My 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son are official iOwners now. For Christmas, they received an iPod Touch from Grandma. Thanks Mom. I received a package of half-calf white socks. I look like Salami from the 70’s TV show “The White Shadow.”
“Delaney, I have something to show you,” I pronounce as I look up from the book titled “Parenting the iGeneration for Dummies”
No response. (Understand she’s on the floor behind the couch where I’m seated, so about 2 feet away)
I turn around and there she is bopping her head to some tune on her new Christmas Gift while wearing a pair of multi-colored head phones that would make me look like Bozo the Clown.
So, I rise assuming she’s listening to the National Anthem and walk behind the couch, lift up the left ear head phone and ask her to come here for a moment. She was just a baby a few minutes ago, now she’s decked out in a hoodie wearing Converse shoes with headphones covering her ears. She’s halfway to driving a car, and fullway to driving me crazy.
“Honey, please don’t have the music so loud as you cannot hear us talk to you. What if there was a fire? Or what if a tornado was heading straight for us? Or what if your Mom actually agreed with me on entering your basketball team in yet another tournament? “
“Dad, you know Mom thinks you’re a little loco when it comes to my sports. That won’t ever happen.”
“Just turn the volume down a bit. Look at this. It’s a box of toys that I used to play with when I was younger.”
“Is that He-Man?” asks the confused 8-year old.
“Oh, yah, he was…ahem…IS… the most powerful man in the Universe,” I proudly state for the record, “Wait a second. You know He-Man?”
“Yah, Dad I know all about He-Man,” explains the now He-Man expert.
“You do?” I ask incredulously.
A new voice speaks up, “Well, yeah Dad, I downloaded the app yesterday. I’m playing the game right now. There’s Battle Cat, and Skeletor and …“ interjects Delaney’s 6-year old accomplice also known as her brother. “I let Delaney play, and so of course, she knows all about He-Man.”
“Incredible. There’s an App about He-Man?”
“Dad, listen” professes iCooper, “there’s a game app on He-Man, Star Wars, Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Go Speed Racer, and all of the really old cartoons/movies that you used to watch when you were a kid. Now, can I get back to texting?”
“What? You can text? Danielle, we don’t have them as part of our cell plan, right?”
All 3 of them stare at me and recite in unison “There’s an app for that, Dad.”
Okay, you two, you may be the iExperts around here but remember that iRule, got it?
“Okay, Dad” they say with heads down, thumbs up (not playing Heads Up 7up) as I’m now staring at the top of their skulls.
“Listen you two, I think it’s time to lay down some rules on these iGadgets.”
Rule #1 – iRule. If I say something, devices go off, and it’s time to listen. Deal? They both stare at me and nod.
Rule #2 – Mom Rules. Same as Rule 1, but applies for Mom. “Dad, you know Mom is first, then you.” “Fine, I’ll give you that one, now onto Rule #3.”
Rule #3 – No iDevices get turned on until after you get home from school, homework is complete, you’ve read a “real book” ie one with a cover and pages for at least 30 minutes, table is set for dinner, room is clean, lawn is mowed and trimmed, furniture is dusted, toilets are scrubbed and shower is re-caulked. “What is caulk?” says Cooper who is acting like he doesn’t know. “Dad, we’re in 1st and 3rd grade, we cannot mow the lawn,” explains his older sister clearly using Cooper’s younger age to her benefit. “Fine, but everything up to that point is still in play, deal?” … “Deal, Dad” as they both roll their eyes.
Rule #4 – No text typing. “Y-O-U-R” is a possessive adjective. “Y-O-U-Apostrophe R-E” is a contraction of the two words “you” and “are” … U-R is not a word. If Y-O-U-R usage of these two words is incorrect, Y-O-U-Apostrophe-R-E in trouble and the iTouch gets taken out of Y-O-U-R hands. Understand? They both give a relaxed thumbs up seeing as their thumbs have been inactive now for almost 2 minutes.
Rule #5 – No picture taking of anything personal like where we live, or our neighbors homes, street signs, anything at your school (come to think of it, if you take your iTouch to school, don’t come home, I’ll download you into my phone and then turn the phone off…Forever), and definitely no pictures of me…ever… Everyone say “Okay Dad.” “Okay, Dad” sings the 2 person choir.
Rule #6 – No Social Networking. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. “Wait a second, Dad. Mom said we can use Instagram as long as we keep our account private and ask her permission before we “follow” anyone.” pleads Delaney. “Mom?” I ask the clear ruler of the iWorld in our home. “Yes, Jeff, It’s 2013, would you like me to handcuff them to their bedpost too, so they can’t leave their rooms?” “Don’t tempt me?” Fine, I relent on this one, but only because my wife is currently writing the soon to be released book “Social Media Engagement For Dummies” the latest in the “For Dummies” series of books, thus she’s in charge of this one. (Purposeful Product Placement.)
Rule #7 – “Dad, how many rules do you think there will be? “ asks Cooper who continues to stare at his dormant iTouch that sits in the corner begging to be poked. “75!” I exclaim. “75 rules?” asks Coop. “Okay, fine this is the last one. Rule #7 is to refer back to Rule #1 which as you may recall is the rule where iRule. “
“Rule #1 is Mom rules,” they both correct me.
“Fine. Rule #7 is to refer back to Rule #2 which as you may recall is the rule where iRule. I mean that if a grade drops at school or you drop a pop up at your softball or baseball game because of lack of practice or focus due to too much attention on the iPod then the iPod goes away…FOREVER.”
“Well, what if I drop a pop up in my baseball game because the sun is in my eyes?” asks the future Hall of Fame Shortstop which obviously will not happen but he likes to try to push me to see how far I’ll go with things.
“Don’t drop it. You know how to shield the sun with your glove or play it to the side. Practice! This is something you could do when you were 3. Don’t blame the s-U-n because then I’ll blame the s-O-n. Got it little man?”
“Um, Dad, thank you for being such a wonderful Dad and teaching us so many good things. You’re the best Dad in the whole world. Thank for teaching us how to read, write, and switch hit. Would you mind if we played our new Christmas Toy that we received for Christmas since it is Christmas morning?” asks the little 8 year old girl with Christmas magic still in her eyes.
Well, of course, honey. You too Coop. I want you to enjoy your new toy. After you recite rule number one.
“Mom Rules!” they shout.