I shall admit right off the bat that this post is horrendously of the “first-world-problem” nature…
#5 had my iPhone in her grubby little clutches today. And that sparked my thoughts here-
Despite my general ineptitude regarding all things technological, I DO own an iPhone. Or should I say, my iPhone owns me.
Because if it was possible to have a crush on an electronic device -stop your dirty mind right there, please- then my iPhone is the one, baby!
Do I get that little thrill when my phone lights up with a text, tweet, or alert?
Yes, Yes, I do.
Except phone calls.
Because if you want to call me, call my house line. And leave a message. Because I’m not picking that one up, either.
So suffice to say, because I enjoy my phone, I tend to have it close by at almost all times. Nowadays, anyway. Because I wasn’t always so protective over it. And I quickly learned why it’s NOT ok to let your children manhandle your phone…
Like the time I passed it to #5, in sheer desperation, while on a long line at the stores. She was thrilled. She was also teething. And while I unloaded my goods, she proceeded to gum my phone, gnawing the top of it like a tiny teething badger Once I noticed, I immediately snatched it away. Not soon enough, apparently.
Did you know that baby drool, in addition to being generally…juicy… can soak into your phone like an oil slick across the ocean? And that it can also render an expensive iPhone virtually useless?
I do. Now.
You think I’d have learned, right? Not so much. Because once #4 learned that you could watch movies, play games, or FaceTime her BFF aunt, she begs at every opportunity to use it. Sort of like this:
“Can I use your IPhone?Can I use it?Can I? CanIuseyourIphonepleaseplease?”
#s 4 and 5 spend a good deal of their day trying to cajole me into offering my phone, which I don’t typically do. But no matter. They now resort to “borrowing” it when the opportunity arises, which is a nice way of saying stealing it while I’m not looking.
This happened several times this week.
The minute my phone was not on my person -say, on it’s charger, or on the counter if I was indisposed (I jest. Because you know I’m peeing and texting. You’re welcome for that mental image), 4 or 5 would snatch it up and disappear into the smallest nooks of the house to fiddle with it.
Note: Not only did #4 tuck herself away with the phone, but she also hid the phone itself. Slick.
Team Effort: #4 snatched the phone, & #5 brought the snack.
There’s nothing more anxiety-producing than staring at THIS screen, trying to analyze the jiggling apps and to remember what is/could be missing:
Although I should appreciate their proficiency with it. I received a new email folder courtesy of #5 recently. It’s perfect, apparently, for any correspondence with St. Olaf:
Thank you for being a friend, #5.
What disturbed me most, however, was #5’s desperate attempts to prevent me from wresting the device from her tiny grasp. I gave chase (three times), and each time, she ran as fast as her stubby little legs could carry her. As she saw me gaining on her, she hurtled the phone across the room in a frantic “hell with it!” gesture. Which is now her chosen method of ending this battle of wills.
Don’t worry. The phone survived.
And yes, this happened again yesterday.
… which made me think about why it is so important to the rugrats to get their hands on my phone. Yes, Barney the dinosaur can be brought to life via Netflix (which at 2 years old, #5 has already learned how to do), Angry Birds can be played ad nauseam, and random phone calls can be made to randomly dialed numbers.
Because, dammit, that happened yesterday, too.
And I already told you how I feel about being on the phone.
But what was impressed on me, more than anything, is the reality that both girls love my phone because I do, too.
And I’ve inadvertently modeled the idea of NEEDING to use it, needing to occupy yourself within it’s endless trail of distraction.
The lesson was, and is, abundantly simple. It’s the whole carpe diem, “live in the here and now” concept. If I want to raise kids that can resist being addicted to their (granted, quite cool) tech gadgets, then I need to show them how it’s done.
I was talking to a friend recently, IN PERSON, because I do that… once in awhile. And said friend, in the midst of our conversation, kept glancing down at her phone. Repeatedly. It’s not like I was boring her, because SHE was talking. But her attention was divided.
(And as if on cue, every friend I spent time with recently is analyzing this, thinking, “Is it me??” Or thinking, “So THAT’S why she never sees people. Because she’s obnoxious.”)
My point is, it bothered me. YET- I do it to my kids. Not all the time, but often enough. Enough to convey to them that although what they are saying may be important, what’s happening on my phone is VERY important. And seems to take priority.
Earlier this week, I started putting the phone into a cabinet, and only taking it out during their naps, or after bedtime.
I started texting less, and talking more. To my kids, that is. Not YOU. I’m still not picking up the damn phone. Text me instead. I’ll answer eventually. Just not right now.
Most of the week, anyway.
Did I mention that this was a lesson in progress?…
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