This morning, Isabelle and I took session one of Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s Keeping a Notebook, which was dedicated to curating a collection of quotes and writing long about one of them, for this morning’s writing workshop. Here’s the writing I did, which is what led to the slice of life story you’re about to read:
I heard a hand jam down the bathroom’s door handle. In a flash, Ari appeared with soaking-wet hair and a white towel around his body. He went from a trot to a canter in three seconds with his towel moving from a secure wrap to falling off of his shoulders. He stood before me, completely naked, asking, “Mommy, can I have iPad time?”
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
But I knew he wasn’t. Ari probably felt as though he had been mightily wronged since I restricted his screen time to 20 whole minutes today in an effort to curb his screentime since it has been hovering around the two-and-a-half hour mark.
“Hey, what happened to my iPad?” he whined while water drop rolled down his forehead.
“I turned it off when you were in the shower. Come back to me after you get dressed, get your ears cleaned, and have your hair done, and we’ll talk.”
A few minutes later, Ari ran into my bedroom in striped pajamas with his hair a wet mess. “Now can I have iPad time?”
“Your hair isn’t brushed and I’m sure your ears aren’t cleaned,” I replied.
“But I want iPad time!” he continued.
In the blink of an eye, Ari turned on the iPad’s camera, reversed it, and began taking pictures. Have a look:
That’s when Marc came over, scooped Ari up, turned him upside down into a handstand atop our bed, flipped him over, and said, “You’re coming with me.”
Isabelle and I laughed since we got to witness an upside-down, giggling Ari being forceably removed from the room while yelling “hey” as a way of protesting the latest perceived iPad injustice.
“See what I mean about what I wrote in my notebook this morning? He can’t get enough of that iPad. He’s like,” I paused and met Isabelle’s gaze, “an iPad junkie.”
She doesn’t know what a junkie is, but she laughed just the same.
Finally, Ari returned with his hair brushed and clean ears. “Now can I have iPad time?” he asked.
“You can have ten minutes,” I replied, punching in the code.
“I want ‘Thomas,'” he said.
“You can have Khan Academy or nothing,” I replied.
I secured the iPad on guided access, handed it to him, and he played happily for ten minutes.
I know more screen time isn’t going to massively harm anyone, which is why I’ve been more lax about it in the past week. However, when the first words out of your child’s mouth — for three consecutive days — are “Can I have iPad time?” then you know something is wrong. Being stuck in bed post-op isn’t helping the situation since I’d be baking with Ari at times I couldn’t take him outside to play. But that is my reality now. I’m not sure what kind of an intervention we’re going to have tomorrow, but I know one is needed to break this little guy of his iPad obsession.