that far off time is now


{image is a photo of the guests at Brooke’s (self-planned) surprise birthday party last year. To protect their privacy, their faces are covered by hearts.}

Brooke is pointing at the picture on the computer screen.

“Who is that friend who is at my party?” she asks.

I look carefully, squint a little. “Hmm, I’m not sure,” I say, “maybe Kelli?”

“That’s Kelli,” she says, pointing at another girl in the photo. “Which friend is THIS?”

I take another stab at it, get it wrong again.

“You would take the hearts off, please,” she says. “So I will see the friends.”

I look to see where she’s viewing the picture, assuming that she’d found it while scrolling through iPhoto. I’m shocked when I realize where she’s actually looking.

“Are you reading Diary?” I ask.

“I’m looking for my friends at my surprise party,” she says.

Luau will later tell me that she had — independently — Googled “Brooke’s birthday party” looking for a picture. My daughter had, on her own, navigated her way to this page. (If you’ve done it again, Hi, kiddo! I love you!)

I talk all the time about why I think it’s so absolutely, positively, completely necessary to be respectful of our children (and their neurology) when we talk about them online. I talk about how desperately necessary it is to respect their privacy. And, above all, I preach my gospel of never publicly saying anything about them that we wouldn’t say to them. I talk about Brooke reading all of this someday – about my presumption that she will be able to do that in some far off time, despite her current challenges.

And yet, despite all of my supposed conviction, the truth is that I was gobsmacked to find my kid, right now, right this very minute, looking at my blog.

My daughter, as are we all, is a delightful bundle of contradiction. While she entered middle school reading at a first grade level, she can recite hundreds of scripts. While she struggles mightily with basic math, she can find anything – ANYthing – on YouTube.

And while she might not yet have an interest in reading her mama’s words, she knows how to find pictures of herself and her friends without anyone’s help, thank you very much.

That far off time? It’s now.


{Brooke, smiling while showing me something she’s found on the computer}


15 thoughts on “that far off time is now

  1. Way to go Brooke! Right above this comment under related, it says “age appropriate can kiss my ass”, so she’ll get a kick out of that when she google “elmo loves you”. The other day my 8 year old wanted me to google “Ronin” because it’s a character in angry bird epic. I told him I’d do that later and let him know what I came up with. I didn’t think he was ready for Deniro…or my luck there would be something worse.

  2. Brooke wows us every time. The time is absolutely now.

    Love you,
    Mom & Grammy (if you’re reading this, Brooke)

  3. WOW!! That is amazing and a wonderful example of why it is so important that you have kept to your word about not publishing things that might be offensive to the girls. Stellar job mom…and of course, Brooke!

  4. Reblogged this on Spectrum Perspectives and commented:
    Diary ROCKS!

    Like she says, think again when you’re putting your child’s business out there to “help others”. Privacy belongs to EVERYONE – including, if not ESPECIALLY children. Always ask yourself, if it were posted about YOU, would you be OK with it? If the answer is close to no – and please don’t add “but” – then stop. Blur the pictures, change your name, whatever you need to do to PROTECT your child. Because they are our FIRST priority – the rest of the internet will survive without their personal struggles laid bare.

  5. Love your observations , encouraged by your family.. Thanks for sharing your family’s journey with so much respect.

  6. My son can find his best friend’s mom’s Facebook page and scroll through it via the app on my phone. He searches for flushing toilets and spinning ceiling fans on YouTube, and he knows how to look up Run Luau Run on YouTube to find the video of your girls singing. 🙂 He struggles to write a sentence and to comprehend reading passages at a 1st grade level, but he is very capable. I love that our kids can be so self sufficient. 🙂

  7. I love that she knew how to find this. And I love how you shared this in the most respectful way, as you always do.

    I think this one goes on the sidebar as one of your most important posts ever. This is hope and success and never say never combined with the importance of privacy and respect.

  8. Q is the same. Reads at a 1st or 2nd grade level, but can type out and find anything on YouTube. Telling time, no concept, but knows by looking at the clock that Thomas is on PBS or that it’s time for meals or, yay, it’s time to call dad to tell him what we did today since, yes, we are still here at Ronald McDonald House away from dad. Always amazes me!

  9. I had this experience several months ago. Although my kids are mostly looking at cat photos on my blog. I echo everything you say here about not writing anything you wouldn’t say to their face (and probably even less than that). They will find it. Google is clever and our kids are even more clever.

  10. So does she know her name is Brooke on the computer and she knew how to search for it?? That’s impressive. Is the name thing confusing at all?

    • She does. And it’s been so long now that she doesn’t seem to find it confusing at all. She once told me what to call one of her Playmobil guys on Facebook, essentially giving it a pseudonym. 😉

  11. Pingback: Giraffe Party – Choose Your Internet Words Wisely

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