To top
18 Aug

Stuff My Kids Wreck

You know what’s an interesting experiment? Making a list of all the things your kids have destroyed or defaced. Although, really, you probably need to narrow it down to valuable things that your kids have destroyed, because if you included things like coffee mugs and white shirts and sofa cushions and lipsticks (to say nothing of white shirts and sofa cushions and lipsticks together), the list would become overwhelming. I’m going to further narrow down my list to technological devices that my children have destroyed, because if I kept it as broad as ‘valuable’ I’d have to go into things like furniture and Tiffany jewelry and the piano and some of the structural elements of our house, and at some point that just becomes discouraging.

So. Some technological devices that my children have destroyed or defaced or just dented up really badly:

1.) A laptop.

2.) Another laptop.

3.) A netbook.

4.) A smartphone.

5.) Countless mini-cams.

6.) Another smartphone.

7.) A Macbook (not really destroyed, just scribbled on with crayons. BUT STILL.)

8.) A toaster (included here only because it was the device by which one of the smartphones was destroyed.)

9.) A Fujifilm waterproof point-and-shoot camera.

Most of these were destroyed, I should say, by only one of my children, Jasper, who is just three and who has been smashing things to pieces since he’s been able to hold his arms over his head. Emilia, who is five, has hidden a lot of devices – I’ve lost count of the number of times she’s stashed my iPhone somewhere, moments before the battery has died, of course, and caused me to spend hours turning the house upside-down searching for it – and also decorated a lot of them with stickers and what-not, but she hasn’t actually smashed anything. I still wouldn’t trust her with my iPhone 4, but I’m willing to give credit where credit is due.

Jasper, however – Jasper is a menace with technology. He’s a menace, in part, because he’s passionate about it – our TV screen has little fist smudges from when he’s tried to pound it into bringing Thomas back on – but also because he’s, you know, a preschooler. And most devices weren’t built to withstand the enthusiasm and rage of a preschooler. If a laptop makes him angry – either because Mommy has spent too much time on it or because he can’t make things happen by swiping his fingers across the screen (more on this in a moment) – he will try to grab it and throw it. If the iPhone makes him happy, he will dance with it and kick it across the floor (we have very, very sturdy casings over the iPhones, and, since the iPhone 4 came into our house, only allow him to touch the iPhone 3. We are hardcore disciplinarians.) Most tech wasn’t built for that treatment. Whether more tech should be built for that treatment is an open question.

The only type of device that he doesn’t child-handle? The iPad. He’s gentle with the iPad, gentle to the point of coddling, and I suspect he’d be gentle with any tablet that he found in his chubby, tyrannical little hands. It’s shaped like a board book and it responds to the lightest touch and because it seems built for him and is so easy for him to use, he tends to sit quietly with it, lightly brushing at it with his fingers and cackling madly at Pocoyo or whatever other godforsaken character he’s called up from the seventh circle through the portal of YouTube. So we haven’t worried about the iPad in his hands, and have even wondered whether we should be looking for a PC tablet that he can have all to himself.

Of course, now that I’ve proclaimed his gentleness with tablets publicly, the gods are going to ensure that sometime within the next 24 hours, he’s going to hurl it through the flatscreen. I accept that possibility. We have the tech recycling box ready.

What devices have your kids destroyed? Or what devices do you worry about them destroying?