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Amanda Lamb: The Pause Button

Posted June 20, 2010 10:19 p.m. EDT

"Pause," my youngest daughter screams from the other room.

She is playing a game with her big sister and, as usual, perceives there is something unfair going on. She needs a moment to assess the rules and decide if she has been maligned. Oftentimes, when we are doing something together, like a reading a book, she will invoke the "pause button."

"Pause, Mommy, I need to go to the bathroom," she says as she takes the book out of my hand and lays it open on the bed next to me. She hops off the bed, rushes to the bathroom and then returns a minute later handing me the book as she points to the spot where we left off.

What cracks me up about this regimen is that I believe kids today think life is like a DVD player. They can just pause it whenever it suits them. Those of us who remember the days before DVRs, DVDs and videos (OK, now I am really dating myself) remember a time when the show just moved ahead whether we were in the room or not. Bathroom and snack breaks were carefully timed at commercials. We also had no voice mail or answering machines to catch missed calls. Nope, if you weren't home, you simply missed the call.

"I called you the other night?" a friend would say.

"Really, I must have been in the shower," I might say, not really knowing if the person was telling the truth.

Today, we don't miss anything - whether it is a television program, a movie, a phone call, a text message, an email - everything comes right to us, and we can access it whenever we want to.

"Mommy, it isn't fair," my daughter says to me with a red tear-stained faces as she runs in the front door from the cul-de-sac. "They won't pause the game. I can't keep up with them. I keep saying 'Pause!' They won't listen," she cries.

"Honey, you can't always make people stop when you want them too," I say gently putting my hand on her shoulder.

"But I pause American Idol all the time, Mommy," she says through sniffles.

"I know, baby, but that's not real life," I say. She nods with feigned understanding, turns and runs back outside to play.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood."