I'm THAT Mom.
The one that complains that our kids are too addicted to electronic toys and gadgets.
Which is hilarious, because the bulk of my job involves my being on-line and electronically connected. Sure, I still use the phone to talk with with customers, but the bulk of my job is done primarily though email, Facebook, Twitter, and my business website.
Only, when it comes to my kids, there is no TV allowed during the school week, maybe a bit of Wii (if you play me right), no computer (unless chores are done and completed to the level of my satisfaction), and we, as a rule, don't do DS's. Primarily because I know my kids would become zombies. That's usually the outcome of my kids + electronic games. So, we just don't go there.
This morning, my daughter asked to speak with me and my husband about bringing her iPod to school. She doesn't have the iTouch, or even the newest model. In fact, hers is a refurbished model purchased almost three years ago. But, still. If that baby goes missing, Mommy won't be real quick to purchase another. So, my initial answer was "no" - based on the fear it would get stolen (yes, even in Beaver). She persisted. Not in a pushy, whiny, entitled way, but in a calculated, "I've really thought this through" sort of way. It was impressive.
"I just want it for the bus."
"Don't you sit and talk with your friends on the bus?"
"Not in the morning. On the ride home I usually sit with ________. But in the morning, I sit in the back by myself."
"Why by yourself?"
"Well, because most of the kids are listening to their iPods, or sharing their headphones, or playing on their DS's or phones."
Phones? (Don't get me started.)
My daughter loves listening to music at night and wakes to it in the morning. She plays electric guitar and has aspirations of being a rocker. (I think "Practicing an Instrument" will make for a great title of my next post.) So I "get" that music is a big deal to her. She finds it soothing. Calming. I guess we could all use that in the morning.
"Do you feel lonely on the bus?"
"Kind of. It's not bad. It's just that since everyone is already listening to something, I get bored just sitting there without someone to talk to."
I find that sad. Everyone is so plugged in that they don't even talk to one another.
Kind of like mini-adults.
But, I get it. Sitting there. By herself. No one to talk to on the 30 minute ride to school. She must feel pretty uncomfortable.
So, we made a deal.
"Thank you for coming to talk to us about this. Yes, you can bring your iPod to school. But, it must stay in your backpack in your locker during school. You may not take it out at recess. If you lose it, it is your responsibility to replace it. And if your grades start to suffer, it is one of the privileges we will remove. Deal?"
A BEAMING smile, huge hug, and "Thank you soooooooo much for listening to me."
At that moment, she looked . . . so . . . old.
Curious though. This is new ground in my parenting adventure. Would you have handled the situation differently? What would you have done?
Joline Pinto Atkins is a former actress who now uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Fit With Jo, and is a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 10 and 6, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she sweats out any daily angst by running (not with sharp objects) and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.