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Can Texting Be Far Behind?

I know Maddie’s learning lots of
things in her preschool, and frankly I’m grateful that
they’re doing the work that I probably should:
Madeleine’s come home with a prize she earned for knowing her
full address, her phone number – things I’d never
dreamed of drilling her on right now. I keep forgetting she’s
getting older and will need to start learning these things –
right now I still marvel at the fact that she can dress herself
every morning.

At any rate, they’ve clearly been covering how to use the
phone – which I admit, I should be teaching her. She’s
almost five, obviously capable of dialing 911 in an emergency,
should I ever bother to teach her how. I know I should be doing
this with her, but she’s such a worrier I’m afraid to
bring up the topic and watch her have nightmares for weeks about a
scenario in which Mommy’s so incapacitated that Maddie must
save them all by dialing for help.

But I digress.

Yesterday Maddie began pestering me to
allow her to use my camera. Maddie’s got a camera of her own
– it’s a real one, but a kid’s version, with
terrible photo quality and big pink buttons. Madeleine’s
enamored with the idea of using high-tech stuff, and I’ve
been allowing her to take photos with my camera under adult
supervision. So she used the camera a bit yesterday, and that
quickly lost its appeal. Then she spied the telephone.

“Mommy, don’t you think I’m old enough to use the
telephone now?” she asked.

Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought of it, but couldn’t
come up with a reason why she shouldn’t. “Um, ok, who
do you want to call?” Maddie listed one of her best friends,
and we sat together as she worked through the buttons and such.
Unfortunately, her friend wasn’t home, so Maddie begged to
try again – Daddy this time.

Daddy obligingly answered, and she chatted briefly, then hung up,
clearly delighted with herself. “Wasn’t I good at that,
Mommy? Don’t you think I can use the phone all the time
now?” Unable to picture a scenario where this would be really
bad, I said yes, she could use the phone with adult supervision.
Then the phone rang, and I went to answer.

“Um, Mommy, since I can use the phone, shouldn’t I
answer it now?” she asked. A quick lesson in phone etiquette,
and Maddie was pressing the “answer” button.
Fortunately for her (and me) it was her daddy, calling back just to
talk to her.

Listen, my kid lit up, walking in circles around the room as she
spoke – exactly the way her daddy paces when he’s on
the phone. She chatted excitedly about her day, gesturing
animatedly and smiling the whole time. When she finally hung up,
she looked ten years older and I saw a future with high phone bills
and a daughter locked in her room for hours at a time, jabbering
away to “just some guy” on her private line. Yikes.

On a side note, I am letting Maddie use the home phone now, but the
cell phone is still off-limits unless it’s on speaker phone
and it’s short. The common consensus with the cell-phone
radiation thing is to keep it out of a kid’s hands until
they’re 12. Yes, 12. I’ll put together a blog on that,
but had to add this caveat to my whole cute-kid-on-the-phone


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