As a mother of a 2 year old – this is usually a question we often end up asking each other in kids play area while talking to other moms. It’s a challenge – that’s usually the answer from each one of us.
So, what do I do? Typical evening in my house.
“Joey, its dinner time. Come, mom made your favorite aloo parantha with curd.”
No reaction from the child. Then I hold him and tell him the same thing.
“No no no. I don’t want to eat.”
“Ok, do you want something else? Do you want butter with it? Or do you want paneer ki sabji?”
No reaction yet again.
“Come baby, we will read this book. I got you a new story book.”
“No, I don’t want.” He says while running around the entire house.
Tired after horrible day at work – I feel the frustration rising inside me. It is already 9 pm and if he doesn’t eat now, his sleep time will get delayed and then tomorrow morning will be a challenge. And a thought crosses my mind – when will the day come when he will just sit on his own and eat?
“Come Joey, we will watch YouTube – Dora the Explorer has a new episode”. I give up finally and that little tinge of guilt crooks up, but I turn it down. I will not give him phone from next weekend – I make a self-resolution which I know will not last.
Joey comes quickly as obedient kid and takes his place on his chair. Dinner is done in 13 mins maximum. And then another challenge begins.
“Joey give me the phone back now. Dinner is done.”
No reaction. He is just so engrossed in watching which place will Dora visit next! I wait till his episode of 20 mins get over. But damn this YouTube, they just start off the next episode in just 10 seconds. Then there is bit of struggle in getting the phone back from him but finally I succeed. So overall, 22 mins of phone time! This multiplied by 3 times a day. Not a good sign at all. It is not always YouTube there is Angry Birds, Talking Tom, Color Squad and so many more! Why do they make such apps and why do I even install such things?? No idea!
Post dinner Joey wants me to read a story to him and probably sing nursery rhymes with him at the top of the voice. And many times actually enact them as well. So we start doing just that. We start with “Teddy bear, teddy bear”, “Daddy finger”, “Incy wincy spider” and then the story of “Pied piper” followed by “Hansel and Gretel”. In middle of the story, I see my phone beep and there a WhatsApp notification from my best friend who is in the US. She will leave for work in some time and then I won’t be able to chat with her and there is one important topic that cannot wait. So now I start to multitask between WhatsApping her and reading stories to my son. 15 mins later, he is frustrated and cranky and so am I!
This is an everyday story for me and I am sure for a lot of other moms. I don’t know how our mothers managed us without mobile apps, Tata sky and chromecast. Our generation cannot think of not having technology as a partner in parenting.
Sometimes it is 2 year old not eating without phone, other times it is a 5 year old learning how to fight the goons from our Bollywood masala. There are also many 13 year olds who are fighting with their parents for a smartphone and others who want a Facebook or an Instagram account. There are many kids who love to play Dark Knight, Pokemon or Minecraft sitting in a room comfortably engrossed in the virtual world. There are kids who simply hate the fact that they are asked to play Football, Cricket, Tennis in the real fields. There are adults who check their phones on an average of every 10 mins – you can imagine the power of concentration that we have.
I recently read a sarcastic joke on WhatsApp – “Can you imagine that there are still some hopeless people in this world who hold a toothbrush in their hands as soon as they wake up instead of their phone?” Well it is indeed unimaginable. I don’t remember the last time I did not check my phone as soon as I woke up. Do you remember???