Everybody else’s parents making life challenging in our household
By: By David Critchlow Jr., Messenger Editor
Sharing your thoughts can definitely come back to bite you in the backside. After struggling for years to have a child, my wife gave birth to our first daughter 11 1/2 years ago. Six months passed and Mother’s Day arrived. Obviously, our six-month-old was not able to get her a gift. Her daddy could, but didn’t.
“I didn’t get you anything because you’re not my mother,” I stated matter-of-factly.
Ouch! That one hurt. Open mouth, insert both size 14 boots into mouth.
No sooner had the words passed through my lips did I realize the err of my comments.
She kept me, but I was officially put on notice.
Now, I try to listen and think — carefully and cautiously — before speaking. Key word “try.”
One recent episode involved a discussion between mother and daughters, ages 10 and 11.
The topics of interest: Earrings, cell phones and cars.
Obviously, some of the issues were more pressing.
While some children seem to be born with earrings, ours were told at an early age that 12 years old was when they would be allowed to get theirs. Over time, we’ve heard the girls’ claims, “But everybody else already has them.”
Now that we’re within a few months of our older daughter’s having her ear lobes impaled, we’ll only have another year’s worth of perceived unfairness aimed at our younger daughter.
Their conversation continued.
“Mom, when are we going to get a cell phone? Almost everybody already has them.”
“I’m not ‘everybody’s’ mother. Besides, you don’t need one — probably not until high school.”
“But what about next year, when I start babysitting?”
“I’m pretty sure the places where you’ll be babysitting will have phones.”
“Well, when did you get yours, Mom?”
“When I was in my early 30s. They didn’t have them when I was young.”
“Gosh, Mom, you’re old.”
“That may be true, but I’m still your mother. I’m not trying to be mean. I just think kids are growing up too fast these days. You’ve got the rest of your life to be grown up. Your time will come and, right now, I just don’t think you need your own cell phone.”
From my standpoint, I’ve heard the claims, “Well, in case of emergency. …” I have yet to witness that emergency, but I have seen cell phones used like walkie-talkies between children. While I’m keeping my opinion to myself, obviously, I certainly hope all that chatting and texting kids do across the room from each other doesn’t drain those batteries, thereby making those “emergency” cell phones useless. They may need emergency backup cell phones just in case the primary cell phone stops functioning.
I continued to listen.
“So what about a car when I get older?”
“You can have a new car when you get out of college — if you don’t smoke.”
Good answer. I couldn’t have put it any better.
The question-and-answer session continued.
“Well, then can I have a puppy?”
It was my turn, so I chimed in. “Now that’s more like it,” I responded. “It’s too early for earrings, cell phones and cars, but puppies certainly make sense for preteen girls.
“But the answer is, no, you can’t have one. We already have two dogs. Does everybody else already have two dogs?”
David Critchlow Jr. may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.16.08