Like just about everything else, I feel like there’s an enormous spectrum of what’s appropriate and what works for each individual and each family. I am absolutely guilty of using my smart phone to check in with friends on Facebook or flood Instagram with pictures of Miss E trying every new thing, though there’s always that little voice in the back of my head encouraging me to stop click-clicking and get down on the floor with her and play. And I usually do. But those few minutes with my device? That’s a part of my life, and it’s going to be a part of Miss E’s life, too. Already she’ll pull my tablet into her lap, her little pointer finger tapping on the screen and looking at me expectantly, as though expecting me to offer her the password. While it’s my sincere hope to limit her screen time to zero until she’s two, I don’t harbor any delusions that she won’t enjoy video games and silly cartoons as much as her mama and dad, when the time comes.
Without technology, I wouldn’t have captured the soft, snuffley little sounds she used to make when she was just a month old, lying on a blanket in the nursery with my iPod recording beside her head. When I discovered these files months later, having forgotten them in the haze of new parenthood, I was elated. I still listen to them when I need cheering, and I expect I will in years to come. I don’t remember her coos this clearly, and it’s an incredible gift to have them forever (or for as long as there’s a compatible means of playing them, I’m crossing my fingers).
If it weren’t for my obsessive camera toting, I wouldn’t have taken this picture. While it was a delight for my husband and I, it was made even more special when I shared it (again, on Facebook) to the comments of friends and family, one of whom remarked that her expression was not only a happy one, but one of complete trust in her dad. And that’s not something that occurred to me, and that’s a face I’m sure we’ll want to remember when she’s fourteen. The friend in question? She lives on another continent. Our ability to communicate thanks to prolific social media, and the privilege of being able to share my daughter with her as she grows, is something I cherish.
I absolutely feel like it is possible to enjoy the little things, the simple and timeless pleasures of parenthood, and still participate in a modern, technology rich culture. This is the world we live in now, and I embrace what brings joy and moderate the rest.