As I push the buggy towards the park, there is something nagging at me; a little itch I need to scratch. I put my hand into my bag and then take it out again as I remember that what I am looking for is not there.
I have never been addicted to class-A drugs but I think I may be getting some insight into cold turkey. I feel edgy, wrong . . . my mind won’t settle. As we near the playground, I talk myself sternly out of giving up and going home for a fix.
I am trying to kick my mobile phone habit. I’ve not only switched it off but left it at home in a drawer, while Moe and I have gone out for our morning walk. I have set myself this little challenge after a terrifying conversation with Curly’s sister, who has three teenagers. In a desperate attempt to get her family to spend some time relating to one another, she has resorted to unplugging the router and hiding it under the stairs.
“But they get on to the net on their phones anyway,” she told me. “It’s a nightmare.”
So, I’ve seen the future and it ain’t pretty. If I am to have a leg to stand on when my kids are older and determined to squander their lives on Twitter, or Xbox, or whatever other intrusive brain-rotting rubbish has been invented by then, I must Set An Example. And that means putting my phone away. Moe is already obsessed with it. If I leave my bag unguarded, he immediately filches it, and if I take it away, he screams as if I’ve slapped him. Not a good sign.
I didn’t even want a smartphone. I asked T-Mobile for an old Nokia but it was cheaper to get a more expensive phone. That’s how they get you. Just like drug dealers, giving away enough hits to get you hooked. It arrived in a little black box, like a coffin in which to bury my peace of mind.
Phew, I need to calm down. Perhaps a coffee will do it. I clatter the buggy into the café, order an espresso and take out Moe’s bottle. He smiles up at me with such cuteness that just for a second I forget to wonder whether I have missed an important call or a message suggesting something much more fun that I could be doing right now.
To spend lots of time with a baby, you have to accept a certain lack of witty repartee. They are not going to deliver a devastating analysis of global capitalism, point you towards an interesting editorial in the New York Times, give you a promotion or, sadly, a pay rise. They are pretty much going to want to do the same simple things again and again. To enjoy it, you have either to become very calm and Zen, or you have to distract yourself constantly on your phone.
Ah. The coffee crackles through my synapses. I’m firing on all cylinders now. I’m going to take Moe out to the playground and play with him like he’s never been played with before. I pick him up and take him out to the sand pit. I build a sand castle. He knocks it down. I build another one. He knocks it down again.
There, you see? Just call me supermum.