In between preschool, playground, napping, sleeping and eating hours, there is still ample time that I need to keep my toddler busy. I play hide and seek, catch a thief, and a few other nonsense games, but there’s still a lot of time to kill. Her cupboard is so full of toys that I have a tough time shutting it. And on most days, apart from her bedroom, these toys spill out on our sofa and behind it, on the tea poy, under the bed, in the kitchen and bathroom drawers. Did you just raise your eyebrows? Believe me, even I have been trying to figure out how they find their way there. She has colours, colouring/story books, toys, puzzles, dolls and Lego. But seems they are not enough. On her best days, I see her giving these toys a quarter of an hour of her precious time before ignoring them like proverbial poor cousins.

Then she comes to me and sits on my lap like a monkey. “Mamma, see TV. Teletubbies, rhymes, Tinky Winky, see Laa Laa jumping.” And when I don’t seem to take her hint, she stops beating around the bush and comes directly to the point. “Mamma, put, put TV.” Next she comes to me and says, “Mamma, give Aanya iPad.” And once I oblige, the whole world is forgotten. The clingy daughter suddenly becomes daughter cool and detached.

A mother’s fight against iPaddy

I admit these gadgets have made my life a tiny bit easier. I get time to attend peacefully to my ever-piling list of chores or try to get some quiet time alone with my husband. But I know I am feeding a monster. It won’t be long before these little episodes with iPad, iPhone or other gadgets blow into a full time habit. She is small, so it’s easier to distract her. But it won’t be long before she starts throwing tantrums or iPaddy (the newest term for this kind of behaviour) when these gadgets are taken away from her.

Well, being a mommy I have my own ways of dealing with the situation. In short, my rules which she needs to abide by.

Gadgets belong to the house and parents. You cannot lay sole claim to them. Share them with your sibling.

You get one gadget hour daily. No more except may be on holidays.

No, the gadgets can’t sit with us at the dining table. So leave them behind.

You want a fancy gadget of your own? Wait till you are 15 or earn it.  

The day you misbehave/break a rule, also say bye-bye to the gadget hour.

Have you finished your homework/assignment/household chores? Go, complete it before you touch the gadgets. And no cheating. Remember, your mommy wasn’t born yesterday.

Don’t mishandle the gadget. It costs a lot of money to buy one.

Buying/downloading apps without permission is a no-no. Don’t even try it. Anyway, it is password protected. Don’t look surprised, yes, your mommy is smart.

Do you think I have my work cut out for me? Well, I definitely feel so.