Yelling Across the House

My vocal cords are shot. And whoever invented earbuds is going to get the medical bills.

My children both have iPads, mainly because large items of outdoor play equipment are rendered redundant whenever we move, so when I buy gifts, there is always a little voice in the back of my mind working out whether it will work on a different voltage, whether I can still get games for it wherever we are, if family members can contribute to future upgrades, whether it will grow with the kids and whether it will fit in a backpack.

Steve Jobs obviously had me in mind when he invented iTunes, the App store, and the iPad. The kids read books, listen to music, do homework, surf the internet and watch TV, all on a device the size of my old biology textbook cover. They even use them in school as textbooks, which has to be a step up from the 40lb book bags we used to trudge around school with. The iPad couldn’t be any more perfect, and it even comes with headphones so we get to have peace and quiet.

No more arguing over who had to get up and change the channel / twiddle the aerial / move the set round a bit when the sun shone on the screen and rendered Dr Who invisible. No more fighting over which of the three channels to watch (remember our excitement to be getting a fourth channel, only to discover that half of it was in Welsh?). No more having to lose one of the comfy chairs from the lounge so that we could fit the new TV in.. And no more getting up on the roof in a howling gale because the antenna had turned just as we were about to find out who killed Dirty Den in Eastenders.. Nope. Just charge it up, switch it on, and enjoy, in glorious technicolor.

But there is one slight flaw in the whole iPad story. The earbuds. So fascinated are my offspring by Angry Birds, Farmville and Hulu that there could be a reenactment of the Battle of Hastings in the front room, and they still would be none the wiser. As for summoning them to do chores or eat the odd meal, you’ve got to be kidding. I’m fast losing my voice, losing my patience, and losing my marbles. And when they do finally surface, it’s with disapproving frowns at my raised voice. Which is why the cartoon that I was sent recently placed a warm glow in my heart. Good to know that it’s not just me..

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