Life whizzes along quite merrily, without us really noticing big changes, and then WHAM we have kids and suddenly we are forced to remember what life was like for us, compared to what life is like for them. We were sat on the train the other day with our four-year-old and she said, “When we get home, can I watch Team UmiZoomi please?” (she is very good with her pleases and thank yous, you know *mum point in the bag*). Anyway, this prompted a conversation about how lucky she is that she can watch pretty much any TV she likes, at any time. In a slightly giddy, reminiscent way, Mr P and I tried to explain to her that when we were little, there were only four TV channels and unless we recorded something we couldn’t watch it (record on a creaking VHS tape that is – ooh which reminds me, our first ever video recorder had a remote control that connected to the VHS player by a long lead. It was THE FUTURE.)
The four-year-old looked puzzled and giggled, as if Mummy and Daddy were teasing her with crazy unfathomable tales. “What did you watch when you were little?” she asked. I tried to explain the concept of Rainbow to her. She looked confused. Later that day, she asked to watch Rainbow. I found it on YouTube and do you know what? It just felt a bit empty, a bit wooden and a bit creepy. MEMORY RUINED.
So anyway – despite my rambling, the point of this post is this: Aren’t there so many things that are different now, compared to when we were kids? You know you’re the parent of a modern child when…
- Aged 18 months, they can unlock your iPhone, pass code and all.
- They try to press your computer screen to select something, rather than knowing how a mouse works.
- They know more French words at four than you did at fourteen.
- You’re out shopping and they say “Can we stop for a coffee, please Mum?”
- You hand the phone over for them to speak to the grandparents and they can’t work out why they can’t actually see Grandad on the screen. (When we were kids, ‘video calls’ were the stuff of sci-fi comics.)
- They say “Thanks for watching!” after playing with their Play Doh. Clearly been watching too many YouTube videos.
- When considering primary schools, you look into how many computers the school has for the kids to use. My Primary School only had one TV (on caster wheels, in the TV room) and I’m pretty sure even the headmaster used a typewriter.
- You hear yourself saying “If you don’t at least try the broccoli, you can’t use the iPad tomorrow.”
- They have a ‘reading nook’ somewhere in the house. In our day, we were happy with a chair.
- When they’re bored on a bus, they ask “Can I play a game on your phone?” – we didn’t even HAVE mobile phones 30 years ago, never mind ones that played GAMES! *mind blown*
Have I missed any? What other signs are there that you’re parenting a modern child?