I have told my children, again and again, that they need to share their toys. My wife and I have three kids and we are not of the mindset (or humor) to buy three of everything. That means oldest brother might get a robot, middle brother a dinosaur, and the littelest brother a car. All of which, I must add, is their favorite type of toy at the moment. It simply doesn’t matter how much they like their individual gifts; they inevitably want to play with whatever their brother has and are rather putout if they don’t get that opportunity.
Some would like to tell you that this is a “phase”, something they will grow out of. All the screaming and yelling, crying and sobs for attention will go away and be replaced with completely acceptable adult behavior. Yes, they will grow out of it, but only to a point. Simply put, you don’t ever really grow out being envious or jealous. The only difference between a little geek and a big geek is that a big geek knows he or she can’t get away with the drama in public. Behind closed doors? Well, that’s another matter…
Case in point, my two oldest little geeks have become very interested in video games, specifically those only currently available on my iPhone. To be fair, I was very pleased to hear they wanted to play Angry Birds and Zombies vs. Plants. They are great puzzle and strategy games and I was looking forward to sharing yet another one of my geeky passions with them. I failed to forsee, however, how often they would want to play these games. Pretty soon, my iPhone was in the hands of my two little geeks more than it was in mine. Despite being in my thirties, I started to whine to my wife.
Me: “The boys always have my phone. Where is it? I don’t know?”
My Wife: “It’s your own fault for showing them games. You should have known better.”
Me: “Oh, it’s my fault? How is it my fault that all they do is play with my phone nowadays? It’s my phone and I can’t even use it! I have to ask them for it!”
My Wife: “Do you need a timeout?”
Clearly, I was not getting the level of sympathy I wanted from my wife, but she did give me the support I needed to “man up”. I took a good look at myself in the mirror and saw a thirty-five year old adult whining about his toy. Sheesh! When did I regress back to a kid? The answer is, I never did. I was always a kid, just an older one who knew better, or should have. Even as an adult, my capacity to share has limits and I became envious of how much my kids had my phone, which it no longer really felt like. This was a rather startling, if not unwelcome, discovery.
After taking the time to come to grips with my lack of self-control and childlike behavior, I took stock of the situation, the outcome, and what I wanted. I realized that there were only two specific items that were really of importance in the grand scheme of things. Having those two items clearly defined, I summoned the two oldest of my brood and set down some new rules.
- The iPhone, when not in use, was to be given directly back to Mom or Dad
- The use of the iPhone was going to be limited (they could now play the iPhone, watch TV, or play video games on any of the other game consoles we have in the house, not all three)
My two oldest were surprisingly agreeable to this and I felt a good deal better, too. I knew where my iPhone was and the parents established what we believed to be healthy limits to their overall exposure. Too much of a good thing is not healthy, after all. Moderation in all things, unless it is baked beans.
All was well for about a week and then things started to get messy. I don’t mean “messy” in the sense of being complicated. I mean messy as in I couldn’t see my iPhone through the layers of greasy fingers and food. As you can imagine, I was livid, but only for a few moments. You wouldn’t get very far as a parent if you blew up every time your child did something that annoyed you, after all.
When my head was cool and temper under control, I called in my boys and I showed them the iPhone, told them they were not playing with it correctly, and they now couldn’t play with it for a week because they didn’t treat it respectfully. They were put out, I felt like dirt for making my kids sad, and the issues was resolved.
Or was it?
Turns out, once the week was over, I was very reluctant to give the iPhone back to my little geeks. I had become overly protective of it (again) and was convinced that my two oldest boys were not yet mature enough to handle the awesome responsibility that is an iPhone. True to my modus operandi, I turned to my wife for support.
Me: “This isn’t going to work. They are making the iPhone dirty.”
My Wife: “Honey, they are kids.”
My: “Yes, exactly, and that is why I don’t think they are mature enough to handle the iPhone. They are not treating it well and are making the screen nasty. There was food on the screen, babe.”
My Wife: “Honey! They are kids! Do you want them to wash their hands before they play with it each and every time?”
Me (meekly): “Yes.”
My Wife (rolling eyes): “OK. Whatever…”
Fine, message received loud and clear. According to my wife, I was overreacting. I adjusted my thinking and called a meeting with my boys. I told them I didn’t like how the screen was, they needed to be more careful, and needed to make sure their hands were clean before they played with it. I stopped short of suggesting they needed to check their hands with the parents or use bleach, as that seemed a little dictatorial…and crazy. Still, I wasn’t all that happy. I needed a solution that would protect my phone from wear, tear, and grit that my iPhone would certainly come into contact with.
