A commenter on my last post told me of her daughters' use of "conked in" to refer to their brother not falling asleep. It would be an apt description of Katie at her bedtimes; Jamie, once I manage to persuade him through the whole teeth-bath-nappy-pyjamas routine, is usually pretty droopy-lidded and simply turning off the lights and either persuading Katie to keep quiet or removing her from the vicinity is usually quite enough to get him drifting off towards dreamland, but Katie has a much harder time switching off. This is made more marked by the fact that she has reached that awkward in-between stage where she struggles to make it through the day without a nap, but unless I make sure it's right at the beginning of the afternoon and she's woken up from it in good time then that's it for her chances of falling asleep at bedtime. She is at least finally starting to grasp the principle that if she doesn't stay quiet when in the shared bedroom then she will be removed to the cot so that we can at least have one child falling asleep in peace, so we are just starting to move on from the days in which the two of them absolutely had to be separated at bedtime, but we're not planning on dismantling the cot just yet – we're still working on getting the message through that trips out of the room to check out the upstairs hallway are also verboten. Accordingly, yesterday evening she ended up in the cot again, where she bounced around squealing enthusiastically as she watched Barry dry his hair after a shower.
"I'm a bit exCITed!" she exclaimed to us. (Really? You don't say.) "An' that's why I keep giggling!"
I agreed with her that this was indeed the likely explanation.
"I want some strawberry lip balm."
I passed it over to her and retrieved it a minute later, looking suspiciously shorter than it had before.
"Katie, did you just eat a piece of my lip balm?"
"I'm a bit excited," Katie explained, clearly having decided to stick with a previous winner when it came to excuses, "an' that's why I'm eating strawberry lip balm."
Well, that clears that up, then.
Jamie, meanwhile, is as usual spending his time engrossed in computer programmes – currently, the various educational programmes on the BBC Schools website, which means he is learning at a rate of knots. (He has, for example, taught himself how to calculate the different forms of averages from the maths programme, and how to start a letter from the English programme.) One of his favourites, which I love doing with him, is a delightfully surreal little game called Questionaut, in which the title character ascends through a series of eight different worlds in a balloon fueled by correct answers to questions, the ultimate goal being to reach the moon and retrieve his friend's hat. The role of the player, obviously, is to choose the correct answer to each question to provide more fuel, but you also have to go through a little sequence of clicking on different things within the world to activate the character that asks the questions, and working out how to do that is even more difficult than answering the questions in the first place; we would still be stuck on Level 3 if I wasn't lucky enough to have a husband well versed in the world of technogeekery who suggested Googling for the instructions, which we did successfully. Having read them, I'm amazed that Jamie got as far as he did without instructions (I answer the questions for him, but he worked out how to start the game going and to start the questions on the first two levels); for that matter, how does anyone ever manage to get as far as finishing the game? (Of course, it's aimed at 7 – 11-year-olds, so that probably explains it.)
Anyway, with the aid of the instructions we found the questioner on each world, went through the much easier part of answering the questions themselves, and got all the way to the moon, and have done so on a regular basis since then, though Katie still remembers the trouble we had with Level 3 – "This is where we couldn't find the fuel!" she says every time we get to that level. Jamie, meanwhile, referred to that level on one occasion as 'Jungleworld', and, intrigued, I asked him for his names for the other levels. Here they are:
Level 0: (Questionaut's world): Riverworld. (I changed this to Lakeworld on grounds of technical accuracy and pedantry.)
Level 1: Nana and Grandad's Place (because he thinks the two figures look like them).
Level 2: Numberworld.
Level 3: Treeworld (the change of name was, again, mine, after I pointed out that one tree couldn't really be a jungle).
Level 4: Moss Lock World. (This one had me somewhat baffled, but turned out to be traceable to Jamie's misreading of the instructions, which refer to putting the key in the 'left most lock' and 'right most lock'. "The instructions said you had to put the key in a moss lock," Jamie explained to me. When we worked out the error he was going to change it to 'Most Lock World', but I decided I liked Moss Lock World. Anyway, it seems appropriate as the green grassy stuff looks sort of like moss.)
Level 5: Iceworld
Level 6: Musicworld
Level 7: Red Sky And Space World
Level 8: Sentenceworld
So there you have it. By the way, if you want to have a look at all those for yourselves but don't want the hassle of actually playing the game, there are videos on Youtube showing them all (without which we wouldn't have made it through Level 3 even with Scawley's instructions, as you can see from my comment on his page).
And the bit that impressed me most (even more than Jamie figuring out how to find the questioner on the first two levels) was when a question came up asking for the answer for a sum that added two three-digit numbers, and, when I suggested that I could work it out, Jamie exclaimed "Just a minute!" and started trying to work the sum out for himself. He successfully added the first digits of the two numbers to get 9 as the first digit of the answer, figured out correctly that he could now narrow down the answer to two of the three choices (as the other was in the 700s), added the two second digits, and used that to eliminate one of the remaining answers and thus ascertain what the correct one had to be. I know it's bad form to brag on my kid like this, but… he's SIX. Aren't you impressed?