Saturday, August 17, 2013

...And Then She Was Gone...With a New iPhone

My girl came home, then she was gone again, having a fun sleepover with her future cousins.  The life of a traveling girl...

Today we made a major purchase and created a turning point in my little girl's life.  I bought her a phone.  And not just any phone.  It's an iPhone.  Is 9 years too young for a phone?  I didn't get a cell phone until I was 30!  And it was the size of a brick.  An iPhone is a pretty slick phone for a 9 year old. Is she a little too young for one?  Yeah, probably.  It's a shame our circumstances have required it, but that's what happens when you're an only child in a one parent family, and safety comes first.

I had intended to wait until my girl turned at least 12 before getting her a phone.  Yeah, it was annoying that she used my phone more often than I did, and she seems to understand more about the apps I have on it than me.  Kids today seem to just know this stuff, as if they're born with this innate technical know-how.  I don't know.  I can usually figure it out, but it takes me awhile.  Anyway, her school keeps changing the game for us, and that's why I got her the phone.  Three short years ago, she was a bus rider.  This gave me plenty of time to get home from work before the bus dropped her off in the afternoon.  The year before last, the eliminated her bus route.  Yes, it seemed ridiculous for her to ride the bus because we're just around the corner from the school, but there is no direct sidewalk for her to walk on, so the bus was required.  The change to her being a "walker" came about when a traffic light was put in at the major intersection between our house and the school.  However, the route she is required to take isn't even at that light.  She and the other kids on our street who rode the bus were now forced to take a circuitous route zig-zagging through two separate neighborhoods connected by a narrow paved pathway between several houses.  It's not a new walkway.  It has always been there.  But now, all of a sudden, the county deemed that our kids can't ride the bus and have to take this route because of a new traffic light that they don't come anywhere near.  Yes, it makes no sense at all.  Bottom line is that I don't like the pathway they have to walk on, and I think it's too far and dangerous for the kids.  My response was to pick my daughter up at the school each day.  This required me to arrive 30 minutes earlier than before.  And this was a struggle for me given the commute I have from work.  One little traffic incident messes me up.  There were numerous times when I arrived late and would have to take the walk of shame to the school office to get my daughter, where the administrators would glare at me for keeping them at the school late.

Fast-forward to this year.  The school announced that they were starting school ten minutes earlier, which means it will end ten minutes early, which just about eliminates my buffer.  There is no extra time for me and my commute to pick her up.  The only alternatives are to spend several hundred dollars for 15 minutes of aftercare each day, find a willing carpooler on our street, or to just allow her to walk.  At least, if she was walking, she could be with a group of her friends that would all walk together.  This seemed to be the best option, but to ensure that she stayed safe, I determined that she should have a phone that would allow us instant communication should anything happen, to her or me, and the GPS on the iPhone would allow me to track her whereabouts during her walk home.  I would still arrive home at just about the same time as her, depending on traffic incidents, but it gives me peace of mind.  For someone as stressed out as I tend to be, this was a Godsend.

So we went to the phone store today and got her a phone.  It was a surprise to her, and she literally couldn't stop smiling the whole day.  The young gentleman at the store, Matt, was great, and his kidding around with her made the experience even better.  Yes, this is a major expense, but I sincerely believe it is the best solution.

The only thing my daughter seemed to get tired of is all of the lecturing she got from me today about the responsibilities that come with owning such an expensive "toy".  The first thing was that this isn't a toy.  I think she gets it.  But I'm waiting for that first time when she forgets and leaves the phone at someone else's house, or loses it somewhere in our house, or forgets to charge it, or leaves without it, or drops and breaks it, or who knows what else.  What an adventure!

I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

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