When my preschooler slipped his ring finger into a door frame, it beeped the first time. The second time, it sounded like the alarm clock was going off. But the third time, this door had a fixed beep, not a beep, and as the boy scraped, scratched and hefted the metal barrier, the door stopped beeping.
This may not seem like a big deal, but since it happened on the first day of the first round of kindergarten, it’s hit me twice a day. He’s a fairly tech-savvy young man, and we’ve invested in a few pricey expensive toys to foster some new skills: He can operate a video-game controller, he can set a scene on his smart TV, he can project a picture in a photo frame or colorize the colors of his picture book. But he just can’t shake this button.
I tell him there’s a button that turns the door beep off and that we can stop it at any time we want by pressing it three times. I tell him the ban is because it’s annoying. I don’t stop and think though: Did we give our child toys with the means to keep a permanently beeping door off of him? Is this what they learned to operate at 3 or did we design for the 1 percent of the population that cannot use a button to stop beeping doors? Perhaps it’s time for an intervention.