I wasn't planning on dropping hundreds of dollars on entertainment for my toddler, yet it's happened. Last week I was one of the very excited Verizon customers who was not only now able to buy an iPhone, but eligible for an upgrade and contract renewal. Which means I really didn't have a choice but to buy a new iPhone. (Yipee!!)
As someone who freaks if my kids get near my laptop and would never allow them to handle my BlackBerry, which is two years old, I assumed my newest expensive tech purchase would not find its way into either my son's or daughter's pudgy little hands. Plus, we're big on limiting screen time in our house, and an iPhone counts towards that allotment. So when friends said, "Set the boundary now -- kids don't touch your iPhone," I thought it was a message I didn't even need to hear. Only pushovers let their kids touch their toys expensive electronics.
Here's how long that rock solid position held: 18 hours.
I probably shouldn't have let my daughter go to the Verizon store with me. Her eyes were shining the minute I told her why we were there. You see, some incredibly nice woman on the airplane last month let her play games on her iPhone. I sat there thinking, "Lady, you are crazy, but thank god, since the DVD player is dead." But my daughter was hooked. She told everyone in the store, "I'm getting an iPhone," as I shook my head in disagreement. So I was surprised as anyone when the next day, I held it out to her and said, "Show me what you can do."
Not as surprised as I was when she mastered Angry Birds and got her brother hooked on Copy Cat (aka Talking Tom). I shocked myself further when I downloaded the Talking Roby the Robot app for my son just because he loves robots. He's not even 2! And I'm considering him when I'm app shopping! What have I become? I'll tell you. I've become someone who is in awe when my toddler figures out in five seconds flat how to unlock my iPhone and find his talking robot friend.
This time last week I'd laugh if you told me I enjoy watching my kids manhandle my new tech toy. Just last month I was sneering at a little boy in a restaurant who, instead of engaging with his mother, was simply handed an iPhone. While I would still say that learning manners in restaurants, and around the dinner table, is a separate issue -- I'm probably just one annoying restaurant experience away from pulling out the iPhone to pacify a cranky child so I can finish my margarita.
Watching my kids work my iPhone and entertain themselves with it has become a huge source of entertainment for me. I've suddenly forgotten how much money I spent and how much I have to lose if a toddler drops it from some great height or spills his juice on my mini-computer. I love watching my kids discover something new, figure something out, and enjoy a new skill. It might get old quick, but as of right now, we've got a family iPhone. And I'm happy to share.
Do you let your toddler play with your iPhone?
Image via jessica.garro/Flickr