This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 4-year-old daughter, Viva, who has her own extensive set of apps, appisodes and appetizers.
If your kid is older than two years old,* they probably have myriad apps they like to watch, play, poke at and use to make hundreds of thousands of dollars worth “in-app purchases” on your credit card.**
*I say two years old because pediatricians don’t recommend much screen time for kids under two. Perhaps, though, you are a monster who wants to melt their child’s developing brain. Chacun à son goût! Or maybe you are the kind of parent who like to minimize their child’s screen time all time, leaving them totally unprepared for a world that requires everyone to look at monitors 12 hours a day. That’s cool, too.
**And, really, what’s a better investment than paying real money for electronic pictures of imaginary items to get ahead on games designed to require you to buy more imaginary items? America!
But what about you, Dad? Yesterday, our own Stephanie Benavidez wrote about a new app that allows you to sign your child up for classes all over Chicago – but what to do while you are waiting for your child to finish class? How are you going to ignore them whilst they learn swimming,*** music, or soccer?****
***Assuming it isn’t one of those classes where you have to lower your own pale, bloated physique into the pool alongside your child. If that’s the case, DO NOT look at your phone, even if it is in a plastic bag.
****Ugh, soccer. Unless you were born in another country, are four years old or love watching people in tube socks run up and down grass not scoring points, you don’t like soccer. Go on, admit it, this is a safe space. Ugh, soccer.
The Information Age’s greatest gift to parents, other than a web’s (a world wide one!) worth of blogs to tell you what to do (you’re welcome!), are phone apps. Also known as hyper-efficient tools for abdicating your responsibility to minding your child. Much as you’d like to, you can’t stare into the boundless wonder of your child’s eyes all day; it gets boring and they get antsy and someone will think you’re weird. So stare at your apps!
Here are five of the many apps my weird aging dad friends and I are currently using as virtual anesthesia for the pain of living:
There are a LOT of Star Wars apps by Disney. I’m talking about the one just called “StarWars.” Dads love Star Wars because it reminds us of a simpler time in our lives when all we cared about were Ugnaughts, because it’s an endless font of entertainment, it bonds us with our kids and it gives us a common language with other dads. Star Wars, craft beer and sports are the thin conversational line between making interesting inter-dad talk just droning on about the weather and traffic. This app gives you fun emojis, games, news, a soundboard and more, more, more Lucas-flavored nonsense to love.
Did I mention craft beer? You’re lame if you don’t love craft beer (Unless you’re in recovery, in which case, good for you!). This app is like Facebook for beer. Check in what you’re drinking, rate it and comment – your beer geek friends can weigh in and judge you when you drink a Sierra Nevada instead of something real.
Like Star Wars and beer, sports are a never-ending parade of inconsequential emotional button pushing. Baseball is especially dad-friendly because it’s old-fashioned, there are 1,000,000 games a year, the games are seven hours long and there are thousands of pitches to worry about every inning. (Give or take.) The free MLB app keeps you up to date with runs, hits, errors and news on the teams you love and the teams you love to hate, updating constantly.
The $20/year At-Bat app lets you watch the game the way a robot or a predator would watch it – with TONS of data about what’s happening. It’s like being there, but without the overpriced beers and the expensive parking. (Also without the actual joy, so maybe also go to the games sometimes.) When do pitchers and catchers report?
5-0 Radio Police Scanner
Old dudes love listening to the police scanner. The older you are, the more you love it, so it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Why do we love it? Probably because it validates our paranoia that crime is everywhere and out to get us. Think you’re safe? You won’t when you hear how many bullets actually fly past your door at night. Then, when you want to rant about how the world is going to hell, you can back it up with anecdotes about your half-observations of law and order in action.
My Disney Experience
Okay, this one might not be for everyone, but if you’re about to take the kids to Disney World, or just got back, this scratches the dad itch for planning and gaming the system on a vacation. This app allows you to make reservations at the Disney parks, collect your expensive professional photos taken on-site and set up your Fast Passes so you don’t spend the whole trip you saved for standing in line for 45 seconds of “Peter Pan’s Flight.” I mention it, though, because I’ve become unhealthily fixated on the “Wait Times” feature, which gives you constantly updating wait times on the all the rides in the park, so you can decide what to run to between fast passes.
If you aren’t on vacation, you can fantasize about what singing robots you would be seeing if you were on vacation, or laugh at the poor suckers standing in the sun for three hours to ride the Dwarf Mine Train. This is the police scanner of standing in line at a theme park–endless fascination–and a reminder that it’s always only ten minutes until the Enchanted Tiki Room starts a new show.
There are many, many more apps for dads to enjoy. What are your favorites? Leave them in the comments! Now, ignore me and go see what kind of criminal shenanigans are going on in your area on the scanner.
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