Clara sometimes gets on her mom’s computer while I’m at work and sends me private messages. She is pretty good about starting the message off with the word “clara” and “dad”. But it would probably still be obvious who the message was from because it’s typically just a long string of emoticons. I’ll just be working happily at my desk and suddenly a crowd of smiling yellow people pop up on my screen, sometimes bringing along boats and fireworks, flowers and flags from various nations in the world. It’s like a spontaneous party. Like walking into the break room and having a cabinet burst open full of balloons and confetti and a crowd of tiny bald men joyously chanting “Clara! DAD! Clara! DAD!”  My boss thinks this might be distracting.  I think he’s just jealous.

The other day I received a message that was slightly more coherent. It read “clara dad” then after the picture of an extremely happy bald man there was a watch and the numbers 411. It was received at 4:11. Communication had been made!

I asked her about it after I got home that evening and she was excited to find that I had both gotten the message and understood what it was trying to convey.

“Yes! That’s what my watch said when I sent it, and I was happy because you were going to be coming home soon!” She bounced up and down. “And do you know how I typed it?”

I stared at her for a moment. “No. I have no idea.”

She smiled slyly. “Well, I couldn’t find a button for eleven, so I typed in two ones instead.” She raised her eyebrows at me.

I raised my eyebrows back at her. “Wow. You really are a genius. Excuse me while I go and throw away half my computer keyboard.”

She laughed and gave me a high fives while spinning in circles until I was out of reach and she fell down.