My little guy and I had a long wait at the base hospital yesterday, waiting for him to be seen for a high fever that had been around since Saturday morning. [No need for alarm! The ER stands in for an urgent care clinic over here. They confirmed there wasn’t an infection, and, hooray! the fever broke today.]
I could do nothing to hold his attention for any period of time. Each book or toy or snack pulled out of my bag was met with this newly and profusely used “No.”
So I pulled out the iPod. I just handed it to him, because he can unlock it and find his games and play them. Other people in the waiting room were completely astounded. “How old is he?” “He is SO smart!” “What is he, two and a half?” I just felt embarassed that people had noticed that my baby can deftly manipulate a digital device before the age of two.
Yes, he IS smart. But it’s not like he knew what to do the first time he picked up my phone. Clearly he has had time to practice.
The thing is, I don’t feel entirely terrible about it. This child is up and at ’em for 12 hours each day. He runs and jumps and climbs and stacks and sorts and builds and draws and dances. We read books, we make meals, he helps me with chores. Until this week, TV was scarce – one and half (5-minute) episodes of Thomas every other day at most on my watch. It’s not like I’m leaving this kid in a corner with an iPad while I, I dunno, accomplish things.
That said, we established a new household rule this week. The iThings are to be saved for travel and desperate times. Like hanging out in the hospital.
We have some really great apps that he really seems to get a lot out of. I would hate to burn him out on them before, say, a 9-hour plane ride to Minnesota! (If you care to know, Interactive Alphabet and Zoo Train are tops right now, and I’m going to try out Train World Builder for the trip.)
What about you? Can your toddler operate your digital devices with more ease than your grandma? Do you limit play time on them?