Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Place Your Bets

Once upon a time, we were starry-eyed parents with plans to be the lone hold outs when it came to cell phones. These kids were getting them too soon and they didn't need them dagnabbit. High school, we decided, that was the time. But soon enough, we had Morrigan, dying for a phone in 5th grade.

We stayed tough and said no way to elementary school phones but as she grew older, we could see that the plan was not going to work. We weren't going to make it to 9th grade.

So the new and improved plan came in to play. She had to save money for the phone, six months of payments, and then be prepared to pay the $10 a month it would cost us to add a line. She was 10 at the time and we assumed this would take her some time. Maybe a year.

We soon found out all that laziness, displayed daily at home, only applied to things we wanted done. She started saving babysitting money, Christmas money, and any other change that came her way. She was focused. By the summer before 6th grade, she had met our demands and we felt moving the goalposts at that point would be grossly unfair.

She had her phone. It was a shitty starter phone with no internet, but it was a phone.

Flash forward two years and we are more than aware that while it has been great for her, we really appreciated her having it as well. She could let us know when after school activities changed, if she needed to be picked up somewhere, and generally aided in her planning her own social activities. Not to mention, the threat of taking that puppy away is invaluable. We were a family with no regrets.

The time grew neigh when Maggie would grace the halls of James Madison middle school and, knowing how it all worked out, we told her she could get a phone. [And yes, it is vastly unfair that we didn't make her save for a phone, have an emergency fund, and would accept chores as payment but whatever. It sucks sometimes to be first born. I should know.]

She didn't even need to think about it. Her answer was no, making her the first child ever to refuse a cell phone. I mean ever. But she justified that none of her peeps had them and she could text at home from her ipod touch.

That's when the betting started.

The rest of the family recognized her clear short-sightedness. Personally, I said she would want a phone within five days of the start of school. Eion bet a week and a half. Morrigan said a month. Tim was on the outside, sure Mags' resolve would hold and went with three to six months.

It took one day.

You were so right Mom. Like you always are.

It was pouring down rain Monday when the girls were due home on the bus so I drove the half mile to their bus stop to pick them up. By 4pm, ten minutes after they normally arrive, I was getting antsy. I called Morrigan, who confirmed they were still at school, in their classrooms. Her teachers were ok with me coming to get her, but we had no reliable way to make sure Maggie wasn't loaded up on a bus while I was in transit. Both girls got to wait for the bus.

More than an hour after school let out, they finally were home. A wet Maggie jumped in the car and told me, "You know, I think I might want that phone." Would that our wager had been a monetary one. I'll have to settle for the glory of being right!

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