So I was rereading one of my favorite fanfics while I was sick. While reading the part about the main character having to decipher some papers to find where the kidnapped girl was I got an idea. Why not look up cyphering games for kids? My son, bless his annoying head, is smart; he’s also lazy as sin. He’s good at math but will convince people he’s thick in the head so that he doesn’t have to try; thus doesn’t have to fail. Yes, I have a perfectionist on my hands. A conniving perfectionist at that.

I did a quick search and found one of the top places for cyphering games was actually the NSA. I guess that makes sense. After convincing my son that; no he wasn’t in trouble, and no this wasn’t a punishment, and yes you do need to sit still, we started playing around.

The first one we tackled was One Pig’s Pen. It seems simple enough and it is; as long as I have the key.

To encourage my son to decipher things I told him I was going to challenge him. He’s very competitive. He had until the end of schoolwork the next day to decipher his chore on the chore chart and complete it. I was confident that it’d take him time to do. After all it was the first time he’s ever even heard of cyphering much less had to decipher something!

This is my copy of his chore. His cypher was on the chore chart and I then handed him just a copy of the key.

One Pig’s Pen Cypher

Yes, as I’m sure you’re already guessing the joke was on me. The chore was simple he just needed to pick up his clothes. I used spaces as if I had used letters instead of symbols and let him have the key.

It took him less than five minutes and he never wrote anything down! Honestly, I feel cheated. Okay, it isn’t hard, but I’d have been forced to at least write it down; it’s just the way my mind works. All he did was take the key look at the chart then run up to me while I was on the phone and loudly proclaim he knew what to do.

I was left looking at him dumbfounded. My nine year old made me feel stupid. 😦 He had told me the night before that he hadn’t wanted to use the key. I had given it to him anyway thinking he was overreaching and that he’d get frustrated if he didn’t have it.

I talked it over with him and he picked the Number Grid for tomorrow’s chore. Once I figure out what tomorrow’s chore is I’ll set to cyphering it. I also told him that for now I wanted him to keep using the key. Once it gets super easy we’ll move on to not using it, then to making our own.

Why am I having my nine year old learn cyphering? No, it’s not to push him into the NSA or CSS. Honestly it’s just to stretch his mind. I believe the boy has potential but his fear of failing and unwillingness to work could severely hinder him in life. Often I’m harsh with him since he frustrates me and anything that can make him learn and have fun with it is worth a try.

Who knows maybe he has a knack for deciphering things?


About Marcia Young

I’m the wife of an NCO and the mother of one, home schooled, special needs child. I have won several people’s choice awards for my fanfiction under the moniker MLMonty. All of my current published works can be found via Smashwords and other retailers under my nom de plume Marcia Young. I am currently open to finding a new literary agent and publisher.
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4 Responses to Cyphering

  1. Me says:

    It is good to challenge the mind and to test the limits. Education can get dull after a while and you found a way to spice it up and he happens to be quite well at it. You found his niche!

    • marciayoung says:

      Today’s ‘chore’ was:

      13113232 22431134143311 113414 53244423 231543 11 2311414155 1224434523141155

      Which means ‘call grandma and wish her a happy birthday’.

      I’m trying to get him to write in code to his grandma too. They recently started exchanging letters to practice his letter writing skills.

  2. Jane Nelson says:

    Why do you think I made him my heir to world domination? He’s so much like me.

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