David Allen Blume

My father unexpectedly passed away a week ago. While going through his many books, a newspaper clipping with this poem fell out of one:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

I can’t help but feel that he’d have wanted me to find it.

The newspaper clipping attributed it to “Author Unknown” but it has since been attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye.

What Makes You Smile

I revisited an old website that asked, “What makes you smile?” This was in March of 2005. I answered,

Lately, watching my 2-year-old son, squat down to pick up his stool that he’d just used to stand on to reach the sink, pick it up, stand up, move it six inches, gently put it down, stand up, climb on it so he could reach the lights to turn them off.

All that work, for such a simple thing. But it makes him so happy to do it himself.

It’s six years later now, and that memory is still easy to bring back. I remember relishing the moment while it was happening, too. Funny how the little things can be the most enduring.

Identity Disc Protocol

I love that the following is an actual discussion we had today:

“Daddy, can we play with your Identity Disc?”
“OK, but don’t actually derez each other. Play nicely.”

If You Want To Be in His Dreams

Aaron told us about his dream last night. His sister and I were in it, and we were all playing Minecraft in his dream, as we sometimes do in real life. He didn’t want his mother to feel left out, so he gave her this advice:

Mommy, you should play MineCraft if you want to be in my dreams.

Email to the Kids

Why hasn’t this nine-year-old blog been updated as frequently as it used to be? Let’s take a look at the most recent email I sent to the kids:

Hi Aaron and Madison!

Here’s what Notch says about the latest Minecraft update:

http://notch.tumblr.com/post/2730532961/minecraft-beta-1-2

–Dad

The kids are fully wired, now. They’re learning about different aspects of online activity. I’m honing their bullshit detectors and their netiquette. They read blogs, watch videos and play sandboxed video games.

I love this blog, and I’m going to keep it around. It may even be updated occasionally.

But for now, I’m going to log in with the kids and we’re going to update our 1:1 replica of our real-life house in Minecraft with the new things in the game.

This is no longer an online journal about life with the kids. My life with my kids is now online, too.

Our Venus Flytrap Pet

We went to Golden Gate Park on Labor Day, and visited the Conservatory of Flowers. The special exhibit was carnivorous plants, and we bought a Venus Flytrap plant for the kids. You’d think my son won the lottery, he was so happy.

Venus Flytrap

That night, this is what he wrote on his calendar:

“We have a Venus Flytrap pet!”

Spot Quiz

I bought an iPad for my wife, and loaded it with Plants vs. Zombies.

My son seems to love the game more than her. During dinner tonight, I decided to ask him a question out of the blue.

“How much sun does it cost to deploy a Doom Shroom in the daytime?”

“The Doom Shroom costs 125 suns and you need a Coffee Bean to wake it up. That costs 75 suns. So you need 200 suns. Easy.”

He got the math right and the strategy right. Not bad for a kid who’s just beginning the second grade.

Now if only school can capture his interest like that video game.

Click on the Blue Square Thing

My nine-year-old daughter was typing up her first book report for school.  She’d already written a draft on paper, and was transcribing the report to the computer.

I decided to have her do it in Microsoft Word.  She’d written the title, and had gotten the first paragraph down when I decided she should learn how to save the document.

I pointed to the image of floppy disk and said, “Now click on the… the little blue square thing here.”

That’s when it hit me.  She’s nine years old, and already Microsoft Word’s graphic for save is so out-of-date as to be meaningless for her.  What was the point of explaining what the picture was of?  We don’t have any floppy disks.  She’ll never see one.

It’s Not There

Aaron, our six-year-old, was browsing instructional art videos on YouTube.  The art subject of choice was Mario, of course.

He knows how to do this sort of thing himself.  After logging in to his account, he launches his web browse, and types “youtube mario” in the Google Search field to get to YouTube.  After that, he’ll type “draw mario” into the YouTube search box, and he’s off and running with his instructional videos.

His mother and I were in another room when we heard him get frustrated a few minutes later.

“It’s not there! I can’t find it. It’s not anywhere! I can’t find MS Paint.”

I knew right away what had happened.  He’d navigated from a YouTube clip of somebody drawing Mario with a pencil to one doing it in Microsoft Paint, and he wanted to try it out himself.

I ran to him.  He was on a Windows PC, so he obviously had Paint, but there was no telling where he was looking for it.

When I got to him, I saw that he’d typed variations of “ms paint” into the Web Browser’s search box and into YouTube’s search box about a dozen times.

Poor kid. He was searching for Microsoft Paint in the only places on the computer he knew. Wasn’t everything on the web?

Aaron Stops Playing Super Mario Galaxy

Aaron’s a great Super Mario Galaxy player. He’s gotten all 121 stars over and over again. Now he’ll start playing the game just to pass the time. He’s even found a glitch in the game.

It’s pretty much all he wants to do. Bringing him outside to play catch or go for a bicycle ride is like asking him to do homework.

A few days ago, when he asked to play the game again I told him, “No, you really should do something else. Put one of the puzzles together or play with your toys instead.”

He walked off and called back to me from another room, “I’m going to play Jenga, Daddy!” I answered “OK, Aaron.”

Everything seemed fine.  Maybe he really could entertain himself without obsessing about Super Mario Galaxy.

A little while later, I went to the kitchen and discovered what he called “playing Jenga.”

Aaron_with_grand_star

He drew a Grand Star in Jenga pieces.