I am mostly of the opinion that The Third Girl wants for very little in her life but for the past year she has craved two things, both of which she assured us would make her life a joyous, rainbow filled world of love, excitement and happiness. These two things are a hamster and a mobile phone.
Daily she has repeated the mantra: "Muuuum, when can I have a mobile/ hamster (delete as appropriate for the moment). EVERYONE else has got one?" Clearly as everyone else does NOT have a hamster (I know because I asked around), I wasn't entirely convinced that all her school friends were au fait with the latest in mobile technological wizardry either.
But time has marched on, the Third Girl started secondary school in September and top of the list of things to buy for the new school term was, of course, a mobile phone. Not for her sake, but for ours. I'm aware that the school rules forbid mobiles in class thank you, but she has to walk half an hour there and another half an hour home at the end of the day and, well, I just feel better knowing that she can contact me and I her if the need arises.
So for her 11th birthday at the end of August we got her a mobile phone. Not the same kind of mobile that the TeenTwins were issued with when they started secondary six years ago which was, basically, just a phone, but an all-singing, all-dancing smartphone which was the only kind she would entertain. She was mildly disgusted it wasn't an iPhone which, apparently, EVERYONE else has but she seemed happy enough.
The first day of school dawned and she refused to take her phone. "Er," I said a little non-plussed but it was the first day of school and her nerves and mine were enough to deal with without arguing over whether she should have her phone or not. She was getting a lift there and back for the first week too so it didn't seem entirely necessary either.
The first week came and went but still she wouldn't take her phone to school. It was, she said, not allowed and she didn't want to get in trouble. I explained, quite patiently and several times over several days: "All the teachers KNOW you have mobile phones on you, but if you don't start playing Angry Birds in class or take a phone-call in the middle of assembly, they turn a blind-eye" but to no avail.
And so, the all-singing, all-dancing smartphone sits unloved and unused. All day. At home.
All well and good, if she's not happy taking it to school then so be it. After all, I went through my entire adolescence and beyond without a mobile phone and, to be honest, I would have hated to be at the beck and call of my mum and dad at all times too. Mobiles back then, of course, were the size of a small, detached bungalow, needed their own satellite in tow at all times and were mostly only seen on Tomorrow's World.
But this week I got the phone bill.
It's a bill that includes my phone, the TeenTwins phones and now the Third Girl's. One of those bills that you can check usage and includes itemisation of calls and texts, it is a very informative bill. It was also twice as high as it usually is.
Once I had stopped spluttering and imbibed a medicinal bottle of gin, it became clear that the Third Girls reluctance to use her phone did not at all apply to when she was home. Making phone-calls? She LOVES doing that. And mostly to her best friend who lives a stone's throw away and she sees every single day all day too. Text messages? She must send them one letter at a time. *Sigh*
|Not my daughter, oh no.|
Frankly if it wasn't for having to pay the ridiculously enormous bill, I would have laughed. Really *grinds teeth*
Instead I've issued her with a piece of string and two plastic cups for intimate late night chats with the BFF in the next street, introduced her to Facebook messaging (What? shoot me) and insisted that she does start taking it to school if only so she gets used to the fact that she CAN carry it round without actually having to use it.
Oh and as for the hamster.... well, I couldn't possibly afford one of them now.
*congratulates self on keeping the house rodent-free for the foreseeable future*