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It’s so chilly there are only a few others populating the spacious area: a man and woman with a girl-child and a boy-child, and a set of five children I soon determine are a yours-mine-and-ours family.
My time is spent strolling-pushing and placing Libbie on various objects she finds interesting: an old-fashioned pony on a spring, a seesaw, every swing she can find.
The two-child family is also roaming the park. Dad’s eyes are relentlessly focused on his iPhone, even while threatening the kids, “If you do that again, we are leaving!”
They don’t leave.
I’m no parenting expert, but there is one thing I always do: follow through on my threats. Sometimes, it stinks. Recently I had to sweep up a dustpan of Crayolas because that is what I told Libbie I would do if she didn’t pick them up.
It’s the way we learn consequences.
But distraction makes it umpteen times harder to follow through. When I am blogging, nursing the baby, folding laundry, watching a favorite show on TV, just having a good conversation on Twitter … those are the times I really don’t want to get up and put Libbie in time-out (which often requires physically removing her from where she’s thrown herself on the floor).
Watching that family made me remember why I should be grateful I don’t have a smartphone.
I know myself. Too often during the day I am drawn to the computer to “just” check my e-mail, which turns into a 20-minute distraction. To have that availability constantly would be too much for me.
Two of the yours-mine-ours kids are enamored with Libbie. They show her a swing and then ask me to push them on the swings. They are gleeful as I agree. After a few pushes, I suggest they push each other, and they look at me like the thought had never occurred to them. As Libbie continues to run wild, I watch them do that very thing, big smiles on their faces.
I’m glad I didn’t miss that moment.
I hope you don’t take this as “everyone with a smartphone is a bad parent.” SOOO not what I am saying. I just know my problem with obsessions and Internet addiction and I don’t think it would be a healthy choice for me.
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