Do you have to ask your kids’ permission to use your iPad?

Like many other parents, we sometimes have difficulty prying our son’s grubby hands off the iPad. Ever since the first version was released, Kai has taken to it like a true iOS native.

He now thinks that every screen is a multi-touch screen, and has been seen trying to swipe shopping malls’ electronic directories to change pages.

I was thinking of how to summarise what we use our iPad(s) for, now that the iPad2 comes with a camera (and I was treated to some of the many amazing things it could do) – but really, it all comes down to what Kai does with it:

1. Angry Birds
2. Talking Gina
3. Talking Tom
4. iDP FREE
5. Cat Piano Jr
6. iBooks
7. YouTube
8. Videos
9. KidsSongs

When we got our car last year, we thought about decking it out with the latest in Audio-Visual entertainment, you know, like an in-headrest DVD player with tv tuner – the works, basically. And we were astonished at the price.

So last year, when iPad1 was released, we said to ourselves, “buying two 3G iPads and holsters for the headrest is cheaper than buying an in-car DVD player!”, and went out and did just that.

Kai has never looked back since (cos as long as we put the iPad in the headrest holder, he’s looking forward), and enjoys long car rides watching his favourite Disney movies, Sesame Street YouTube playlists, his favourite music videos on an iTunes playlist, or simply practice his numbers one to twenty something and letters A-Z on one of many many apps that we’ve downloaded for him.

In the other passenger seat, we’ve also put up an iPad holder so that Naomi can do her own stuff looking up maps to give me directions to where we’re going, or to check Twitter to see if anyone’s warning about some mall flooding. Nothing beats a backseat driver with real-time information and forecasts.

Now with the iPad2, Kai’s in-car entertainment can be interrupted by FaceTime calls while we’re on the move.

I don’t know how he feels about that.

Milestones

Kai pooped in his potty. Not once, but twice and almost three times.

He missed his hattrick only because I was busy putting the dishes in the sink and he went in his diaper before I could sit him down.

Then there’s the reading. About a week ago, he started reading the letters on his alphabet biscuits completely unprompted. He doesn’t get every letter right, and insists on calling the letter “O” a “zero”. We’ll fix that later.

And, unlike his famously monolingual father, he’s learned to count in Mandarin and English. And unlike his famously sinophobic father, he counts better in Mandarin.

Then there’s his teaching Grandma how to play Angry Birds. She can’t get over how well this 22 month old boy manipulates the iPad.

And when it’s time for bed, he carries his two favourite soft-toy friends – a monkey (which he calls Tarting) and a dinosaur (Didotaur) – says goodnight, and then walks to his room and to his cot, waiting to be carried into it.

We are so proud. But we also did ask him one night before giving him Tarting and Didotaur, to stay a baby for a while more, and not grow up so quickly.

Useful Christmas Gifts #4: Something From Apple

Let’s face it. You’re gonna be either buying or considering buying an Apple product this Christmas, either for yourself or for someone else. Epicentre, the premium Apple reseller, is making it more fun with an in-house personal shopper who’s gonna help you buy more stuff and then you’ll go home and curse him later.

Santa/Personal Shopper will be demonstrating how to use iPhoto to make photo books and other stuff every weekend from now till December 24th. There’s cookies to be had too. Just bring your own glass of milk.

Naomi, Kai and I are unabashedly Apple people at home, with a couple of iPhone4, iPad, iMac and MacBook Pros between the three of us.

And I’m quite sure there are parents of toddlers like ours who’ve learned new tricks on their Apple products from their kids. Before Kai got his hands on our phones, we didn’t know we could operate the iPod feature with the phone still password locked.

He hasn’t figured out our passwords yet, but he’s been treating us to his favourite songs on our phones and iPads in between playing Angry Birds.

Useful Christmas Gifts #1: Frozen Sausage Stylus for iPhone/iPad

If you’ve got friends and family in colder climes, you might want to think about sending this gift their way, because apparently when it gets too cold to go gloveless, it might get a little difficult to operate a touch screen device like an iPhone or iPad.

So, people in Korea have been buying frozen sausages to use as a stylus.

(Or you could just get them this. But hey, you can’t eat the gloves).