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:
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.
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.