Saturday, October 20, 2007

Alert: Kid too smart

Bad enough that Ulysses has hijacked my nice, new MacBook as his personal Photo Booth device. He spends hours switching between effects and taking pictures of himself and his toys. Yes, he can use the trackpad to do all of those things by himself. When the MacBook arrived in mid-September, he couldn't use a mouse -- didn't understand it -- but that's all over now, you betcha!

Here's the rub. Last night, I forbade him from using Photo Booth while I was trying to use the computer at the same time. I was willing to share the screen space, but he wasn't -- was hogging the pointer, so that I couldn't scroll through the Web pages I was reading. So I quit the Photo Booth application. Thought that would stymie him. Wrong.

He unhid the dock (I keep mine on Autohide), pushed the pointer up to the Photo Booth icon, and clicked on it.

He LAUNCHED the APPLICATION! Not, aw, cute baby, he punched a button and something happened. He selected it and purposedly LAUNCHED it!

I was so astounded and impressed that I let him play with Photo Booth for a while. Until I got mad again after not being able to read my Web pages. (Yelling on both sides, and putting the computer away for the night, ensued. When I shut the lid, he said, with finality, "The End.")

Is any of this three-year-old behavior? Or just 21st-century three-year-old behavior? Someone tell me.


  1. There is something about children and computers that is completely amazing...and strangely compatible. My son was loading disks, opening programs and playing point/click games before he was 2 yrs. old. It was very interesting.

  2. Thanks for posting, toni! I wonder how old your son is now, and whether he has continued to be precocious with computers and tech?

    Your comment about the "strangely compatible" made me think about some other things that we consider as completely normal, essential even, for the early childhood learning experience, but at a closer look, are relatively recent introductions, if you look at the whole scope of human history and experience.

    Writing systems have been independently invented only THREE TIMES in human history: China, South America, and the Middle East. Until recently, reading and writing was only for the elite. Thus for most of our histry, most of us were illliterate.

    Today, to eee a small reciting "his ABCs" seems completely right. We should all remember how radical and wonderful it really is. No different in kind, after all, than a child with a computer.

    The same can be said for numbers, and, to some extent, geometric shapes. (nonexistent ourside the minds of those growing up in a carpentered environment.) Color names, all human develop, although some languages use as few as two.