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When the IPad is Out of Commission

While I am young enough to appreciate the coolness of a new app, I am too old to care. I have to admit that I’m just not that into the latest and greatest in app software. Call me old, behind the times, or stubborn, but I fully confess to not having digital prowess. My eleven- year- old, however is a digital dynamo. He hungrily scrolls looking for the next best thing like I fantasize about wandering Barnes and Noble for hours with unlimited funds.

So, when the lover of literature/writer and resident evil mother told him to turn off the Ipad and read a book for a whole 30 minutes, his anti-reading behavior was in full swing. Now, I can tolerate quite a bit. I have learned through years of parenting that life doesn’t always go as planned and that control is merely an illusion. Grumbling is to be expected when your child’s fingers literally have to be pried from an electronic device, not to mention foot stamping, eye rolling, and yes, grunting. All of these I have learned to disengage from, walk away, or ignore. However, the phrase “I hate reading and reading is stupid,” made my insides contort. The I hate reading mantra is literally a dagger in my writer’s heart. Why don’t you just kill your mother-it’s faster.

Here’s the kicker. My son has an advanced reading level at school and he loves creative writing, so why the fuss about immersing oneself in a good book? Heck, it can even be a digital copy! Nope. Reading has been replaced by the mistress IPad. She lures him like a digital siren call. Crossy Road and Minecraft have replaced Harry Potter and Big Nate.

The fight appeared to be escalating. The foot stamping made my crystal slightly shake in the cabinet. I had two choices, I could drone on about how he doesn’t really hate books; I could sadistically tie him to a chair and prop his eyelids open with toothpicks until he finished War and Peace, or I could get creative.

Ironically, he loves word games. I know, you’re probably making the same clucking noises I did. I offered to play a word game instead, he instantly picked Scrabble-I hate Scrabble. Moreover, playing it with younger kids is frustrating because they’re always asking things like-“is j-u-x-t-a-z-e a word?” By the way, I looked it up just to be sure, and it’s NOT. Shocking, right?

Scrabble takes a long time, and I get bored easily waiting for the other person’s turn, but when you’re in the trenches, split second decisions are required.I was both surprised and pleased at his skill and vernacular. Even if the words didn’t command a lot of points, they were actually-advanced. Of course, I preyed on his competitive nature by saying, “you know you could probably beat me if you read more.” Bad mommy.

We played for two straight hours until I finally cried uncle and declared bedtime. But in that time, we didn’t argue and his eyes weren’t constantly blinking and darting from rapid IPad movement and dare I say, we had fun. There wasn’t any dinging, annoying music or crashing noises, rather the sounds of clacking tiles as we reached for new letters in the bag. Oh, and if you’re interested g-j-e-t-o-s-t is a real word!

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