My Toddler Will Never Have an Ipad
Just one of the many blanket, know-it-all promises I made to myself before having kids of my own. It is right up there with my promise to make organic baby food and reserve TV time to 30 minutes a day of educational programming only. Fast forward three years and Rex is double-fisting McDonald’s french fries while watching his third consecutive episode of “Octonauts.” Once you have your own kids, and 11am feels more like 6:30pm, you quickly realize that you need to do whatever it takes to survive.
It started off with him watching videos on my iphone as a quick solution to a long car ride or grocery store meltdown. It was my fail safe to getting a few minutes of silence when I needed it. He graduated to using my husband’s ipad on occasion, and after that, the phone was never quite as alluring. So, when the next holiday rolled around, I wondered if I should get him an ipad of his own.
Now when I say “I”, I really mean—my brother. Should my overly successful and generous brother be talked into getting him an ipad for Christmas. Because, c’mon. I am not spending $400 on an electronic device for a 2.5 year old. That is just crazy. After some thinking I decided it would likely make my life a lot easier and would give me a built in bribe/distraction when I needed it (And the Mother of the Year Award goes to….). So, like any responsible 31 year old would do, I called my mother and told her to call my little brother and tell him that Rex needs an ipad for Christmas.
I could sit here and tell you that we only use this babysitter, I mean ipad, in emergency situations. That I have only downloaded educational videos and apps, and that he is learning to trace letters and spell words with his magnificent new device. Truth is, he asks for it upwards of three thousand times a day, and only wants to watch “truck wideos” on the youtube kids app. At first, I was able to search “trucks kids” and select something that I felt was appropriate for him to watch. Now, he is able to navigate the world wide web with ease. He often stumbles on strange videos of grown men playing with truck toys. There is one kid named “Axel” and his dad narrated him playing with truck toys. Rex gets so excited every time. “Mom! I found Axel!”—yay! And Axel’s weird dad! Fantastic!
I have to tell him at least twenty times a day “Nope. Rex, that video is weird.”—and then I see his little fingers click around and I hear “okay, Mommy. What about this? This a weird one?”. “Yup. That’s a 62 year old man playing in the mud with his toy dump trucks as he talks to himself. Yup. That’s weird Rex.” Why can’t you just watch that annoying little bastard Ciao like the rest of the toddler population?
I actually went to the bathroom once and came out to a women’s voice, talking loudly about her thighs. There was Rex, laying on the couch, legs crossed, watching a video of a cute little 20-something giving a full review of her newest pair of jeans. “I really like the wash, and I love how they hug my butt in just the right spots.” Maybe he will be the next Ralph Lauren, but for now---WEIRD.
And at least once a week, I realize he is completely engaged in a video in another language. At first I would step in, but recently I have changed my tune. I mean, maybe he will be some multi-lingual genius and will go to an Ivy League school and make a shit ton of money. So, whatever! Konichiwa, baby!
And what’s with those fucking weird plastic eggs? You know what I’m talking about.
Someone recently told me, “the Pediatric Association has now said that a little screen time is not detrimental to a child’s development”. I have not researched any further for fear of what I might find. For now, I will assume that by “a little” they mean a few hours a day, and by “screen time” they include watching plastic figurines talk back and forth to one another in Japanese on a device being held 1.5 inches from my child’s face. I mean, whatever works, right? Goodnight.