Tag Archives: Facebook

Thoughts (okay, a rant) on screen time

I follow a number of mummy groups on Facebook. I’ve posted a few small questions or comments, but mostly I lurk and read what others are saying. Recently one mummy asked what channels and shows were best for educational and musical programming for her 9 month old.

Immediately, I knew I had to contribute….if only to be a voice that provided a suggestion (Sesame Street, duh) and didn’t go all holier than thou about screen time. Because there were a few of those.

You know the ones. The “paediatrician’s recommend no screen time before 2 and MY child is 3 years old and has NEVER EVER even seen a screen” ones. The ones that kindly suggest that, rather than allowing your child screen time, you spend time playing learning games and reading to them. The ones that think they’re better than you.

A few thoughts….

Maybe these people are lucky to live in mansions, or at least very large houses, where they have separate play rooms filled to bursting with learning toys. Houses in which a baby or toddler can roam about, and never once come across a television screen (would such parents allow their children to roam about? Hmm…).

I do not live in such a house. I live in a small bungalow. My son has a small bedroom with a few toys and mostly books in it. There is no play room. The rest of his toys are in the living room, where our TV just happens to be located. So yeah….he’s been exposed to the TV screen pretty much since birth, because we like to have him with us, and we like to watch television from time to time. Has he been paying attention to it all this time? Not really. Opening credits featuring lively music do tend to grab his attention. But unless it’s Olympic Hockey or Luge (for real!), or Elmo….he couldn’t really care less, and goes about playing with his own toys with the TV in the background.

Boo Boo watching CBC

Boo was playing with the universal remote – and somehow managed to turn on the TV (I can barely turn on the TV) – where a children’s program was already on! I rewarded his ingenuity (luck) by allowing him to watch a bit. After a few minutes he lost interest, and got back to playing guitar.

Many of these “my child has NEVER” types are very active in the mummy groups….which require a screen (be it computer, tablet or mobile) to participate. When and where are these women looking at, and commenting on, Facebook? Considering their level of participation, how are they keeping this part of their lives completely hidden from their budding geniuses? Are their children so engrossed in interactive play (with someone else presumably) that they don’t see mummy using her screens? Or is it because they’re in daycare, or with the nanny, and so it doesn’t really matter what mummy’s doing?

My Boo absolutely sees me checking my email, social media, or texts from time to time. I don’t do it excessively in his presence…but I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist (plus, since I work from home, sometimes I HAVE to read/answer that email).

Do they never answer their mobile phones in the presence of their children? And if so, did their luddite children show no curiosity whatsoever in them? (What kid isn’t interested in the phone? ANY phone?) Have they never used Skype or FaceTime to video chat with a long-distance loved one who’d like to see their child’s face, in real time, to see their expressions and reactions?

I’m not lucky enough to have everyone I love live in the same city as me. My parents live in another city, and have recently started the transition to snowbird (spending more and more time in Florida – lucky ducks), which means I often find myself using FaceTime so that Nana and Gramps can see their little Boo.

Do they not use their smartphones to snap pictures or capture videos of their angelic cherubs? Do they never show said pictures or videos to their little angels? (I mean…how cute is it to see their reactions to seeing THEMSELVES on the phone??)

If not….WTF? Are they only using a digital camera? Do they ever download and VIEW their pictures/videos? Or are they completely analog? Do their children only see printed photos and no home videos whatsoever?

Boo watching home videos

We upload our home videos to a media server and watch them on our TV….Boo enjoys them as much as we do!

And what about interactive play involving a screen? I’m not talking about plopping your kid in front of an app, but rather using a screen in a complementary fashion to other activities. For instance: Boo loves to look at books of animal pictures. I try as hard as I can to tell him about them, and to make animal sounds. It just so happens that there are a ton of animals for which I have absolutely no fucking idea what kind of sound they make. A flamingo? A walrus? How about a giraffe?

So we grab my phone and look them up. We find YouTube videos displaying pictures or video and – most importantly – sounds of the animals illustrated in Boo’s books. Is this going to turn my son’s brain into mush? I doubt it very much. What it *is* doing, however, is making him even more enthusiastic about animals (at least the ones that don’t make him cry….he really didn’t like the sounds coming out of that angry chimpanzee).

The judgement. The implication that, instead of trying to stimulate and educate my child, I’d rather throw him in front of the TV babysitter and go chat in my mummy’s groups or watch soap operas.

Ahem.

