Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is a Puzzlement

A few weeks ago, my husband gave me a Kindle Fire for my birthday. I made the mistake of showing it to my 3-year-old son and downloading a few games for him, and I’ve hardly gotten to use it since. I know – I’m the mom, I can just take it away from him. And sometimes I do. But I’m so amazed and impressed at how well he can use it that sometimes I’m just as entertained watching him use it as I am using it myself.

At one level, it’s impressive because he figured out how to navigate around so easily. He knows how to close a game, go back to the home screen, and choose another. He knows how to go from level to level and screen to screen within a game. He knows how to turn the volume up and down. He knows how to pause it for a minute. He knows which button is the “Play” button even though he can’t read.

But at still another level, it’s impressive because of the games he plays. Especially puzzles. I downloaded a few puzzles that I figured he’d eventually be able to learn, or that maybe he could manage if we did them together. Nope. He’s mastered them all on his own. He puts together jigsaw puzzles of trucks as easily as a truck mechanic rebuilding an engine. That didn’t surprise me, since he’s such a truck aficionado. But then I saw him putting together puzzles picturing random things like Disney characters or plates of food or forest scenes just as quickly and easily. Every once in a while, he’ll come to me and say with a sigh, “Mama, this is hard. Can you help me?” But even then, I give him just a few hints (“Look for a piece with blue sky at the top”) and he’s off and running on his own again.

It’s so amazing to me to think how much this kid has learned in such a short time. Not much more than two years ago, he couldn’t even walk on his own and he couldn’t say a single word besides “up.” And now he’s running around, using a computer, solving complicated jigsaw puzzles, and narrating himself through it all.

He is a puzzlement. A wonderful, wondrous puzzlement.

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