Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life Lessons: Baby's first laptop

Gabe was well on his way to becoming an award-winning journalist after he found what the Easter bunny brought him Sunday morning. Our baby, at 7.5 months old, is the proud owner of a baby laptop. It even has a mouse. It's a rather impressive baby laptop. It has all the features one would want in a laptop sans an actual keyboard complete with the alphabet. It talks; it sings; it lights up. It's pretty much everything Gabe needs to mold him into a future Pulitzer-prize winner. There's only one problem: He will not allow the lid of the laptop to remain open for more than two seconds at any given time.
I'm not sure if this is his way of telling me to can my dream of him becoming a famous writer or if he's giving us some insight into his work ethic. Either way, the laptop lid is not allowed to remain open. In fact, if Gabe is across the room playing with another toy and he sees that the laptop lid is open, he stops what he's doing, crawls over to the laptop, slams the lid shut and crawls back to his other toy to resume play. He also gives us a dirty look for opening it. If I happen to open the lid, he makes sure to flip that lid onto my fingers. That will teach me to press his buttons!
Gabe also has not embraced the new wireless capabilities with which his laptop is equipped. He really, really wants the laptop to have a cord. I figured this out after I observed him secretly plotting crawling trips to my laptop's power cord every time I run into the other room to grab something.
This laptop pressed me to think about the other types of toys Gabe owns. Most of his toys talk or sing catchy yet annoying songs at the press of a button. If they don't talk, the majority at least flash brightly colored lights. In fact, I believe my baby has more electronics at his fingertips than I have at mine. It seems like he naturally gravitates toward electronics. Gabe even acquired a cell phone. I gave him my old one to play with after he became obsessed with my everyday working one. At first I thought it as cute that he crawled around with the old cell phone and held it to his ear expecting to hear voices. (I'm pretty sure Gabe thinks his Grandma Cathy and Aunt Jill live in the cell phone.) But I'm not so sure it's healthy to surround him with all of these electronic toys. These toys, while extremely fascinating and cute, require no imagination. I think we might be creating a technology junkie. If we continue at this rate we're going to have him begging for a Blackberry by the time he's three so he can schedule his play dates around bath and nap time and insisting on having his own iPod so he can listen to the second song on the Jimmy Eat World CD over and over and over again at his every whim.
Regardless of his affection for electronics, I'm definitely going to encourage him to play with toys that require imagination instead of just pushing buttons on his electronic toys. And as soon as he can write with a crayon with out wanting to shove it into his mouth thus producing multi-colored poop, I'll begin encouraging him write tales of great adventure and fulfill my, er his dream of becoming a great newspaper writer. So maybe it's for the best that he slams the lid of the baby laptop whenever it opens. Maybe he's taking a stand against electronic toys. Maybe he's expressing his desire to use his imagination while playing with the rubber police and fire ducks he also got from the Easter bunny. Maybe he's bucking our societal norms and liberating himself from the grips of technology.
Or maybe he just likes slamming the lid.

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