Posts Tagged ‘ Portlandia ’

How Do Families Have Time For Cable TV And Smartphones?

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

In yesterday’s letter, The Peculiar And Impractical Tradition Of Tithing 10%I suggested that perhaps part of the reason our family is able to tithe 10% of our income is because we don’t pay for cable TV or smartphones.

Of course, it’s been that way since Mommy and I got married on July 5, 2008. So by the time you came along 2 years ago, it was simply the norm; already established as our family’s culture.

But honestly, the fact that we don’t spend money on those things isn’t really much of a sacrifice on our end. What I can’t seem to grasp is how our family would find the time in our time-starved schedule to watch enough TV or utilize the wonders that a smartphone can do.

Maybe I should blame it on that episode of Saved By The Bell where Zack Morris has to call his dad on his cell phone to get his attention, though they’re already in the same room. Maybe I fear getting so caught up in the convenience of modern technology and entertainment that I allow myself miss out on quality time with you.

Our family struggles so much already with budgeting what little time we have together,  so even sacrificing only 10% of our time on those things would cause a strain on our family dynamics.

And again, if we only gave 10% of our free time to cable TV and smartphones, we wouldn’t be getting our money’s worth.

I try to imagine how distracted and unsettled I would be if I had a smartphone. I personally would not do well. Though I’m only 31, I don’t fit some of the token Generation Y traits like keeping up with the latest technology, and therefore, entertainment.

During the day at work, it would be extremely difficult for me to focus on getting anything done; knowing I could be discretely checking my email or looking random stuff up on my phone.

The best thing for me is to not have Internet on my phone. That helps keep me grounded, and honestly, helps keep my head clear enough to write you 6 days a week.

Similarly, I feel that if we had DVR and could record shows from dozens (or is it hundreds?) of channels, I would get overwhelmed quickly.

You, Mommy, and I somehow find a normal life in having basic (and outdated!) phones and paying just 8 bucks a month for Netflix streaming as our entertainment. You get to watch Mater’s Tall Tales everyday (and apparently never get tired of it) and Mommy and I get to catch up on the new season of Portlandia.

Of course, I’m very aware that our lifestyle is… counter-cultural. I ask, “How do families have time for cable TV and smartphones?”

Meanwhile, they are probably wondering, “How does that family function without those things?”

I just don’t see how our family is cut out to be that modernized when it comes to the tech and entertainment world. And ironically, that’s coming from a daddy blogger.





P.S. This 2 minute clip of Portlandia demonstrates what I fear would happen to me…


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Helmets For Crawlers And Toddlers (And First-Time Parents)

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

16 months.

What the helmet?!

When I saw the MSN headline this week saying “Does your high-speed crawler need a helmet?” I couldn’t help but laugh and feel sorry for all those naive first-time parents out there taking that idea seriously. Then I remembered:

Exactly a year ago, my wife and I actually searched online for one. Oh yeah… that.

I was, and still am, an unexperienced first-time parent in each new stage of my son’s life. Yeah, it goes back to that stereotype about the firstborn child being overprotected.

Needless to say, we ended up not paying the 43 bucks for a “crawling helmet,” but only because back in April 2011, it wasn’t as easy to find such a thing. But now, it’s quite the trend.

There is a demand. There is a supply.

Yes, the “crawling helmet” is smart, sexy, and most importantly, a magnet for hipster toddlers everywhere in America; especially Portland, Oregon… I assume.

As much as I mock the concept now, I honestly believed last year that it was a good idea to buy my 5 month-old a helmet to prevent him from everyday head-bumping injuries.

After all, the house we lived in at the time had hardwood floors. But mainly, we as newbie parents hadn’t yet learned that babies’ heads are durable enough to take quite the banging.

It didn’t take long to realize that 99.3% of the time, when Jack hits his head on the floor, or the table, or the wall, he’s not even clued in to what happened.

In fact, one of my new games I play with Jack is to see how many times I can repeatedly hit him in the head (while he’s looking the other way playing with another toy) with this cheap, thin, extremely light, made-in-China inflatable ball you find in the dollar bin at Wal-Mart.

(Pictured right.)

After about 5 or 6 direct hits to the back or side of the head, he finally looks over at me and chuckles as if to say, “Oh, you’ve been doing that this whole time?”

Sure, my son is hard-headed; but that’s not unusual for young kids.

I wonder now what would have happened had we bought him a helmet last year; had there really been a fresh market for it back then.

Well, I guess ultimately, we wouldn’t have learned a very valuable lesson; that “high-speed crawlers” don’t actually need helmets.

Something else I wonder is if there an official way to get your kid tested to find out if they truly are a high-speed crawler. I predict there will be plenty of poser babies out there who are really just medium-speed crawlers…

Even worse, for all I know, “crawling helmets” are probably the gateway protection device leading to “steel-toed booties” and  ”baby bulletproof vests.”

If only crawling helmets were pitched on the TV show Shark Tank. I would love to see that episode:

“As a toddler, I jumped off the couch onto the hardwood floor headfirst and not only did I not bleed, but I turned out smart enough to make it here. So for that reason, I’m out.”

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