Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be here now.

Last week I made a decision: no more computer in front of my son. Noooo I'm not addicted to Internet porn or anything sketchy like that. I just got tired of failing at two things at once. You know the feeling - half your brain is trying to respond really quickly to an e-mail while the other half is totally engaged in a three year old's explanation of what Rintoo did on Kai-lan. Inevitably your eyes start to twitch as you grow increasingly weary and irritated and before you know it a task that should have taken 40 seconds has swallowed up your entire morning.

I've tried telling Liam I will be able to play much sooner if he will give me five minutes of alone time but he's three so, you know. That's not exactly happening right now. In the past he's been perfectly content to play on his own for short periods of time but he has recently hit a bit of a needy patch. He wants to play with me, watch a show with me, get cozy on the couch with me. It has given me a much greater understanding for why people have kids semi-close together now. A built-in playmate might totally take the pressure off.

Not that it's Liam's fault, of course. With or without a child vying for my attention, the computer would still be, in and of itself, a black hole of distraction. I mean, where else can you go to look up the phone number for a pizza place and find yourself scrolling through Facebook twenty minutes later while your starving family whimpers in the other room? No phone book I know has ever done that.

Without limits I would happily spend all day on the computer, writing and reading and editing photos. I love it but can easily admit that it's a major time suck. And it is never-ending so there isn't really a point of satisfaction. It's not like you could ever say, "I'll be right there, just finishing up the Internet." There is always more, always something new.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

But now that I know I can't get online for just a minute until Liam is asleep or otherwise engaged, the temptation to let my mind wander back to the computer isn't as strong. I can play Go Fish or put a puzzle together without wondering if I got any new e-mails or if so-and-so posted something I simply must read right this second.

I would be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge, but I think the good greatly outweighs the bad. Life is so much better when you're fully participating in it instead of going through the motions with one distraction after the next. It takes a bit of planning (which I haven't entirely figured out yet) but my time with Liam is better and my time on the computer is better.

For example, Liam and I have blown bubbles in the back yard oh, I don't know, a thousand times? But I have never really appreciated them until now.

Bubbles are SO cool! It may have been that they were extra colorful because it had just stopped raining and was still really overcast, but I suspect it's because I was giving them my full attention.

We must have played with bubbles for two hours. If my mind had been somewhere else, I most likely would have gone mad in that time. But being there, fully present - it was the sweetest two hours of the day.


Ms. Booty Homemaker said...

Right on, mama. I resolve and slip, resolve and slip.... As I write this, my three year old is playing Hot Wheels at my feet.


Moose said...

You're an incredible mom. I have a late start day today, and while reading your blog I checked out the time- 2 hours on the computer and none of it was productive. It is my favorite way to relax, but being completely present while doing anything makes that thing better. Good resolution!

jen scaffidi said...

Holy cannoli. When did he become a not-baby? You guys are really beautiful, you know? I miss you.

sunT said...

haha that video is great i feel that way sometimes!

CelinaQ said...

So very awesome, Maggie! I love that you realized that life (and bubbles!) is so much more beautiful when you are fully present. I need to work on that myself.

Also, I liked how you put it about the internet--that it's neverending and so you never reach a point of satisfaction. Very poignant.

I saw a t-shirt the other day that said, "Turn off your computer," reminiscent of the "turn off your tv" stuff. It's true--computers and the internet are the new TV. They suck you in and before you know it, hours have flown by and you haven't interacted with a real human...
I'm going to have to start limiting my use...

Thank you for your insights!

bill said...

oh yes. liam requires full attention. he and i are both thankful you're so dedicated to him. thanks bra.

also, i'm glad you clarified that you're not a porn addict. i just can't imagine how bad that would be. ("bad" like michael jackson or "bad" like not good? i'll never tell)

Anna said...

great post! as fast as our babies are growing up, it is good to have a reminder to enjoy these precious moments with them! have you ever heard the song 'be here now' by mason jennings? it is one of my very favorite songs.

katie said...

that video cracked me up! JT will do the same thing while grinning because he knows that is how I feel, then he will even begin saying "katie katie katie katie katie"