I often feel badly when I have to work late especially if I miss seeing the kids before they go to bed. What’s worse is that sometimes I can’t call home because it disturbs my co-workers. As a solution I set up an instant messenger program that lets me “chat” from my office computer with the kids on the home computer. This way, if they have a question for me or if I need to nag them to do homework, we can just type each other a quick note.
But sometimes they take advantage. Big time. That’s clearly what happened when my eleven-year-old “I.M.’d” me the other night.
Sam: When are you coming home?
Me: Not for a couple more hours, I’m sorry.
Sam: Oh. Did u say that I get my phone when Sabrina gets hers?
Me: I think YOU said that – we said you could have one after 6th grade
Sam: but what if everybody already has a phone? :(
Me: I don’t want to discuss this when I’m at work.
Sam: Even Charlotte’s 6-year-old sister Devon has one now.
Me: Devon Schmevin. Besides, her mom told me that her dad got it for her because of their divorce. Do you want Daddy and I to get a divorce just so you can have a cell phone?
Me: Not funny.
Sam: But, everybody in my grade has a cell phone.
Me: Well good, then you can borrow theirs.
Sam: Seriously. EVERYONE has one.
Me: What if EVERYONE had a switchblade, would you expect me to buy you one?
Sam: Why, what would happen?? And what’s a switchblade?
Me: A knife. We’d probably all stab each other – now what kind of world would that be, hmmm? Everyone stabbing each other all the time?
Sam: Phones don’t stab people.
Me: Okay, what if everybody had a tiger in their backyard – would you expect me to get you a tiger?
Sam: YES, we should get a tiger!!!!!!!! I love tigers!
Answer my question!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Okay – you can have a tiger
Sam: Daddy wants to talk to u. Here he is
Sam: Did you tell Samantha we could get a tiger?
Me: I thought it was better than a cell phone.
Sam: Well, I think its time to give her a phone. I think that she is mature enough now.
Me: Really? But, we agreed to wait until after 6th grade.
Sam: I already told her that it’s fine with me if she gets a phone and if we tell her she can’t now, she will be very sad.
Me: THIS IS SAMANTHA STILL, ISN’T IT? Daddy wouldn’t say that!
Sam: No, it’s me, Daddy.
Me: You are one clever child.
Sam: I am not a child!! That’s not a nice thing to say about your husband.
Me: My phone is ringing and it’s your dad’s number. You’re in so much trouble.
So maybe parenting via computer doesn’t work, especially when a crafty kid has an agenda.