Technology Workers of the Future Need Fine Motor Skills Today

Toby is the age that loves grabbing. While nursing he’ll flail around with his free hand, usually holding my mouth or nose, or sometimes magically detecting when I try to work on a logic puzzle and smacking the book on top of himself.

When he’s less distracted and I’m more so, usually when I’m holding him at the computer, he’ll work on his goal to clear my desk of all that pesky clutter. He’ll lunge from Point A to Point B, drop Item C to grab Item D, and inadvertently knock over Item E in the process. After C and E are replaced, he’ll lose interest in D and simultaneously grab C and E, where C-E can range from important papers for crumpling, snacks (he has a sense of entitlement when it comes to food), gadgets, or pens and pencils that inevitably lead to poking himself. He particularly has a penchant for those gadgets. If it’s good enough for Mommy, Daddy, or even Katya, then it’s good enough to take away from them.

Music is my girl friend...While shopping for a toy phone to replace his saliva-covered LG AX5000 (previously owned, by Mommy), I came across a meager attempt at a combo pack: merely a flip phone and a set of keys. Heck, even the gym he got for Christmas has an extra add-on in which to insert an mp3 player (yes, you have to buy something separately just to use your own mp3 player…).

In Toby’s dream world, the gadget combo pack would contain not only a phone, but it’d be media-ready and automatically network with video chat to other babies in the neighborhood. The little battery-operated dog would not only wind up to walk, but also learn and associate his coos with specific actions; “muh” would lead to the dog retrieving a new toy and “goooo” would spit out a Cheerio. Since he doesn’t actually know his letters yet, much less the layout of a QWERTY keyboard, his tummytop would be touch-screen, of course. At this point, his most used application would be the interactive slideshow of family pictures, but it’d also have a webcam to turn the tummytop into an interactive mirror toy. After awhile, he’d associate the icon of a bottle or a bowl of squash (customizable by the parent). Maniacally smacking the icon would send an instant message to the correct parent that it was feeding time.

Pheww. I could go on all day dreaming up these things. I have just one request however. When you do ultimately see these items for sale, please don’t tell me about it. I don’t really need to know that babies of today have fancier gadgets than me.

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03 2008

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