Author’s Note from 5-11-2011. This hasn’t changed now that Logan is 4 and a half. Logan sometimes, but not often plays some video games we’ve got him, some Paw Patrol or Mario Kart on the kid settings where you can’t lose. He often talks through his thinking process when he is trying to figure out where to go in Paw Patrol and it is a lot like what I’ve written below. He looks at the situation and finds the clue to move to the next step, the next location. It’s fun for me to watch.
Author’s Note from 12-28-17: Another old draft, originally started October of 2017. It only had a few sentences, but I find this is still true, even more so now that Logan is taking on more complex tasks, so I updated and finished it out.
It occurred to me recently that years of video games have helped me prepare for some aspects of being a parent. Like leading with subtle clues.
Video Games often give audio or visual clues to help guide you down a path. If you are walking down a dark hallway and there is a branching path, there might be a dim light down one of them to get your attention. Or some noises may happen when you look down one path, but not the other. Or if they want you to platform jump to the next higher up area, they may have a broken ladder stuck to the wall that shows you the place is built so you can go higher, but you need to find another route to get up there.
With Logan, it’s much the same. When he is trying to figure out a problem and running into an issue he can’t see to get around, a brief point of the finger in the general area of the solution and a quick, “check over here,” and he looks to the right area and works his way toward a solution. I can see his brain working, almost hearing the gears turning and seeing the tumblers click into place when he finds the solution.
And there are times now where we don’t even need to help him. He got a stackable wooden train set for Xmas a few days ago that he mastered in record time. And a wooden puzzle that he loves to dump and put back together. And he doesn’t want help. Last night I added a red colored block onto the train and he said “No!” and took the red block off. He then set it aside and put the exact same type of block, but painted green back in the same place. And then he picked the red block up and put it on top of the green block and then gave me a look as if to say “That’s how it’s done, Dad.” I can’t even argue that.
Logan is 2 now, but a number of months ago he figured out anything he can move around can be a ladder with a little bit of work. The day he moved the ottoman over to the hallway, grabbed the ceiling fan remote and turned the light on/off a thousand times was particularly memorable. Or figured out if he moved his slide over to the entertainment center, he could reach just far enough to maybe get Dad’s Xbox controller, or failing that, pull the next 35 tissues out of the Kleenex box. But he’s polite about it because then he brings us the tissues in case we need them.
One day a few weeks ago he figured out he was tall enough and had enough grip strength that he could open doors with round door knobs. He hadn’t shown much interest in the round knobs before, but he decided that day was the day and got it done. This resulted in a rush trip for me to go get some safety attachments for the door knobs.
It’s fun for Katie and I to watch him learn as he goes, but how long till he’s smarter than Mom and Dad? When does his everyday thinking process become a little Skynet inside his head? I don’t know, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.