Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Car, Where Imagination Lives

I'm not a fan of preschoolers with technology. I know that a little bit of time spent on the computer or iPhone can be educational and in the right place and at the right time, we set limits. But we aren't a DS family, and the only time it's allowed in the car are on extended travel trips, and even then, it's the DVD player for a movie.

It's a rule I set when they were just toddlers, mainly because due to our commute, we spend more than your average amount of time on weekdays in the car. And secondly because I heard a story once about a 16 year old that passed their drivers exam only to get lost finding their way out of their subdivision because he had spent the previous 12 years with his nose pressed into an electronic game or watching a DVD player non stop and let me say, not gonna be my kid someone else blogs about.

I even go so far as to keep the radio off most of the time. I have my two boys strapped in their seats for an uninterrupted minimum 45 minutes a day, and by God I'm going to use it to my advantage. Granted, most days that involves at least one threat of me pulling over the car if the arguing doesn't stop and there has been more than one ocassion that my hands were gripping the wheel so tightly to avoid screaming "SHUT UP!!!" at the top of my lungs - all while listening to one or the other sob incessantly because I denied them a free cookie at the Publix bakery after they had spent the 45 minute trip through the store pummeling one another in the seat of the grocery cart.

But some days, it's a blessing and we get to talk about the "beautiful colors" - penned by Duke, of the sunrise or sunset or Jack asks a question about whether something he witnessed at school was right or wrong and why and we talk about what our family stands for and the reasons we might do things differently than other families. But mostly, it's the steering wheel thing...

Today however was a "wish I had a tape recorder handy" drive.

It started innocently enough, both asking for the old, long battery dead, flip phones that I've thrown into their toy box - two of them had migrated this week into the car. What I next witnessed nearly brought me to laugh out loud. And make note, there is no actual power to either phone.

"Beep, boop, beep. I'm going to be the yellow Ironman with a jet pak"

"Yeah, me too, no wait, Ironman can't be yellow. I'm downloading Mario Cars 7"

"Oh yeah, is it done yet?"

"No, you have to wait...ok, it's downloaded. Beep, boop, beep.. yea! I'm on the top of the building!"

"I'm playing Battleship."

"You have Battleship on your iPhone? That's cool, did you download it?"

"Yeah, it's cool. Beep, boop, CRASH! I got it! You got to play this game Jack! It's awesome!"

And for the next 10 minutes, the two of them PRETENDED to play IMAGINARY games on BROKEN old phones INTERACTING with one another the entire time. And it ended with this...

"I'm turing off my iPhone, I've had enough time on it today."

"Yeah, it's time for it to be put up."

This is what this tech saavy Mom, who spends more than her share of her work day on a computer either progamming or teaching others how to interact with techonology and who wants to be especially careful that her kids grow up to be able to have a dinner conversation at a restaurant with the other people at the table rather than showing off the tops of their heads as they are bent over a screen, calls a successful drive home. I know I cannot completely avoid techonology in our lives, and I don't want to, but I can delay it and control it's appearance when it's appropriate and beneficial.