I was recently informed by my (currently unemployed) eight-year-old son, that everyone has a Nintendo DSi. He told me he’s just bored to pieces when he has to wait too long at a restaurant or when we’re in the car too long. Apparently, it’s not fun to “just listen to us (the adults) talk.”
I’m not moved by his pleas. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that being bored is just part of the fun of being a kid. What would a road trip be without the incessant whining from the back seat? It would be unnatural, that’s what it would be. Still, I like to meddle with the natural order of things from time to time. So that’s why I’ve been known to hand my son some techie gadgets to entertain himself in the back seat.
The Portable DVD Player
When he was very young, we had a portable DVD player. He was a bit of tyrant on long road trips, so I was willing to try anything to keep him quiet. An episode of Thomas the Tank Engine usually did the trick. Then it was back to whining. When our DVD player broke, I didn’t bother replacing it because the little amount of quiet time it gave me from the back seat didn’t make it a worthwhile investment. Besides, it was bulky, I had to remember to recharge it, and carry around a whole bunch of discs.
The Portable Wiggles Tape Player
It was red, shiny, and had a built-in microphone. He sang along to his Wiggles tunes for a while, I went to my happy place, but when the tape ran out it was back to whining. I would up the ante, and pop some audiobooks into his big, red boombox. That kept him happy for a lot longer. Long live the audiobooks.
Yes, you read it right. As my son got older, I figured he was ready to inherit a family heirloom: my old Discman. He could listen to more audiobooks, but now he had graduated to shiny CDs. I didn’t really care too much if he damaged the Discman, so he could experiment with the buttons as much as he wanted. The good news was that the car did get a whole lot quieter because he was old enough for the headphones. Long live the headphones.
One happy Mother’s Day, I decided to spoil myself so I bought an iPod classic. Our family had entered a whole new age of technology. Suddenly there was a whole wide world of music, audiobooks, games, TV shows, and movies at my fingertips. But the iPod was more likely to end up in my son’s fingertips when we traveled. I willingly gave up the luxury of listening to my tunes if it meant I would get some peace and quiet. We still use the iPod and I love that it is so small that I can carry it around everywhere. So long to the bulky DVD player, Discman, and Big, Red Boombox. Technology is indeed a magical thing.
Today I purchased an iPhone. As you can tell from my list, our family doesn’t see a lot of high-tech wizardry in our home. I expect that when I open the box and pull out the shiny object, we are likely to resemble the big, hairy crew of the Planet of the Apes. I’ll keep you updated on how this new technology changes our travels.
I also expect I’ll be visiting the site Best Kids Apps a lot more often now to find iPhone apps for kids. So many apps, so little time. That’s why I’m glad that two savvy traveling moms are reviewing loads of apps to make the job easier for us busy moms. I’m also participating in a little contest they have going on there. They’re giving away an iPad to blogging moms. Now imagine if my son got his paws on a shiny iPad….