Tonight I was trying to find a video for the kids to watch on the computer. I opened up my browser and from the across the room my four year old yelled “Hey, that’s google!”
Now we are an admittedly techy household with gadgets galore, but we have not put any effort into explaining the world of search engines to our children. I had *no* idea where she could have learned about google.
So I asked.
And she told me.
She learned about google at school. She uses the computer there. She can turn it on and type and type and type. Sometimes there is a piano game. One time she found a picture of Peppa Pig using google.
Nomad Papa and I sat there in a stunned silence. At that moment, we realised that we had absolutely no idea what our child was doing between 8:45am and 3:45pm. Those were effectively the lost hours of her life.
It truly struck home to us what it means to be working parents. We drop her off at before-school care and pick her up from after-school care and have no interaction with the people involved in the school time. Sure, we check her backpack and ooh and aah over the drawings she brings home. We read school announcements and fill out forms. But there ends our connection with her school experience.
I want to keep reminding myself that she is four. She isn’t learning to read or really write yet. She doesn’t have homework or tests. She is just there to play, right? Wrong.
She is four and and in her first month at school she has learned to write her name. She writes an M for mommy and a P for papa (and not, I should note, a D for daddy…so she is obviously paying attention). She is becoming computer literate, learning new songs and games every day. Heck, she has even learned about peer pressure. She is growing up before my very eyes and I am too blind to even see it.
I understand now. I understand how those parents can’t see that their child is a bully, or being bullied or excelling or failing. They ask and I ask, but we are not asking the right questions. We are letting our preconceived notions dictate the flow of the conversation and we are missing out on so, so much.
I have no idea how I am going to fix it, but I will find a way to reconstruct the lost hours. I will find a way to ask the right questions, to catch up with the teachers and learn more about what is taking place each day. I have such a long way to go – to get from “I played in the sandbox with Alina” to “I can search for Peppa Pig on google”. But I’ll get there. Someday. Will you?