Saturday, October 8, 2011

534. Squirrel Down

Even though I myself spend 23 hours per day on the computer writing my blog and buying unneeded things on etsy, I realize it is not healthy for my children to spend more than six seconds per day on the computer or their eyes will fall out of their heads and their brains will explode. (Yes, it is an awesome responsibility to be a parent.) Imagine my surprise when my kindergartner came home from school the other day tossing around computer trivia facts like they were Halloween candy.

“So, Mommy, my teacher in Computer Lab today was showing us how to boot up the computer. Then, you click the mice on the bottom left to open up your selected program option and then you can do a game about counting. You drag the mice to the individual apples in the tree until you see that is where the cursor is and then when you are done, you click on the little number icon and it lights up and chimes! It is so cool.”

Wow, maybe I had been unnecessarily stingy with the computer time in our household. Maybe I was unconsciously stifling my children’s natural curiosity and intellectual growth, and unintentionally jeopardizing their futures as the next Bill Gates. At the insistent urging of my older son, I agreed that Short could do a Club Penguin computer game for five minutes (Queen Virgo handed him a timer).

We sat down together at the computer and I was amazed to discover that my child’s computer skills gleaned from one month in kindergarten far surpassed my own. The penguins had Puffles (small pets) and outfits and adventures and vacations and igloos and discothèques. The penguins seemed to live a nicer life than most college students.

Short was even kind enough to let me play Club Penguin for a minute. I didn’t understand what the heck was going on, but that’s okay because my helpful five-year-old was there to give me detailed instructions. When I got stuck and couldn’t really see some crucial element that was past the bottom of the screen, he commandeered the mouse and shouted, “Here, Mommy, squirrel down! Squirrel down!”

Thinking this was some sort of new character development/ plot twist in the land of penguins (squirrels are small, cute, and fuzzy—like Puffles), I asked for clarification.

“What squirrel? Where are the squirrels? Do I have to catch any of them? I don’t see them!”

Exasperated with Mommy’s unsettling lack of computer knowledge, Short repeated, “I said for you to squirrel down! You know, squirrel down!”

“Okay, Short, I’m trying, uh, to dance squirrel or climb somewhere, but I don’t see the squirrels?” Were squirrels black and white and float around on icebergs and go jet-skiing?

Tall, who had been watching over our shoulders this entire time, said, “Mom, what are you talking about? He’s saying scroll down.”



  1. This is so funny. I really was expecting a post about running over a squirrel. Our kids (ages 20 and 17) were also introduced to the computer in kindergarten. They had keyboarding classes all the way through junior high, where they were timed on their "typing" skill, etc. My daughter typed 95 words a minute as a sixth grader. I used to brag about my college secretarial skills until she told me that.
    Now that we are almost empty nesters and our daughter is rarely home, if we have trouble on the computer we jokingly say "Get Paige." Paige is our six year old neighbor girl. We figure she's smarter than we are already....

    By the way, I found some darling children's computer games at the Dollar Tree when mine were little. They really worked and were quite cute. One was Curious George.

  2. Squirrel down - that's what we saw on the bike path today! ;-)

  3. I, too, was sure this was going to be a post about a dead squirrel, which would be the third deceased rodent I've heard about today. I'm glad it was something much more pleasant.

    I think kids these days exit the womb with computer skills. It is reassuring, though, to teach my classes knowing that if I run into issues with my technology, there is at least one student in each row who can solve my problems with her eyes closed.

  4. I was really hoping there'd be a post for me to read at 11:04 PM about your backyard hawk taking a squirrel. :(


    -insert comic of a squirrel with a Vietnam helmet splayed in front of a ditch with bombs going off in the distance-

  5. HW, glad I could make you laugh! and I will take your tip on Curious George (though probably it is more my speed and my kids might be too advanced for it?!?).

    Patty, poor squirrel! When I typed the title (this is how clueless I am) I did not even think of it that way! ha!

    K, I missed the Computer Gene (oh, the irony as my dad writes Software for a living!).

    Motaki, okay, since you brought up the visual of the Kamikaze squirrel, I have to mention this cute book my kids have:
    So, the story is that this guy has all these squirrels trying to eat his birdfood and then he sets traps and the squirrels outsmart him (complete with miniature helmets!). Great book, one of my all-time favorite kid books.


  6. I can't wait to use the squirrel down line on someone, good one. We could start calling the animal in the tree a scroll as well.

  7. esbboston, The Husband and I go around saying our new catch phrase for no good reason: "Squirrel down!"



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