The Electronic Age (Shouldn’t Begin in Infancy)

Before going ahead with the next misstep, I’d like to mention that one way to lessen the embarrassment involved with using newfangled baby products is to conduct some trial runs prior to first usage out in the big, bad world. Especially when the big, bad world is hot and on fire and plagued with hurricanes and whatnot. There’s nothing worse than hoping for the best, and then when you finally find a sliver of a parking spot in between two SUVs after narrowly escaping being flattened by a mini Hummer and sideswiped by a renegade shopping cart (at the same time!), your “easy-to-use” shopping cart cover won’t even unfold from handy carrying case mode or you somehow end up with your arm instead of your child in the sling. And even though you applied plenty of deodorant, you’re praying to the heavens you’re approached by someone touting samples of perfume, body spritzer, Febreze—whatever. Anyhow, trial runs. Remember how it was a good idea to find your classes before your first day of high school? It’s sort of like that. Your deodorant probably failed you then, too.

12. Letting the child touch the mobile phone . . . ever. To each his/her own, but I get so annoyed when I see play mobile phones in the toddler toy aisle. C’mon, it’s bad enough we’ve convinced ourselves that every child, seven and up (and younger, no doubt) requires a phone for safety reasons. I know this is the age of divorce; I know a phone in the hands of a child has probably saved lives, but still. Ew. As if there aren’t five billion more distractions in their little lives than we ever had at their age. And we had plenty. But I digress before even getting started.

I was never pro-putting-a-mobile-phone-in-my-baby’s-hands because I don’t even like my own phone near my head. So I was a little surprised when my pediatrician of all people laughingly discussed how young Eloise was probably squirmy during diaper changes, and how giving her my phone or keys would help. Oh yeah? My lead-laden keys and my brain-altering phone? Hm! That was still permeating my gray matter when Eloise began to get truly out of hand during diaper changes a couple months ago, so I did it—I gave her the phone; and it was if she were given the secret to true happiness. She flipped it over and over. “This side lights up! This side doesn’t. This side lights up! This side doesn’t.” Over and over and over again. Obviously, it assuaged disaster during diaper time, but the removal of the phone from her hand prompted the worst tantrums I’ve witnessed. To this day, if she gets a hold of the phone, the nemesis who tries to take it from her better be prepared for some serious baby cursing.

In lieu of phone fondling, we do allow Eloise to explore the mechanics of the DVD player. Of course, now we can’t watch DVDs when she’s around because she’ll go screw around with the components either throughout the entire movie or in the last 20 minutes. We’re also a tad concerned that she’s communicating with space and will one day soon be retrieved by her people.

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