My phone chirped while sitting on the kitchen counter. I had a text message. Texts are always slightly exciting. It means someone wants to talk to you right now. But they don’t really want to talk to you, or they’d call. But they do want to talk to you sooner than later because they don’t want to send an email and wait for you to randomly check your in-box.
So I had a text. I clicked on the message bubble and there it was.
The sender? My 9-year-old daughter. Who was in her room. No, this can’t be happening, I thought. It was like that scene from a horror flick when the cop says, “We’ve traced the call, it came from inside the house.”
“Caroline?” I called.
“Yeah,” she yelled from upstairs. “Did you get my text?”
Yes, I did. And it felt like life would never be the same. There was her name, as the sender. Instead of my friends, sisters, husband – it was my daughter. Who let this child have a device that could send messages?
Oh yeah, we did. It was a decision Jamie and I agonized over. Most of the kids in school had either a hand-held game device, iPod or iPad (as we realized on special “electronics” days when they could bring them in. That’s a whole other blog). Caroline had borrowed her cousin’s DS and had shown she could follow rules of use. She didn’t break it or abuse it. We felt that she was ready. I wasn’t sure I was.
So the iPod was a gift for her birthday. She promptly loaded it with music, “Fruit Ninja” and some American Girl game. A few weeks later, came the next big question.
“Mom, my friends were wondering if I could text them. Can I?”
We sat Caroline down and explained that what you write on a device will stay there. You can’t take it back. We also tried to explain that written words could be interpreted in different ways when you’re not there to actually say them. But is it really any different from the phone calls I made to friends when I was in the 3rd grade? Or the crazy notes I wrote and passed while in class?
With strict (very, very strict) rules in place, she sent her first texts. They’re pretty harmless (one of the rules? We get to read them.) A lot of “Hi!” and “What did you have for dinner?” And smiley faces.
I look at her now (ears plugged into her little device) listening and singing along to Taylor Swift (“Never, everrr, everr getting baaack togethaaa) . She just learned how to ride a bike! (3 years ago) She loves Disney Princesses! (4 years ago) She still takes a nap! (no she doesn’t) Where did the time go? Does this mean I’m older? (yes)
I’ve had babies for so long, that one text finally made me realize, I’m truly done with diapers, cribs and strained peas. I almost have a tween.