Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Too much of a good thing

Amidst your toys, you still go for Mommy and Daddy's mobile phones on the bed. When you see us changing channels with the remote control, you stop bobbing your head to Mickey's Hotdog Dance and reach for that magical contraption that changes the Disney Junior channel to one of Daddy's preferred shows. We keep telling you it's not a toy, but you reach for them anyway because you see us using them. With your developing brain, you already know these gadgets are important to us and you are probably wondering what makes them important and maybe it can be important to you too.

Technology is a wonderful thing. With Facebook, I can share your photos and videos for the whole family to see. No more having the photos developed, no more having to wait for the photos to arrive when they are sent through mail. Mobile phones now connect to the Internet and everybody is just a click away from anybody. It's perfect for emergencies and I love it.

But then again, it's the very thing that keeps people apart too. In a restaurant, you'd see people in the same table clicking away on their phones and tablets all at the same time. They're not talking, but from their Facebook pages, the whole world knows where they "checked in", what they are eating, wearing, and who they are with, showing people they are having a good time. But in actuality, are they really having a good time, or just more concerned about "looking like" they are having a good time? Sheesh. Humans can really be pathetic at times, honey. Too bad you're part of it too.

Nowadays, people don't start eating UNTIL they take a photo of their plate. It's sooo annoying. It seems to have replaced saying grace. I hope you don't get into that habit. Because you go out to spend time with family and friends and partake of a delicious meal. The memories you create from these encounters will be forever ingrained in your head, all because it's pleasant and it's happy. Sure, photos will help you relive them in the future, but they're just an added bonus, an icing on the cake if you put it that way.

In all honesty, nobody really cares where you eat and what you eat. Your Daddy and I care about what you eat because you don't know any better. When you're older, you should care about what you eat for your health and well-being. I know some people like snooping in other people's lives, just because they have nothing better to do, or they're insecure that their lives are worse than others. Or maybe, just maybe, they're too full of themselves that they love other people snooping into their lives. That's why they have to create this impression that they are worthy of being snooped at.

There's this celebrity I read in some showbiz magazine who was talking about her toddler son who plays games on her iPad. She kept on raving about how good her son was because he learned to swipe and tap the screen. And there's this viral video of a toddler girl who was holding a magazine and she didn't know what to do with it. She was swiping the pages with her finger and is probably wondering why the screen doesn't change. I pity these children, really. And I will not be the least entertained if you learn to swipe and tap on our phones.

Developmentally speaking, these actions don't do anything for children as young as you. One educator states that fine motor skills develop when the fingers are made to move. Swiping and tapping touchscreens are actions that you can actually make with your elbow, nose, knees and forehead even. Touching an actual book, gripping and turning its pages and covers is what strengthens your chubby-wubby fingers. In time, I will let you hold crayons and pencils, and you will realize what a joy it is to draw and write, far more fulfilling than tapping with your finger. Unless you want to make a musical beat, of course.

Back to that celebrity with the iPad. A child who engages so much in gadgets can only mean that he doesn't get into much interaction and play from parents and adult caregivers. What does that tell us? That parents and caregivers (me included) realistically resort to gadgets to get you children out of our hair even for a little while. Yes I am guilty of that too, because I am no model parent who shuns technology for your sake. Technology will always be a part of our lives - its advantages we reap, its disadvantages we learn to control before it controls us.

With that said, I make a promise to you, my darling Georgia. I promise that when you are awake and need all my attention for whatever reason, I will gladly give it to you. The computer and the mobile phone will only be used when it's very important, or when you're asleep and you don't need me as much. As for the TV, I will keep your viewing to a minimum and have you get used to reading your books instead (if only you would stay in your playpen for a longer period). I apologize in advance if I find the need to update this blog or attend to my many games just because I want to. But I'll try very hard to fill your childhood with fond memories of you and Mommy and Daddy together.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Life imitating art

...or the other way around, depends on how you look at it. But I say so because the show had its pilot in 2010.

Sometime November, your Ninong Steve introduced us to this sitcom called Raising Hope. I used to see it on Jack TV but never really bothered to tune in, thinking it was one of those forgettable shows. The three of us were in his car then, so I started watching anyway.

The pilot episode starts with Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff), a school dropout, assisting his dad Burt (Garret Dillahunt, from the Sarah Connor Chronicles and Burn Notice) in his pool cleaning and lawn care business. His mom is Virginia (the ridiculously funny Martha Plimpton from the movie Goonies back in the 80s!) and they all live with Virginia's grandmother, Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman). Virginia and Burt are young parents as they had Jimmy in their teens.

Jimmy had a one night stand with Lucy who turns out to be a serial killer. The next time Jimmy sees her is in prison and she's about to give birth to his child. She gets electrocuted eventually and Jimmy decides to keep the baby (named Princess Beyonce by the mom) and convinces his crazy family to help him out with raising her. He names the baby Hope, and that's where the fun begins.

The simple story and the laughs just became too real for me, with the rest of the episode showing Jimmy struggling with Hope's incessant cries, diaper changes and the rest of that crazy aspect of parenthood. Basically reminded me of our first months together :) I didn't go as far as climbing in the crib with you, but I would have if I'd fit. In the last few minutes of the show, Jimmy was about to give up because Hope refused to stop crying that night. Virginia and Burt then burst in the room. Both still with eyes half-open, Virginia started rocking Hope to sleep by singing Danny's Song, with Burt strumming his guitar. The scene changes 25 years back, when Jimmy was still a baby, and a younger Virginia and Burt putting him to sleep with the same lullaby.

What can I say? I had to casually wipe the tear off my cheek lest your daddy (and Ninong Steve) sees it and makes fun of me again. It was the same song that he serenaded me with on our wedding night a year and a half ago (yes he learned the guitar chords for it just because) and it just tugged at my heartstrings. From then on, I was hooked.

I like how it portrays unconventional families in a tongue-in-cheek manner, depicting their struggles and idiosyncrasies hilariously. The characters are simple, well thought of and real - the sometimes-lucid grandma who mistakes Hope's toy food as real, the simple-minded, jealous yet very loving husband in Burt, and the mom who insists on having the perfect family picture everytime - they just work well together. Jimmy himself is a gentle creature who strives to make his life better for Hope. Each episode wraps up with a realization that reminds us of things we usually take for granted in our families, leaving us feeling inspired to make things better ourselves.

It's currently on its third season, and locally being shown on Jack TV and Star World. In time I'll let you watch and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.