Sweet Girl has been using my iPad as if it were her own ever since it arrived last May. She's an old pro at all Apple touch products. She understands the way they operate much like she understands that the best way to get the dog to move off of her chair is to sit on him. Don't get too complicated; look, assess, react. I have Steve Jobs and the other geniuses in the development game at Apple to thank for many of Sweet Girl's words. She used flash card apps until she was bored with them. Then she did the same apps in Spanish. She taught Papa how to really play Angry Birds. This past weekend, Aunt Carrie and I both had to figure out how to play Where's My Water? in German. There are some really great apps for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and Sweet Girl has mad pre-literacy skills thanks to a really cool Montessori app that she rocks. And I certainly can't forget to mention all the potty-training apps that helped us get that challenge conquered. She has her own iPod Touch and, well, I often wondered who loves my iPad more; me or her.
Recently, she discovered YouTube. She and her awesome BCBA have used it for alphabet and number songs as well as Magic School Bus clips, as rewards for completing tasks during ABA. The problem is....she's a fast learner. And when she's motivated there is little that can deter her from her goal. One day she was thirsty and I was distracted and not attending to her wants quickly enough. So she took three cushions (one by one as they were bigger than she was: I know this because I watched her clean this up not because I saw her do this from the beginning) from the couch in the living room, piled them up next to the counter in the kitchen where I keep our big water filtration tank/cooler/system thing, and then opened the spigot. While two and a half gallons of water rushed onto the floor, she got herself a drink. But she was still thirsty and I was still upstairs, so she opened the refrigerator and got a bottle of water out. She couldn't get it open so she brought it upstairs to me, which is when I discovered she was soaking wet and so was the kitchen floor. She was two years old at the time. And she has yet to prove any less determined as she gets older. So she has taught herself how to navigate YouTube on my iPad.
At first I thought she was only watching the featured videos which are easy to access from the main YouTube page. I was right. But today her favorite featured videos had been replaced by new featured videos. She wanted to watch her old stuff, so she just navigated on over to the "history" tab and found her old stash. I've never discussed YouTube with her, and I definitely have not taught her to look in "history" for something that was previously viewed. That she intuited on her own. My problem with this, besides parental controls cause she doesn't need to witness EVERYTHING on YouTube, is that she and I don't have the same taste in videos. Her current favorite is a computer-animated duet about making bubbles in the bathtub with an assist from dinner time beans. It's a catchy ditty set to the tune of "A Bicycle Built for Two" and comes complete with fart noises. She thinks it's hilarious. I do not. I was really hoping we'd just skip the developmental stage in which bodily noises equals endless amusement. Guess not. Today she found a new video of a baby singing into a microphone. A puppy comes running into frame and the baby shares the mic. Again, not cinematic greatness but she loves it. She laughs and laughs, and then she watches it again and laughs and laughs some more. And that's why I let her watch. Not so she can learn to make fart noises or laugh on cue when someone passes gas. I let her watch so I can hear her giggle. And so I can take a video of her watching a video. Mostly though, I just love to hear her giggle and I know if I didn't let her watch she'd just find another way. At least this way there's no flood in the kitchen.