So the last few days I’ve been trying to focus on putting away the iPhone, the iPad, the Kindle Fire… All those glowing fun little screens we’ve all come to love and can’t seem to remember what life was like without them. It’s hard.
After trying to keep these things away from Little Lue as a baby, there was no way Little Lue the toddler was going to ignore them. If mommy was playing with her phone all day long, what do you think she wanted to do?
So the fights over who gets to play with the phone started. This turned into swapping my phone for “her” iPad which I filled with fun games. This worked out well for a while. She would play her puzzle games for a reasonable amount of time and then move on to the next activity on her own… It didn’t feel so dangerous. And so we got more and more comfortable letting Little Lue handle the glowing magical mirrors…but something changed.
Of course the joy had to end somewhere. Little Lue discovered that these gadgets had something else hidden inside them, something far more… well… fun… Little Lue found the YouTube app as well as the Netflix app. And what started off as a fun game time on these little computers was slowly turning into more time spent watching TV.
In this house there is no TV until the end of the day. And it’s not even cable, it’s movies. Come evening time, when mommy and daddy are feeling pretty spent, we put on a couple of Disney movies and call it a day. Not exactly proud of how much I look forward to 6:30 pm, but it feels like a reasonable arrangement.
So you can imagine how frustrating it is to realize that Little Lue’s already pretty extended amount of tube time (2-3 hours) was having another hour or more added from letting her play with the iPads/Kindle. It seemed fun and great at first. A portable entertainment center that could be used for a few minutes while mommy does dishes, or folds laundry, or plays on her own phone (guilty!). But then I hear that little voice in my head telling me WAKE UP! and get Little Lue off the mini tube, and the kid’s happy fantasy world comes to an end.
What follows is a concert of tears, screams, and begging for her favorite shows. “Broom, broom!!!” (Cars), “Honey!!!” (Whiney the Pooh), “Bumbo!!!” (well at least she got one of them). Her tears go on and on for what seems forever, but I image is more like 30 minutes. But if you’ve been in the same room as a screaming toddler, you know that 30 minutes is a LONG time. Long enough to completely drain up mommy’s patience and sanity. Long enough to induce a horrid migraine for the rest of the day. And long enough to completely sabotage whatever it is that needed to be done in those 30 minutes and drain a large portion of the motivation you had to get anything done around the house for that day.
You start to pray for naptime. Or helplessly hope that the husband is on his way home a bit early. You try giving options of activities that could be enticing enough to forget about crying. You offer up water play, or markers, or whatever it is that’s supper fun but you don’t do so often because it becomes way too mesy… And eventually Little Lue settles down enough to nurse and God bless boobs and their mystical powers to calm down a screaming baby.
And Little Lue is calm and starts to wonder around the house. And you exhale a sigh of relief for the worsts has passed.
And then my sweet innocent daughter comes over to me, grabs my hand, and quite calmly starts to pull me and say “Come on… Honey.”
Cue mommy tears.
So no more. No more. NO. MORE.
I’ve come to realize that as soon as I pull out my phone to check emails/facebook/blog stats (ha!) Little Lue is reaching for the phone as well and starts asking to watch one of her shows. As if what I’m watching isn’t cool enough. I’ve come to realize that any time Little Lue finds the iPad laying around the couch and starts playing with it, instead of trading it for a more appropriate toy I look away. I look away and relish in a few minutes of not having to entertain/watch her (but you already saw the results of that!).
BUT. NO. MORE.
I’ve put my iPhone in a shelf on the desk. The iPad is hiding on top of a dresser. Daddy’s Kindle Fire is charging out of sight. And I have promised myself to limit MY computer time to “desk” computer time. Simply put, if I don’t have time to sit at the computer desk with my back turned to the living room, I certainly have no business playing on my phone. Playing on my phone while sitting next to a pile of unfolded laundry is not multi-tasking. Playing on my phone while Little Lue builds with blocks is not watching her. Getting minute by minute status updates from friends on facebook is not really a social life and I need to stop pretending it is.
I know that if I put my magical glowing mirror away and do other activities Little Lue will join me. I know that it is really me who is aggravating the situation by constantly having my phone out as she watches me. And I know that, just like her, I have no real “need” to play on my phone as often as I do.
I’ve decided that if I must have a distraction during the day it will be limited to the reading Kindle (original non colorful/internet friendly version). If I have some moments to spare they can be spent reading books or a news paper. Seems more enriching than FB and Little Lue hardly has interest or understanding of what I look at a gray screen filled with letters for.
So… This blog is supposed to be about pictures, correct? LOL
Weekends and family outings are usually the most tech free in this home. We make an effort to not pull out our phones while out for dinner, or being at the park, or whatever else. Here are a few pictures I took Sunday while wondering about Mallory Square. We wanted to kill some time before returning home after dinner, so we just walked around looking at the ocean, the buildings, the people. Eventually I pulled out my camera, because lets face it, that’s what I do. Yesterday the hubby asked about the pictures and I was almost embarrassed to say that I had yet to give them a look! So here are a few for your enjoyment.
May my days be filled with more quality family time and less magical glowing screen time.