Last week I had the opportunity to go a really nice indoor waterpark in WI Dells, the waterpark capital of the world. Why the supposed waterpark capital of the world is in a cold climate is beyond me. They only keep the outdoor parks open 3 months of the year. I absolutely love waterparks so I decided to tag along with my husband while he went to a conference. The first body slide I went down, I banged, bruised, and scraped up my elbow. By the end of the day I had a matching bruise on my other elbow and another on my back. Seems like I can no longer have fun without somehow hurting myself.
That day I ate lunch by myself at the waterpark. By MYSELF! That hasn’t happened since at least 1994. It gave me time to people watch, one of those hobbies that I don’t seem to have time for anymore. As I was waiting for my lunch alone at the table, I became surrounded by babies. There were strollers everywhere. I had to go through a maze to get back to my table with my food. As I watched the young parents, I noticed something. As soon as the babies fussed at all, the parents handed over iphones to pacify the infants. The babies watched music videos of some sort. It didn’t sound like baby music, but had more of a dance beat. Gone were all of the ridiculous toys to pacify babies like the plastic keys that I used to use. Gone also was the parental entertaining of infants. Gone was the opportunity to ask the babies how to set up parental controls for my teens.
What is going to happen to these device pacified babies? Will they be texting and getting their own phones at 3? Carpal tunnel at 4? I remember being told that it was bad parenting to have your infants and toddlers watch TV or movies. What about cell phones, ipads, and/or kindles as babysitters? Who knows? When my kids were little I would have given anything to sleep to 8 AM. I was thankful if I could get a shower in. I wasn’t going to get up at 4:30 in the morning to take my shower before they got up. During the day, I would sometimes pop in a movie and take a shower with the door slightly ajar. That didn’t keep one from escaping. Little Arabella when she was around 2 took off for the road while I was in the shower. I remember running down the driveway after her wrapped in a towel with soap in my hair screaming at her to stop. Those were the crazy days of parenting. Now I wake up at 6 AM regardless of how late I stay up. I would give anything to go to bed by 10PM, but have to wait for my teens to get home. Oh, how parenting changes. Pity the poor parents with babies and teens. Do you actually sleep?
As I was sitting at the waterpark eating, writing blogs in my mind, and reflecting on the life cycle of parenting, I was also scrolling though facebook. That is when I found out from a post by Paul’s cousin that my mother-in-law was in the hospital. It is always great to find out things through social media, isn’t it? Especially when my husband was in meeting and I had no way of contacting him. I certainly was NOT going to wander around the conference hall sobbing and sopping wet in my swimming suit blubbering around with waterpark bruises all over my body.
I have a love/hate relationship with technology. It is great to be able to be in contact with anyone anywhere. But you can never truly get away from life’s problems and busyness unless you put your phone away. I long for the solitude of a phoneless weekend. Someday I will do that, until then my phone is two inches away still waiting for test results for Paul’s mom. We are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.