Nothing ages you like teaching your Generation Alpha son how to use a computer mouse.
Our 6-year-old T was born into a world that already had Instagram, wifi, and iPhones.
I remember being once amused when he was three years old and trying to use the TV by touching the screen instead of using the remote.
He figured out how to use a tablet quicker than potty training. He makes his way around Mario Odyssey but does not show that same confidence with reading.
So imagine my amusement when T’s teacher suggested we pick up a school computer for him, while he’s virtual learning.
I am very thankful he got access to one because the pandemic has highlighted that not everyone has equitable access to technology.
The homework assignments are presented on Google Slides, so T needs to use both the mouse and keyboard to complete them.
While T is savvy with our touchscreen tablet, he is not experienced with a mouse. In a way, it’s like asking someone who streams their music to now use a Walkman.
Today, we worked together on a simple science assignment about Living vs Non-Living Things.
Conceptually, T was able to verbally answer the questions in a flash.
The frustration came when I tried to patiently teach him how to use the mouse to drag the Xs and check marks to answer the questions.
T is often impatient, easily distracted and easily frustrated, so I took a deep breath.
I first started with the hand-over-hand technique, thinking back to the days he learned how to stack blocks, use a spoon and use a zipper.
T got frustrated after I told him to try it on his own.
“Do it for me!” He screamed. Then got off his chair and stormed into his room when I refused.
I reminded him he was not going to get his reward – ice cream – until he finished. I told him I’d wait for when he was ready to continue.
While I tried to be calm, I was feeling frustrated. I could see myself moving from the Living to the Non-Living category by the end of this task.
I saw my obituary clearly in my mind: “40 year old man dead after his brain exploded from teaching son how to use ancient technology.”
But T eventually came and sat back down; he really wanted that ice cream.
He tried again and this time he got it! He successfully clicked on a check mark and dragged it to the correct answer.
I cheered loudly and T cheered loudly and the hubby, who was working across the table from us, cheered loudly. Then I gave T a big hug.
With T, you have to be over-the-top with positive reinforcement to build his confidence.
I looked at the assignment. 17 more questions to go. Fuck my life!
But T was quicker with using the mouse with each question and he soon completed the assignment and earned his ice cream!