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.”