What to Reject When You're Expecting
It's been a long week for a child to-be-born-later. Most weeks I can get by without having a full-blown panic attack about how I'm preparing for my entire life to change when my wife gives birth in November. This week, for whatever reason, I was pushed to the limit.
It all started at the end of last week when I learned that if I send my child to private school, I'm pretty much going to hell. OK, that's fine; I knew there would be sacrifices. Maybe I can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement for my child and my soul by sending him or her to a magnet or charter school. Nevermind, I hear charter schools are horrible and, thanks to gentrifiers like me, magnet schools are next-to-impossible to get into. So, home schooling it is!
As every obsessive aspiring parent knows, school is only part of a child's education anyway. There's a lot I can do to help my son or daughter before they even reach school age. According to scientists, I can build my child's cognitive visual recognition skills by showing flash cards while we listen to the sounds of monkeys. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that infants are just as intrigued by the speech of other primates as they are by human speech. It takes a child six months to be able to discern the difference and in the meantime, nonhuman primate vocalizations can be used to promote object categorization. I haven't looked into the cost of a monkey, though I hear they don't make the best pets.
If monkeys aren't safe, apparently iPads are not any better. Letting my child play with a screened device can lead to "antisocial behaviors such as fighting and stealing." Even worse, Dr. Gary Small of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior told the Verge this week, "When we put kids in a room with an iPad, they will choose that over other toys. They will often choose it over their own mothers."
I also shouldn't, under any circumstances, post photos of my mind-blowingly cute baby online. Who knows what sort of cyber marketing terrorists are out there lurking or, heaven forbid, what if a future employer sees an embarrassing picture of my adolescent child in drag while playing dress up with the neighborhood kids? That could be career-wrecking! Imagine the scarlet letter he or she would have to wear.
But that doesn't mean I can't install a smart-bootie on my baby's foot and have its heart rate, temperature, oxygen levels and body position transmitted directly to my phone.
It's almost too much to handle. But at the end of the day, I'm sure my home-schooled, monkey-talking, technophobe hermit child will love me just the same.
(Alex Bruns is on the staff of Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter.)