Enter the Solution
As it turned out, a solution was just right around the corner. A month later, I was contacted and asked if Father Geek would be willing to review a product made to protect the iPhone, including tablets, other smart phones, game consoles, and computers. I did a quick bit of reading on the product, which is named Wrapsol, and became very excited about what it could offer me. I eagerly accepted the chance to try it out and test it with my two oldest geeks. I could think of no better way to determine the product’s quality then to give it a good week of field testing at the Kirby home.
When I received Wrapsol for my iPhone, I was initially skeptical and believed that it would be a pain to put on my iPhone. Memories of trying to put decals on small models and toys came flooding into my mind. I was also concerned about how clean my iPhone needed to be before installing it. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that the designers of Wrapsol had the very same thoughts.
Included with the product were not only the protective adhesive film (that covered the front, back, and sides of the iPhone), but also a cleaning cloth, and a firm piece of cardboard meant to reduce air bubbles. The instructions were very straight forward, easy to understand, and held my hand the entire way through. After cleaning the surfaces of my iPhone, I gritted my teeth for what might be a very uncomfortable experience of putting on the adhesive film. But, yet again, the designers of Wrapsol did not disapoint and provided me with removable tabs which allowed me to install the adhesive film without having my fingers attached to the sticky side. After very easily attaching the adhesive film, I used the piece of cardboard to remove as many of the air bubbles as possible. There were still a few, but the instructions said, in less than 24 hours, all of the air bubbles would be gone. How? I knew not, but so far everything was going smashingly. After completing the installation (which took all of 5 minutes), I left the iPhone in the kitchen and called it a night.
The next day, my iPhone display was very clear and not a single air bubble was in sight! Keep in mind that I know I didn’t remove all of the air bubbles the previous night. MAGIC!
The touch screen was not sticky to the touch, very clear, and responded to my touch in the same way it did before the adhesive film was placed on it. So far, Wrapsol was doing very well, but even if it looked great and worked awesome, it would have to pass the field tests with my two oldest little geeks to get the Father Geek seal of approval. With a bit of reservation, I turned the iPhone to the kids for the field tests.
I purposely did not do as much as possible with the iPhone, nor did I do anything along the lines of following up any of the rules with my little geeks, for a week. They are, for the most part, very good at remembering what their mom and dad said, but I was hoping for a few minor infractions. Nothing costly, mind you, just small things like eating an apple and playing with the iPhone at the same time, or putting the iPhone down on the table, face down. The kind of thing that would leave marks or make the iPhone dirty. I also did all I could to not have a nervous breakdown while the field test was underway.
After a week of uncontrolled kid usage, I inspected the iPhone and found that it did not have any new dents or blemishes. The screen was filthy, but was quickly cleaned with a soft cloth which made it look like new. I was overjoyed (and ecstatic) to find that the field test returned positive results!
The next test is not something I suggest anyone do. I put my iPhone in my pocket with my car keys, some loose change, and four wood screws. This was meant to simulate a month’s worth of bangs, clangs, and scratches that could possibly happen to the iPhone in the course of a single day. Wrapsol boasts that it can even protect your gadgets from as much as a 6 foot drop! While that might very well be the case, I was not about to test that statement.
At the end of the day, I inspected the phone and found that Wrapsol had a few very minor and shallow dents and that was it! No big grooves, scratches, or gouges! Nothing happened to the iPhone display that reduced visibility, response, or effectiveness. I was greatly impressed and felt immensely releaved. Wrapsol had done what it said it could do and then some!
Sharing is Hard, But Easier Now
I feel much, much better knowing that my iPhone is being protected by a quality product, my children are treating it respectfully, and my wife has stopped teasing me about it.
Reflecting on my past behavior has shown me that an adult is no less susceptible to the green-eyed envy monster, jealousy, or meltdowns. I think we (and I am speaking in general for all adults here) go through our day feeling fairly smug when we compair ourselves to children. I know I am exceedingly guilty of this. Now I know better and I know this wasn’t the first or last time I will be reminded of this fact.
I really am just a big kid, but a kid with a lot of responsibility. I’m not talking about the bills I have to pay or the house I have to maintain. No, my biggest and most important responsibility is to be a positive influence on my children and that is a 24/7 job. As a person, I will make mistakes and I can only call myself out on them, reflect, and tell my children how I should have handled myself differently.
And if I can’t do that simple thing? Well, as my wife suggested, I’ll need a timeout.
Wrapsol was given to Father Geek as a review product. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.