Note: I’ll use nerd and geek interchangeably in this post and in a lot of places in this blog. While this isn’t the case for all nerds/geeks, JT and I are comfortable in the grey space that exists between both. If you are unclear of the differences, join the rest of the world; the traits of both are constantly changing these days as it becomes more mainstream, but really a lot of nerds are geeks (though the reverse is less often true).
As we adapt to life with a new tiny person in the house, we are struggling to stay nerdy and not just become boring adults (not that all non-nerd adults are boring, but the name of the blog is what it is for a reason). We are huge tabletop gamers, so for now board games are still something that we can do relatively easily, we just have to be willing to halt in the middle to meet the demands of a crying baby. We need a token that we can pass around to help us remember whose turn it was when we left the table.
While board games are a ton of fun, some of our geek-isms are digitally based: console games, PC games, super hero movies and TV shows, programming, digital art projects. For a little while, Gem was still in the newborn state where she slept through everything and couldn’t see farther than a meter away. She mostly ate with her eyes closed, cried with her eyes closed, and slept with her ears closed. However, she is beginning to take notice of movement on screens around her and turn her head towards them. This is apparently a big no-no for a child’s development.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has thrown out their previous suggestion of less than two hours of screen time for everyone under 18 years old (a completely ridiculous goal since many kids now use computers in the classroom!), they do still recommend zero screen time for kids under the age of 2. Baby screen time can hinder the physical and emotional development of the child by making it more difficult for them to read facial cues and limits their motivation to get up and move around. The AAP does understand that many families live in separate states/countries, so they don’t consider the use of media to communicate with far reaching family members as part of the screen ban.
The big question for us will be, “How do we maintain our nerd status and way of life while making sure that Gem doesn’t turn out stunted?” The easy answer is probably that we don’t, at least to the same extent as before.
Instead of gaming together, JT and I will have to take turns. Maybe one night a week he will stay up late and game while I get her ready for bed solo, and then one night a week he can get her ready. Once she is on a more regular sleeping schedule we can have co-op TV or gaming time after she goes to bed. Really what all this means is that screen time for the adults will need to be carefully planned instead of spontaneous.
We will have to decide for ourselves and our family when it’s appropriate for her to watch movies, or play video games, or use a cell phone (hopefully a long way out). But for now, we just have to severely limit our own screen time in order to prevent her from thinking that the computer is king in this house.