So, it began with a simple phonics APP that was recommended for Lily. She started playing it sometimes on Ray's Kindle Fire, and it really seemed to be a good, educational thing. Of course, suddenly, it also meant that the Kindle sort of 'became' Lily's (as these things do).
We dug deep and decided that we'd buy Lily a Kindle for her birthday present - just a simple, bottom-of-the-range 6" model. And for a while, all was well.
Then, the boys noticed ...
Two weeks' after Lily's birthday - Christmas day - we buckled, and our bank balance took a hit. Yes, we bought our 2 (nearly 3) year old twins Kindles too.
Our rationale? That we might get a moment's peace.
Come on, don't tell me you haven't done something similar at some stage... against your better judgement.
Anyway, was the problem solved, I hear you ask. The answer? Not really. Batteries running out, fighting over 'my Kindle' 'no, my Kindle', still wanting to play on daddy's one (it's bigger), and (one of the worst side-effects), playing an APP that's meant to teach number and letter writing and constantly nagging mummy or daddy to write the requisite letter on screen.
And do we buckle? Usually. Because we're human and, to be honest, we're knackered.
So where's the up-side? Suddenly Joe (2) knows all his phonics, and can count to about 30. We were playing with some foam (non technological) letters and he could sound out most of them. Both boys can now more or less cope with the number writing themselves (except for 9, for some reason).
But I'll freely admit if I could go back in time, we would be an (almost) Kindle free household. At least for now...
Another disadvantage of modern technology? Digital cameras.
Yes there are upsides - we tend to take more photos these days; we can wait for the 'right' shot. And of course ,the downsides have been widely discussed - no one prints photos, we're going to lose them all, we don't appreciate them...
But there's another, perhaps sadder, outcome to digital technology... We DO print a few photos once in a while for a frame or album. But it's always the cute ones of the kids, very rarely one with mum or dad makes the grade.
Because we all judge ourselves harshly in photos, don't we? And we think "ergh, not that one - delete it NOW!" But what about our kids? The benefit of film was that you were stuck with what you'd taken. Life isn't about the 'best angle' it's about the moment - moments that don't come round again. Ten, twenty years after you got a set of photos developed, it's the funny one with your hair sticking up that you feel the fondest of... once a suitable time has elapsed.
We realised it's possible that - should one of our computers crash - the kids would be left with very few reminders of mum or dad doing something with them. They'd know how cute they were, but they wouldn't have the memories of us that they are entitled to (however hideously ugly)!
So we've decided to be less vain and print out the odd monstrosity - just for the sake of the kids...
Can't promise to frame 'em though...