Does that song date my baby? That’s Raffi singing Banana Phone.
A song we would sing over and over in the car as my little toddler would kick her feet to the song. That was a long time ago. Sigh.
So, there it is!
On the counter staring at me while it charges every evening. Mocking me.
The infamous ‘My child does not need a cell phone‘ cell phone.
I spent a LOT of time reasoning with WHY a 6th grader starting middle school does NOT need a cell phone.
- Middle School is not unsafe
- Riding the bus is not unsafe
- You don’t need to get in touch with me, the school needs to be able to get me and I trust the school or I would not send you there.
- Where would you be that you would need a cell phone that I don’t know where you are
- I would not leave you someplace that is not safe for you to be
- Cell phones and texting will lead you to a troubled place
- I cannot monitor who is texting you on a cell phone (but can on your iTouch)
- You CAN be independent and NOT need a cell phone.
So this is where we hit the curve in the road. She started Middle School – and guess what she did not need a cell phone. However, she still begged for one. All The Time.
First things first- she is a wonderful girl – does as she is asked, gets solid grades, handles her responsibilities like a champ (most of the time) and she is just a good kid. And she hears ‘NO’ from me all the time.
After researching we learned that if the Mr. and I combined our phones into a family plan we basically save 10.00 a month by getting her the phone. Not to mention I ended up with a sparkly new iPhone for myself. It was a win win… and the PERFECT Christmas gift for this hard working tween. (insert brake screeching sound here) Then the Mr. said ‘why make her wait’ a phone is not a Christmas gift – its something she earned – let her have it tonight.
So we sat down and wrote out a ‘contract’ of all our expectations and told her we needed to think about all these things before we would consider a phone down the line. At the end when it was signed by all parties she had to call the number listed at the bottom to ‘register the contract’. When she did the phone in Dad’s pocket rang. She flipped. Dad got all the hugs and thank yous – and he deserved them.
But the biggest lesson in all of this has been this:
While I did not want her to have a new cell phone with unlimited texting, I am realizing that maybe SHE needed one. Because – you know who she calls and texts? Me.
It is not unusual for her to walk out to the bus stop in the morning and I get a quick text that says ‘it’s cold today!’ or ‘I am the first one here’. And I can set my watch to a 3:05 text to come in that says ‘I am on the bus!’. And I realize now it is her way of saying ‘I am OK’ not because I need to hear it, but because she needs to say it.
POST SCRIPT: Oh, and now I have no idea what to get her for Christmas!!