A ‘Switch’ In Time
I’m not quite sure how, but my middle child turned eight last month.
It seems incredible to me really as he’s always been my ‘baby’ – well until the new one turned up earlier this year that is.
Overnight I was transformed from a dad-of-two (boys), into a father-of-three (now a girl), and prepared I most certainly was not.
My nappy days were done and dusted; I was a fully-fledged footie-dad without a second thought for Barbies or unicorns, and Pink was just that annoying pop star.
But in actual fact those sleepless nights had already started to reappear long before baby number three made her grand entrance.
The dreaded lure of technology has cast its spell upon this house and try as we might to repress it as much as possible, our 21st century lives seem to incorporate it at every turn.
We have our phones, Netflix, Sky TV, iPads, iPods, computers, tablets and a PS4 – we even have a blummin’ robotic hoover constantly beavering around after the cat (which is actually great).
It’s all a bit much and gets on top of me sometimes though, especially when I think back to ‘how it was in my day’.
Computers were only just making an appearance in schools when I was about to leave them. I say ‘computers’ but it was more like the singular – housed in a warehouse-sized classroom, which required ear defenders to operate due to the constant buzzing if you came within 20 paces of it.
So even though our humble abode often resembles a Microsoft after party venue, a brand new handheld piece of equipment was requested as part of boy 2’s birthday bragging.
A 'Nintendo Switch' is suddenly the order of the day – complete with Super Mario paraphernalia and all the gubbins.
I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m unable to prise it from his daylight-starved hands and will need to fashion a rota just to get him off it and to the table in time for his tea.
Protest a little too much I may, but it remains a constant concern trying to ensure that their screen time is regulated, one I’m sure I’m not alone in sharing these days.
I guess I’ll just have to 'console' myself with the fact that my two eldest do still like to get out and about a bit every now and then.
Whether that be football in the park, a bike ride to oblivion or just a swashbuckling lightsabre fight with a couple of dog-chewed sticks down the park.
This we’ll continue with gusto as the summer months stretch out ahead of us and the warmer weather basks those pale arms and square eyes – my mission impossible perhaps?
The trump card up my sleeve however, may well be the chance to steer my new daughter more steadily through the mire of wires - to ration her technological appetite a little more regularly and try not to make it the be all and end all of every hour or so after school.
A virtual bridge too far some might say, but it’s worth a shot I reckon and I hope that come the summer holidays when boy 2’s new gadget is no longer the 'Apple' of his eye, he’ll 'Switch' attention to the great outdoors once more and let me show him what life was really like ‘when I weren’t a dad’.