This morning, Facebook provided me with a look back of everything I’ve shared on this day. On February 6th, 2013, I shared an article called “How to Miss a Childhood.” If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or care for young children, then please read this article now or after you finish reading this post. (Whatever works best for you. Please take the time to read it because it’ll change the way you live.) The premise of the article is simple. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE so you can witness the little people you’re lucky enough to have in your life.
Anyone who’s read this blog for awhile knows I don’t allow phones or tablets at the dining table at home or in a restaurant. Much to the dismay of my parents (Hi Mom & Dad!), I keep my cell phone on vibrate unless I’m awaiting a phone call from a doctor. I limit my six-year-old’s media consumption to one hour of television — at most — per day. Screen time for speech- or phonics-related games might be up to another 45 minutes, but she’s doing them alongside me so I don’t think of it as true screen time.
I am by no means a perfect parent, but I try — really, really hard — to be a good parent. Like everyone, I fail more than I succeed.
Enter Baby #2 back in September. I have to admit, I’ve been on my iPhone a lot more since Ari was born. I turn to it during feedings to keep myself from falling asleep. Seeing as Ari eats every three hours, I’m on my phone a lot more than I need to be.
I reread “How to Miss a Childhood” while feeding Ari this morning. If I am being honest, then I have to admit I have been attending to the buzzing of my phone more than I should. More people text me than ever before. (I detest the immediacy of texting. I resisted it for a long time because the urgency of it seems ridiculous to me. However, I have succumb to the technology since so many people want me to use it.) In addition, my email inbox is fuller than I’d like it to be. As a result, I am on my phone way more than I should be.
Rereading “How to Miss a Childhood” encouraged me to put my phone down more often today. Instead of checking Twitter or reading articles from The New York Times after each of Ari’s feedings (He has to be held upright for 20 minutes because he’s a spitter-upper.), I sang to him. You can’t sing to your child when you’re reading! Singing to him allowed me to look into his eyes. I saw his face brighten each time I sang a tune he enjoyed. I also had a clear lap, devoid of a device, when he spit up on me — twice!
I’ve gotten in the habit of giving Isabelle my full attention. I’m not distracted when I’m with her. I only check email or send a text in her presence if there’s an immediate need. I don’t use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram when she’s around. Even though my son is little, I’ve come to realize he deserves my presence right now.
This evening, I rocked Ari to sleep in his glider. He smelled of Alimentum, Aquaphor, and Aveeno Moisturizing Soap. It’s an odd combination, but I inhaled his scent and savored it. He’ll only be little once, I told myself. I have to stay present because you don’t get a second chance at parenting your child.