Friday, June 20, 2014
A few months ago, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want my baby to see me on my phone all the time. This was quite a challenge, given how frequent a baby needs nursing and how desperate a new mom seeks outlets and news from the "outside." I read via an e-book app. I checked social media. I bought things. I pinned. I blogged. I texted. And when baby was playing and smiling, I snapped photos and videos. I checked the time.
Since then, if she is nursing and awake, I try to be technology-free. I talk to her, rub her head or her back, kiss her hands, cut her nails. It gets boring. I twitch for lack of hashtags or buzz lists. I've become a junkie. I hate that. But, I'm trying to relish this short lived time that my daughter and I have together and have been keeping the phone out of arms reach while nursing.
This still leaves many hours when I want to check my phone. And I still do it. But I've been working on leaving it behind. And I have gotten better at not checking my email, Facebook, and texting all the time. But then I realized I still frequently logged screen time just by checking the hour on my phone. (How long until the sweet relief of my husband's return from work? When was the last time she napped? Has the mail come yet?)
So what to do? Time is a metric that moms need - for a busy schedule, for tracking their new baby's naps and feeds. The thing that seems obvious, but took a while to figure out, is to go old school. A watch. A clock you wear. On your arm. With which to check the time.
Having none of these nearly obsolete items anymore, I purchased one in minutes (via a phone app: palm/head/smack.) But now I feel a little more elegant (somehow a watch, like a piece of jewelry, elevates the ubiquitous mom uniform of yoga pants and nursing tanks (only slightly.) More importantly, it allows me to be able to leave the darn phone behind so I can be part of my daughter's life, not just document it.
I want to watch my child as she rolls over. I want to watch her walk. Her soccer games. Her dance. In fact, I may want to dance with her. I want to watch her as she smiles. At me. I want to be present in her life. I don't want her to think that a phone or tablet or screen is in any way more valuable than her sweet little life.
So join me! Do what I did and put on a watch and #watchyourchildren!
(Why yes, I just hastagged that directive. I'm not eschewing the modern age altogether!)
Friday, June 13, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
On Google’s homepage yesterday small cartoon doe-eyed Africans peeked out from within the “o”s and leaned up against the green “l” sipping coffee. As with Earth Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday-this new logo was also in celebration; Google has acquired Uganda. In constant internal tumult, Uganda seems an unnatural purchase for Google, who has recently bought out many other countries. Vernon Howell, spokesperson for Google International Acquisitions (GIA) says that the purchase of Uganda serves as a platform as it expands into Africa. “It is a mutual transaction, with both parties benefiting,” he insists.
Google will benefit from the Ugandan coffee trade and local labor and they are strongly considering moving their headquarters from Mountain View, California to the hills outside of the Ugandan capital, Kampala. What the Ugandan people are to gain is up for debate. Secret business plans about this deal were leaked to Reuters and the Associated Press. These plans show that Google intends to supply their “employees” (whom they will call “missionaries”) with a bevy of Google-inflected bonuses: flat-screen televisions, internet stations, and encouraging email-only communication. In doing so, they hope to encourage the missionaries to see the benefit of Google as a lifestyle: Human as an IP address. Once the initial orientation is through, Google will supply the missionaries with pamphlets and flyers to hand out in their villages. With the literacy rate of Uganda at 69.9%, the pamphlets will use pictograms: basic figures rejoicing in a primary color God. The purpose is to rid the natives of their customs and encourage Google as religion, says one GIA employee who wishes to remain anonymous. Thereby, Google will become a de facto God.
Patriarchal, possibly. Imperial, perhaps. Cult-like, certainly. However, already, like other Google ventures, Ugandan stock has risen to unprecedented levels, increasing 40% since the acquisition. The Eastern European countries like Latvia and Azerbaijan that Google acquired last year have been cultivating the relationship and are “enjoying a Google lifestyle,” says Howell. The difference with Uganda is that this country may become the Google home base. The militant factions, and the AIDS crisis that have plagued Uganda will certainly have to be addressed if Google wishes to make this takeover a success; and success is what Google does best. But, the question remains: whose definition of success are they going by?
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
On things that are deathtraps, by the lovely Leslie at B+Boston.
this piece in Time magazine about paid paternity leave. I didn't get any paid maternity leave and it still rankles.
I'm really a sucker for animals. I can spend hours on Cute Overload. I cry about the kangaroos in Canberra. I can no longer blame this on the pregnancy hormones. This video had me sobbing, naturally. Sometimes someone just needs a hug.