Tag Archives: iPad

The wizard

At some point or another, every parent will convict one or more of their children for an offense that they are completely innocent of. It’s a given since we are, after all, only human. But there are multiple lessons to learn here, not the least of which is admitting to your children, that you are wrong when you are, in fact, wrong.

That’s a hard pill to swallow and it’s not just because I’m not fond of admitting I’m wrong – a growth point of mine. No, it’s mainly because it goes against a carefully constructed narrative I’ve been weaving for them since they were born. The crux being that parents are all seeing, all knowing, infallible wizards. I realize that this seems like a rather unrealistic outfit to attempt to cloak oneself in, but it serves a purpose. For me, it set firmly in the minds of my children that we, their parents, know better. Our logic is sound, our judgement is fair and we are always right.

My children needed that security. Just as they needed to know monsters aren’t real and even if by some chance they are real, they’re simply no match for a Mom or a Dad. Just as they needed to know that spinach can do for little humans what it does for Popeye and that the tooth mouse will only pay for sparkling, white teeth that are brushed twice daily and not tarnished by too many sweets.

Now obviously I am aware that this story can’t go on indefinitely. At some point, the little guys will figure out that I’m not the all knowing, all powerful Oz with the good witch Glinda at my side. But my hope is that by the time they get there, they’ll be well adjusted little humans, happy to conform to the rules of society. Much less inclined to want to drop kick each other into an abyss while having milkshakes in a restaurant or set fire to each other’s toys when they’re feeling piqued.

Back to the point of this blog though.

Last night I painted myself into a yellow brick road corner. I gave the minions an ultimatum; one of them had to own up to trying to feed the Basset Hound semiprecious stones, or I would take away their iPads for the balance of the week. Neither of them confessed though and so I followed through and impounded the tablets, which are at the moment the source of all happiness and it seems they are quite unable to function normally without them. They immediately descended into a pit of gloom and indignation.

As it turns out though, it is plausible that the Basset somehow helped herself to the stones from the dining room table since she is almost human height when she stands up on her hind legs. So it is possible that I may actually have been mistaken in this instance…something quite unheard of until now.

And this is what my seven year old son pointed out to me in a heartfelt, well articulated appeal several hours later. He delivered it flawlessly, complete with a few lonely tears rolling down his cheeks. It seems he’d had a discussion with his brother and between themselves they’d agreed that neither of them were responsible for the unfortunate incident and as such they needed me to rescind my ruling on the iPads and apologize unreservedly to both of them for the false accusation. It was all said very respectfully mind you.

I must say that I was very proud of both of my sons in that moment. So, I said I’d think about it overnight and let him know this morning what I had decided. But underneath my pointy hat, I knew I had to concede. I had to open the curtains slightly and let him see some of the smoke and mirrors I’d been using all this time and admit I was wrong.

I hope though that my boys are still able to suspend disbelief for a little while longer when the wizard speaks.

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The food source

It seems now that our eldest has developed a hankering for one particular online iPad game called ‘Hey Day’. It involves the running of a farm that has everything from crops and livestock to popcorn machines, fish farming, a mill, a mine and an option to spy on the progress of your neighbour ‘Greg’.

Some text censored by the blog police…

Now, some time is set aside every evening and morning in our day for the big guy to bond with his mom over the myriad of decisions to make in the game. Plant, harvest, buy, sell, build, expand and so on.

It must be said that the developers of the game have side-stepped the issue of harvesting bacon from the pigs on the farm quite nicely. It seems that in much the same way that a cow, so swollen with milk it seems fit to burst, can be be milked without destroying the cow – one can just as easily harvest bacon from a fat juicy pig and all that happens to the pig is that it slims down a little bit. Very nicely done. I for one am quite pleased I didn’t have to explain to my boy at this age (four and a half) that harvesting bacon from a pig effectively means the end of pig as an entity and the beginning of bacon as a breakfast meat. At the moment, in my boy’s mind, the two things live harmoniously side by side like something out of a John Lennon song.

Ditto by the way for chicken strips and chickens and beef mince and cows.


The precious

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.