This is another of those ‘Mum will fix it’ stories, where children have such faith is us that we feel we simply have to make it right.
My younger son, R (let’s call him ‘Dynamo’) came in from playing in the paddock the other day, closely followed by his younger sister (who loves being called ‘Sausage’, so that will do here). They were both very excited about the marvellous discovery they'd made whilst digging for 'treasure'– a game from their ‘old’ handheld electronic game, which must have been out in the dirt for at least two years. It’s one of the type that’s rectangular with an opening at the end that connects with the inside of the player. I don’t know how it got there. It probably went out in a pocket and jumped to freedom. Anyway, it’s definitely at least two years that we’ve been saying, “Where did that game go, I wonder?”
I surveyed the filthy shell of the game, sitting there in Dynamo’s hand and explained that it was really very dirty and the chances of it working after all this time were zilch.
“Oh, no, Mum,” he said, “it’s okay. I’ve washed it.”
Sure enough, when he put it in my reluctantly held out hand, a puddle of water formed in my palm. The temptation to chuck it straight into the rubbish bin was huge. But those two little faces held such hope. So I spent the next half-an-hour drying and brushing and wiping and plugging it into the game player (no, I’m not going to give a brand name).
At first, nothing happened. Then after a while a line of hieroglyphics began to appear – so obviously something was making a connection. But after more rubbing and brushing, I’d made no progress. I was just about to give up, when I noticed a screw in the top. I figured I may as well at least take the opportunity to see what the inside of one of these things looked like, so after the usual hunt for a screwdriver (why can you never find these things?) I operated on it – open-heart surgery.
The inside was pretty disappointing I have to say. Not much to it at all. Well, not much to someone who knows absolutely nothing about electronics. What I did find was half a kilo of dirt. So I took Dynamo’s philosophy and washed it, wiped it over, bunged the screw back in and popped it into the player for its one last chance.
As Sausage would say – ‘Voila!’ (where do four-year-olds get these words?) There on the screen sat a little ant in a racing car all ready to rev it up. Two years of sitting in a fire-break (which has been scarified at least twice in that time), in the rain and the heat and kids riding bikes over it – and it was ready for business.
My children have an electronics whiz for a mother! Next time the computer breaks down, I’ll just open it up and stick it under the tap!