Julian loves looking at our pictures on Flickr. We also use the site as a distraction when he's getting uppity.

“Want to see some trains?”

“Yeah!”

And off I go to Flickr for a tag search and some happy browsing with the kid. Normally though, he'll see something and point to it on the screen with his finger.

Another hobby of his is climbing into either his mother's desk chair or mine, and “hitting letter H”. 'H' is his favourite letter.

This evening, however, I was doing some video transcoding on my machine and didn't want him touching anything.

“Go and mess with your mother's computer”, says I.

Up he bounces onto her chair and grabs the mouse and starts pointing, using the mouse and on-screen cursor, at pictures on our Flickr site which happened to be in the browser.

He pointed to one he liked, so I said “make it bigger”.

And he clicked.

I'm astounded.

“Show me a big picture of Julian”, I asked, whereupon he starts using the mousewheel to scroll the window, mouses over to a little picture of him in the sidebar and clicks again.

“It's me!”, he says.

Wow. A combination of observation of us working and playing around on a machine at daycare and it just clicked for him. So to speak.

It also made me realise how important the mousewheel is for a kid. He doesn't have the fine motor-skills yet to reliably to click and drag a scrollbar, but he can sure use a mousewheel to scroll.

Mind you, the dude is three years old and using a laser-precision wireless mouse on a dual-core 64bit AMD desktop, hooked up through an nVidia GeForce 7800 to a 24" LCD flat-panel.

The first machine I played around with to any extent was a KIM-1 when I was seven…

The Boy

'And you try and tell the young people of today that… they won't believe you.'