This morning, I happened to catch a glance of the latest paper Gabriel's been carrying around, pencil in hand. He does this a lot: finds some or other writing project, usually an electronics schematic, and carries the paper with him everywhere.
This morning I noticed it was a comic strip, and looked at it in a little more detail. I was taken aback -- it's really pretty cute! Dave reads the comics every day, so the kids are hooked on them too, and Gabriel has adopted many common comic methods and drawing styles. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" likely provides inspiration too. This is an interesting, unexpected thing for my committed non-artist!
So I was telling Gabriel in the car on the way home that he should post a comic every day, like on a Web site...no wait, a blog. Hey, he should start a blog! This discussion led to Julian really, really, really wanting an email account. Well, why not?
So I told the boys that after they'd put their things away when we got home, that we'd start an email account for Julian, and a blog for Gabriel.
Julian was very, very motivated. He really wanted to do this. I noticed with bemusement that for Julian, it's about the communication and reaching out to people. For Gabriel, when we first set up his long-forgotten email, it was more about the technical: typing things in, clicking buttons, seeing things work.
So I helped Julian set up a gmail account (no mean feat these days; they're not intended for kids and I had to fudge his birthday, then gmail requires sending a text message with a confirmation number), and a list of contacts, and then I showed him how to send email. He giggled a lot at first, feeling on the spot with what to say, but he got over that fast, and then started pouring out the messages. I lost track of who he sent to, but he tried to send a message to every contact I set up for him. His big limitation is being a very very slow typist.
Then it was Gabriel's turn. Mostly, he wanted to show off his comic strip. So I helped him set up a simple blog, scanned his latest comic artwork, and talked him through his first post. He had a hard time thinking of a title and URL for his blog that wasn't taken, but Julian had a great idea: The Days of Gabe.
Our time at home on weekdays is very limited, so I doubt there will be much time for them to update blogs or check email -- they're still very very slow at it. And they have a 7:30 upstairs-for-bath time. And, we're pretty stingy about computer time in general; they don't have free access to it and it must be asked for and earned. Still, electronic communication is inevitable in their lives. I project my own delight at receiving an email from my nephew onto our hapless family members, some of whom got one-liner emails today, written with the typical curtness of children, but with much laughing and giggling and joy behind them.
And to think I once thought my children would think I was ancient for growing up without ATM machines -- try computers and smartphones and email and blogs!