“When I visit them in Tacoma, Scarlett knows me,” Waechter says. We should all go for quantity because you never know when those important moments will happen.” And now, moments happen almost magically, she said.
“It’s amazing to me when that little redhead who has just learned to walk stumbles over to me smiling like a maniac and throws herself at me like I’m there every day.” Waechter has a motto for those frequent, brief video chats. “It’s just an accept button; it’s foolproof.” “The minute Scarlett does something new and they know I’d appreciate it, they Face Time me right away so I can be a part of it.
“She isn’t really talking yet, but she gets excited to hear my voice,” Wesselman said. I think it’s really important so she can see a face and connect with you.
What doesn’t escape them: They know their grandparents’ faces and voices when they do visit in person.
“We’ve used Face Time pretty much since the first one was born, probably more so since they’re older,” said Debbie Rauen, 60.
“She even does a little bit of the gibberish where it sounds like conversation.” His mother-in-law, Spokane Valley resident Joy Wesselman, had a medical condition for about six months that prevented her from driving, so regular screen time with Izzy gave her much-needed grandma fixes, Tolley said.
Though Wesselman, 56, saw the Tolleys during weekend visits, they started using short video chats typically every night before Izzy’s bedtime.
“It might just be making faces or a ritual that becomes familiar. They have a short attention span.” Mental health counselor Melissa Spivey in Spokane has both professional outlook and personal experience with video chats as a way for grandparents to connect beyond physical visits.
Spivey, 61, uses Face Time a couple times a week with four grandchildren, from age 3 to 7, who live in Portland and Everett.
They read bedtime stories or watch a baby’s first steps.
It’s made easier by built-in cameras and microphones now commonplace on computers and mobile devices, and with better broadband connections and apps.
“I think Skype is a miracle,” said Betsy Lawrence, 57, who video chats from Spokane with an adult daughter, her husband and 20-month-old grandson living in Austria. He just jabbers, but I’m grandma.” “Sometimes, he plays hide-and-seek or peekaboo, and he’ll get behind the drapes,” Lawrence added.