Aug 242012

My daughter has a small, silky pink blankie. It’s the first thing she grabs when she wakes up in the morning, and the last thing she holds on to when she goes to bed at night.  She can’t sleep without it. Sometimes it seems as though she can’t breathe without it.  Most kids have some sort of security blanket, stuffed animal or doll.  It is something that makes them feel comfortable and secure. Something that reminds them of home or of their parents or of some unexplainable thing that gives them comfort.  There is nothing wrong with children needing these things.  The problem is that many never grow out of it.  Although most adults don’t carry around a threadbare blankie or filthy teddy bear, they grow up to be even more attached to another type of security blanket…  an Iphone or Blackberry.

Most people I know check their phones first thing in the AM and last thing at night.  They keep it on the table throughout dinner, in their hand during a walk and attached to their ear most other times of the day.  A smart phone gives you the security of knowing that you are linked to the rest of the world.  When you are alone, you have your phone to keep you company.  When you are bored, you have entertainment.  When you are away from the office, you can stay informed.  With an Iphone you are always connected, and there is security in that.  However, by staying connected through your phone, you might be missing the opportunity to create real connections.

Ok, so here’s my soapbox.  You don’t still suck your thumb, do you?  You don’t use a pacifier, sleep with your teddy bear or poo poo in diapers (except for a couple of friends of mine who thought this was a funny idea and who shall remain nameless… for now.) Regardless, you are not a kid anymore so grow up and get rid of  the security blanket already!  Put the phone down.  Just for a few minutes.  See what happens when you take in the world around you instead of burying your nose in your Blackberry the instant you have a free moment.  It’s ok to sit at a coffee shop by yourself and just relax and drink your coffee.  It’s ok to go to on a walk and simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature (or of smoggy traffic if you live here in LA.)  You might have an interesting conversation with a stranger or even make a new friend.  You might discover how much you enjoy a particular hiking trail, or how much you really love blueberry muffins.  And you can definitely enjoy the park with your children a lot more if you are engaged with them rather than half-ass playing while checking out who “likes” Wal-Mart on Facebook.  And Ps. the world won’t end if you are not on email/Facebook/Twitter for the 20 minutes it takes to have a conversation over dinner.

I am not going to pretend that I don’t use my Iphone as a security blanket myself.  I do it.  I admit it.  If I am sitting alone at a coffee shop, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant, or even (gasp!) dining alone, I spend the entire time absorbed in my Iphone.  Hell, I often pretend to be absorbed in my phone, so people don’t think I am a friendless loser because I am there alone. I once faked an entire conversation with my bestie about what dress she should wear to the gala (yes, I really said the word “gala”) because my phone was totally dead.  But regardless of all evidence to the contrary, I am a grown-up and it is time for me, too, to say, “Screw the security blanket” and sit alone in the coffee shop without the aid of a dead Iphone to keep me pretend company.  I’ll let you know how that goes, and how long I last before grabbing a newspaper to bury my nose in instead.  Baby steps, people.

It’s fine to talk on the phone, to check your email every now and then or to read up on the latest news (or blog, reading my blog is ALWAYS acceptable.) But you don’t need it to fill your time or your life.  I am sure that your life is full enough already.  So focus more on actual connections, and less on the wireless ones. It’s time to rid our lives of these security blankets; these things that we just can’t live without.  Except, of course, for wine… I really CAN’T live without that.

Feb 282012

So I admit, it’s hard for me to get all high and mighty on this subject because I am probably a perpetrator of the exact annoying activity that I am about to call out, but I am going to get all high and mighty anyway because this is my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want.  Parents, for the sake of your Facebook friends and family, and the people you barely knew in high school but who inexplicably friended you anyway, and the people who you don’t know but friended you because they thought you were cute, but then realized that you were married/crazy/not as attractive as you look in your profile pic, for the sake of all these people… slow your roll on the kiddie pics.  We all know that your kids are adorable, cute, funny and better than everyone else’s, but we don’t need to see 8000 pictures of your child. Per week. Quite frankly, most of us stopped looking after commenting on your Facebook announcement of “It’s a boy!”  (What, no cigars?)

So, to make this easy on everyone (including myself) let’s break down acceptable Facebook posting habits for parents:

1)  Number of photos – Photos should be restricted to holidays, special events, extra cute moments and possibly vacation photos (as long as there are other photos included of said vacation, like the ones of you taking a body shot off a Mexican stripper while in Playa Del Carmen – while baby is napping of course.)  Photos should be limited to no more than 50 baby photos per year, and if you come even close to this limit, you give up the right to get angry when people stop looking.

2)  Graphic “fresh from the womb” baby photos –  Not allowed.  Ever.  Although you are probably doing the world a favor by drastically lowering the world’s population by scaring possible future parents into NOT having their unborn children, it’s still not acceptable to post a photo of your blue, screaming baby covered in blood and other unmentionable goo on your Facebook page.  (As I believe that I am guilty of this heinous crime, I wholeheartedly apologize to all the people I have scarred for life.)

3)  Baby’s photo as your profile picture – Only acceptable if YOU are IN the photo as well.  Otherwise it’s just confusing.  Plus, it’s harder for people to stock you on Facebook if they can’t tell whose profile it is.  Just stop it.

4)  Status updates –  These should be limited to very cute or very funny things your child said, did or projected from his or her body, and should be capped at no more than 1/wk.

5)  Diaper shots –   Nope.

6)  Funny photos of your baby doing inappropriate things –  As funny as it is to see your baby with a beer in her mouth, cigarette in his hand, or wearing a witty onesie that reads, “Future pole dancer” (true story), this activity should be limited to one time.  Ever.  Otherwise you are a bad parent.  And even if you are not… everyone thinks you are.

Alright, alright so I’ll get off my soap box. For now. If you are a perpetrator of these crimes, don’t feel bad, most parents are.  But let’s make a pact to stop the madness.  Now.

What Facebook posting crimes would you like to see come to an end?