This is the worst one. Because they’re totally judging you. They’re judging you without knowing anything about you, your life, or your child. They don’t know if you didn’t get any sleep last night, and just need a 10 or 15 minute break where you don’t have to run after your toddler. They don’t know if your little one has been crying non-stop from teething, but stops as soon as he sees Elmo sing and dance on the screen. They don’t know if you have one, two or three (or more!) other children to care for, all vying for your time and attention, and you just need to distract at least one of them for a few minutes so you can take a bathroom break. They don’t know if you’re looking for educational and valuable screen options to keep your child occupied on an upcoming trip, or at one of your very few restaurant outings, without having to lug heavy books and umpteen toys with you. They don’t know…..

They just don’t know.

Boo looking at the iPad

Over the holidays my total count of restaurant dinners since Boo’s birth finally filled one hand….you better believe my little man gets to play on the iPad when our dinners are served so I have a few moments to eat, without his grabby little fingers in my plate!

So instead of judging you and telling the world how much better they are by protecting their precious little children from the inherent evils of all screens until they’re 10 years old….the “my child has NEVER” types should just shut up. They can parent their children however they want to, and I’ll be quite content to parent my children in whatever way I see fit. Even if that includes a screen from time to time.

Seriously.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

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Blog Stalking

As a new(ish) mom I’ve had lots of opportunities to read. And by read, I mean that I have lots of small snippets of time to read articles posted to Facebook, and short blog posts.

To be completely honest, there’s very little time for actual books, and admittedly I don’t have enough concentration to follow plot lines if I’m only able to read a page or two at a time. Old me – who used to read about a book a week – would be very very disappointed in mummy me. But to hell with old me. She had so much time on her hands, she barely knew what to do with it. Who needs classic literature anyway? And honestly…do I really need to read Pride & Prejudice again? I’ll leave my umpteenth reading for when the baby’s in university.

So, while I’m nursing Boo, half-watching Boo play with his many many toys, helping Boo fall asleep, taking a little “me time” on my throne (yes….that’s prime time for scrolling through my RSS reader), or shortly before I fall into bed, I “read”.

Boo playing in a crate

Here are a few of the blogs I’m currently stalking:

A Cup of Jo
Joanna Goddard blogs about her life in NYC, style, makeup, relationships, recipes, motherhood, and more. She’s got two cuties, one of whom had a birthday photo submitted to Reasons My Son Is Crying (they sang the happy birthday song to him). Last year she started an amazing series of posts about motherhood in other countries. So so good. Hers is also the only blog that has ever made me all out cry. I’m talking blubbering with tears streaming down my face at about 3am while nursing the little one. Oof.

Elycia
Elycia is a fellow Canadian who used to blog a lot about her hair, her clothes, her cats, her thrifty finds, etc. Then she had a baby and now she mostly blogs about him, family, and her 365 project (going on her 2nd year….totally impressive). I enjoy being a bit of a voyeur into her little man’s life (and his wardrobe…he wears everything I wish I could buy/find for Boo)….plus I like her “blog voice”.

enJOY it by Elise Blaha Cripe
Elise makes things like it’s her job (note: it is her job)….and she’s kind of my blogger crush. She crafts in multiple mediums, sells her work online, blogs about it, blogs about being a small business owner, podcasts about it all, and on top of it still blogs about her life and her beautiful little girl. I love pretty much everything about this blog. This one is a must must read for me.

Love Taza | Rockstar Diaries
I don’t think I’ve ever seen two more photogenic children than Samson and Eleanor. They are the cutest little things to behold in this photo-heavy blog written by their mama Naomi, about living as a family in New York City (and going on lots of family visits out west). I love reading about their adventures, seeing the many many pictures, and coveting the whole family’s style. So great. A little less great is the lack of any capitalization whatsoever. Drives me a little batty.

Operation Tubetop
I believe Tova, the author of this blog, is (at the very least) Facebook friends with one of my Facebook friends. Some comment or other showed up in my newsfeed, I got intrigued, moseyed on over to take a look, and got hooked. Tova is a Canadian living in Vienna with her husband and son. Of all the blogs I read, hers is the most like an actual diary. It’s very real, sometimes almost stream of consciousness, and I like it because of that.

the ugly volvo
Written and illustrated (!) by a comedian and mother. It makes me laugh. Enough said.

So that’s my top 6 at the moment. What are your current favourite blogs? Any I should check out? Please share!

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