Madonna had it wrong. Rather, I suppose she was just twenty odd years behind, because this is no longer a material world.
Ian's niece recently had her first birthday, but because 3000 miles of good ol' American living separate these coastlines, we were unable to attend. Which is unfortunate, because I love watching diapered babies smear frosting on their eyelids in an attempt to get it into their mouths.
It's also unfortunate because I do miss that little thing. This summer, while Ian was mannying and I was on the East Coast alone, we got into the habit of Skyping a few times a week, while he was watching Kaylee. And now that he's back on the East coast, I've seen a lot less of the little tyke. This summer, as soon as she would hear the Skype ring, she would run up to the table (I suppose she crawled at first, but she was definitely running full tilt by the end of the summer), climb up on Ian's lap, put her smocheck in her mouth, and stare at the computer screen that knew her name and made her giggle. Evidently, she rarely sat still on Ian's lap for anything other than these Skype sessions, but at the sound of my voice over the computer, she would sit and stare enraptured. For a good five minutes or so. Baba the dog, however, couldn't have cared less for the electronic voice coaxing her to wag her tail.
The virtual conversations that Kaylee, Ian, and I shared this summer initiated a number of conversations on whether Kaylee would be irreparably damaged from so much virtual face time. What if she thinks a nice curly haired girl lives in all computers? What if she can't interact normally with normal people in real life? Will she forever have a vague sense of disconnect between my real self and my virtual self? What are the consequences of subjecting a nine month old to post-humanist theory? Will she become one of those socially diseased people who can't inhabit a material world and are forced into a virtual existence for all eternity? WHAT HAVE I DONE???
To remedy this, Ian and I purchased Kaylee a webcam for her first birthday present. I know normal aunts and uncles buy their nieces pink skirts and baby dolls. But no matter. Ian's niece has officially (in my mind, anyway) become the youngest ever owner of a webcam. Move over Madonna. We're living in a virtual world, and Kaylee is our new virtual girl.