Open Hailing Frequency
On Star Trek when they encounter a foreign vessel Captain Kirk (or Picard) activates the two-way video screen to conference with the Klingons (or Borg) or other alien race that looks suspiciously likes humans with bad acne. It’s an easy way to communicate across the vast distances of space. It’s also sort of how our daughter communicates with her grandparents.
Except she uses something called Skype and has yet to launch the photon torpedoes.
Skype is simple two-way video calling over the internet. If you weren’t already familiar with the service or missed the point of that opening paragraph. It’s become an almost daily part of our daughter’s routine.
After dinner, or sometimes before, we’ll (to borrow terminology from another space-faring TV show) “spool up” Skype and talk with our daughter’s grandparents. “Talking” mostly involves us holding our daughter in front of the computer to let the grandparents ooh and awe.
She’s the focus of the call, not us. We’re just there to adjust the webcam, to operate the call, we’re like the projectionist of a movie theatre. Doing an all-important job but completely overshadowed by the star attraction.
If the grandparents wanted to talk to us, they’d call us. There’s no need for them to look at our faces while we converse.
During our Skypes with the grandparents our daughter shows off new behaviours, says new words, or asks to see the respective dogs of whichever set of grandparents we happen to be speaking with.
She usually doesn’t say very much. She’s great with the hellos and the goodbyes which are accompanied by kisses. Other than that, she’s not really going to answer any questions or discuss politics or offer her opinion on who really should have been voted off American Idol (or should I say The Voice?)
She gets bored easily. Despite the fact that she’s communicating across cities through a piece of string for free, Skype never keeps her attention.
She can’t sit still. She needs to explore.
So we put her down and angle the webcam for the best grandparent viewing possibilities. Then we make awkward conversation with her grandparents as they stare agape at their granddaughter. When she plays on Skype, she likes to show off. She’ll go up her slide and wait for the attention before going down. She knows she’s putting on a show.
Skype sessions never last long especially when our daughter runs out of the room or plays just beyond the viewing area. We ask her to say goodbye and she usually complies. When Skype is over her mission is to boldly go to bed.