Computer Love

I have occasionally been accused of being an uptight mother. No, not by my children who would have every right to call me names, as I abuse torment gently tease them on an hourly basis. No, sometimes the peanut gallery, consisting of my friends, family and that homeless guy who begs for quarters while loitering in the town square and leering at the young girls, have been known to villify me and my parenting style.

My sister calls me the Food Nazi. Just because I insist if you take it, you eat it. And don't give it to the dog. There are starving children out there, all over the world. And food is damn expensive. If I didn't have to legally feed the buggers, think of the glories my shoe closet would hold.


I also don't like letting my kids wander the neighbourhood freely and at all hours the way I used to at their age. Partly because we live in the sticks where the wild life consists of aging cougars (the four-legged variety, not just ME), the occasional black bear and more importantly, the drunken hillbilly neighbours who think nothing of popping the tab and driving while stoned and intoxicated.

Times have changed. The world is no longer a safe play ground for an independent ten year old to explore at whimsy. It is no longer kosher to hop on your bike and head home at dark, while your parents haven't a clue where you have gone and where you are.

Gone are the days when you can hop aboard a transit bus and tour the city safely. Now we have gangs, crackheads and geezers who would take one look at my pretty kids, whip out their aging man stick and give it a tug while winking at them as they watched in horror.

Too much for this lady to have to deal with. I'd much rather duct tape my kiddies to the wall. At least I know they are safe.

It's not as if my children are completely hard done by. I have let the reigns slip a bit in the interest in raising well adjusted children. They can come and go as they please anywhere on our 20 acre bit of paradise, they can use the phone when they choose (however, the moment I see a 1-900 number on my bill I'm cutting the cord), and I let them ride up and down the cul de sac without stalking them the way my mommy instincts scream at me to do.

I have recently started allowing my children to use my computer. My Mac. My baby. My portal to the outside world, iTunes, and the blogosphere. Not only is my computer my baby, but it is my work station. The place where I hide from the midday sun, the dust bunnies and that mound of laundry that threatens to swallow me whole.

My computer is a large part of my life. More important to me than my used and done-for uterus and my useless pinky toes that curl under. I'd glady get rid of either in exchange for some more memory storage. Allowing Fric and Frac access to my baby has been hard. Really hard. Like I-need-a-glass-of-red-I-can't-watch-Don't-touch-that-BUTTON-I-have-to-leave-before-I-hurt-you-or-permanently-scar-your-fragile-psyche's-type of hard.

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I warned them about online predators, MySpace stupidity, online scams, perversion, and identity theft. I lectured till I was blue in the face and wishing I could just chuck the kiddies out to leave me alone to stroke my computer in peace.

I set up the parental controls (which I figure should last about a month before they figure out how to bypass them) and walked away, trying to trust the values and good sense I have knocked into instilled in them for the last decade.

So far they haven't strayed far from the few kiddy sites they play on under the tutelage of their teachers. They mostly fight over who gets to have the next turn and who got to play longer last time. Typical kids. Phew.

How do I know this?

Because I peer from behind the potted palm in my livingroom, watching their every move, while holding my breath. Not that I am all that worried that they will get sucked into some cyber danger, but mostly I just can't leave my baby, my Mac, unattended and left in the young hands of my offspring.

If they crashed my computer I would die. A slow, disconnected-from-the-internet type of death. Shudder. I can't think about it.

Apparently, it's not just the kids who are growing up around here. Who knew that raising children would mean beating the childish, selfish behaviour that still harbours in my soul, out into the sunlight and vanquishing it for good.

Go figure.

I'm stroking my computer more fondly now, and trusting my kids to NOT blow up my computer and to safely use their fledgling computer skills. One day I may have to rely on them for help. Let's face it: I may love my computer, but I know absolutely nothing about it.

My kiddies will soon be running circles around me with their computer skills and laughing at me because of my own antiquated, inadequate, pathetic skills.

That doesn't mean that I'm not going to be watching their every move though. The first time I find out they Googled "Donkey love" I'm pulling the plug.

There is only room enough under this roof for one pervert. Me.