Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Programming -- Who'd have guessed?

Kee: "Hey mom, I'm going to teach Jee to program... OK?"

Me: "Uh, sure. Go for it." (oozing lack-of-confidence) Jee's only 7. How's he going to learn programming?

Kee and Jee spent *hours* programming, finished programming a game, and I overheard comments like:

Jee: "How do I speed up the response time?" (Did I say he's only 7 yo? About 45 lbs? Just this teeny, lanky little thing? How do you fit such a brain in such a teeny body?)

So, tonight both Jee and Aee had a friend's birthday party to attend. Jee didn't want to go, "But MOM, I want to STAY HOME AND PROGRAM."

He was angry.

He wanted to program.

And I was interrupting him with the silliness of a friend's birthday party.

Judging Jee's obsession with programming as a temporary anomaly, as a sign of his relatively strong tendency to stick with whatever task he is currently doing, I struck a compromise: "How about we go for 15 minutes. If, after 15 minutes, you want to come home to program, we'll leave the party and come straight home. Will that work for you?"

At first, his answer was no, but I insisted he had two choices:
1. go to party
2. go to bed

He finally said yes, but only because it gave him the option of more programming when we came home right after making an appearance.

Smart kid.

We went to the party and sure enough, at the 15 minute mark, he had a mouth full of cupcake and wanted to stay. Every 15 minutes I checked in with him and he was having fun with playing with friends.

We stayed for two hours, a respectable party time, but when we left, the consequences clicked into place, "MOM, I said I WANTED TO PROGRAM. Why didn't you hear me? I WANTED TO PROGRAM. I didn't want that party. I WANTED TO PROGRAM!"

Oh, heavens.

At least we were safely in the car on our way before it occurred to him that he had chosen to stay at the party. It took about ten minutes to get him home and into his father's care (his programmer father).

The whole time, I'm thinking: "What a horrible mom. I made my child go to a party... "

It reminds me of the time Vee and I were at Andronicos (a grocery store) buying chocolate for a particular party. Vee was reading one of those 500+ page books, reading while walking through the store. Vee was not listening to my requests for help with the grocery list.

At one point, I said too loudly:

"Vee put that book down and pick out some chocolate!!"

The little old ladies in the same aisle as us just stared and stared. They must have thought I was the worst mother ever...

"Put that book down... !"

Someday I'll look back at Jee's programming outbursts today and laugh, but for tonight I am still stunned by the intensity of his new love.