[louder] “Dinner’s on the table. Come down now.”
[shouting] if you don’t come down now, you aren’t getting dinner and the kitchen is closed till tomorrow morning!”
I am the very model of effective parenting.
Why would they even listen to me the first time, since they know I will repeat myself 3 times? They can get in a whole other level of Angry Birds or use that time to post something witty and misspelled on Facebook.
But I have a new tool now, one that has revolutionized family communication in our household.
My older girls now have their own cellphones, in anticipation of the new freedom that comes with high school and the use of public transportation to get them around town.
I text “Dnnrs on the tbl” (if you don’t use texting spelling, you can hear the eye rolling from the basement. It’s epic. I have been questioning the point of all those years of spelling workbooks and quizzes. But I digress.)
I hear giggles. They’ve heard me. There is movement upstairs. The graceful stomping of two pairs of 12-year-old feet on the stairs.
And through some form of cellular magic, here they are. In our kitchen. Dinner is still hot. I have not had to issue any more empty threats.
Not two bites into dinner, the vibrating starts. The ringing and buzzing and whirring of customized tones.
They have been contacting every person they’ve ever met to exchange phone numbers.
My husband tells them that phones must be off during mealtimes.
Sigh. The rules come flying out of thin air.
When they were 8, they got their first iPods (little Shuffles). They tuned out in the car, upstairs in their rooms. I worried about how it cut them off from the family.
Then they got Nintendo DS’s. Same thing, but much worse. The games sucked them in. They ran restaurant kitchens, designed zoos and ran ultrasounds on virtual farm animals when we used to talk or look out the windows together. They trained their digital dogs while their real dog lay unwalked at their feet.
Then the iPod Nanos entered our lives, effectively rendering meaningless the no TV policy in our family car (I thought I was so clever). they carried their movies and Wizards of Waverly Place around with them on tiny screens.
Then the iPads arrived last spring. Portable email, Facebook and Skype.
But the cellphone is the epitome of digital distractions, the ne plus ultra of mobile communications when you are 12 years old.
I am beginning to realize that the rules have to be made up as we go.