Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jane's (Ok, Bella's) Addiction

I have made a huge mistake.

But wait, before I get to my miserable parenting failure, let's talk for a moment about Crown's parenting success, which happened first (and which ultimately I will blame for my own mistake). I'll repeat, Crown had a brilliant idea, I tried to copy it several months later only to have it blow up in my face. Yes, you heard it here first. I'll give you a moment to chuckle about it. THAT'S ENOUGH, MOVING ON.

Let's give Crown his moment to shine. A couple of weeks before we took our winter vacation to Dominican Republic, he downloaded several episodes of Dora and Sesame Street onto his iPhone. He thought it would be a great source of entertainment (read : distraction) for Bella on the plane and might come in handy on the vacation as well, if she started to get fussy or bored. He was correct on all counts. The iPhone episodes were a God-send. Even though ultimately Bella was excellent on both plane rides, the shows did help keep her in her seat and it did keep me from having to play with stickers for the entire flight.

Oh, but one thing, the stickers were my idea. And they were also brilliant. The only problem with the stickers is that at her age (just under two at the time), she needed one of us to actually remove the stickers from the page. This gets boring really, really fast for a full-grown adult. And it NEVER GETS OLD FOR A TODDLER. You catch my drift?

ANYHOO. Crown's iPhone kids shows = brilliant. We still use them from time to time and generally they are great. Except for in the car. Because in the car they make her vomit profusely and violently and yes we learned that the hard way. Yes we did.

Fast forward a few months ahead to a faithful day in March when I dropped my cellphone in the daycare yard and it smashed into a pulp and lost all my contacts. Bummer, yes? NO! Because that allowed me to get an iPhone of my own and I am in love with my iPhone and I'm not afraid to say it. I love you iPhone. I love you so much.

Bella also took an interest in my iPhone and I thought it was really cute. She actually learned to turn it on and find my contacts and make calls to people. Hee hee, isn't that cute? OMG it's sooooo cute. I thought it was soooo cute and that she was such a genius about being able to use it so easily, I mean, she's not even TWO AND A HALF and she can use it almost as well as I can. It's amazing! She's advanced! Her brilliance should be encouraged. At this rate she'll be developing new technologies for NASA by her tween years!

So what did I do? I learned to put the phone on Airplane Mode, so that she couldn't call and bother my contacts anymore (sorry, Barberella my hair salon, that person that called you 40 times and just said "hello, hello, hello" into the phone? That was my toddler. Please don't take it out on my hair.) I got a case for my phone, so she wouldn't be quite as likely to guarantee it the same fate as my last phone. And then, and here's where the colossal FAIL kicks in, I downloaded her several toddler-friendly apps and let her at it.


For a while it was great. It started out slow. "I want Mommy's phone. Mommy, I want your phone." It was a way to get her to stop focusing on the television. "Mommy, can I have your phone, I want Mommy's phone."

Haha. "She sure loves it. Ha. Cute. Ha?"

I now know she was just humouring me by calling it "Mommy's" phone. As soon as there were flash cards that made actual animal sounds and games that allowed her to interact with Dora and Boots, that phone was no longer "Mommy's" at all. But for a while she kept up the pretense that it was mine. Soon the asking became demanding. And soon the demanding became full-on spazzing. Not just when she suddenly wanted the phone, but every single time she saw it.


And now? NOW? Now I can't even pull it out when she's in the same room without handing it over. This means I can't use the phone ever when she's with me. Which, unless I'm at work, is ALWAYS. And when we're together it has to remain on Airplane mode so that when she gets it (and she always gets it) she can't disturb my friends and colleagues with her random texts and calls. So, essentially, it is not a phone at all anymore. It's Bella's expensive and sophisticated play thing.

That's right. I am the enabler of a toddler with a serious iPhone addiction. And I want to free her of it, I really do. Sometimes I get tough about it. "NO Bella. Not right now. Mommy is using the phone. This is MOMMY'S phone. You have your books and toys. Play with those."

And you want to know what happens? Well I'm about to show you. I assure you, no toddlers were hurt in the making of this video. It's quite possible that a mother was slightly injured. After you've watched this you may laugh at my parenting fail for one full minute and we'll never speak of it again.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

You've Got a Friend

One of the most amazing things that Bella has learned at daycare is the concept of friendship. She has a little gaggle of gorgeous children that she's been together with now for a year and a half. At daycare all the kids are referred to as "friends" in their daily language and so Bella has been talking about her daycare "friends" for many months.

She definitely has favourites. Two boys, in particular, Duncan and Carter, I'd consider to be her current BFFs. The three have been together since the first trying days of the infant room right through until two weeks ago when Carter (probably one of Bella's favourite people ever, she actually said "Carter" before she said "Mama," no joke) was graduated over to the preschool group. I felt sad that the two would be separated for a while and worried that Bella would be upset, but kids are resilient as we know, and though she asked about him the first few mornings he was gone - "Carter is in preschool Mommy?" - she mostly took it all in stride and seems to know that they will be reunited soon.

And by soon, I mean a matter of weeks! My little baby is starting preschool on July 5. PRESCHOOL. Which, though she's moving over a little young, and I know it's just a fancy title for the daycare group, still means that she is in the realm of being a school-aged kid. This makes me feel a little dizzy. And I'm sure that the speed at which my little baby will develop once she moves over with the "big kids" won't do much to sooth my spinning head.

The transition itself also has me a little stressed. She didn't deal that well with her move from the infant to toddler room, and she's a kid that is very set in her routines. I anticipate that there will be some tearful mornings for a while. But I'm also hopeful that because she's so much more communicative now, and able to reason a little more than she was last summer, this move will go a little smoother. Plus, she's moving with Duncan (BFF #2) and Erin (another favourite "friend") so I'm sure that they will all provide each other with some sense of stability and comfort. And of course, she'll be reunited with Carter.

Though Carter may be Bella's favourite human friend, I think this might be a good time to point out that she's got another very good friend in her life. One that has become a daily playmate, a special constant, a protector, a furry force to feed, cuddle and torment. I was so worried when Bella was born that she and my fur baby would not get along. Thankfully my worries were entirely and astronomically unfounded.

As it turns out, my formerly crusty and kid-hating pooch is just a big softy after all. He's understanding, gentle and patient with her, even when she's trying to shove a sticker down his throat or use his curly tail as a teething toy. Just as any great friend should be.

Here's proof: