We babies of the ’80s didn’t have much competition for our parents’ undivided attention. Soap operas. Phil Donahue. Sometimes we had to cry a little louder so adults could hear us over their shoulder pads and through their perms. No problemo, as we used to say.
If my 11-month-old daughter could talk in sentences, she’d tell you kids today have it worse. Parents pull shiny toys out of their pockets and can spend an unlimited amount of time staring and tapping at the glowy part. The big TV plays whatever they tell it to. Sometimes it’s Umizoomi, which is great, but a lot of the time it’s grownups droning on in muted-trombone sounds. Like, gag me with a spoon.
So baby has a plan to win the attention war. She’s methodically testing our tech for weaknesses she can exploit. And she’s finding them.
This morning, through some creative chewing, she downgraded my cablebox’s remote from universal to single-function. I don’t know what she did, but now I can’t use it to cycle power or switch inputs on the TV.
We don’t let her chew on our iPhones, but that didn’t stop the baby from attacking a weak point. Look what happens when a baby bites down on an iPhone charging cable:
This photo is what my Apple charger looks like after the baby got a hold of it twice. Note the corrosion, especially on the pins in the center. It still works for charging, but it’s no longer reversible. If I plug it in the wrong way, my iPhone will chime and vibrate over and over. It won’t charge. No charging means less battery, which means I’ll lose fewer dad-hours to my friends’ delightfully asinine Facebook posts.
This isn’t an isolated incident. My wife’s charging cable is already toast. And we don’t have much room in the budget for new cables. I can’t blow $20 on a new cable at Target because I already spent it in the fancy organic baby-food aisle.
Maybe she’ll grow to embrace technology the way her brother has. As I type this, the Champ is bugging me to let him use the iPad to go on YouTube and watch reviews and demonstrations of every Batman toy ever made. I’ve even taught him to appreciate Mario Kart.
Sadly, I’m not sure my devices will survive long enough for baby to grow up and realize that electronic entertainment is more nurturing than human love. At the rate she’s destroying our stuff, I’ll be hand-blogging by candlelight as “Attack of the Amish Dad” in a few short months.
When baby girl succeeds at obliterating all our gadgets, she’ll have to turn her machinations to an even bigger competitor for Mom and Dad’s attention. Watch out, big brother. You’re about to get chewed.