Liam gets a phone

Liam got a phone.  He’d wanted one since Christmas, when “everyone” got a phone.  Now he’s everyone too.

The phone is an old iphone that Husband de-razzle-dazzled: stripped all the apps, removed (or hid) the email function, installed a very limited call plan. He may also have installed a kid-tracking device, maybe an anti-candy-eating buzzer, maybe a few other iParenting apps, who knows?

Frankly, I’m still unclear as to why a fifth-grader needs a phone. Last time I checked, Liam doesn’t have a broker, a love interest, or even any friends who live outside a six-block radius (or who he doesn’t see every day at school).

But I confess: despite my misgivings, I gave in. “Everybody” won.  I was told (repeatedly) that everyone who didn’t get a phone at Christmas is getting one now, as fifth-grade graduation draws nearer, and I simply didn’t have the heart to be the bad cop.

We gave Liam the phone the night before I left for San Francisco—the third year in a row I have gotten it together to go away for an entire week by myself, and I had a wonderful time, but more on that later.   When we gave Liam the phone, he positively glowed, a little iHappy glow, and offered unprompted “thank yous.”

He was so happy, in fact, that I thought, “well, shit, we should just give in all the time.” I mean, there’s the solution to the mystery of how to have happy kids who love you, right? Just give them everything they ask for. Duh.

Off I went, cynically, to San Francisco, muttering to myself about kids and their damn expensive gadgets.  And of course, immediately as the plane landed, like any good iJunkie, I checked my phone (what? a contradiction? I’m checking my phone constantly because, you know, something really really important might have happened during the few hours I was in the air).

The only thing waiting for me on my phone was this:


The entire week I was away, Liam and I had a quiet little text conversation going: he texted me about his brother making him crazy (maybe even instead of yelling at his brother); he texted me about his day at school; he texted me good-night.  We had a whole new way to communicate.

You know? I’m thinking maybe I should get him the new white iPhone 4.

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6 Responses to Liam gets a phone

  1. karen June 1, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I had the same experience. In terms of making my own heart flutter with happiness, watching Fiona practically levitate with joy upon receipt of her phone was second only to the first text I received from her on that first day she went out to lunch merely telling me what she ate and that she loved me.

  2. Melissa June 1, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    on reading this story, i’ve decided to buy my 5 year old an i phone. immediately. just kidding. but really – how great is it that your son could potentially text you DAILY with these messages from cupid? a great example of where technology actually does enhance!

  3. Susanbw June 1, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Er um, just in time for the new study about cell phones maybe actually causing cancer?

  4. Alexandra June 6, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    People in my real life are telling me to do this, too.

    I have 2 teenage sons, and my friends with teenagers say they talk to their kids SO MUCH MORE now with the family phones they all got each other.

    I should just do it…I can tell they’re right.

    Followed you over from your hysterical comment left at Chalupa’s.

    You are one funny lady.

  5. anna ~ random handprints June 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    i love finally hearing a good reason to get kids technology. i can so see my kid calling me from her bedroom to bring her up a cold drink or something like that. but i’ll even be happy with that.

  6. Gabby June 13, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing this… I think every mom struggles with the decision about when to buy their kids a cell phone.

    Gabby – Customized Family/Nanny Matching Service, serving the Tri-State area, http://www.goldnannygroup.com.

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