Friday, February 22, 2008

They're not ready. In case there was any question.

Kids these days want everything. I know I sound like the biggest curmudgeon when I say that, but it's true. Ipods, laptops, cellphones ... they want it all. Frighteningly, the kids is this area seem to be getting it all. Cat Crazy Girl talks about girls in her (3rd Grade!!) class with their own cell phones. Mathboy's best friend casually advised us that he was getting the new video ipod for Christmas. Now, I do have the new video ipod myself. But I'm not 10 years old.

If anyone needs evidence that the elementary school generation is not ready to Have It All, I offering the following evidence:

Cat Girl and Math Boy have been enjoying trekking through the woods in our neighborhood this month. They found an area where some young boys were clearing the woods for their own golf course, and check on their progress frequently. They also found a horse farm that adjoins the back of the woods, and they can watch the horses from the fence.

It's all very sweet and innocent; they cross no major streets and they are not that far away as the crow flies, so Rich and I have been OK with it. But they do tend to lose track of time, and it is a pain for us to go looking for them. So last Sunday, when they asked if they could go, I said that I wanted them to bring my cell phone with them. Cat Crazy Girl was very excited that she was allowed custody of the phone--maybe she was deluded into thinking it was the first step in getting her own?

Admittedly, the phone had seen some better days, but it worked. After their walk in the woods?
Not so much.

It was about one hour into their excursion when the house phone rang for the first time. "Hi Mom! It's great out here today. We played with the boys at their golf course and we're going to see the horses."

"OK. I want you guys to turn back for home in about ten minutes. Got it?"

Muffle, muffle. I hear "We shouldn't have called," murmered away from the phone, and then a resigned "OK, Mom."

Ten minutes later the house phone rings again. "We're coming back now."

Five minutes later the phone rings again. "We're at the golf course."

Five minutes later. "We're crossing the big stream."

Five minutes later: "We can see the house." At this point, Rich and I are kind of tired of answering the phone. We remind them that the phone was supposed to be for emergencies.

Five minutes later, Mathboy comes running in the house. His first words are, "I'm sorry about the phone, Mom." I assume that he means he is sorry that they called so often. If only that were it. But no. I see Cat Crazy Girl dragging her feet homeward across our big backyard and I know the phone is NO MORE.

Apparently, Cat Girl was so worried that something might happen to the phone while they were crossing the various little streams in the neighborhood woods that she actually thought it would be safer to THROW THE PHONE over the streams rather than carry it in her own pocket. Eventually, at the last crossing of the day, in the woods close to our house, she made a bad throw. Plop. Mathboy never stopped her. Smart they may be, but the judgment is lacking--you know?

The phone eventually dried out well enough to turn on again, but it was still messed up. So it turns out to be a happy ending for me, because I wanted a new phone anyway.
Now that I have a "cooler" phone ("Oh, Mom, lots of girls in my school have that phone"), Cat Girl covets it even more than before. It's nice to have actual evidence to use to support our refusal to get her one.

And I'm not letting either one of them touch my ipod.

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