Get Smart[phone]

So I think I might owe all of you an apology.

Do you remember how, with perhaps not a small amount of self-righteousness, I spent a fair amount of time talking in the past about my aversion to new technology?   In one post, I even wrote:

And it’s not as though I oppose technology in general.  I acknowledge the ways in which these devices and services enhance many people’s lives.

It’s just that I don’t think they’d enhance mine.

Well, I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  At least as far as the Smartphone is concerned.

A few weeks after Baby Sister was born, my cell phone carrier welcomed the iPhone and, for reasons that I’m still not sure of – perhaps a commercial cocktail of sleep deprivation and saavy Apple advertising? – I welcomed Smartphone technology into the Motherese household.

And I haven’t looked back.

I love having a camera at the ready.  I love the apps (a favorite being the potentially hypochondria-inducing WebMD Symptom Checker, through which I accurately diagnosed my own case of shingles and Big Brother’s pink eye).  I love having instant access to the weather forecast.  I love reading the paper and listening to NPR podcasts while nursing Baby Sister.

But most of all I love the way the iPhone has eased my feelings of isolation in these early months with a new baby at home.  And rainy and cold months they have been.  Months in the house, in the glider, looking out at the slowly greening trees.

And perhaps you’d say I should have spent those months – should be spending them – gazing into Baby Sister’s eyes while she eats or reading to the Brothers while feeding their sister.  And believe me: I have done a lot of those things too.  And those moments have been gorgeous and good.

But there have also been moments of laughter that come from reading a funny remark from a friend on Twitter, moments of support that come from a kind e-mail from a fellow new mom, moments of camaraderie that come from checking in with a favorite writer’s blog.

And I’ve been grateful for these moments of connection.  Because it’s really all about connection, isn’t it?  As much as I’ve loved the moments of bonding with our new baby and our new family, sometimes a woman wants to connect with other women, with other grown-ups, with current events and the world outside the literal and proverbial crib.

E.M. Forster famously wrote about the centrality of connection in (what I think is his masterwork) Howard’s End:

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.

I have had few experiences more isolating than the sleepless first few months with a new baby (and the irony, of course, is that you feel alone when you are never, in fact, alone).  But my third time through that fourth trimester period has felt far less lonesome thanks, yes, to my bigger kids – and thanks to my iPhone.

So call me a contrite convert.  A late but happy adopter.

Are you shocked by my conversion?  What is your favorite way to connect?

Howard’s End is E.M. Forster’s greatest novel.  Discuss.

Image: iPhone 4’s Retina Display by Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

20 responses to “Get Smart[phone]

  1. I won’t say I told you so. I won’t. I won’t…

    Seriously, I am aware of the negative implications technology brings to our lives, too (making us busier, more stressed, etc) but in the case of the smart phone, it’s actually freed me up. Since I can check email on the road, twitter in the car, etc, I’m much more willing to drop everything and go somewhere.

    Welcome to iPhone heaven!

  2. I have a smartphone. But! It is a BlackBerry provided by my company which has disabled the text messaging and blocked me from downloading anything to it. So basically it gives me phone calls and work e-mails. I hate it. Oh how I envy my husband’s iPhone!

    However, what I do like about it is that it is not at all addictive. It’s nice and freeing to be able to walk away from the phone, to let voice mail pick up some calls, to let my technology serve me instead of the other way around. I worry that if I had an iPhone I would become quite engrossed in it.

    • Becoming engrossed in the iPhone is a very real danger. I do find myself getting twitchy when I’m in the middle of nursing and I realize it’s in my purse across the room. I also need to be better about not checking it when my kids are awake and looking for my attention. I never want to make them feel like a screen is more important to me than they are.

  3. One day I fully plan on joining the smartphone world. For now, I’m happy with my silly phone. But I don’t think your conversion is silly, I just think it’s hard to understand the convenience and importance of technology without fully exploring it. : )

  4. I was hesitant at first too, but I love being able to have my music and phone together, as well as surf and check email without having to wait to get home. No judgement here…When you are a mother of three, anything that makes you feel less isolated and more organized is a plus in my book! Congrats!

  5. I am glad that you are enjoying this !

  6. I hate to say this, but I am in love with my iphone. It’s a great way to multi-task.

  7. I am SHOCKED, just SHOCKED!
    I’m with you on this one, though. I got Internet on my phone and now I can’t live without it. I really rely on it for so many things now. But with that comes an overwhelming obsession with it, because it kills me not to check my e-mail ALL.THE.TIME and I find at gas stations or red lights, my finger is so itching to just check once. And it’s that kind fo obsession that freaks me out a little about what I got myself into.

    • Ooh, I know that itchy finger feeling so well. I had it today while sitting in traffic. But I never talk on the phone while driving and I have to remind myself that checking my e-mail – even in traffic! – is just as dangerous. (I think Oprah would be proud of me.) 🙂

  8. I’ve now been addicted to my BlackBerry for about 2 1/2 years, so I’m not shocked! We have a very deep relationship, though I tried to switch over to an iPhone several months ago and found I couldn’t. It’s BB for me all the way, even though I know at some point soon that will make me sound like some kind of relic. The email access, the Facebook, texting, Internet, and Twitter (which I still can’t quite figure out) would be impossible for me to let go of now. Oh, yeah, I forgot. It’s supposed to have music. I haven’t used that yet… 🙂

  9. I moved from a BlackBerry to a DroidX in March. Love, love, love it.

  10. Oh yes, yes, yes!! I think you know of my own passion for my iPhone, for all the same reasons as you. It’s been a lifeline when I needed it, it’s been a tool to fantastic new relationships, and it’s helped me stay connected with current events more than ever before. I really have very little negative to say, except that I probably shouldn’t bring it to bed.

  11. I am woefully not up on new technologies of the iSort, though iSuspect that iHave children who are less iGnorant…

    iHave a Droid-Addicted college kid – iSwear, he can run the world from his phone… and iSay anything that helps us be smart and stay smart – why not?

  12. No shame in changing your mind! You sound like you’re doing really, really well in these early weeks with a new babe. So happy for you.

  13. Welcome to the fold, although I left my iPhone to join the Android Army not too long ago. Either way, a smartphone is a smartphone. I didn’t think I needed one either until I got one. And like you, I will never look back. Oh the evils and wonders of technology!

    By the way, I said the same thing about Facebook… just so ya know 😉

  14. So there’s been another recent convert in my life lately. The very last one of the Jen/Sarah clan to get an iPhone. He scowls at technology and wouldn’t think of succumbing to late nights scrolling on a small screen. But…voila! iPhone in hand you can find him relaxing on the couch, I hear, perusing the scores on ESPN and checking email and poking around new Apps. I love these stories. Love them. We are now 6 for 6 (plus GG makes 7), all siblings and their spouses with iPhones in hand. Say cheese!

    There’s good and bad in everything. But there’s just SO MUCH good in all that Apple technology it’s impossible not to take another bite once you’ve picked one up!

    Yay you!

  15. I have resisted a smart phone because I’m resisting the payment on that service plan, but I see the lure (and the hook is steadily floating in front of me). I love technology, so I say use it however it makes you happy — especially when it’s your connection to something that sustains you.

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