God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Digital Baby

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You’ve got a baby car seat in one arm, your store bag in the other, and it’s raining outside. How to get her in the car before you’re both soaked? Well, now I can unlock the car while inside the store using remote unlock. This is just one of many digital advancements that make raising a child way easier than in the past.

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I have a problem. An addiction. I can’t stop taking pictures. I tell myself that we have enough pictures, but I don’t listen. I continue to take them. It’s a good thing it’s 2012 and not 1992. I’d really be in trouble.

See, Steph downloaded the pictures from our camera the other day. I thought that was going to be a boring pull, as I hadn’t taken all that many pictures in the past couple of weeks. 277 pictures later, OK, maybe it was worthwile.

Perhaps I’m the output of the digital era we live in. Thinking back to the 90’s and early aughts when I was still taking pictures on film, listening to music on compact discs and taping shows on VHS, there was a finite space to consider. This tape holds 6hrs of TV, I can listen to this cd for an hour before having to change discs, and this roll of film will hold 35 shots. If I’m at the zoo, I can’t waste one of my 35 shots on a gazelle. It’s just a fancy deer. No, those 35 shots are earmarked for the exotic animals.

Then, after taking your pictures, you take them to the store. Remember when One Hour Photo was just amazing? All I have to do is take my picture of a giraffe, drive home from vacation, unload the film from the camera without accidentally exposing it to light, put it into one of those dark containers, drive to Wal-Mart and fill out the envelope order form (matte/glossy, 3×5 or 4×6, doubles or not, etc), drop the container in the order form, walk around the store for an hour, pickup your pictures, pay for them, flip through the pictures only to find out that you moved while taking the picture so now your giraffe looks like the fuzzy picture of Nessy.

Fast forward to today, I snap the pic (with image stabilization), check the screen to see if it’s blurry. Heck, I got a decent picture of the giraffe, but I’m going to take 10 more to see if I can get a better one.

At the end of 2011, bearing in mind that Eva had been alive for all of 10 days, we had 184 pictures taken. We’ve taken about a 1000 in three months. In 1992 I would have had to taken a second job to pay for all those pictures (film, processing and storage). Today, we can store them on the laptop, upload them so our family can see them, or post them to Facebook. If Eva smiles, I can sit over her and take 20 pictures trying to catch it once again, deleting 19 of them if need be. I’ll know immediately if I caught it or not.

These pictures will be a document to these days, these moments that tend to get lost in the abyss of my mind. What price is it worth to have these pictures that unlock those memories that you’ve stored and forgotten about? Speaking of, time to back them up…

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Three AM feedings are unnatural, hideous attempts at destroying my sanity. On the plus side, I’m catching up on my Cheers. These early, early feeding are one of the hardest things about having an infant. You’re tired, don’t want to do it, and it saps your energy for the rest of the day. A number of times we’ve nodded off while feeding her during this time.

Two digital innventions have made this time bearable (and somewhat more enjoyable). Netflix and my Nook. About a month or so before Eva was born, the Nook added a Netflix app to it’s expanding app library. I can stream Netflix to my Nook while feeding, which accomplishes a couple of things. It keeps me awake and keeps the brain operating slow enough that I can still go asleep when I’m done. I position the Nook in a place where Eva can’t watch it, and since it’s three am I have no streaming issues, as no one sane is up then.

To put in perspective how many late night feedings there are, I’ve watched two seasons of White Collar (I don’t know, I guess I was drawn in by the hundred commercials I saw for it at the hospital, and of course Kelly Kapowski), and am halfway through Cheers Season 1. Once she’s done eating, I turn it off, change her and rock her back to sleep. Once I put her down, I like to stick around a couple of minutes to make sure she’s really out. I used to turn the Nook back on and read some Newsweek or Consumer Reports, but had to stop that when I’d couldn’t get back to sleep because I was thinking about something I read. Now I flip it on and play Samari Fruit or Angry Birds.

Thanks you Angry Birds, Netflix and Nook for making three A.M. less painful.

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How did people get the news out years ago? Letters*? Phone calls? Eech. These modes of communication are not ideal for me, as my handwriting is like a professional athlete’s after he’s signed about a thousand baseballs, and my main goal on a phone conversation is to end it. My ideal phone coversation is like one this collect call commercial. (link)

* Off topic rant, if I had a letter for my grandmother in South Dakota, found someone to take it to her, paid them 50 cents, they wanted 52 cents, and I raised hell over that 2 cent raise in price, I’d be a crazy person, right? Heck, it would probably cost me 50 cents in gas to move a letter in town. No one should complain over stamp prices (unless you send a lot of letters, then more power to you)

No, I don’t have to do those things because I have WordPress, Facebook, E-Mail, and Text Messaging. WordPress for the long thoughts, Facebook for the quick notes, e-mail for the personized notes, and text messaging for instant notifications. I have a Twitter account, but haven’t used it for anything because I don’t know what niche it fits for me. I link my blog on Facebook, make my stupid comments on Facebook, and keep (most) of my sports commentary to myself. Maybe I’ll be a-twitter with Twitter in the future.

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Our baby sleeps best when there is noise around here. I’m not sure if this is the same with all newborns, if daycare excentuates this, or if her time in the womb was in a noisy environment (with a two year old sister, this is probably true). To help her sleep at night, we have a sheep that makes ocean noises, otherwise known as a white noise machine. On top of that, we’ll play a cd of lullabies.

We have a variety of CDs, including a gift from my wife’s alma mater Luther College, and a CD by Jewel. She has a nice voice for lullabies, but she does one thing that drives me nuts. In Twinkle, Twinkle, for the line “like a diamond in the sky”, she pronounces the “a” like you would pronounce it in the alphabet instead of the way I say it, “uh”. I believe (reading the internet, so you know it’s true) that either way is acceptable, but it sticks out like a sore thumb to me everytime I hear it.

I decided to burn my own CD as well. I spent a month going through songs, and it is tough to find appropriate songs. Songs that had an appropriate message would be too upbeat for nighttime music, or the tone would be correct but there would be a line like “I want to touch you”. My CD starts with the most obvious choice of someone my age (and older), Billy Joel’s Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel), and ends with Life’s a Happy Song from the latest Muppets Movie. This CD will be Eva’s first mix tape (“What’s a tape? Really? You had music on physical tape?! Next you’ll tell me that at one point you had a device that had a charge that lasted for a day and only made phone calls.”)

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Raising a child can be difficult at times, but some of the digital have made some moments a bit easier. I haven’t even mentioned some, like the digital thermometer, the monitor, the Mozart Cube, or the Its Been. (Probably because there exists a low-tech version of those : the mercury thermometer, the human ear, the human voice or a clock) The digital age is a god send that I’m sure nothing in my next post will contridict.

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