There's a cliché about millennials — an already old, moldy one — that we're always buried in our smartphones. Blah blah blah. This dart is usually thrown at us by our judgy baby boomer parents whenever they come up for air from cruising Facebook on their iPads. Oh, the irony.
When it comes to millennial parents, that stereotype gets even more judgy. Hands on the baby, not on your phones! But the truth is that digital parenting is now practically possible, and frankly, it's awesome.
It begins before the baby is born. Conceived, even, because there are dozens of apps out there that will help you do that. Did I buy What to Expect While You're Expecting? Of course not. It's an app now. And there are many like it that tell you when your baby is the size of a wild strawberry and that all that barfing should ease by week 14.
Now that my baby's here, I can track his feedings, sleep and dirty diapers all via my phone, get weekly updates on the best new games that will boost his development, browse Covey, which is like Grindr for parents (sort of, but not really, but kind of), and, as soon as the program launches, I'm set to have a baby book created for me based on info I send via text. It's the future! And the future gets you out of having to scrapbook, or manually tally how many times your baby shits. It's great.
Admittedly, it's hard not to cringe when you go to the park and see moms and dads pushing swings and tweeting at the same time. But are they tweeting? Or are they maybe programming a highly curated and musically educational playlist for their baby on Snu:mee, the latest parent contraption I'm toying around with.
Snu:mee is a multitasker: part baby monitor, part MP3 player, part music box. (Full disclosure: BabyStars, which makes the Snu:mee, sent me one, which was very nice of them. It retails for $139.90, and as a mom, I can tell you that's pretty reasonable considering you'd spend about that on all three of those things separately.) Sync it with your phone and hang it on the crib, and you knock out three devices in one.
Now, if there's one thing I'm kind of crazed about when it comes to my baby, it's sleep. This will make sense to any mom. His sleep determines mine, and if your system is working, you do not mess with it. So using the Snu:mee to lull my babe into dreamland is kind of out of the question. We use a white noise machine with a beach sound that I purchased on Amazon (don't even get me started on how long I spend on that app), and I'm terrified to fix something that ain't broke by switching him over to the "Mellow Mix" on my iTunes. However, had I owned this Snu:mee when he was born, using that would have been an option. As would have any of the nature sounds the Snu:mee comes programmed with. In fact, that white noise machine is one less thing I would've had to purchase.
And if my husband is crazed about one thing when it comes to the baby, it's music. He just can't get on board with Raffi-esque baby tunes and instead chooses to raise our son on his record collection. More than once I've come into the room to find him teaching our 5-month-old to play the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" on air guitar. Totally age-appropriate.
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But that's what makes the Snu:mee such a nice little invention. It fills the need for a soporific device in the nursery (oh yes, this is a need) and helps you raise your kid on Bob Dylan and Coldplay, whether the real versions from your digital library or BabyStars' cutesy little xylophone version, in case the baby, you know, likes those babyish things. Either way, it helps everyone avoid "Wheels on the Bus," which is really the most important thing to every millennial parent.
Snu:mees can be purchased on the BabyStars website, or better yet, register for it and have someone else buy it for you. College will probably be even more expensive in 18 years if Trump gets elected, so it's important for parents to save their money now.