Just a Click Away
After several months of typing the names of not-yet-forgotten PBS kid shows into the Search box of YouTube, I am pleased to announce that Charlie and I are now search the whole internet (just like how many of us for desired items, with Charlie doing the typing. Not a cosmic development, perhaps, but one that suggests to us that Charlie is, slowly but surely, realizing what one can do with a computer. Charlie has never been overly interested in the computer or, rather, in actual "adult" computers.
A couple of nights ago, Charlie asked to see "Charlie computer." I happen to know that Charlie is referring to a yellow-lidded VTech toy computer that my parents bought for him when he was a year and a half old. It was his supremely favorite toy then. Charlie called it "buh-tah" because, at that time, he couldn't say the /k/ sound, make the /er/ sound, or add final consonants sounds. Now he can pronounce "computer" fine so at first when he started asking to see "Charlie computer" on my laptop, I wasn't sure what he wanted. I didn't think it was one of the old computers I have some photos and songs he used to like stored on, as Charlie very rarely uses these. From his crystal clear pronunciation, the ardent tone in his voice, and his smile, it was evident that this "computer" was something Charlie thought very highly of—hence I thought of his original little "buh-tah."
It's also the case that Charlie's strongest memory seems to be for the first things or people he has known. He mentions the names of some of his very first ABA therapists everyday and also two speech therapists in New Jersey who worked with him on and off for years (one was also his main sitter). Most of Charlie's ABA therapists live in other states but some have sent me their blogs and I've friended some, too, on Facebook. I kind of feel like it's a bit of cyber-stalking, but I've looked up their Facebook pages and shown Charlie a few photos (he particularly enjoyed seeing one former therapist's baby, along with photos of her).
Thanks to Google Chrome, I've just been directing Charlie to type into the URL box, press enter, and voilà (after I click "Images"—Charlie hasn't mastered the trackpad on my laptop yet and he's not sure how to move a cordless mouse around), there's row on row of images of VTech toy laptops for Charlie to behold. He has been scanning them all and pointing to one for me to enlargen or, as he says, "turn on"—-I at first worried that he thought any of those images could become a video and there'd be a moving, beeping laptop for him to watch. But he's been fine just seeing the photos (and even though we have not found the exact same toy laptop he once had).
Charlie's also asked for "green book" and, since he was recalling his techie toys of old, I remembered that he had one of the original LeapBooks and that his was green and blue. He was transfixed looking at the photo of one on Ebay. I asked if he wanted us to get it (the price was a significant fraction of what we'd paid when LeapBooks were the Hot New Toy Thing) and Charlie indicating not really yay or nay, I didn't. Maybe he preferred to have just that 2-d photo, rather than the actual plastic reality of the LeapBook.
And the other entity Charlie has wanted to type into Google Chrome?
Specifically, a dog who looks like his aunt and uncle's dog, Portia. We looked up Cocker Spaniels, Terriers, and Golden Retrievers and Charlie was quite taken to see multiple photos of four-footed friends (many of which I, who am no lover of dogs, found overwhelmingly adorable). (But still sorry, folks, we are not getting a dog around here. Repeat, we are not getting a dog.)
As Charlie's been typing and looking, it occurred to me that in the past I had been much more hesitant to show him photos of things he requested, found randomly on the internet. I worried that he might get upset if the dog or toy computer or whatever was not exactly what he envisaged in his mind's eye. Charlie has, rather, just seemed pleased to see photos more or less resembling those requested items.
And I'm not sure that he quite realizes this yet, but we can search infinitely to find those things, anythings, he requests.
Which makes me feel, those long-gone toys, those therapists we said "good-bye" too: They are, in one sense,"just a click away."