Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whiz Kid

At my very first job I was nicknamed "The Whiz Kid" (in fact, my first boss Cindy made a digital poster of my face on that movie poster). Just recently, I was called that again at my latest job, so apparently its a fitting name (Actually, in all fairness, I am "Digital Director" so I guess its fitting). But by the looks of things, I may be passing that nickname down to Kaylani.

Kids these days grow up around technology, and there's just no way around it (at least not when you live in big city areas). So it didn't really come as a surprise to me when Kaylani learned that the red button on the remote turned on the TV, or the dial on the humidifier turns it on, or that the button on the other remote can turn the lights on and off. And it wasn't too surprising when she learned to play "Peek-a-boo Barn" on my iPod Touch since all you had to do was touch the barn door and an animal appeared. But over time, she's gotten more advanced.

For instance, not only can she play "Peek-a-boo Barn", but she can turn on/off my iPod, scroll to the game (or any game), start it, press start, then play it. Or she can go to Super Why and spell words or solve story sentences. She can even play "Traffic Rush" and crash the cars (ok, so she may not get the point of that one). But since she does any or all of those things most mornings while Mommy or I are taking showers, she was bound to get good at them. It was when she translated those skills to the iPad that we took notice.

On the iPad (Yin Yin's...not mine since she's not allowed to play with Papa's iPad), she can turn it on and successfully play "Pac-Man", "Angry Birds", or "Cut The Rope" with little assistance. She knows how to start the game, turn it sideways, fling birds across the screen, feed the frog, or run away from the ghosts. Its amazing! But at the same time, its actually a little scary.

I remember growing up and playing Nintendo or Computer games with my Dad...and absolutely crushing him in them. He never stood a chance, whether if it was original Mario Bros, or Tecmo Bowl, or even Mario Kart and any other game that came out past 1986. And back then, I remember saying that I hope technology never passes me by where my kid(s) embarass me in a video game. And for the longest time, I didn't think that would ever be possible, but now I'm not so sure.

Kaylani is just a shade over 2 and she's already playing video games and using electronics. I was 5 or 6 when I started, and in all fairness to my Dad, he was almost 40 when he started playing, so I had an advantage. But with Kaylani, I've technically had a 30 year head start on her, and I'm not sure its enough. Already I've been beaten by a 4 year old in Wii bowling and challenged on several occasions in other digital aspects. If Kaylani is starting at 2 (actually earlier), am I doomed to be left behindl by my own next generation "Whiz Kid"?

Maybe there's still time to recover and I just need to carve out time (and money) to get moving with the new Wii games and/or Xbox and Xbox Connect. Maybe I need to trade in my Blackberries (yes, that's plural) for an iPhone AND an Android. Maybe I need to suck it up and get with the times so that I don't get passed by digitally. It'll be a lot of effort, but I think it might be worth it. At least I can stay at the top of the pyramid digitally because when it comes time for Kaylani to do dance, ballet, Cheerleading, or something along those lines, I'll be thoroughly embarassed...likely by my own doing.

So today I apologize to Kaylani and to baby #2 on the way, but the digital space will always be mine. But don't worry, there will be plenty of other areas Papa will be embarrasing in. Some by my own doing, but embarassing nonetheless. Kinda like being called "The Whiz Kid"...twice.

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