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I am the future Edward Snowden’s mother

I am the future Edward Snowden’s mother

Back in the wonderful 1980s, when I was in junior high, my parents realized that computers were going to play a major role in everyday lives. They promptly signed me up at a place called “comp u serve” and I diligently learned to program Apple 800s. Flash forward several decades, and I would classify myself as an average computer user: I’m not going to win any awards, but I manage to function in today’s world, and semi-successfully stalk my older stepkids online via social media sites.

In trying to ensure my little one, now five, stayed ahead of the game, I taught him how to play a few educational games on my iPod when he was two, then moved him up to his own kid’s tablet and now a laptop. We’ve had a few issues along the way, like when he started deleting apps on my phone, to make room for his apps, but in general, no problems. He was four when he did that. Maybe that was a sign.

As with many five year olds, one evening, out of the blue, he says, “Oh no! I got into BIG TROUBLE today with Miss Nancy.” She is the director/owner of his after-school care program (and formerly his daycare). This is the equivalent to going to the principal’s office. As far as I know, this is a first offense. I blank my face of emotion, though my heart starts being a bit faster, and ask what he did to be sent there. With a gleam in his eye, he responded, “I downloaded a bunch of apps on the Nooks at school!”

It takes me a few seconds to comprehend. I knew he used the e-readers there, and he had explained the various books and apps available to him. “So, how did you do that?” I ask, rather surprised they had internet access. “Well, usually we can’t, but my friend (names omitted to protect the guilty) showed me how to flip this switch and then it came on!” Hmm…. this sounds sketchy. I have a different brand of e-reader, so I’m not sure what this means exactly. I encourage him to continue. “So I clicked on the ‘e’ and the internet opened. I wanted to download a Cartoon Network app, but that’s a big word so I put in ‘CN’ because that’s what the TV has in the corner, and you know what? IT WORKED!”

My mind is spinning, trying to keep up with a 5 year old’s thought process.

“OK…” I say, dreading what comes next. “What did you do then?” His smile broadens, as he looks at me conspiratorially. “I found that app I keep asking you for, you know the one that costs money? I clicked on it, and it DOWNLOADED!” I close my eyes briefly. “Then, what?” I say, almost a whisper. He informs me his buddy picked his favorite app, which also downloaded. He face suddenly falls. “That’s when we got into trouble,” he says sadly. I look at him rather expectantly. “The apps started showing up on EVERYONE’S Nook, and someone told the teacher. The teacher got Miss Nancy, and she asked who did it.” I ask if he admits to it, and he looks around, nods slightly, and then says, “Well, I admitted to it when everyone started pointing at me.” Little narcs, I think. I tell him he made the right choice. “We had to go to the office,” he says, very matter-of-factly. I nod, concurring. “She told us we were never to go on the internet again. Those two apps costed her six dollars,” he says solemnly. It’s SO hard not to laugh. I’m trying to match his expression. “OK, well, I think you and your friend made a bad choice, but it’s always important to tell the truth and then not repeat it,” I tell him. Wow, that sounds so lame, but he’s five and he buys it. “I’m sorry. Can I play Skylanders?” he asks. “Sure,” I say, “but only for fifteen minutes.” He smiles and begins to excitedly tell me about Shroomboom’s most recent upgrade. I smile and shake my head and hope I can keep him out of prison.

(This was written over a year ago, but I never published it. I showed it to one of my friends, who encouraged me to do so, even though many people have forgotten about Ed. I haven’t.)


Don’t be a gecko

While flipping through TV stations, my husband found a listing for the movie, “We bought a zoo.”  As we have a five year old, we try to choose what is on the big screen very carefully.  I remembered the story line from the trailers and had always wanted to see it.  It seemed like a safe bet.  Our son was printing numbers, and playing with toys.  I didn’t expect him to really sit down and watch it, but I thought some parts might interest him. 


The movie did catch his interest, and it was reaching a pivotal point:  would they be approved by the USDA to reopen?  During this scene, this adorable little girl, close to my son’s age, informs the inspector that people call him a ….. (male body part, rhymes with sick). 


My husband and I looked up at each other and then to our son.  He was staring, fascinated, at the TV.  My husband buries his face in the computer, hiding behind the screen.  Thanks, Dear.  No white knight is coming to my rescue on this one.  Colin looks at me, with this little twinkle in his eye, and says, “What is a…. (see word reference above)? 


My brain was running a million miles an hour trying to dodge this one. 


“No, no, he said ‘gick’,” I reply, smiling, looking right in his eyes.  “What’s a ‘gick’?” asks my child.  “You know, it’s another word for gecko: the little lizards.” 


I pause, still looking him in the eye and smiling.  Wow, I am making this up as I go along, but so far so good, I think. 


“Why would you call somebody a lizard?” he asks, now looking a little confused.  I said, “It’s kinda like calling somebody a chicken.  It’s just calling somebody a name, which we shouldn’t do.  So we shouldn’t call people names.” 


“So, we shouldn’t say, ‘Don’t be a gick!’” he says, eyes gleaming at me.  He’s such a little booger.  He will use any excuse to use a bad word in such a context as to not get in trouble.   I wonder where he gets it – must be his father. 


I repeat that we shouldn’t name-call, and we continue watching the show.  Several minutes later, my husband re-emerges from behind the laptop, and looks at me with a look of incredulity and a bit of distain.  “Gecko?” he murmurs, one eyebrow cocked. 


I started giggling, then laughing, tears streaming down my eyes.  My son shushes me, giving me a very disapproving look.  I am apparently disrupting his movie-watching. 


We make it through another day of life, and I have a new phrase:  Don’t be a gecko. 

The day my son met “God”

About a month ago, my paternal grandfather died.  We headed up north, with all three kids in tow.  As we were seated for the funeral, my 4 year old (who was on my lap) was very agitated.   I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, as I was trying to focus on what I was going to say, when it was my turn to go up.  Finally, I whispered, “What is WRONG?!”  He looked very upset and concerned.  He pointed to the corner, where my cousin Paul was sitting.   Paul is a priest.  At our church, our minister is very informal and does not wear a collar.  Paul, of course, was dressed all in black, his white collar very prominant.  I think, OK, here comes a question about clothes or something.  I realized I also had not introduced my son to Paul, so he probably didn’t know who he was. 

Colin slowly takes his eyes off of Paul, looks and me, and says, “Is that GOD sitting in the corner?”  It was so hard not to laugh.

Welcome to my world

When my son (now 4) was just over two years old, my husband and I were talking about something… I cannot remember what now.  My son wandered over, listened for a moment, shook his head and said, “Welcome to my world!” and wandered off. 

My husband just stopped and looked at me. 

Yes, he had picked that up from me.  I’m just glad he didn’t say “a**hole driver!”  He still hasn’t said that yet.   The day is coming. 

Welcome to my world.

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