rules of the game

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Brooke has recently begun to master the computer. A couple of weeks ago, she showed an interest in manipulating the mouse – something entirely new. The next thing we knew (or to be more precise,  after some gentle pushing, a little prodding and some frustrated tears later), we were off and running on Noggin.com.

She has fallen in love with (become obsessed with? – whatever, let’s not split hairs) a couple of games and we now have to carefully ration her time on the computer. The Oobi letter game is one of the favorites. In the game, Oobi presents a letter and makes its sound. He  – wait, is Oobi a ‘he’? I guess I’m just assuming. How does one determine the gender of a hand? I’m sure there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, but this is a family show, so let’s carry on – ‘he’ then presents two objects, emphasizing the first sound of each one. The kids then have to click on the one that starts with said letter. When they answer three questions correctly, the game ends.

Brooke can rock this game. She knows her letter sounds like nobody’s business and the game is set up to ensure success. And yet, each and every time she plays, she clicks on the wrong object before the right one. EVERY time.

And then she laughs her little butt off.

When an incorrect answer is clicked, Oobi says, “Uh-uh. Try again.”

She laughs so hard she snorts. She LOVES Oobi’s ‘uh-uh.’

Katie sits by and watches, getting increasingly frustrated. Mama, she keeps getting them wrong. Doesn’t she know better?

I’ve explained to Katie that although she does indeed know the right answer, it’s apparently far more entertaining for her to click on the ‘wrong’ one. That the real reward for her is getting to hear Oobi say ‘uh-uh’ and in prolonging the life of the game. That the game is far more satisfying to her when she plays it in her own way. That she can know the ‘right’ answer without the insecurity of needing the rest of the world to know that she knows it. (A lesson both Mama and Katie could bear to learn, no doubt.) That she is actually getting the answers ‘right’ because she is getting exactly what she wants by answering them the way that she does.

OUR goals for her, OUR vision, OUR motivations – they are ours. They are not hers. Brooke has her own ideas. She has done nothing if not make it plain as day that she has her own plan, that she sees this world in her own way. That artificial timelines and expectations of what’s ‘typical’ are irrelevant to her. That the carrot that we hold on the end of the stick may not be even remotely enticing to her. That she will always, always go find her own damned carrot.

You know, Katie, I think she might indeed know better. Far better.

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18 thoughts on “rules of the game

  1. “OUR goals for her, OUR vision, OUR motivations – they are ours. They are not hers. Kendall has her own ideas.”

    Don’t you think, that in reality, all of us should have some “Kendall” in us. Go Kendall!!!!

  2. I remember a tiny little girl who at about two years of age, ALWAYS said, “I do it myself, daddy, I do it myself.” Her name was Jessica so I wonder where Kendall got her own way of doing things. Perhaps it is genetic.
    I also found out that over time Jessica’s way was usually a pretty damm good way.

  3. “She has done nothing if make it plain as day that she has her own plan, that she sees this world in her own way. That artificial timelines and expectations of what’s ‘typical’ are irrelevant to her. That the carrot that we hold on the end of the stick may not be even remotely enticing to her. That she will always, always go find her own damned carrot.”

    Oh we can so relate!!

    I love this post and the simple, colorful example of Kendall seeing the world in her own way, and the clear point it brings that it’s so fine.

    I’m going to remember it this week.

    In fact, I think we’ll adopt your words. ‘Woop, there she goes. Damned carrots!’

  4. I went through this a few months ago when I introduced him to the V-Motion game. I knew he knew the correct answer but choosing the “wrong” answer and hearing the response always got a laugh out of him. I can, and I am, learning so much from him. :)

  5. Not to be off-topic, but I love your parents’ comments.

    Love the lesson in this, and if you need a reprieve from Oobi, go to Starfall.com, where she can do some more alphabet fun, and play by her own damned rules.

  6. Great post, Jess. You are so right about Kendall having her own plan – I often say the same thing about Charlotte.

    Oh and Charlotte also loves to get something wrong to hear the Uh-Oh. She does it a lot on a Curious George game – she likes to hear The Man In The Yellow Hat say, “Oops, that’s not right.”

    Oh and we have to monitor C’s computer time as well. I don’t even let her play every day so she doesn’t think it’s something she *has* to do.

  7. Yes. This has been one of the big lessons for me lately – learning to be o.k. with her doing it her own way… and actually appreciating and admiring the way she does it!

  8. Just completely love this post! It is so frustating sometimes but I must remember next time -“OUR goals for her, OUR vision, OUR motivations – they are ours. They are not hers. Kendall has her own ideas” ……

  9. Riley used to do the EXACT SAME THING! We still, as a family, mimic the “wrong” sound to one of the computer games when one of us makes a mistake or makes a wrong guess, etc. It lightens the “mistaky” moment, and snaps her out of perfectionism mode.

  10. “Game, Game…Game, Game….Gaaaaaame”

    I smiled when I read this, as my son is equally enamored of Oobi. I don’t know that I’d dare show him the Noggin website as I’m quite sure he’d never let me log off.

    PS – Thank you for the lovely comments you made I my blog. That quote was beautiful.

  11. I have said that my Piper has figured out at 2 (now 6) that she doesn’t have to live her life by anyone elses standards. Something I didn’t begin to learn until I was 16. I think in her refusing to do anything, other than the way she wants it done, shows she’s just smarter than me. =) I think she and Kendall are very alike in this manner.

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