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Archive for January, 2014

Every time I read an article on kids and technology, or raising kids in the digital age, or kids and screen time, I come away with the same impression: We’re doing it wrong. So here’s a point-by-point rebuttal to the experts, just for fun.

Rule: Don’t leave the kid alone with an iPad.
Reality: Sometimes I need a shower when I’m the only adult around, and iPad plus pack-and-play keeps my kid safe and happy for the 10 minutes I need to get clean. Also, we frequently play with him when he’s playing with it, and mix in educational apps whenever possible.

Rule: Too much screen time will result in a kid with delays elsewhere.
Reality: My 23-month-old is speaking in sentences, loves counting, knows his colors, and is learning his letters. He’s excited by and interested in all of that, and none of it was delivered by a device.

Rule: Don’t let the kid eat in front of a screen.
Reality: When a kid is sick, all bets are off.

Rule: Giving a kid access to devices will make them beg for screen time.
Reality: Have you ever met a toddler who didn’t beg for something? It’s called pushing limits, and it’s his job right now. Also, he begs for books and songs and the opportunity to flick a light switch.

Rule: Early iPad use will give your kid ADD.
Reality: The Boo will spend as much time, if not more, playing in the kitchen cabinets, or packing and unpacking things, or demanding that I read him book after book. He’ll also walk away from the iPad when he’s bored with it.

Rule: Kids who use technology early lack empathy.
Reality: My kid offers to kiss our boo-boos and recently apologized to a kid he bumped with a piece of gym equipment.

All that said, we don’t give the Boo unlimited screen time, and he doesn’t watch TV (just short videos while we brush his teeth). We also don’t give him the iPad if he’s begging or whining for it. In short, our technology policy for him is the same as the one for us: Don’t be an idiot.

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You are 23 months old.

You received a wooden train set for Christmas. Your favorite thing to do with it is flip up the arms on the crossing gate.

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You also enjoy fitting together two or three random pieces of track and dumping all the pieces out of the huge basket where they live.

You know when Mama skips a page of your favorite book, and you do not hesitate to tell her so.

You have learned to ask, “May I?” while grabbing things off the countertops. Sometimes you add a “please.”

You started saying the Telugu words for “what” and “hang on” during a recent Skype call with your Indian grandmother.

You have known for a while that sheet music is to songs as books are to reading. But now you try to pick out the songs after Mama finishes playing.

You adore packing and unpacking things: the matchbox car carrier, groceries, the dishwasher, a case of MP3 player stuff.

You talk around things that are in your mouth: straws, toothbrushes, your thumb, your bottle. And so now we ask you to take things out of your mouth and repeat yourself so we can understand you.

You have counted to four once, and to two once, both times while picking things up. You also count along when Mama counts the stairs as we go up or down.

You do not like Mama to carry you up or down the stairs, and will yell “walk!” in protest, but you often hold your arms up for Daddy to carry you.

You are roughly 34 inches tall and somewhere between 25 and 26 pounds.

You cried as soon as you saw the nurse at the doctor’s office, refusing to get on the scale and weeping your way through an armpit temperature reading. As far as we can figure out, she give you a shot a long time ago.

You know there’s a camera in your room, because daddy told you.

You are still an angel on the changing table, though you have begun to twist from side to side as you try to see things on the floor.

You have a five-syllable word: peekakabaga, your mashup of peekaboo and kabaga, which is your word for kaboom. You also have many new words, chief among them: booger, medicine, snot, kaboom, game, really, bless you, peanut butter, wallet, careful, broken, fixed, better and booty. You have also begun to string two and three words together: Hi bug, open Sesame, goodbye daddy, may I please.

You have seen three snowfalls this winter but have yet to play in the snow because every time, you’ve been sick, or Mama’s been sick, or the temperatures have been deadly.

You respected the Christmas tree while it was up, helped put the ornaments away, and asked after it when it disappeared from the living room.

You were shown “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and wandered out of the room after 5 minutes.

You repeat words in conversations that take place while you are concentrating on something, the most stunning example being at a kiddie art class where you were talking to Grammie and Mama and stopped to repeat a color uttered by a kid across the room.

You’re very, very good at repeating a word after hearing it for the first time.

You are beginning to attempt to sing and for a while you said “la-la” if Mama asked you to sing a song. This week, you began to actually vocalize, sweet little lines of “ahhhhh.”

You said “sorry” to a boy you bumped with a piece of gym equipment — your first spontaneous apology.

You are 23 months old, and sometimes you still fold up your legs and feet exactly like you did when you were a newborn.

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Recently I’ve been napping more because the kiddo has been sick, and even though I’ve been exhausted I haven’t always been able to fall asleep because my brain can’t stop fixating on weird things. The other day, it was on a roll thinking of phrases that sound funny when you replace one word with “baby” or “babies.”

