Dear Portable DVD Player,
It seems so long ago that I stood in Target pretending to make an educated electronics decision about which one of you and your kind to buy. My strict criteria included a car charger and a screen and you had both. I took you home for around $99.00 and prayed that you would get me through the first long car trip with my ‘spirited’ 1 year old daughter. Feeling slightly depressed about becoming the screen-pushing mom that I had sworn I was never going to be, I opened up your box, charged you, and never looked back.
4 long years later, you are still with us, and I can barely look you in the screen because of the repeated trauma and overuse I have subjected you to. For that I owe you an apology.I can barely look you in the screen because of the repeated trauma and overuse I have subjected you… Click To Tweet
First, I’m sorry for the milk spatter. I want you to know that I gave them milk in contained cups. I shook and tested them with nary a leak. The pattern of spray is a CSI mystery to me, but I know you have been its target and I wasn’t always as hasty as I could have been to dab your screen dry. Who am I kidding, you still have spray residue from 2 years ago that I keep telling myself I probably need a ‘special electronics cloth’ for.
I’m also sorry for the tiny plastic pieces floating around in your innards. Anyone who has popped into place and removed the same DVD from a top loading portable DVD player knows that after about 396 plays the plastic around the DVD’s center hole starts to crumble into tiny bits and snap off. I’ve been less than thorough at fishing those plastic pieces out of you and assume they eventually make their way into your inner core. I’ve looked the other way and placed jagged DVDs on you more than once. I’m sorry if I chafed you.
I’m sorry for allowing my kids faces up in your grill. I’ve seen them play you’re-blocking-my-view-and-I-can-wedge-my-face-closer while getting nearer and nearer to your screen. I know they mouth breathe and I know they lick. Still, I let this behavior continue even after seeing the telltale nose and chin prints they leave behind on your once pristine screen.
I’m sorry for wedging you tightly in between the 2 front seats of the car. To make you visible to both kids in the back seats I have used clothing or books to secure your position and at times I have failed to properly snug you in as one is wont to do and you’ve come flying into the front seat during an aggressive stop. I might have even said ‘It’s just the DVD player’ and left you to get shuffled under the seat or otherwise shoved aside.
I’m sorry for the excessive rewinding. You’ve witnessed repeated requests of ‘Can we hear it one more time??!’ to some of the world’s most annoying kids show songs (I’m looking at you qwidget song in Leapfrog’s Math Circus). Instead of laying down the law, I rewound over and over again without even letting you rest, simply because dumb ass kids songs are a known evil, and my children’s antics if denied are an unknown.
I’m sorry for the quality of movie I humiliated you with. You probably had big dreams of showing the Bourne movies or maybe just a quality Disney film here and there. Over the years I have sunk to making you play the worst of the worst toddler shows. I started out with respectable Kipper DVDs but quickly descended into Baby Einsteins, Caillous, Wubbzys, Smurfs, Potty Bears, Pokoyos, Curious Buddies, and even Angry Birds cartoons. I have allowed you to be part of my $5 movie bin bargains and Berenstain Bears purchases for far too long and for that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for letting my son open you mid-play and expose you while he ‘tests’ your spinning capabilities. I chalked this up to mechanical curiosity that would serve him well later in life and didn’t stop to think about how it affected you.
I’m sorry for inserting DVDs covered with a wide range of goo and fuzz. Although I’ve seen my kids ‘playing’ with DVDs from time to time, it doesn’t always occur to me to do an inspection before I feed them to you the following day. This has led to some sputtering and skipping on your part and sadly, my verbal assertions that that maybe you have “reached the end of your useful life”. Thankfully, before kicking you to the curb during one of these hiccups, I typically inspect the DVD and have found petri dish-inspired atrocities creating a DVD outer exoskeleton that is causing your struggle.
You’ve helped keep me sane through the years both in the car and sometimes even in the house. I know that a 4-year-old portable DVD player with constant exposure to small children is similar to a 107 year old man. There have been times in recent months where your sound has come on but no picture, or where we put in the DVD and you light up, but the DVD doesn’t play or even spin. We just restart you and usually after a few tries you’re back to your old self. I can’t believe you have made it this long living in such conditions as I’ve outlined here. You’ve served us longer than I ever thought possible and for that I am grateful.
When your time comes, just know that I will give you the proper burial, complete with a Jason Bourne movie and a special electronics cloth.
Check out my essay (and many hilarious and heartwarming other essays from mom bloggers) in the anthology (and perfect mom gift)