Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pixel by Pixel

Jack got a Mario Kart for DS game for Christmas from a good friend of ours. He decided the little car Mario was driving in the game was too plain, so he decided it needed some customization. He thought a picture of Kirby (the cute little pink guy from Kirby's Epic Adventure and probably some other games I don't know) would work, so he put Kirby on the front of Mario's kart. In the game. On his DS. Who knew??? Sometimes my little man amazes me! When I asked him how he did that, he just said, "Pixel by pixel."

Pixel by pixel. Wow. Got me thinking. When faced with the really big challenges in life, what's the best way to handle them? One step at a time. Every journey begins with a single step. Every meal starts with a first bite. (Why does everything come down to food with me?) Life begins with a single cell and grows from there. Pixel by pixel.

The biggest challenge we're facing right now is the 5th grade Science Fair. Ay yi yi! Just a mention of it in an email from his teacher a couple of weeks ago precipitated a Science Fair-related nightmare (me, not Jack). Can't remember what it was now, but it was scary. From Jack's Science Fair Handbook (which is 14 pages long, by the way), "For many, thinking about all that is required for the completion of a successful science fair project is extremely stressful." Really? No shit, Sherlock!

The biggest problem has been just getting him to talk about the Science Fair. He thinks if we don't talk about it, it will somehow go away. Last year his dad worked on it with him and ended up basically finishing the whole thing by himself in one torturous afternoon of gluing printed matter onto a cardboard display, since the dates got changed and we didn't get the memo. It was truly horrific. This year I really want to make it fun and engage him (Jack) in the process. Basically I'm trying really hard to make it less torturous, so I've been wracking my brain trying to work Mario and Luigi and all their friends into a science project. If my kid can sit at the computer for eight hours a day all summer creating his own computer game, this should be a snap, right?

I think we had a breakthrough of sorts today. We had a serious talk about how I was really trying to make this fun for him, but I need him to help me and at least make an effort to participate. Together, we looked at the Science Buddies web site (http://www.sciencebuddies.org) and chose a project that asks, "Do Boys and Girls Like Different Types of Video Games?" Was that a flicker of interest I saw in his eyes? This might not be so awful.

The first step has been taken. The journey is begun!

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