AK has virtually zero screen-time, with a few exceptions. While she was sick for almost the entire month of February, cartoons on the Disney channel provided a welcome reprieve. And, a Baby Einstein video is watched about once every two weeks. She does not yet have any "apps" on the iPad or iPhone and she is not given either to "play" with.
So, imagine my surprise, when about two months ago, she picks up my iPhone which was laying on the floor of her playroom (more on that later), holds it so close to her eyes that it's virtually touching her forehead and stares at it intently. (Just like she sees Mommy do). Then she pushes the little button and starts "talking" to Siri. (Yup. Just like she sees Mommy do). Siri wasn't as nice in her response - I got on her about that later. Something about not understanding a word of what you're saying. Geesh.
My heart drops. Really? I don't consider myself a phone junkie, but she is obviously proving me wrong. When I then think back, I realize that Mommy looking at a text here, an email there, Facebook, Instagram and any other social media platform when you're 16 months old all adds up pretty quickly. And, I do not remotely want my daughter to feel that my technologies are more important than she is.
I made a commitment right then and there - technology would only be used to take a photo of her. When I was in her presence, I would be present. Truly present. Not waiting for whomever to chirp, ring, ding or holler at me. These days of her innocence are beautiful, funny and fleeting. I don't want to miss a minute.
I'm not going to say it has been life-changing. But, it has been eye opening. Focusing all of my energies on enjoying her laughter, her silliness and her growth right-before-my-eyes has been enlightening and enjoyable. I watch her "make soup" in her play kitchen and pretend to eat it with glee. I watch her put her Little People in her bus and make it go "vroom vroom." I watch her burst into hysterics when she decides to go down her playroom slide headfirst, in only a diaper, and get stuck halfway down as her belly sticks to the slide. And, I love it.
|It's a serious conversation with Siri today|
Shortly after I made this commitment to her, I tried it out with husband. We drive to work together, with AK, and drop her off at daycare together. It's a 40 minute commute each morning - usually spent perusing the most recent posts on Facebook, adorable pictures of my friend's kids on Instagram or actually looking intelligently at the news. But, this day, I decided to keep my phone and iPad tucked away in my purse. And, a few things happened.
First, I noticed what an incredible day it was. We live in the Aspen Valley of Colorado. It's stunning. Every day. Shame on me for forgetting to rejoice in this beauty every single day. I got my phone out. To take a picture of a landscape I can hardly describe with justice. And, then I quickly put it back in my purse. I could Instagram it later.
Second, husband started talking to me. Not that we don't have riveting conversations every day, but this one was different. It was a simple, casual conversation that was sparked simply because I was available. I am so thankful I didn't miss it.
And, third, we decided to have a dance party. In the car at 7:45 in the morning. All three of us. It was hysterical. AK was bobbing her head in the backseat, where she likely usually feels ignored, (I don't blame myself for that one. It's proper safety, but every now and again, I feel bad for the kid back there facing backward all alone), husband was turning up the music and laughing as his crazy wife was getting funky to the music in the front seat. To think, I might have missed this.
I haven't been "perfect" since then, whatever that is. But, I have made a true conscious effort to put down the devices and be present with my loves. I'll take silly dance parties over chirps and dings any day of the week.