James Wallis levels with you

Eliza asks questions

I’m scraping in a little late for yesterday’s Ada Lovelace Day, and its idea of writing a blog post about ‘a woman in technology whom I admire’, but I’ve only just realised who I want to write about. This one is for my tech heroine. Her name is Eliza Wallis, she is my daughter, and she is almost nineteen months old.

She loves technology, and she understands it. When she was very tiny, I would hold her on my knee as I played World of Warcraft. She wasn’t big on the combat, but she loved watching my avatar move through the virtual world, running forward to new sights and experiences. Long before she could make proper words, every rectangular object was a pretend mobile phone: she’d hold it to her ear and go, ‘Yeah… yeah… yeah… bye!’

When it comes to actual mobiles, she can program speed-dials into mine. I don’t know how to do that. She’s unlocked modes in her electronic toys that I didn’t know were there. On her Early Learning Centre keyboard, she’s worked out how to mix the built-in tunes. I don’t think it’s supposed to do that. Her first hack.

This technology that she’s using is not for boys. It’s just there to be used. The barriers to entry are low, and gender is not one of them. Daddy uses laptops, mummy uses laptops. Daddy’s phone has more keys, but mummy has an Ipod. The Xbox and the dishwasher both have interesting buttons to be tested and explored. I watch her doing little experiments: how long does it take for a sticker to stop being sticky? Are my feet magnetic? What are bubbles? And she’s already pwned me at her first card game. (“What’s this card, Eliza?” “Pupperbye!””Yes, it’s a butterfly, clever you. What’s this?” “Moooo!” “Yes, it’s a cow, cows go moo, very good. And what’s this?” “Dada!” “No Eliza [sigh], it’s a monkey.” Gales of delighted laughter.)

Her mind is a marvel and her future is going to be extraordinary. I will strive to be her Cape Canaveral, and let her carve a streak of light across the world. She will leave me far behind, and I will love her even more for it. For that, and for an infinity of other reasons, and for the wonders she will see and the fearlessness with which she will deal with them, she is my heroine.

Categorised as: technology


  1. Myles Corcoran says:


    You’re very tall for a monkey, though.

  2. Matthijs Holter says:


    In a few years’ time, you’ll be telling her to stop sitting in front of that computer and go out and get some sun and fresh air.

  3. Cat Wallis says:

    :)…it’s so very hard not to be smug when both my husband and my daughter are such superb human beings! And Matthijs, I suspect you’re right, although I fear it’ll be me telling both husband and daughter to move away from the technology and get outside…

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