Another Milestone, of the Technological Sort

Do you remember this post about kids, cell phones, and medical texting?

And the post about AG, her increasing independence, the intensely social nature of Colorado families, and a calendar that seems packed strangely full for a sixth grader?

No? Well, okay. I never wrote that second post. In it, I would have described how, for the first time in their lives, AG and the Sidekick are slowly drifting apart and settling firmly into their own age brackets. The gap isn’t emotional – they adore each other still, spend much of their day together despite the almost 3-year age difference, and call themselves not just sisters, but best friends.

My 11 year-old, however, has started acquiring a tentative few older habits and interests that she balances with the times she still plays, still acts goofy on the trampoline with her friends, still enjoys childhood as she also looks ahead to the days of makeup and a drivers license. And the Sidekick? She’s still very much all kid, all the time. I thought AG’s reaching this preteen/tween stage would feel a little sad and bittersweet, but I actually sort of love watching my daughters become less a pair and more their own separate people.

Last weekend, AG went to a Friday night boy/girl dance party for one of her friend’s birthdays. Then there was Kids’ Night Out on Saturday at the rec center. And then there was this:

Oh, yes.

The child now has a cell phone, and I am now the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD. I believe she sent something like 300 texts last weekend because hello? New Toy!

It’s brand-new. I get it. The novelty wore off a little this week as I expected it to, and school, homework, volleyball, and all the other little details of Mondays through Fridays in my house have stepped back in and set some natural texting limits on her life.

Interestingly, I finally broke down and acquiesced to the cell phone for scheduling reasons rather than any medical ones, though. Plus, I realized my aversion up to this point was simply a reflection of spending too much time in this space:

Why in the world does an 11 year-old need a phone?

They don’t need phones, of course. But my brain was wrapped so tightly around this idea that kids + cell phones = ridiculous and my role as one of the last parent holdouts in her grade had become more about the holding out that anything else, that I’d ignored the actual benefits for me.

Inertia, baby.

And even if I didn’t get the phone because of her asthma, I’ll certainly use it for that, too. Ask me how many sleepovers have prompted a conversation like this one:

Me: Did you do your Flovent last night?
AG: No, I forgot.
Me: How about this morning?
AG: Um. No.

Of course, now I’m having conversations like this instead:

Sidekick: When can I have a cell phone, too?
Me: When you’re older and it makes sense in our lives for you to have one.
Sidekick: Next year?
Me: I don’t know.
Sidekick: The year after that?
Me: I don’t know.
Sidekick: When will you know?
Me: Oh dear God.

18 responses to “Another Milestone, of the Technological Sort”

  1. Elisheva says:

    May she use it in good health! I didn’t get a cellphone til I was 18, but then again, not everyone had them then. Now I can’t imagine living without it!

  2. kerri says:

    Looks like a pretty darn sweet phone. You are a cool mom. My mom wouldn’t let me text more than like, four times a month, till I paid for it myself. AKA, after I had a job and was okay to dish out $15 more a month. ;-)

    Of course, that was when payphones [yes apparently those still exist] went up to fifty dang cents a call here, and she flipped out and put me on pay-as-you-go. Except at the end of the first month it was kind of like “Uhh, you have used enough minutes that I might as well get you that deal plan where you get a ridiculous amount of minutes and free evenings/weekends for $10 [plus tax] a month.” Yeah, never ever getting rid of my voice plan lol.

  3. Amy says:

    Elisheva–It’s already made my life easier 2 or 3 times in less than a week.

    Kerri–I AM a cool mom, yes–but you should know that, b/c Mr. Asthma Mom & I both have media plans, it cost next to nothing (literally, hers only costs around 10 bucks a month) to add her to our plan with unlimited texting. So that plus the camera plus the music player in her (free!) phone = one ecstatic sixth grader over here!

  4. Sarah says:

    I was totally opposite you two: I didn’t want a cell phone, and still only carry one grudgingly. Mainly because being out of phone contact has its advantages… :P

  5. MC says:

    I only got a cell phone last fall after I left for uni out in the middle of no where (ok, so it’s out in the mid-west, but where I am, it sure feels like I’m out in the middle of no-where, especially with being 1,000 miles away from home). It’s come in very handy at times, especially when I’m shopping and need to ask a friend about a certain food being gluten free. :P I’d like to have a media plan though, but I need to get a job before I can afford more than what I have now. Though, honestly, I text more than I call… I have an aversion to actually dialing numbers and calling people (I’m fine if they call me though).

    Sarah, you’re not the only one who has an aversion to cell phones… except my friend hates them because they give her headaches.

    Amy, somehow I don’t see my sister needing a cell phone for at least 3-4 years though she’s awfully close in age to your AG. But being homeschooled probably makes the biggest difference… there’s simply no need (and I don’t know any of her friends her age or even older who have a cell phone either) for her to have one. I don’t know what she’d do with one. My dad actually lives without one, though we often wish he had one, but he refuses to get one (because he’d rarely use it).

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