“Ima, why do adults always look at their phones?”
“Oh, I… um… it’s…”
Because if you think kids have no self control, you’re kidding yourself. Because adults have no self control. Because it gets lost over time. Because we’re so misguided. Because we’re just awful.
Because we adults get addicted to things. Because we are needy and insecure. Because we cannot control our basic instincts to become completely absorbed and obsessed and self centered. Because instant gratification is a too sweet. Because too much of a goof thing may make you sick but sometimes you just keep doing it because you’ve lost the ability to feel good or bad. Because we make a lot of rules but don’t follow them. Because we learn but we don’t internalize.
“And then I see them looking at their phones and then I look too and then after a few minutes my eyes hurt and it doesn’t feel good… so why do adults always do it?”
Because your eyes are young and hopeful and capable of seeing the brightest of bright colors, colors we cannot even see anymore after years of sitting at a desk or reading books or watching TV or becoming cyborgs, staring at phones. Your eyes are young and your brain is youthful and you have everything ahead of you except eventually it will be staring at phones. Or whatever that comes to mean. But it won’t be color. Not these colors, organic wholesome natural colors. LED colors. Artificial coloring.
Because I used to be able to sit in a car or a bus for hours and think and day dream and plan and focus and wonder. And now I can’t even go a minute or two without feeling for the phone.
Because deep, personal, intimate creativity has been cut off for so many of us by broad, global innovation.
Because adults have no self control. Because adults feel they must be in constant control.
Because we’re screwing it up everywhere we turn. Because a generation ruins it all for the next one. Because we are a species that denies nature and facts. Because we don’t deserve nice things and we’ve evolved to sabotage ourselves.
Because even though your question is a punch in the gut, I don’t know how we will stop.
There are three things I know to be true:
- There are types of self confidence that cannot be bought or therapy’d into you.
- A kid who is comfortable being choosy about cake is going places.
- This is going to be one hell of a year.
So here we go.
The hills are alive… with the giggles of Nettles…
And where dresses are worn, all the time – to gan, to bed. The dress phase. I know you.
We’ve really gotten to know Nettles, the younger sister. The younger sister who looks up to her older sister as her dear leader, her mentor, her worldview.
We’ve also come to know Nettles, the older sister. The mistress of torture, the distributor of aggressive hugs, the doting cartoon character who squeezes her beloved puppy too hard.
And for a while we’ve been very familiar with Nettles, the tag-along. The one who wants her fair share but then destroys it because really, none of this matters anyway, amirite guys? Guys??
The Nettles who gets ‘er done. The Nettles who doesn’t cry over spilled milk. Nettles doesn’t even see the spilled milk. Nettles pushes forth and gets what she wants. Which is disgustingly limp cornflakes.
Oh hey, Ima, look – milk!
One hell of a year, Nettles. Keep on moving.
(See? I told you I’d be up in your face making you crazy-laugh again…)
The sun and warmth and faint smell of spring have started to creep up around us and so your winter sniffles and spotty sleep schedule have started to melt away. Literally, right now, we’re on the floor together, you’re up on your knees, grabbing me by the collar, getting in my face and smile-saying “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!” as if something hilarious is on my forehead.
This month you’ve really woken up from a wintry infant slumber. You’re finding things funny but also making things funny. You’re paying attention and grabbing attention. You’re speaking non-stop (did you actually tell me ‘toda’ yesterday after I gave you something?).
There’s a cautious curiosity about you, but you’re not stopped by fear. You also know what you want (and most of the time, it’s to get out of whoever the hell thinks they’re cuddling you and back into my arms). You’re clear, you’re focused, you’ll make yourself heard.
Meanwhile, the calaniyot are not safe around you (and neither are the crumbs on the floor from being consumed, my skin from being lovingly pinched, anything your siblings own from being destroyed).
As befitting a bilingual baby, you’re reaching a little higher than you need to. A little more to figure out in the world.
And of course, curiosity has fully set in; not like I’m at all surprised.