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Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Disconnecting

I got my first Droid at the end of 2010.  It was great.  I downloaded all these apps, stayed on top of things on Facebook, found my way around with Google Maps, discovered geo-caching and Yelping, calorie tracking, Instagram, Pandora in my pocket, etc.  It became like a third arm or something.  A tool for my life.

But over time I noticed that it was stealing my life.  In little 30-second blips.  Ten-minute breaks.  A check-in here, a tweet there.  Tick, tick, tick.

I considered getting rid of it before Charles was born, but then when he arrived, I absolutely relied on it to get anything done at all.  He was a very "in arms" baby, and my days at home were spent in our ugly but oh-so-comfy plaid rocker, holding him as he nursed and slept, with phone in-hand.  It was great, and I'm glad I had it during that time.

But as he started needing more interaction, more eye-contact, I started to realize that I was putting him off so I could scroll a bit more through Facebook or finish watching that YouTube video.  But I didn't want to give it up!  I used it to upload pictures of him to Instagram, right?  And to stay in touch with other mommas and get advice about him, didn't I?  So really it was good for Charles that I had it... wasn't it?

Yet the feeling that I was loosing moments of his babyhood to this hypnotic screen kept nagging me.

It didn't take long for Charles to become preoccupied with the screen too, and to reach for it and stare at it right along with me.  I didn't like that at all.  I didn't want him to be like all those kids--even toddlers--with the iPods glued to their hands all day.  I didn't want it to be a digital pacifier, an easy way to keep him quiet while ignoring whatever real need he wanted met.  I don't want him to be the two-year-old that's fluent in touch-screen-ese.

So last week we bought a used flip-phone on eBay.  Today we went to the Verizon store and "down-graded" my account.  And I am now the proud user of a Samsung Convoy 2.  I feel so free--it's such a relief to be un-tethered.  It's been a strange afternoon; I keep pulling it out to "do something" with it, but there's nothing to do except text folks (because who actually uses to a cell phone to call people anymore, right?) and take the occasional picture with the okay-camera.

I want to be fully present with my family, just as I want them to be fully present with me.  It will definitely be an adjustment, but I feel I've made a good decision.  

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