Can We Talk?

When Should Your Child Get a Cell Phone?

I sort of dislike questions that are worded like this because it makes it sound like there is a universal answer to this question and there’s simply not.

It depends on the child and the situation.

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Let me just be upfront about something — I ABHOR talking on the phone. I mean, hate it. With a passion. With a capital “H”.

I have no idea why I feel this way. I wasn’t traumatized in a past life (not that I believe in past lives, but whatever), I don’t recall receiving bad news over the phone thereby scarring me for life. I just don’t like talking on the phone.

So, when it rings? I let it ring. And ring. And ring. Until voice mail kicks in. And if the person doesn’t leave a message? Then apparently, it wasn’t very important, right?

I know this has frustrated my family to no end. But they now know, that if they want to talk to me, either leave a message and I’ll call them back, or email me.

Actually, always email me. That is always the best way to reach me.

My phone aversion has rubbed off on the kids. They too hate talking on the phone. Though some of it probably stems from the fact that they’re boys and boys are not generally as chatty as girls.

At least, MY boys aren’t. πŸ™‚

So the whole cell phone issue, and my boys not having one glued to their ears like their peers, was never an issue for us. Jazz did ask for one in middle school, but I vetoed the idea.

I mean … why? I was his personal taxi driver. He knew he couldn’t go over to a friend’s house after school until his homework was done. And the only activity he was involved in was band and they never had any last minute extra-curricular activities that I didn’t know about at least months in advance.

In short, there was never a need for my boys to have a cell phone. If they ever needed to get a hold of me, they used the school phone.

*gasp* The horror!

To top it off, it just seemed silly to spend money on something they didn’t need, and would likely get them into trouble (because the schools get VERY CRANKY when they catch kids using their phones during class). So, we didn’t worry about it.

But to appease the boys, I told them, “You can have your own phone when you start high school,” thinking, high school was EONS away and we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.

Hello bridge.

When Dude started high school two years ago, we bought him a phone. And we decided to do that because we were hoping that Dude would get involved in something at school and NEED it.

But he didn’t. And the boys ended up sharing the phone between them. Whenever one, or the other, stayed the night with a friend, they took THE phone. And whenever Jazz went out of town for a band performance, he took THE phone.

And though this situation worked out really well, Jazz wanted his own phone. And again, we told him no. There was no NEED to have another phone – sharing the one phone was working out quite nicely, thank you very much.

To appease Jazz, I once again told him, “when you start high school, you can have your own phone.”

Hello high school.

So, here we are. Both boys are in high school. And though Dude still isn’t involved in any extra-curricular activities (and never ask him if he’s interested, you’ll get the “death” stare), Jazz absolutely needs his own phone. The kid has been, and will continue to be, non-stop busy with his music for the next four years.

Considering the boys rarely used their phone, they had a TON of minutes saved up. (We go through Virgin Mobile and do the pay as you go program). And since we knew Jazz would be using the phone much more than Dude, we designated the old phone Jazz’s and we bought Dude his own phone.

Dude once again changed when he got his phone. He started acting more grown up, more …. manly, I guess. He carries his phone with him every day and he’s been texting an old friend who moved to another school district over the summer. He’s even given his phone number to an old online chum (don’t worry. It’s all on the up-and-up).

And Dude is eligible to take his driver’s test next week (he won’t, but he’ll be eligible.) Which means, soon, very, very soon, Dude will NEED his cell phone because he’ll be out on his own.

That’s the only reason why our boys have cell phones now. Because they both NEED them. And I like to keep track of them, especially now that they will be doing their own things, separately and without me or Kevin.

Do your kids have their own cell phones? Why? What do you think about kids having cell phones?

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: Stranger Than Fiction

Because honestly? Ideas for stories ABOUND from real life. You just have to pay attention.

