Original Story Date: January, 2011
In this age of advanced medicine and powerful, albeit controversial, childhood immunizations, I find myself chuckling here on the sidelines of the game of life. So what exactly am I laughing at? Well, I am laughing because in-spite of all that wonderful, modern medicine, my child still manages to gets infected…and in her case, there isn’t a cure.
Watch out, technology is infecting our children, and altering their lives!
Wow, I sure sound like an old fart when I read that back. It’s not as if I wasn’t exposed to technology, I mean I was raised in the era of advancing technology. The newfangled 40 pound PC was my ticket out of childhood and into the challenging world of adulthood. (Somehow, I thought that the adult world would be a place I would finally fit into…silly me)
So, what does it look like when technology infects your child?
First, their language gets altered; their similes may start to include references to video games, or you may notice that their voice starts to mimic that of an electronic device. Can’t picture it? Here, take a look at how it played out the other night.
Scene takes place in Hannah’s bedroom as bedtime approaches. She has been playing quietly in her room, so she has no problem hearing the advancing footsteps of her parental units, which she knows is signaling the end of her fun time.
Now we all know that this moment in time (transitioning them to bed) is like skating on thin ice. If you come at it like a military drill instructor, you will crack that ice, and doom yourself to an evening of mild chaos – (escalating voices, ultimatums, and a 100% guarantee that there will be at least 2 grumpy people in the morning).
If you come at it like a sweet kindly fairy-godmother figure, you might as well stamp “stupid” on your forehead – (this method starts all sugary sweet with kind words and sing-song syrupy promises of just “one more this” or “one more that”, and 3 hours later you find yourself having escalated to ultimatums just like that dang drill instructor, but he has gotten 3 more hours of sleep than you did.)
We think we have struck a good balance with our choice of transition personas; somewhere between Mrs. Doubtfire and Mary Poppins. (I won’t mention who is who..lol)
Well, Hannah decides that she isn’t going to play defense tonight by waiting for us to make the first move. No, she decides to change the rules in the middle of this game called life. She proceeds to ambush us with a cunning and skillful offense. And if I didn’t know exactly where she was for the past 6 years, I would swear she had attended classes on negotiation and crises aversion tactics.
So what did our little child do? She silently slipped under her comforter and unbeknownst to us, morphed into a human answering machine. As we walked into her room reciting the evening ritual of go’s & get’s; (go potty, get undressed, go brush, get pj’s on, get water, go to bed) we weren’t confronted with any push back; actually, we got no human response from her at all. What we do hear being recited with a slight muffle is the following:
“Hannah is not here right now, please leave a message after the beep…….Beeeeep”, followed by silence.
Now this offensive attack was as effective as a flash grenade, and had us both stunned and silenced with our mouths hanging agape. And like any good strategist would know, you never celebrate a victory after the initial attack. So our little darling never broke cover and patiently waited for her father and I to start exchanging the “did you just hear what she said” comments and the “who in the world taught her that” looks. Then wham, as if triggered by voice activation…..
“you have reached Hannah’s room, Hannah is not here at the moment, please leave a message after the beep……Beeeeeep”.
Well, at this point we did what any parents with control issues would do. We left a message.
“Hannah, it is time for bed. Please go potty, get undressed, go brush your teeth, get pj’s on, get your water… and climb in bed.”
And, we quickly left the room before she could launch another assault. We barely had time to make it to the living room, sit down and exchange the WTF looks, before the next attack hit. Our little military genius had broken cover, and walked up behind us and proceeded to hit us with the kill shot. And honestly, we never even saw it coming.
“Hey, did one of you leave me a message? I deleted it before I listened to it”