When I put this list of items together, I didn’t think that it would be the iPad that would make me into the Bad Guy. My mom got us the iPad, because I asked for one, before Roddy was born. I had read that it was an effective tool for entertaining, that there are all kinds of games and puzzles on it for the little one. I also had the unrealistic dream that I would use it to get reading done. Roddy and I finished three chapters of Moby Dick (which is actually a fairly humorous tome) before it basically became Jason’s music tool. He uses it for Spotify, practicing guitar, listening to ALL OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD recordings. We used it a handful of times to do yoga in our living room. We consistently use it for FaceTime with my Dad and Bonus Mom in Connecticut. When Jason started the SAHDventure, he began using the iPad when Roddy was eating, so that he could do other things around the house. It became associated with eating for Roddy and I began associating it with Jason's smoking. I have been building the worst resentment against the fucking iPad.
It all came to a head last week. I had seen our neighbors use the iPad with their daughter when she goes to the potty, as a tool to get her to sit in the same spot when she poops. It worked for them, so I thought I would try it with Roddy. First thing in the morning, I sat him on the potty with Blippi and then I proceeded to make breakfast. Trying to get him to sit down and eat pancakes and sausage became a MAJOR struggle when breakfast was ready. He wanted to continue to watch Blippi. He said he wasn’t hungry, that he needed to poop. But meal time – to me – is time when you sit with your family without distractions and break bread. It’s 30 minutes (tops!) three times a day for fucks sake when you can put away distractions and make some fucking eye contact with the people you share your home with. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to cherish this time, to set up some boundaries, to cook a meal for these stomachs that mean so much to me and share the time with them – well, the whole person – including the stomach. He had refused to eat dinner at my mom’s house the week before unless the TV was on. But he inhaled his food as soon as I caved last Thursday.
After 15 minutes of serious meltdown about the iPad, I told him that it was the last day – that I was going to let his Aunt Christy borrow it until our summer vacation to Connecticut in July. Roddy continues to remember that he wants the iPad even though it’s only been gone for three days, and whines for it. It’s harder to keep him contained and entertained. He’s started to eat the same food as I make for Jason and myself. He’s started to play with his toys more. No changes to sleeping or naptime.
Jason says that I’m punishing both of them. I’ve said that the amount of screentime that Roddy has bothers me but it’s just easier for Jason to sit him in front of the iPad so he can go outside and smoke, or “take out the trash.” He said that he would try to cut down the amount of screen time, but he didn’t. So I’m the Bad Guy because I’m setting some boundaries. It’s hard to set boundaries. It’s really difficult to be the one that says this is not okay and to consistently back it up with action. I think that the ends justifies the means here though and I can be okay with being the Bad Guy.