“Mommy, Cait paint?” came the little voice. I replied not now Cait. A few minutes later, that sweet voice popped up again…”Please Mommy, Cait paint?” I finally gave in. We had been waiting at the doctor’s office for some time, and the books and crayons I brought were not cutting it today. So I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. I turned on Toddler Lock and handed it over to her. She was thrilled to make lines, shapes and splashes of color magically appear on the screen. Then, with a swish of her little finger, it was all gone and ready for her to try again. I thought to myself what has become of me that my child needs to play with a cell phone to be happy? My two-year-old was coming into the digital age faster than I was.
I have had a cell phone dating back to when they came in bags. I liked the security of being in contact. I always had the basic model…made calls, texted. A model back, I updated to one with a camera. I thought I was really stepping up in the world. I was comfortable with my phone. It held my contact list, made calls, took pictures and sent texts. I didn’t need anything else. Then it happened. One minute I was happily chatting away and the next…silence. The diagnosis was grim. The speaker was blown and I no longer had any sound. It was time to shop for a new phone. I have to admit…I had HUGE cell phone envy. I loved those jazzy models that had ‘apps’, played games, checked email. I am a stay-at-home mom of four kids. Not only was there no budget for a ‘data plan’ but what was the justification? What did I NEED a fancy phone for? My dear husband, knowing my longing for the fun gadget, told me to get a smart phone (even though he is still at the basic model he has had for 5 years). I went back and forth and finally did it. I bought the Droid 2. And much to my surprise…no owner’s manual! What was I thinking???
So now I had this fancy new phone with all the bells and whistles, and I didn’t even know how to dial a call. I was excited and exasperated simultaneously. Eventually, I got the hang of it, after a few lessons from my 10 year old who figured out how to get it to play games. I was still not sold on the fact that it was worth another monthly bill and then shazam. As we were driving down the street one afternoon my son asked from the back row where money was made. My husband and I started rattling off mints…Philly, DC, San Fran, Denver, Fort Knox…there were six…what was the last one? I told my son that we would Google it when we got home. That was my standard answer to questions my children asked that I didn’t know the answer to. Then my husband looked at me and said “Don’t you think you could find it on that fancy phone?” And I did. I Googled US Mints and there it was…West Point, NY. It was in that moment that I decided that this might be worth it after all.
So here I am 11 months later. I could not imagine my Mommy life without my phone. Google calendar is amazing, especially with its pop-up reminders of important scheduled events and its ability to tell me when I need to clone myself. I have apps for logging my diet and exercise, for updating Facebook and Twitter (although Twitter is still somewhat of a mystery to me), checking my email, finding the least expensive gas around, finding my way…you name it. I even have apps for games for the kids, including alphabet and counting games for Cait. Our favorite app of all is Geocaching. Anywhere we are we can see if there is a geocache around and with the help of the phone’s GPS, find our way to it (look forward to more about the fun of geocaching in a later blog). I now look forward to moving into the new digital age. Not for my kids, but with them by my side. I don’t think I could make the journey without them.