But never mind that – who has time to pay attention? Let me point you to some wacky real-life stories:


(Pst. Listen up National Novel Writing Month participants – I’m offering all sorts of bizarre story ideas here. Don’t say I didn’t try to help you come up with something! πŸ˜€ )

1. Train misses drunken teen napping on track

PARIS (Reuters) – A drunk French teenager narrowly escaped death on Sunday after falling asleep on a railway track and slumbering undisturbed as a high-speed train roared over him, police said.

2. Kids send Marcus the lamb to slaughter

LONDON (Reuters) – A group of schoolchildren who reared a lamb from birth and named it Marcus has overridden objections by parents and rights activists and voted to send the animal to slaughter.

3. Body Worlds plans cadaver show dedicated to sex

ZURICH (Reuters) – German anatomists plan a new show dedicated solely to dead bodies having sex as part of the Body Worlds exhibitions.

4. Notre Dame sues ex-worker over $29,000 tip

INDIANAPOLIS – A woman who worked catering events for the University of Notre Dame says it was her lucky day when the school tipped her $29,000 in her check. But now the university is suing to get back the money she says she’s already spent.

5. Kansas couple’s trash bin tryst takes wrong turn

WICHITA, Kan. – A tender moment in a trash bin went all wrong for a couple who found themselves being held up at pocket knifepoint. Police said two 44-year-olds had climbed into a dumpster to be alone just after 6 p.m. Saturday when two men interrupted them and demanded their belongings. Officers said the man and woman were engaged in “an intimate moment” when they were robbed of their shoes, jewelry and the man’s wallet.

6. Execution fails over inmate’s unsuitable veins

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein in which to inject drugs to kill a 53-year-old murderer, who then got a one-week reprieve from the governor so Ohio prison officials can figure out what to do.

7. Deputy goes to wrong home, finds different suspect

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. – A northeast Tennessee deputy sheriff who went to the wrong house came back with his man anyway. The incident occurred Friday evening when Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Barnett responded to a domestic disturbance call, but mistakenly knocked on the door of the wrong house.

8. Man allegedly asks guests to leave with shotgun

ATHENS, Tenn. – An Athens man was accused of pointing a shotgun at visitors in his home in order to get them to leave. The man, 74 was charged with three counts of aggravated assault. He’s been released on $30,000 bond.

9. Ill. teacher accused of giving girls alcohol, pot

FOX LAKE, Ill. – A northern Illinois teacher faces felony charges after allegedly giving two teenage girls marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs in exchange for work around her home. Kym Krocza was arrested Tuesday on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She is free on bond.

10. Snuggie shows new styles at NY Fashion Week

NEW YORK – All the big names came out for New York Fashion Week: Marc. Vera. Snuggie. Yes, Snuggie β€” the blanket with sleeves β€” staged a runway show on Tuesday, complete with high-fashion models and a new “urban jungle” line of zebra and leopard prints.

11. Man honored for 50 years of service at McDonald’s

CRESTWOOD, Mo. – A 68-year-old man who still works at the first McDonald’s restaurant in Missouri has been honored for 50 years of service. Leonard Rhomberg began his job at a McDonald’s restaurant in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood in 1959, the year after it opened. And he still works there five days a week.

12. 107-year-old Malaysian woman seeks 23rd hubby

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A 107-year-old Malaysian woman says she is ready to marry for the 23rd time because she fears her current drug addict husband might leave her for a younger woman, a report said Monday.

13. Wisconsin dad, son excel at cricket-spitting

MARSHFIELD, Wis. – Brian Johnsrud spat a thawed cricket 22 feet, 8 inches at the Central Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday. Minutes later, his son Jared shot his cricket 10 feet, 5 inches to win the 9-to-11 age division.

I adore these weird news stories because honestly, they are a writer’s dream – talk about strange and fascinating ideas – and they’re true!!

Which story did you find the most interesting/disturbing?

I’ll be writing a fictionalized account of one of the above stories very soon. Can you guess which one it’ll be?

Stay tuned …