Tag Archives: Communication

Digital Dads: Mobile Office Movable Torture Chamber

The future is a fascinating place and I’m so glad to live here.

Back when I was younger (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and I had to walk five miles to school, uphill both ways, dodging alligators and suffering through huge snow drifts now get offa my lawn), we thought of the future as the place where the skies would be filled with flying cars and jetpacks and other astonishing bits of transportation magic.

Turns out, at least so far, a car still is recognizably a car and wouldn’t surprise anyone from the dawn of the Age of the Automobile. What has changed, though, has been the way we communicate.

We still talk, laugh and scream, but the handwritten, stamped and addressed letter is dying a slow, inevitable death except for wedding invitations and thank-you notes to older relatives, and the three broadcast networks and newspapers no longer have a monopsony on information dispersal.

Yeah, it’s another post on computers and the internet.20140623-110347-39827043.jpg

This bit of stand-back-and-be-agog-about-computers was brought on by where and how I’m producing this post. I’m not at home or an office, but am away for the day. I didn’t bring my laptop computer, either.

Instead, I brought a flat, thin rectangle of touch-sensitive glass squished full of circuits and electronics and I connected it invisibly through complicated communications protocols to a tiny self-powered keyboard. Yeah, I am writing this on a wonderful Luvvitt keyboard and my iPad mini.

I’m with Zippy the Travelin’ Boy. Being the diligent college student that he is, The Zipster is working hard on perfecting his hard-won lessons from Sleeping The Day Away 101.

So I’m taking advantage of the quiet to get a little work done.

This ability to communicate via vastly different channels to a disparate group of dudes and dudettes can make for a wonderfully convenient work aide at times.

However, when we allow this constant connection to become a chain around our ankles as opposed to a rope to lift us from the muck and mire, we allow ourselves to be dragged from the somewhat-gleaming future and down into the dreary past.

All of which goes to say that I’m about to finish this up, go grab the Big Poking Stick to awaken Zippy the Travelin’ Boy from safe distance, and then go enjoy the day with my son who’s growing up much too fast already.

Put down the computers and unplug. Go out and have a great weekend with the people you love.

Even in the future, nothing beats an in-person hug.

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Digital Dads: Together Time App For iPhone

Playtime with your little dude is the best time.

No matter how much time you dudes are able to spend with the little dudette, it’s never enough to have all the fun you want to show her.

Oddly enough, though, there are some dads who get stage fright when it’s time to play. They’ll sit down, face the little dude and then go completely blank, with absolutely no idea whatsoever to do.

Which explains the continuing popularity of television as a babysitter.

Fortunately for those sorts of dudes, the folks at 7Potato have put together a little iPhone app to help you over the rough spots.

This is from their release.

Parents everywhere have superpowers! Unfortunately this power is often dormant because most parents don’t even know they have it. No, it’s not flying or shooting spider webs from wrists, but it does involve spiders of another sort: “Itsy Bitsy Spiders.” As handy as flying and web spinning would be for wrangling little ones, parental superpowers are far better and have a greater impact on the world.

 The Power of Play

The superpower that all parents have is play; it is something that we all share, but like Peter Pan, parents often forget how to play. If only there were an app for that. Well, now there is: Together Time with Song and Rhyme is a new app that helps parents bond with their preschoolers through fun, tickles, songs, and rhymes that support early childhood development.

 “Together Time makes parents more FUN for kids,” said Laura James, the app’s creator and founder of 7Potato.com. “Childhood is a once-upon-a-time opportunity, it only lasts a few short years. It’s easy for parents to spend too many of those years focused on trying to getting kids to behave in our adult world, when we could be using our superpower to make us child-like again.”

Parents are better served when they practice living in their children’s world and play.

“It’s more of a Jane Goodall approach,” James said, “where you observe and behave like the little creatures, to try and understand kids and their world, instead of trying to make the little creatures fit into your world.” 

Unfortunately, I can’t give you dudes a first-hand report on just how good this app really is, but it’s got 4.5 stars over at the iOS App Store. Just giving it the eyeball test, it sure looks darn good.

It’s only $4.99 at the App Store, which, in my mind, is low enough that you can take a flyer on the thing and see if it’s what you’re looking to find.

According to the release they sent, this sort of creative play can short-circuit bad behavior before it even begins. In looking over their strategy, I’ve got to say that a lot of the stuff they’re recommending is stuff that I used for my little dudes. Well, for the last little dude, mostly because it took until then to work out something that worked better than me gritting my teeth and hoping both of us would live through it.

Does your child refuse to get in the car? Start singing “Windshield Wiper” before you even get out the door. This helps set expectations for where you are going, rather than the seat they have to be strapped into, while giving your child a sense of fun.

 I’ve been talking a lot about jobs here lately. About a dad’s job. About a parent’s job. That sort of thing. One job I have yet to mention is the little dude’s job. And yeah, they do have one.

Their job is play. Playing with objects and people from the world around them will help acclimate them to their new surroundings and teach them how things work, what helps them and what hurts them.

“It supports their ongoing development physically, cognitively, and emotionally. One of the best parts of having kids is that it gives you an excuse to relive childhood. It goes by fast so have fun, play often and connect! If fun is the focus, learning will be the outcome, every time.”

Makes sense to me. If any of you dudes do download this app, please let me know how it works. I’d like to see if it is as good as it looks.

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A Baby Is Born . . . via Text Message

The first text came in around 9 pm.

The grandpa-to-be needed to update the family on what was going on.

K is in hospital waiting fur the baby to come. She has been there since one this morning. They are about to give her an epidural and then try to speed things along. Will try to keep you all up to date if I can keep my eyes open. 

This was grandpa-to-be’s first blood grandchild and to say he was elated would be an understatement akin to saying Mount St. Helen’s got a little burpy back in the 1980’s.

I’m sure that this is nothing new to the older relatives of children being born these days, but the sense of immediacy and connectedness that this engendered was amazing to me.

Way back in the old days when I first blessed this world with the spawn of my loins, things were a bit different. And I don’t say that just because of all the dinosaurs roaming around.

My dad was the only grandparent who lived out of the state and so we had to call him in advance and let him know we’d be inducing our first born on a certain day. That way, he could plan ahead and be there when his first grandchild came into the world. Everyone else we delayed because we didn’t want our entire family in the delivery room.

We had to plan. Then, once the proto-Sarcasmo was born, the only people who knew what he looked like were those who came to look at him directly in the face and be blinded by his astonishingly good looks.

Non-immediate-family had to wait until we had taken the first of approximately 7 gillion pictures of the boy, had said pictures developed at a local photograph store, picked up said pictures and then mailed them out to interested parties. It was weeks before everyone we cared about knew that we were parents, much less had seen the little dude.

This time, though, it was like we were in the delivery room with the AlmostMom is smiling because the epidural has kicked in real nice and she's feeling no pain in the delivery room as she works to birth her first baby.beautiful mother, older sister, smiling dad, amazing aunts and gobsmacked grandparents.

We received pictures via text message and then e-mails with more pictures and even a video or two. It was a connected birth the likes of which I’ve never experienced before.

Say what you want about the intrusiveness of modern communication, how cellphones and computers and the internet are forcing us apart from each other and into hiding behind screens of glass, but there are definite upsides to this.

Not only did I know that Scarlet Jane (also christened Baby Jake by her grandpa) was born, I was able to look into her adorable little baby eyes and see her mother smiling back at me, the same adorable face I’ve known since she wasn’t even a teenager.

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma, Auntie L and all the rest for your great updates. Thanks for showing us how it’s done here in the 21st century. And welcome, Scarlet Jane.

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