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Flickr fix for a four -year-old

October 21st, 2004 · No Comments


Our middle daughter Michaela is articulate, funny and helpful. She can keep up with her older sister in many ways. Sometimes Ted and I forget she is only four.

The balloon she received as a birthday gift earlier this month lost its lift and had been sagging on the floor, a deflated dragonfly. I explained to Michaela that we would need to put it in the garbage. I gave her one day notice, telling her to enjoy it until then. She understood and seemed to accept this fate fine. But then I forgot for a day or so until it was garbage time Tuesday night.

As I told her that I was going to put her balloon in the trash, she started sobbing. Michaela went from calm to crying as if I had flipped a switch, and I remembered that I often have expectations for her that are beyond her age.

I didn’t know what to do to console her. The balloon was dangerous on the floor and I feared Elisabeth would hurt herself with the ribbon. The dragonfly was drooping, past its prime, and ready to be retired. I knew I needed to help calm her fears and let her know life without the balloon would be all right.

Flickr to the rescue! I knew I had taken a picture of Michaela with her balloon back when it was happier and helium-filled. In fact, in flickr I had made a slide show for Michaela’s birthday (sorry, most of the pictures are restricted to friends and family).

Back when we used a film camera, I probably would not have had developed photos to show her yet. Even with the digital camera it would have taken me a while to find the photo in our files.

But with my flickr account, I knew I could show her the balloon right away. I told her I had a photo of the dragonfly on the computer and I asked her if she wanted to see the slide show from her birthday. Sitting her down on a stool in front of my laptop, I played the photos from her party. I showed her that we had a picture of the balloon and I told her we could remember it the way it was when it was happy.

In a while, she calmed down and agreed the balloon could go. I’m still not sure what triggered her sudden upset. Four-year-olds are four-year-olds.

But I know she remembered the flickr photos. Today she told me that it was okay to throw away the balloon because “we have a picture of it in the slide show”. So thank you, flickr.

Tags: geek