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Today we started learning how to bike on the new bike Alicia received for her birthday. It's her first non-coaster-brakes bike, and a practical quantum leap in size and difficulty in riding for her. It's a 24" Gary Fisher, for those of you who keep up with it. This bike will probably last her until she's in her teens, at least, and I'm very happy with the purchase.

She's gotten the hang of riding straight, and of doing turns around corners, but not so good at the brakes. She can stop, but she then can't get off, because the bike is just barely too tall for her to touch the ground from the seatpost - it's built that way and her feet come to the right place on the pedals, but it's not something she's used to. I missed paying attention to her for a split second at the end of our run today - she rode around the block while I ran alongside to ensure she didn't run into anything - and she fell over trying to stop. I felt really bad about it, but no major scrapes. We did some practice getting started on the bike, and on how to stop and turn, as well as learning that even if you're scared, you can't just not hit the brakes.

We also began creating a homepage for her, AliciaGayle.com, purchased as a slightly late birthday gift for her. I found a pretty decent, free WYSIWYG editor (nvu) and got started asking her what she wanted to put on her page.

Her first thought was that she would just explain how she's got lots of fun games and postcards that you can print out and send if you like. (She went on with a list while I half paid attention for about 10 minutes.) I then pointed out that we don't *have* anything like that, and she would have to make them first. She kind of did an "Oh", and Jess came up with the idea of requesting postcards to scan and put on the site. So, if you'd like, you can send a postcard to Alicia (address on the website) and we'll put it up on her website. I've also got a couple pictures of her with a piece of artwork she did which I'll get up there with her once we get a chance.

What do you think an 8 year old should have on their website? What did you have at 8 years old? Was it anything special? What do you wish you had done, or are upset you haven't?

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The world-wide web didn't exist when I was 8 years old. Most of what we know as the internet didn't exist. Even the microprocessor was only a year old at the time.


Good point. I didn't even know what a computer was at that point, although I was aware of the internet as a mystical place to obtain cheat codes for Super Mario Brothers 1. My dad, who worked for AT&T, had printed out what I'd probably now consider a web page, probably, which describe the world 3-2(?) turtle-stomping trick for extra lives. He described it as coming from the internet, which I didn't know what it was at the time, but do now, obviously: I still remember the exact graphic.

It was a strange concept that there were other people out there who had the ability to write these things down and share them, but I didn't really even rememeber that this was my first experience until years later, when I finally got the internet at around age... 12? i think.

Those were certainly "The days".

TBH, I can't imagine what an eight-year-old would do with a website or why they would want one.

But that's probably because when I grew up, there was, essentially, no Internet in Germany (possibly some universities had an Internet connection, not sure).

At a guess, perhaps "this town is where I live (with pictures); this is my family (pictures) [if they're comfortable with that]; these are my pets (pictures)". But I have no idea, really.

There's also the fact that Alicia didn't really want one very strongly either. She simply asked "Animalcrossing.com? Is there a website for everyone in the world?" and I explained that no, there isn't, but many people have them - for example, I'm crschmidt.net, and I know someone who is norman.walsh.name. And she said "Well, is there an aliciagayle.com?"

The answer 30 minutes later, of course, was "There is now. Happy Birthday, Kiddo."

I remember my first bike! I was eight; it was the best Christmas ever. :) It took me forever to learn how to ride it. I'd ride too slowly and wobble and fall. I'm still not good with that feeling -- pushing off and embracing the speed, leaning into the loss of control. I'm the kind of person who will pull back out of fear and make myself fall. My brother took to it right away, no hesitation, and found that balance. Skating the edge of the safety net has always been my struggle.

Is Alicia too old or young for the Flat Stanley idea? There's a whole kid-internet world of flat travellers, lots of pen pal networks and households who trade around their flat people. That would be an interesting website -- your flat traveller in Japan, in Kentucky, in New York -- although I suppose it runs into the whole privacy/internet/photos issue with a lot of people.

I don't know if you are aware of it but I have noticed that some of your comic feed doesn't work and those that I am aware of to be nonfunctional are bruno_bandit, sluggy_feed, errantstory, freefall_feed, toles_feed.

Thanks. Don't care. Sorry.

As several others have pointed out: why exactly does an 8 year old need a website? When I was 8, we didn't even have a computer; I was 9 or 10 before my parents invested in one. At that point, computers were something that only rich people and schools bought. At this point, I am now 20 and trying to start a tiny jewelry business and I still can't bring myself to invest a lot of time in my website, hence why it is not yet finished.

That being said: If she has access to a camera, I suggest letting her use the site as a sort of photo journal. Nothing too dangerous or detailed, obviously. But, for example, "today i went to the park (picture), i played on the swings (picture), i rode my new bike (picture), i saw a cute dog (picture), etc." She might come up with some interesting stuff, and it's never too early to foster creativity.

I had a web site at eight or nine, though that one was just one page long on Angelfire, and I started really maintaining one at 11 or 12. One thing I used to have was just a page with my opinion on various things (capital punishment, Britney Spears, etc.). She might like something similar to that. Maybe she could make lists of her favorite things and post them: 10 favorite animals, 10 favorite books, 10 favorite foods, etc. I'm just throwing ideas out there!

If she writes stories or poems, or does art, that could go on there. My son Oliver is almost 7 - he would probably like to write to her or check out her site.

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