Something startling happened last weekend. I discovered my daughter talking on her phone. With her mouth. Not texting with her thumbs but actually using her voice to communicate with another human being.
A few minutes later I discovered what was important enough to justify this archaic verbalization . . . a boy. My 11-year-old daughter was chatting up her first boy!
Wait, was it her first? And how could I not know the answer to this question?
When I had my first boy-chat my mom knew because he called my house, she answered the phone, administered a background check, and eventually passed the receiver to me. Then she stood next to me and listened to every word. There was no escape because I was on a phone. The kind that hung on the wall with a curly leash allowing me approximately three feet of freedom.
My daughter’s phone slips in her pocket. It goes with her to sleep-overs, soccer games, dance rehearsal . . . literally everywhere. I’ve even found her sleeping with it. Further, it doesn’t ring to alert the authorities that a member of the opposite sex is trying to infiltrate my lair. It simply sends his vibration to her pocket to let her know he wants to talk.
One obvious answer is to turn on the ringer. Another is to make her leave the phone at home so she can only use it when I’m there to
listen supervise – but wait. Do you remember the reason we got them a phone in the first place? That’s right, so we could keep track of them. So at any given moment we could call or text to check where they were, who they were with, what they were doing. Leaving her phone at home is not an option.
I’m sure there are other things I could do, but for now I’m resigning myself to the fact that she’s having phone conversations with boys. Conversations I don’t know about, with boys I don’t know. I take comfort in knowing the three-foot leash my mom used on me is now more of an invisible fence. My daughter can roam further than I ever could but there’s always the risk of a little shock, seeing my name pop up on her caller id when she’s gone too far.