Category Archives: 12 months

Finger Dexterity – Take 2

Jude turned one last month, and we’re ready to start Take 2! Stella and I spent a few minutes last Saturday introducing Jude to some of her favorite baby apps. We started with Color Dots by Ellie’s Games, which is an easy game to show cause and effect while practicing finger dexterity.

This post is not geared toward an app review; it’s a no-brainer for a baby’s first iPad app. I was more interested in whether or not Jude would approach the iPad differently than Stella did at his age. He didn’t paw as much with his hand, but he did use both hands more frequently. Jude may have taken a little more time to process each time the dots multiplied, but he picked it up pretty quickly. The dots were actually set to a bigger size this time, but ultimately the experiences were similar.

I did, however, notice a difference in their environments. Jude had more distracting elements mixed into his space (including a big sister). When I reviewed apps with Stella, I made a point to clear away toys–and food!–to help her focus on the new task. Our session ended with Jude playing with the case/stand, which he promptly abandoned when he spotted some unattended Cheerios (see video).

Finger Dexterity

Stella reviewed the Color Dots app by Ellie’s Games. She gave it two index fingers up! Watching her finger dexterity adapt from one app to another is by far the most enthralling process for me. Sometimes her thumb would inadvertently touch the screen, which voided the touch of her finger, but overall she was very good at timing. As she mastered the index finger, she switched her strategy to slapping the screen with her entire hand, to pawing at the screen with all five fingers and waiting for the dots to come to her. “Work smarter, not harder, mom.”

Another pleasant surprise was the way she handled the iOS rotation. While playing with Talking Tom, she accidentally lowered the top of the screen, which caused the screen to flip. “Hey, Tomcat! You’re upside-down!” To fix it, she attempted to physically rotated the device. How cute is that?! The problem of course is that the iPad 2 is just too heavy for her to handle. But I just didn’t expect her to do that. I’ve since locked the rotation for her (Settings > General > Lock Rotation).

Hello, cheese? NO! Cheese can’t dial a phone.

…Nor can it play the piano. Stella likes the Virtuoso Piano app, but for some reason she got very frustrated when her fake slice of cheese (made out of felt) did not produce sound. At least, that’s what I *think* she was getting frustrated with. After all, her various cries have become a language of their own, which makes me her master interpreter. A subtle change inflection can mean the difference between “I’m hungry,” “I’m angry,” “I’m angry because I’m hungry,” and in rare cases, “I’m hungry because I’m angry!” Now that I’ve experienced it from both sides, I’ve come to better appreciate the delicate patience required for this primal communication!

As for the title of this post, I had the chance to reference The State, and I took it—primarily because I hope to make 50% of my readership smile from the line.*

*I know for sure that two of you read this, and one of you is Sara!

Adopting the Digital A/V Adapter

The A/V Adapter allows us to output the iPad display onto our TV. It was expensive ($40 + HDMI cable), but it’s great for parents because it gives us the option to keep our child’s paws off the control and still share the output with her for movies, flashcard apps, and more:

  1. Netflix: We are able to stream Neflix through our Blue-ray Player or XBox (wow, are we spoiled), but there is something especially enchanting about resuming content in our queue at the exact spot where we left it.
  2. Videos: I feel like I got a 2-for-1 on my Yo Gabba Gabba downloads. And, no more storing DVDs!
  3. Kids App (Monkey Preschool Lunchbox): This is one of Stella’s favorite games, so it was fun to watch her use both the iPad and TV screen. The game incorporates colors, shapes, fruit, counting, puzzles, and matching—worth every 99 pennies. Bonus: Stella signs the word “more!”
  4. FaceTime: Grandpa is finally life-size!
  5. Web Browsing: Browsing the web as a family affair? Hello, Google DNS and parental controls.

And for those of you who are concerned about the amount of her daily screen time (more on this later), she also played with non-digital toys—and boys!—all day long.

On the Road with the iPad 2

We took a trip to San Diego last weekend to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. The iPad 2 was an incredible addition to the family vacation in two ways:

1. Stella passed a few hours of the car ride watching episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba that I downloaded before the trip. The Targus case wedged perfectly in between the driver and passenger seats to give her a prime viewing angle. (“…She’s pink and happy!”)



2. We included family when Stella took her first few bites of cake! I had to use my iPhone for FaceTime instead of the iPad because the hotel wi-fi connection wasn’t working well (and neither was tethering). Other than having a slightly smaller screen on our end, it worked out OK to swap the devices and record using the iPad. Stella was more interested in cake than her audience anyway, but the grandparents were happy to help celebrate another one of her “firsts.” (So were we!)

Digital Magic

I created a digital baby book using snippets of media from Stella’s first year, most of which I captured with my iPhone 4. Collecting footage originated as an organic process because of its technological ease; simply because I *could* transition from swaddling to recording, I *did*. Including my long distance friends and family also required little effort, other than a few swipes of my finger, as opposed to a few hours at my computer to edit and publish footage. In mere moments, I could transport their eyes into mine, allow them to experience the way I saw the world (at least the portions I chose to share), and then safely return them back to their own homes, miles away from mine.

The presence of technology in my daughter’s life is never the main attraction, but rather a stepping stone—a silent partner—to discover, relive, and enrich hand-made joy. To me, the memories captured are as magical as the process itself.

Say, “Cheese!” (Literally. Say it.)

For now, she’d rather just eat cheese. Stella’s top front teeth are coming down. I’m curious to see what effect they have on her ability to make different language sounds and how her babble will change.
teeth

She is still playing with the iPad very regularly. We’ve tried a few different apps, but she still seems to like flash cards for about 4 minutes per day.