I’m not a Luddite. I don’t eschew technology. I, by no means, dream of being Wilma Flintstone and using a baby wooly mammoth as a vacuum cleaner. I don’t know a lot about wooly mammoths, but I’m betting they shed worse than any german shepherd and I’m sure not even a case of Gain Febreze would dilute their pre-historic stench. I embrace technology. Why, I wake up every morning and kiss my phone. What I have trouble with is how technology has turned some parents into total idiots.
I’m not talking about the general daily rudeness of people talking incessantly on their phones anywhere and at anytime. That, I’m sad to say, I’ve gotten used to. I’m almost ready to declare, “I surrender” on social media taking over our lives. Once moms took their obsession in utero, I got my white flag ready. What? You’re kidding me – you haven’t been to a baby shower where the mother-to-be hasn’t made a Facebook page for her fetus? It’s so 2007 for your unborn child not to already have a Twitter handle? At the last baby shower I attended all the guests were asked to whip out their smart phones and “like” the FB page of the 27 week gestation guest of honor. The unborn child’s status update was, “Knowing I’m going to love all the great gifts I’m going to get at my baby shower today!” The profile picture was the most recent sonogram. The baby also had a Twitter account. The mother was tweeting “for the baby,” during the shower. After she opened a gift, there she would go, right to her phone, and tweet something about each present. Here’s what she tweeted about mine, “I’m not even here yet, but I already love this super soft blanket. Mommy could you please put it on your tummy right now?” (P.S. A Tweet does not replace a thank you note.)
Some of you may think this is just sooo adorable and you’d be wrong. Wrong, because it’s cloying obnoxious. Your not yet born child does not need to reach out from the womb and start “liking” Pampers on Facebook and following mommy’s ob/gyn on Twitter. A pregnant woman should have more loftier concerns then trying to increase her “two month’s away from due date” baby’s FB friends. One pregnant mom told me her goal was for her baby to have “at least 500 friends before she was even born.” I gently tried to tell her goal should be to get some sleep because that was soon going to be in short supply. Sleep or Facebook? What a 21st century maternal conundrum.
Just as I was learning to deal with/disguise my social media irritation every man, woman and child had to go out and get an i Pad. Did you know the i Pad 2 is the number one requested birthday gift from any child hitting the 12 month mark? Okay, I made that up, but I did, just last week, attend the first birthday party for a precious boy and he got, you guessed it, an i Pad 2. His mother remarked that, “He just started using my i Pad so I figured he needed one of his own.” What did he like best about it using it for teething or slobbering? That mother’s ridiculous remark was one upped by another mom who contributed that her baby was using an i Pad at four months. Really, mothers, an i Pad competition? Can’t you just stick to the time-honored tradition of bragging that your child started sleeping through the night when they were only 96 hours old?
Whatever, that whole gift thing is none of my business. What is my business is when parents think their i Pad has super powers like invisibility. Try enjoying your child’s next band or choir concert when the i Padrent sitting in front of you is hoisting their 7.31 x 9.50 tablet in the air – rendering you blind. Alert Snarky reader Annie recently commented on this experience. “You get this screen glow and can see them zooming in on their child. Go ahead and try to look around you can’t. It’s a big, bright light right there in your face.”
I’m predicting that before the end of the school year, somewhere in America, there will be a i Padrent throw down. Two tablet wielding parents will be ready to rumble because one parent’s i Pad 2 blocked the other’s parents i Pad from recording for posterity, Facebook and You Tube their kid singing, My Country Tis of Thee. I can see the other parents crowding around, forming a circle, chanting, “Fight, fight, fight” as they put their tablets in record mode.
I know what I’m talking about. I got into with a i Padrent last week. There I was minding my own business (really I was) at the movies. I had taken my daughter to see Disney’s Arrietty. The coming attractions had just started when a mom comes in with her two boys. One looked about 7, the other seemed to be 4. She pulls two gallon size Ziploc bags from her purse that are stuffed with what I’m guessing, due to the sheer quantity, is left over Halloween, Christmas and Valentine Day’s candy. She gets her boys settled in the row right in front of us and then leaves. Not the theatre, mind you, but she goes and sits 16 rows in front of her kids. (Yes, I counted.) I’m thinking WTH? What mom doesn’t sit with her young children. The mystery is solved when she pulls out an i Pad, puts on some huge headphones that resemble what you would wear on an airport tarmac to direct planes to their gate and begins to watch something on her screen.
As you can imagine, the shining beacon that is the i Pad screen can be seen fairly well in a dark movie theatre. Also, her two boys that are sitting 16 rows behind her are not happy campers. They’re fighting, using their outdoor voices and when not enjoying kicking seats are standing up in them, presumably to better see their mother. I wait a good 15 minutes to see if A) The boys settle down and get into the movie or B) Pray that someone, who is not me, will go alert the mother to her children’s distress. None of the above occurred. Oh sure, other people in the theatre complained to their seat mates about the boys and one grandma kept shushing them, but no one got up. Tag, I was it.
I get up, walk down to the mother and see she’s watching The Bachelor. “Good Lord, woman,” I think, The Bachelor. You’re ruining the movie for everyone in the theatre and ditched your boys so you can watch The Bachelor!” Talk about a cry for help. I lean over to her and say, “Excuse me, but your two boys seem to be missing you a lot. You might want to sit with them.”
“Huh? What?” she says in a peeved voice as she takes off her industrial grade headphones. From the looks of it I’ve interrupted her during one of The Bachelor’s riveting rose ceremonies. Is she expecting me to apologize or something? I repeat my previous plea and get another dirty look from her. To appease me, I guess, she stands up and waves at her boys, but makes no move to go sit with them. So again, I gently advise her to sit with her kids and because I ‘m thinking this mom in spatially challenged add, “You know that i Pad screen is incredibly distracting. If you don’t want people to be bothered by it you could go grab your kids and move to the very back row.”
That really ticks her off and I’m guessing she’s also picked up on the fact that I’m not going back to my seat until she goes to her boys. So she grabs her tote bag, her i Pad, motions to her kids and they mercifully leave the theatre. When this happens the crowd, or at least, the other parents in the audience applaud. I’m feeling pretty good about my problem solving abilities until after the movie my daughter and I are getting a drink refill (free with purchase of a large beverage) and we hear people leaving another movie complaining about a mom, two rowdy young boys and an i Pad. The woman didn’t leave she just switched theaters! If only I had a cloak of invisibility I would have taken her i Pad and submerged it in a vat of movie theatre butter. Instead, I braced myself for, what I’m sure will be, more upcoming adventures in i Padrenting – The Technically Annoying Years.
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