The Twins first got their Nabi tablets about two years ago. We’re conscious of limiting their screen time, but I think anyone with kids can agree that anything that keeps them busy for more than 30 seconds can be a win for everyone at least once in a while. Lately, with both of the Twins sick with colds (and my son somehow contracting a mild case of pneumonia in the over-100-degree Arizona heat), the Nabis have been a fantastic distraction for them while they rest and leave Mommy and Daddy alone for five freaking minutes–maybe six If we’re lucky.
We recently added the YouTube Kids app to their playscape, and they absolutely adore being able to watch videos of grown adults opening toys and ill-conceived animated songs whenever they want, and Mommy and Daddy can rest easy knowing it has an excellent kid-friendly filter. My daughter’s favorite function of the app is the ability to search for videos with voice commands. Like most newfangled contraptions nowadays, she can simply press the microphone-shaped icon, vocally request what her heart desires, and through modern sorcery, the videos magically appear before her eyes.
As my wife and I had the pleasure of taking turns with two snot-nosed four-year-olds (and their boogery six-month-old sister) all week, I decided to compile a list of some of my very favorite YouTube searches I overheard my daughter barking at her Nabi. Feel free to search them yourself, but a fair warning: What you find may numb your mind, bore you to tears, or even disgust you (especially if you’re NOT using that YouTube Kids filter).
Here they are, in no particular order. As you’ll soon see, my daughter has VERY specific tastes.
1. “Superman and Batman costumes with people inside them wearing them singing songs”
Because it is important to clarify that there are people inside the costumes.
2. “Plain Hello Kitty surprise eggs with nothing on them”
When asked I her for clarification, she replied, “I don’t want the eggs to have any pictures on them, but I want them to have Hello Kitty toys in them.” (For those who don’t know, surprise eggs are exactly what they sound like. Think those Easter eggs that you can put stuff in. You’d be amazed how many of YouTube’s servers are filled with people opening f*cking toy eggs.) Continue reading
My son is a little on the shy side, so I was excited to hear about him connecting with another kid in his class.
“Cool, Buddy. What’s his name?”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh, well you should ask him. You could say, ‘Hey, look! We have the same shoes on. That’s pretty cool. What’s your name?'”
My son took in this information slowly. He’s a slightly socially awkward overthinker like his daddy (sorry about that, Son), and he appeared to be considering maybe possibly beginning to plan to perhaps think about introducing himself, which made me smile. This is how he warms up to ideas, and then later claims they were his. This is Daddy’s own special form of Inception.
My daughter rounded the corner and joined us, grabbing her own shoes. “His name is Sam.” [This is not their classmate’s actual name, but let’s be silly gooses and play pretend that it is.]
“Oh,” I replied. “I know who he is. I met him and his Mommy the other day when I was dropping you off. He seems like a nice little boy.”
My daughter squinted skeptically. “Well, he kind of hits people.”
“What? Do the teachers stop him?”
“Sometimes,” she shrugged.
I honestly couldn’t imagine this kid doing any real damage. The Twins’ school is fantastic, and it’s unlikely he’d get away with anything actually worth worrying about. It’s more likely that he’s just doing what many little boys do–tending to get excited and full of energy and accidentally being too rough with others. My son is the same way, as are many of our friends’ sons. Still, it was worth getting more information. Continue reading
ONE YEAR AGO…
I awoke to a pixie whisper in my ear. “Daddy!” my daughter hissed. “I fink da Easter Bunny came!”
“He did?” I yawned. “Well, I guess we’d better go wake up your brother and see what he left you. Do you want to?”
“Yes!” she hissed. “Yes, Daddy! I do!”
“Shh!” On the other side of the bed, my wife did a half-kick as she insisted, “Wait. I need five minutes. My stomach’s killing me.”
I plodded alongside my skipping daughter across our one-story rental house’s living room (past the two baskets expertly hidden by the Easter Bunny) and into my son’s room to begin the twenty-minute process of waking him from a sound sleep.
Aside from it being Easter Morning, 2014, this was pretty much business as usual–my daughter being the first one awake, my wife wanting “five more minutes,” and my son seconding his mother’s sentiments by demanding the remainder of the day to sleep, as he had already “telled me firty-seven times” to “stop talking to me. I don’t want to do nuffing!”
Sure, my world was pretty nuts, but things were also looking up. With the Twins in a school we’d grown quite fond of and my doctoral coursework in the bag, I had just taken a job I was fairly happy with–one requiring me to wear a tie and commute 45 minutes to downtown Phoenix. While I was not particularly a fan of the obscene amount of time I was spending ironing, attempting to color-coordinate shirt-tie-pants-socks-shoes combos, and coming to a complete stop on the freeway, I was very much a fan of the sudden influx of real, actual grown-ass man income I was earning after slumming it as a student worker for years.
This was also about the point when I had about 30 pages of my dissertation written, and was just starting to kick my own ass every frickin’ night once the Twins went to bed with ice-cream-and-beer-fueled “THIS!IS!SPARTA!” thesis-writing binges usually lasting until about two in the morning. Although the topic of my wife and me having more kids would occasionally come up from time to time, it was primarily as a ridiculously funny joke, as several medical professionals had deemed our reproductive organs to be barren wastelands of fossilized sperm with no tails and one of those egg cartons everyone leaves on the grocery store shelf because it got dropped by that guy who wasn’t paying attention while he was checking the expiration date because he was obnoxiously talking on his cell phone about his entire life story for everyone in the store to hear. These, of course, are highly technical medical terms.
“…and who’s this, Buddy?”
“R2D2 is his friend. They go in space togedder.”
For his bedtime “story,” my son had chosen his copy of Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, and so I sat with him on his bed, elated and proud to be discussing A Galaxy Far, Far Away with my four-year-old. Last year, I figured there was no better opportunity than Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), for the Twins’ inaugural viewing of Episode IV, and since then, they’ve been enamored with droids, Light Sabers, and “Deaf” Stars. As we turned the page, my son instantly recognized the next character. “Dat’s Princess Leia.”
He took in the two-page profile on Leia, which includes photos of her in the various costumes she wears throughout the trilogy. Then, after a moment of careful consideration, he cracked a goofy grin and pointed to the one of her as Jabba the Hutt’s scantily clad prisoner.
“I like THAT one the best,” he smiled.
I braced myself. “How come, Buddy?” Continue reading