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My Biological Clock Is Digital

As if us single ladies didn’t have enough pressure to deal with — no mom, I would not like to meet the emcee from the Goldenblatt’s Hanukkah party — we now have this to consider: It’s not only our biological clocks that are ferociously ticking before our female hardware is incapable of conceiving. That concern is so 1990s. Try this on for size: If we don’t have a child soon — as in now — we may be too old to technologically connect with our tot, who will be born twiddling an iPhone.

But maybe I’m being overly sensitive.

In Sunday’s New York Times, Brad Stone wrote about a growing technology gap not only between parents and their toddlers, but also the “mini-generation gaps” between youngsters on the technological front. Two-year-olds are in love with smartphones — who isn’t? — and they assume other technological devices will act just as smartly. For instance, toddlers touch computer screens (What old-fashioned and heavy machines!) with a baby finger swipe, and they’re disappointed when the screen doesn’t respond to their touch. At the same time, parents remain hypnotized playing endless rounds of solitaire on the iPhone. In short, iBabies are tech savvier than their parents. They are born into a world where everything, literally, is available at their fingertips. For them the smartphone is the norm. For us, it’s still the coolest toy in the world.

The article doesn’t connect the iBaby trend to the issue of women having children later in life. But I can’t help think about repercussions for some women. I’m a month shy of 30, unmarried, unattached and without smartphone. In techie parlance I have a dumbphone. I guess I’m just a late adapter — and waiting for Verizon to gift me with a free smartphone.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence: I’ll be late to the game with my own smartphone and conceiving my first child. Therefore, there’s a high likelihood that my hypothetical child may indeed end up coaching me on my finger-swiping screen technique. And how to use my phone as a GPS. Or something.

My lackluster iSkills may embarrass my hypothetical child, but isn’t embarrassment a key dynamic in the mother-child relationship? Heck, I still scream when my mom asks me how to complete the “copy and paste” task. After some rumination, I don’t feel so bad about my potential collision of the technology gap with late motherhood. Don’t we want our children to be smarter and more nimble than us on all frontiers — technological and otherwise? I’m now off to give my father a Facebook tutorial.

Hinda Mandell blogs at http://littlechickenmedia.com.

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