There has been a battle of wills going in our house for a good year now. It has a very simple story line Lucy Horowtiz desperately wants a cell phone and we have been saying no. I have been saying no more than Glenn mostly because I say no better and for some reason this became my issue. Frankly, I think he would have just gone out and bought her one.
But I had very specific reasons why I did not want her to have one. One is safety, I still believe they are harmful. Many reports from Europe tend to back up my position. Kids tend to use cell phones more than adults, if you’ve ever lived with a kid with a phone you know what I mean. I also felt she was just too young. An eight year old does not need a phone nor does a nine year old and I was convinced a ten year old didn’t either. Who does she have to call? She is always in a supervised environment. She could wait; until when was always the issue. I said 12 at one point; I think I actually said 13 in the beginning.
It then got whittled down, or perhaps she whittled me down. I hate to think so as I am heading off to Detroit next week to speak to a group of moms on how to say no to spring break trips, a no I was excellent at keeping.
But kids are fierce opponents especially when it comes to items that not only declare their burgeoning adulthood, but also their coolness and then add on the growing list of their peers who are showing up with latest and greatest communication devices.
Glenn and I are really retarded when it comes to cell phones. I would wager that any one of you could email him tomorrow and ask him what kind of cell phone he has and he will tell you one that needs charging. He has no idea what brand it is.
I have a Noikia that I am yet to master the phone book, the back call list or the GPS. I can make calls and call voice mail. I have a Blackberry that when I bought it was apparently a Ferrari and now I’m told 18 months later is a Model T.
But Lucy not only knows what kind of phone each of her friends has, I think she knows the name of the guys at the Samsung factory in Seoul where they are assembled. She knows every new model and which carriers they come with.
I’m not exaggerating when I say every third conversation in this house for the last six months with her as revolved around cell phones.
Every night at dinner, “You’ll never guess who got a Droid” What is a Droid? ” Glenn would ask. She would in turn give him that look only a kid can give a parent ,the one that says “Oh God My father is the biggest moron who ever lived. “ It got to the point when there was a term tossed out we didn’t know, we figured it had to do with cell phones.
Every one had one. When was she going to get one? What kind was she going to get? The type she was going to get would get more elaborate with each passing day.
Our tolerance for these conversations wore really thin. But I stuck with NO. You get one when I decide and every time you mention it another day gets tacked on.
Lucy is tough she did not believe me and her attacks kept on coming.
Glenn looked at me the other night and said “I can only take so much more of this phone chatter.”
Friday night I walked in the front door, the first words out of her mouth were “Can we talk phones?” Why should this night be different than any other?
I got in the tub, she came in sat on the floor and started discussing Verizon plans as opposed to AT & T. Why in fact an iPhone might not be the best choice and a BlackBerry Torch would be more in keeping with her style. What style? She sleeps with a stuffed bear – clown hybrid called Rainbow. That style spells out Fisher Price phone to me.
Well yesterday, for some reason, despite my final words when I was tucking her in the night before, “We will discuss it again around your birthday,” igavein.
I was leaving her off at acting class; I have always walked her in. But now that she is three months away from eleven she wants to walk the half block on her own. Her dad lets her do this with school. I historally have not. Yesterday she was adamant. She is old enough to call a bit of New York sidewalk hers and she does not need me. I let her go, I pretended to turn around but hung out and watched her red hair swinging and her loopy strides as she confidently made her way to her destination. At that moment I wanted to be able to get in touch with her. I realized she was moving in a new direction and the value of the phone would be to my benefit too. It wasn’t that she was ready for the phone; I was ready for her to have a phone. I looked at my watch, I was meeting Mamaface Joan Kron for lunch in twenty-five minutes, I could get to the phone store and make it on time.
I bought her what I thought was age appropriate it’s called a Quick Fire. Her carrier is AT& T. Despite the fact it’s not an iPhone, a Droid or a Torch when I handed it to her I thought she would pass out. I have never seen a happier person in my life.
I woke up this morning and asked Glenn if he thought I had jumped the gun and bought it too soon? Was she old enough? Had I said yes when I meant no? Then I picked up the New York Times and the cover story in the style section was about how cell phones are toddler’s favorite new toys. Two years olds wake up from naps and the first thing they reach for is the iPhone. I then realized three and a half months from eleven was not moving too fast, it was OK, not too Lucky Ducks. And then of course the added benefit of no more cell phone conversations.
This afternoon we were walking down the street she was cradling her new most cherished procession and wanted to know if when she turned 13 she could change carriers as Verizon got better service in certain parts of town and by then she would be ready for a new model!