You know you’re a parent when you find yourself saying, “We didn’t have that when I was growing up!” I’ve heard it numerous times over the years before I was one myself, and now I’m hearing it come out of my own mouth. Not in a curmudgeonly way, but in a thankful, grateful, “what would I have done in previous generations?” way.
Aside from the diaper pail that keeps the odor trapped in, or the video monitor that allows me to spy on my child, my favorite advancement in technology is FaceTime (or more generically video calls). This mode of communication lets Rowan see and interact with his grandparents and aunts on a regular basis, without loading him up for the hour-plus car ride. It also gives our family members access to our son so they don’t feel like they’re missing everything.
I was hesitant in the beginning, not only because I was wary of putting our son in front of a screen at such a young age, but I also wasn’t sure if he would get anything out of it. It seemed like something more for the adults than the baby (kind of like first birthday parties or baby shoes). But now when the app comes up and he hears the jingle of the call connecting, Rowan gets visibly excited. He lights up even more when he catches sight of his beloved Nana or Auntie Allie filling the screen. I can tell that he recognizes them! Hearing him squeal with delight over their laughter and watching him smile in return blows me away every time. And when he does see them in person, he has that same flash of recognition that he displays via FaceTime.
We don’t consider this a replacement for good old-fashioned, in-person interaction. However, we love that our son can connect with his family on a more regular basis than visits allow. It helps close the space when they’re apart and makes the transition of being together that much easier. I’m sure Rowan’s children will have hologram calls or teleportation, but for now we will have to make do with plain old video calls.