For example:

– A good baby is hard to find.

– When baby talks, people listen.

– Let sleeping babies lie.

– Nobody expects the third baby.

– Babies heal all wounds.

– You have to break a few eggs to make a baby.

– Who’s afraid of the big bad baby?

– ‘Cause every girl’s crazy about a smart dressed baby.

– Babies never strike twice.

This game is even funnier if you play it with the word “poop”: Nobody expects the third poop. You deserve a poop today. Poop, there it is!

And yes, I do know I need to get out more.

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Oh my friends. The past few weeks have been a maelstrom of nose wiping, forehead kissing and night wakings. And I’m just talking about my husband. Ba-dum-bump.

In combination, the three of us have been sick for at least two weeks. Maybe more — it’s hard to remember. Nothing serious, just colds that have made us tired and snotty and unmotivated. In the middle of all that, we had Christmas and New Year’s (we stayed home from a party, thanks head colds!) and an expected but still very sad death in the family. Oh, and the Polar Vortex and anxiously looking out windows and wondering if the plowing company would ever show up since at least one of us might need a trip to the doctor if and when they ever opened their offices again.

All that to say I’ve missed writing, but every time I had time to do it, all I felt like doing was napping, or watching trashy TV, or cooking something more complicated than ravioli. But I’m back now, I’ve done what you’re supposed to do as a writer and sat down to just write something, anything.

In this case, it seems I’m writing about winter. Dark winter with icicle teeth and definite ideas about what you should wear and when the entire city should troop out to buy milk and bread and eggs. Or maybe illness, that unexplained, unscheduled stop that makes your baby a piteous bundle of snotty coughing and knocks everyone’s sleep schedule (almost) back to newborn days.

But hey, my Christmas flowers (above) are still going strong and a neighbor just made it up the freshly plowed communal driveway, so things are looking up.

Read Full Post »

You are 23 months old.

You received a wooden train set for Christmas. Your favorite thing to do with it is flip up the arms on the crossing gate.

20140118-103719.jpg
You also enjoy fitting together two or three random pieces of track and dumping all the pieces out of the huge basket where they live.

You know when Mama skips a page of your favorite book, and you do not hesitate to tell her so.

You have learned to ask, “May I?” while grabbing things off the countertops. Sometimes you add a “please.”

You started saying the Telugu words for “what” and “hang on” during a recent Skype call with your Indian grandmother.

You have known for a while that sheet music is to songs as books are to reading. But now you try to pick out the songs after Mama finishes playing.

You adore packing and unpacking things: the matchbox car carrier, groceries, the dishwasher, a case of MP3 player stuff.

You talk around things that are in your mouth: straws, toothbrushes, your thumb, your bottle. And so now we ask you to take things out of your mouth and repeat yourself so we can understand you.

You have counted to four once, and to two once, both times while picking things up. You also count along when Mama counts the stairs as we go up or down.

You do not like Mama to carry you up or down the stairs, and will yell “walk!” in protest, but you often hold your arms up for Daddy to carry you.

You are roughly 34 inches tall and somewhere between 25 and 26 pounds.

You cried as soon as you saw the nurse at the doctor’s office, refusing to get on the scale and weeping your way through an armpit temperature reading. As far as we can figure out, she give you a shot a long time ago.

You know there’s a camera in your room, because daddy told you.

You are still an angel on the changing table, though you have begun to twist from side to side as you try to see things on the floor.

You have a five-syllable word: peekakabaga, your mashup of peekaboo and kabaga, which is your word for kaboom. You also have many new words, chief among them: booger, medicine, snot, kaboom, game, really, bless you, peanut butter, wallet, careful, broken, fixed, better and booty. You have also begun to string two and three words together: Hi bug, open Sesame, goodbye daddy, may I please.

You have seen three snowfalls this winter but have yet to play in the snow because every time, you’ve been sick, or Mama’s been sick, or the temperatures have been deadly.

You respected the Christmas tree while it was up, helped put the ornaments away, and asked after it when it disappeared from the living room.

You were shown “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and wandered out of the room after 5 minutes.

You repeat words in conversations that take place while you are concentrating on something, the most stunning example being at a kiddie art class where you were talking to Grammie and Mama and stopped to repeat a color uttered by a kid across the room.

You’re very, very good at repeating a word after hearing it for the first time.

You are beginning to attempt to sing and for a while you said “la-la” if Mama asked you to sing a song. This week, you began to actually vocalize, sweet little lines of “ahhhhh.”

You said “sorry” to a boy you bumped with a piece of gym equipment — your first spontaneous apology.

You are 23 months old, and sometimes you still fold up your legs and feet exactly like you did when you were a newborn.

Read Full Post »

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