Control Remote Parent

baby-with-remote Walking down Broadway today on the Upper West Side, I observed the most extraordinary example of the ingenuity of children. I’d often wondered what babies and toddlers are thinking when their stroller-pushing parents or caregivers are engaged in lengthy, often heated dialogue via cell phone. Today I got my answer. From half a block away, I saw a woman briskly pushing the latest in designer strollers. The passenger, her adorable little boy, no older than two, appeared to be waving an object at his mother. She was dressed in exercise gear, getting in a brisk stroller power walk. Totally admirable, I thought, to share quality time with her baby while burning some calories and toning herself on a gorgeous summer day. Until I got closer and saw that the speed-walking mom was guiding the stroller with one hand, while the other pressed her iPhone to her ear. She was having, shall we say, an enthusiastic conversation with someone, somewhere, who was not the son with whom she was supposedly sharing her walk. As I passed them, I saw that the object he was turning around and waving at Mommy was a television remote. He kept aiming it at her and pushing one button, over and over, hoping eventually it would work to Pause his mother, to stop her phone call and the speed-walk, to freeze her in time. Maybe then, she would look at him and realize that right there in front of her was someone who deserved her complete attention, right now. In this precious, fleeting moment.

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