we’re either the worst parents on the planet, or brilliant

About a year ago, Darling and I discovered that our iPod is, quite possibly, our best friend. In fact, it’s maybe our entire family’s best friend. And not for the music.

I don’t know about you, but the prospect of taking a toddler on errands or on any non-toddler-specific outing can be, um, totally and completely TORTURE. Not that we don’t love Lady Bug (a lot!), but she is a total pain when she is forced to submit her little will to ANYONE ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE. Totally appropriate for development as a toddler, but a giant pain in the butt when it is not all about her. This is not shocking info for anyone, I know.

In desperation on a non-toddler-specific-outing with the family, we discovered iJoy. I think it was Darling’s idea to bring the iPod in with us to the mall one day, as he eyed a particularly wiggly and cranky toddler and our list of errands. The man is brilliant. Seriously brill.iant. We had used the iPod for long car trips and such, so we had some of Lady Bug’s fav cartoons on it.

Let me just tell say, you can get a lot done if you have Teletubbies on your iPod. I know, I know–putting that sort of abomination on a neat piece of technology is terrible…until you can shop in peace while the toddler sits happily in the stroller, her little headphones on. We’re happy, she’s happy, what’s not to love?

But, you protest, think of all the wonderful, mind stimulating opportunities the mall can offer a toddler! Think of the brain time they are missing while mom picks out a shirt that actually FITS, without having to grab 3 things to try on later at home. And then return. And what about all the verbal stimulation they are NOT getting while the parents don’t tell them (repeatedly), “Sit down!” “We’re almost done! “Quit grabbing things! These pretty/expensive/shiny things are all NO TOUCH.” “You want your binky/blanky/toy/sippy cup/$10 to quit making this miserable for us all?”

Well, if you have ever shopped with a toddler, you know.

Darling is brilliant. He whipped out the iJoy and plugged the kid in. Nearly instant peace and happiness. And Lady B was happy, too.

I was a little nervous about the public censure about using the Great Paralyzer in a mobile format. But you should see people’s reactions. People without children say, “Oh, how cute!” And smile. Probably because Lady Bug isn’t shrieking and ruining their shopping peace. People with children say, “That’s brilliant.” They look slightly dumbfounded that they hadn’t thought of it themselves and I know they are rushing home to download an episode of Dora the Explorer onto their own iPod.

There is the drawback of putting your beloved iPod in the hands of a fickle toddler–Lady Bug has pitched it over the side of her stroller on more then one occasion. But so far, it has survived. And at this point, it’s death would be seen as a worthy sacrifice for the family. And most of the metro area.

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