting fully into LEGO when she was almost 7 years old. Before that she would put the very minimum amount of them together so she could construct a narrative around it. She would put 3 LEGOs together and say that this was the house. Only now is she starting to build more detailed structures. (RL272)

For her, the only interesting toys are those she can adopt into a narrative or build a narrative around them. When it comes to gizmos, movies or other media consumption, she would ask ”Why would I want to watch someone else’s imagination?”, which has always been true for John as well. Everything she is interested in is narrative play, not even what John has always done, which is war. She has allies for this at school, but the other little girls don’t always want her to establish what the narration is. Those alliances also shift very quickly and it seems to have a lot to do with who is currently resisting her implementation of a narrative. (RL272)

Parades and attention-grabbing

Marlo has already been on three major parades through town with floats and bands and dancers and Chinese dragons and crowds lining the streets. She has begun to think that summertime is a time when you go in a parade. One time she and a friend were handing out candy to all the kids on the sidelines, which they found the greatest job in the world, and so John is raising a child who thinks that it is normal to be in parades. Every daughter wants to be in a parade that is preferably about her. (RW69)

House schedule

On the days when John's daughter stays with him, he has to get up really early. She has three homes: John's home, her mother's home and John's mother's home. In the course of a normal week she stays in all three homes and she has three different wake-up times. They have looked at all the variables, but can't find any accounting for it. It is not the sun or traffic noise. Maybe it is the energy of John's mom waking up at 04:00 while there is a completely different kind of energy in John's house. They continue to banter nonsense about what the reason could be for John's daughter's sleep cycles. (RL248)

Random facts

John’s daughter really likes his cousin Page and Page loves Marlo. (RW47)

John's daughter's mother: Ariella Robison

John mostly speaks about her as his daughter's mother without mentioning her name. He mentioned her first name in RL152, RL162 and RL256. Her last name can be inferred from RW57 where she commented on his LinkedIn profile and from RL293 where she and John were part of a newspaper interview and both their full names were mentioned.

Random facts

She had been the Glockenspiel-player in a marching band. (RL152)

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