Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Passing of the note ah um the text?

Two years ago, we bought our oldest daughter a cell phone for emergency purposes only (hah). After a few mishaps of abuse of minutes, we came to a compromise. She would get a job and help pay for a better plan and we would not kill her. Thank goodness for Cricket. For about $50 a month she has unlimited calling and texting with all the bells and whistles. She makes few phone calls mostly to us but texting has become her form of communication. We hear her phone beep at least a hundred times a night and on the weekend...well forget about a count.

I think it is ironic that she can't have a verbal conversation without using a million too many words but is comfortable using twenty words or less in this form of communication. She has an extenisive friend group and will be in the middle of a dozen conversations at any given time. I suggested she IM this friends and she told me that no one IMs anymore. Dang it, I am no longer cool.

When I was young (the olden days as my kids call it), we would pass notes in school and come home to write long diatribes of our life, dreams, and even gossip that we would exchange at the beginning of each school day. If we used the phone it would be secretively in the closet just off the living room and in most cases, it was done quickly because you knew your parents were going to bang on the door asking what you were doing in there any second. When I was 17 my parents let me have my own phone extension in my room. Of course, I took this as a symbol of my impending adulthood. I was told later it was a compromise because if my Dad tripped over the phone line one more time, I was going die.

My daughter took on the poof of maturity when we gave her a phone. Believing that this was a symbol of adulthood or at least teenagehood. Frankly, we were just tired of having to track her down physically every time, we wanted to check in. We consider the cell phone a tether or leash to keep track of her. That and we are lazy.

Princess's father has little or no tolerance for the ongoing beeping or the phone that has become a permanent extension of my child's body. I tried explain that texting replaces the hours of note writing and passing that I participated in as a youth. This must be a girl thing. Mr. Man, (my husband) said he only passed notes to ask a girl out or to get a homework assignment. He became a little docile about texting until he found out that boys were texting Princess. It esculated into a big tadoo when he found out she was replying to boys that she vagualy knew.

I have to admit it got out of hand when strangers started texting her. So far nothing explicit or threatening has occured but a few boys out of her social radar got her cell phone number from a friend and were using it to hit on her or least to establish a friendship. Mr. Man decided that it was easier to change her phone number than sneek the phone out of her room and threaten unknown boys for daring to speak with his daughter. Shhhh, don't tell Princess, she thought the new phone was just a gift. However, I did suggest she tell her friends not give out her phone without asking first.

This last Christmas, our youngest daughter Twinkie asked and received her own cell phone. So far she mostly has used it to talk to her dad, sister, and me. Princess was a note writer in elementary school and quickly became an advid texter. Though Twinkie has never been a note passer and her friend pool has been small, she has recently found popularity in middle school. We are prepared for the worse. We have a call plan in place that if abused will not reval our mortgage bill. The other night, we heard a familiar beep and Princess opened her phone to find it did not come from her phone. Twinkie popped up, checked her phone, blushed and then clicked a few buttons to respond. I asked her, who it was...she replied, "Oh, it was (insert boy name)." Wouldn't you know that the youngest would skip right over a year of two of texting exchange with her girlie friends to a boy. So it begins....

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