My boys now have iPods. I held them off as long as I could. Then Grandma and Christmas coincided in a glorious gifting in December and our world was forever changed.
First problem: I had to create a fake identity for each child on each iPod so they could open an iTunes account. There are now two more Chapples born in 1974. Both of my children are about a month older than I am.
Next up, texting. I think this is adorable for the first 24 hours. I save every text. This is going in their baby books! That one too! And this one! OMG, an emoticon, they are brilliant, how did they figure that out! A smiley face! A heart!
Wait. A…smiling turd? I get 56 emoticons in less than a minute. In 56 separate texts. My phone goes crazy.
I am not smiley-facing anymore. I scream at the other room, “QUIT. TEXTING. ME.” (Three screams/SEND.)
Silence. My phone stops vibrating. A long silence.
“You’re mean,” comes the next text.
I switch to video mode. I am in my oldest bathrobe. My hair is half in a ponytail, mostly not. The backwards camera makes one eye look bigger than the other. The yellow of the kitchen is a nice contrast to the storm in my eyes.
I get it on the first take in my calmest voice, I don’t want them to ever forget: “I am always mean.”
It’s so good it scares me. It’s a masterpiece. SEND.
Ground rules, I need them. I ask (text) my friends. What are their rules? We are all on the edge of iPod puberty. No one knows the rules. We finally find one mother who has experience: No texts after 7:30 at night. No texts in the morning. No texts after school until homework is done. I set up the “Do Not Disturb” settings as she advised. Life is good.
The following day, prior to 7:30 p.m. and post-homework, I’m getting out of the shower. I hear a girl laughing in my house. I think it’s the TV.
“Turn that down!” I bellow (remember, mean).
When they don’t reply, I grab a towel and go on the hunt. “Are you deaf????”
Only to discover that Kendall is on FaceTime with a friend from his class. Forget Big Brother, I am felled by nothing more than the view from a tween girl’s iPod. I dive to the floor.
“Oh my God,” I hiss. “Can she see me?!”
I crawl by my elbows into the bedroom. I am in horrors. I dress, fix my hair like it’s a night on the town and approach my lovely son in my lovely home in a lovely manner.
“Excuse me, darling, could you possibly wrap things up so we may share this homemade meal as a perfect family?”
When he ignores me, I get on the other side of the iPod and start making threats, lots of hand movements, swats, countdowns, bone-breakings, you know the drill. Finally, he relents and hits END. I pounce on the iPod.
“Give me that. Did she hear me? Did she see me? What if her mother saw me? Her father? And this house, our house is a pit!”
He is unconcerned. He is 10; all he knows is that his mother is always mean but that her hair’s looking pretty good for a Wednesday afternoon.