Ownership of things in a multi-child household is a complex dynamic. The way it works is that you buy something for the eldest child (Dad) and immediately the questions start being asked about when the cascade of things below it will float downstream. For instance, Dad gets a new iPad Air and suddenly the old iPad2 is a technological dinosaur/orphan that desperately needs a new parent and questions around the transfer of ownership begin to surface like bubbles in a tar-pit.
The idea always was to make the iPad2 a child iPad by removing everything except games and educational apps from it and then handing it over to the boys to play with. The problem of course is that there are two boys and only one spare iPad. So there can’t really be a time when we sit both of the boys down with the iPad and let them play because unless we ‘King Solomon’ the device, sharing simply does not take place. It always degenerates into a scrabble of clenched fists, tears and tug of war in which the stronger (or indeed most stubborn) wins custody. The other will then collapse into a heap of despair until the device is handed over or simply removed from his brother (this option transfers tears from one brother to another).
It is, in a word, a conundrum.
There are a couple of options here in that we could introduce one of the iPhones into the mix. The problem is that an iPhone is simply not the same as an iPad when the two are laid side by side. On its own, an iPhone is a marvelous distraction and is welcomed by both boys whilst having a haircut or waiting at a restaurant for dinner to arrive or even on a long car trip. But next to an iPad it is like we love the child holding the iPad that much more. Not true of course, but it is a difficult thing to explain to a child. Would rather tackle where do babies come from.
So now we have to come up with a schedule of sorts. Something akin to a custody agreement of who gets the iPad at what times. I have no doubt that the first time-slot allocation will dissolve into a small puddle of salty self pity for the brother that isn’t allocated to the slot, but that cannot be helped. The transfer of custody between the brothers after the first one’s time is up is also bound to raise a few hackles. That too cannot be helped.
Of course we could just hand over one of our new iPad’s (my wife has an iPad Mini) to the child without a pad and then I think the children would be happy. I suspect though that there will be parent sized puddles of salty tears about which one of us has to hand over ‘their precious’ to the kids.
What is that word again? Oh yes, a conundrum.