So as a parent you have to make judgment calls: to laugh or not to laugh, punish or let slide, things like that. You also have to decided what limits to set as far as what your kids are allowed to play with and what they are simply not allowed to touch.

We’re kind of a “let ’em play with just about anything” kind of house. Sean let’s Briar strum his guitar and play with his amp like she’s Radar sending out announcements to the camp. Another thing we both let her do is play on the computer. She has videos and shows that she plays. She dances and sings with the music videos and her shows are mostly interactive and encourage her to repeat new words or identify things on the screen. She has mastered the volume buttons, the pause and restart commands, as well as learned some shortcuts.

One thing we didn’t really think about was the responsibility we were assuming by allowing her to do this, it meant that if she did something to damage the computer, well, it was kind of our fault considering she’s not yet two.

Ya’ll have probably figured out where I am going with this, huh?

Last night there was a spill. An unmonitored spill. An unannounced spill.
A cup of water was overturned and got most of the desk on which the computer sits wet, as well as the keyboard, the monitor, and the speakers. Usually Briar would give us a:

“Uh-oh. Happened? Happened. Oh no. Fish-it?”

No such luck. I found the spill, cleaned it up and shut down the computer. No big deal. A while later I was in the kitchen and I heard Sean saying,

“Oh no. Oh Briar, no. No. Oh god, no. Oh. Briar. No.”

I hurried into the living room. Sean was standing staring into the computer room in horror. Briar was near the computer, brow furrowed so much that her eyebrows were scrunched almost as low as her little mouth as she shook her head from side to side and said,

“Oh no Bri-uh. Bri-uh, no no no. Oh no.”

The house had gone eerily quiet and the monitor for our computer was black and rapidly filling with sinister warnings in white block letters. I gently told Briar that there was no “oh no” and calmly told Sean that it was ok.

“Mommy and Daddy have always let you play on the computer, if something happened it’s fine. We’ll fix it. It’s ok. It’s ok.”

“Ohhh-kaaay,” Briar said softly.

Sean stood silent, a look passing over his face that let me know he was going along with what I was saying. All of a sudden the screen went from black to the vibrant pinks and greens of our screen saver. One by one the folders reappeared on the desk top. My whole body went slack as the reality that all was not lost hit.

Then Sean said,

“You just about lost your entire first two years Briar. All those pictures are on that computer and not backed up.”

I’ll admit, I almost vomited at the thought.

We’ll be backing up those precious photos, eliminating the drinks at the computer and we’ll also continue to let Briar play on the computer. I don’t regret the choices we have made. I just have learned to evaluate our choices with a bit more consideration for the domino effect they could have.

For now the effect is the delay of uploading pictures for a while.

At least until we can “fish-it.”