Thursday, September 24, 2009

Toot My Own Horn

Not really my horn, but Sam's. Mah Boy.

Mark called me at work to tell me that the science teacher had called this morning. That had me worried a bit.
But Mark said that she simply wanted to tell us what a great student Sam is, that he's her best student (Mark's paraphrasing) and she really enjoys having him in her class. That he even helps his classmates in class. I reminded Mark that Sam's Civics teacher said the same things.

Night before last, Sam was at the sink doing dishes (I know, right?) while I sat at the computer looking up animal phyla and calling out the facts and characteristics to him. I was just as engrossed in it as he was, all nostalgic over my favorite phyla and names from biology: Platyhelminthes (so fun to say!) and Echinodermata and such.

We were especially interested in the Cnidaria because the name comes from the Greek word "Cnidos" which means stinging nettle. And we have lots of experiences with stinging nettles, so it was helpful to our remembering that they are all armed with stinging cells called nematocysts. E.g. jellyfishes, fire coral, and the like.

Mark walked into the kitchen to find us excitedly babbling on about flatworms and liver flukes. Good times.

The big debate lately has been whether to get Sam a cell phone or not. Keeping in mind that Sam was halfway nicknamed the Amishman last year for his lack of gadgetry, we are not known for having or providing the latest in technology.
Ya, there's a Wii (from grandma) and some Flip Cameras (from Santa) , but they're all extraneous non-necessities. Aggie wants an iPod, but she knows you don't just get an iPod for no reason just because you want one. You put it on your very selective Christmas list and put out hints for the 6 months prior to the holidays, and then you probably get it.

So a cellphone was not even a consideration until this year. And a very reluctant one at that. The problem arose with Cross Country, a lovable but scatter-brained Cross Country coach, and an unpredictable calendar of events on the school website. Sam would say things like "We might have a meet tomorrow, but I won't know until I get there." Huh? And "I don't know where we'll be or when we'll be back."

And there was also the fact that I had to repeatedly email and call to even find out what the hecks was going on in the beginning of the season. Here, turns out practice had started for a week or two and no word from the coach. I'm fairly convinced we never would have heard anything had I not made a pest of myself. But I digress.

Cellphone. Big major 3 week study of all the available options. I need to know where Mah Boy is. Not at all times, but pretty close. And I need it to not cost lots and lots of dollars. But it probably will and I've broken the seal on the Cell Phones For My Kids.
So I'm feeling a little defeated, a little like a sellout, and a little excited to text back and forth with Mah Boy.


OsageBluffquilter said...

Go to Wally's world and buy a to go phone, they are as low as $10, and you buy the minutes with a card. Cheap, and if he loses it, GOD FORBID, you're not out much money. That's what BT did. So far he hasn't lost it! LOL

Sara said...

How old is the mah boy?

I get the whole "I want to know where they are" argument. And I just finished a year and 9 month battle with a teen about this very subject. At age 14 she didn't need a cell phone. When she finally convinced someone to pay for it and got it behind my back, she was up all night texting her friends. So we adopted a "plug it in the kitchen on school nights" policy.

Every child is different and only you can gauge how your child will be with a cell phone. For some reason it has become an instrument of power and position among teens (that I've experienced). I don't like it one bit.

Sara said...

OBQ--I never even knew about how many phones there were like that! It was overwhelming. And by the time I did all the math and predictions and guesstimates I was suprised by how much they kind of all came out the same. I'm still just not sure what the right answer is!

Sara-Don't like it much either. sheesh. He's not even 13 til April. But. He's not much of a social butterfly, doesn't have a big stable of friends, not even a best friend that I know of...In a way, I'd almost like to see him use the phone more than expected. But mostly not.
Plus, it seems like our kids don't have the opportunities for independence that we once had not so long ago. Just the simple freedom of going to the mall with your friends without parents or talking a walk on the road by yourself, heck, Trick or Treating without parents. I think those things are valuable.
Maybe it's a trade off somehow, giving them the phone?
And one more thing to create rules for!

Analisa said...

I wonder if the first people to get regular phones inside their homes thought they were selling out to that new fangled contraption.LOL.

There is nothing wrong with your son having a cell phone. Do you have a computer that your kids are allowed to use? TV? Of course, I think we have this negative attitude about cell phones because they have become kind of annoying in some areas. But used properly they can be such a blessing. I was one of the last people I knew to have a cell phone and I don't have one right now.

My son's has one but it is currently out of minutes(I have other financial priorities).

Walmart has cheap phones. I would suggest a pay as you go phone. You didn't mention if you have a cell. You might be able to add your son to your plan if you do and get a cheap phone.

PS-texing ummm u might want to rethink that. It is normally much cheaper to talk than text.

Michele Renee said...

This will be the longest post ever but here goes.
We have 3 boys: 8th grade, 6th grade (both middle school) and a 3rd grader. I must also include a description of our phone land line. In 2005 and 2006 we gave up a landline. Then we realized the older two boys started to have friends call after we moved into a ‘hood with lots of boys within bike ride distance. So we got one phone via the computer (via Vonage) in the basement. That is where their friends call. Hubs and I never use it.
In middle school every friend got a cell phone except for our kid. I like that our kids have to use the other kids’ family’s landline to tell us where they are when they go from house to house on weekend.

Fast forward to this past April (end of 7th grade and nearing age 13). Hubs crushed his phone while bike riding so I went into AT&T to replace it and we discussed that I’d add on a 3rd phone for $9.99 to our bill and we’d call it “The Extra Phone”. See, with our landline located in the basement only and our cell phones in the kitchen at night (middle floor), we had no phone on the top floor in case of emergency. Also the independent bike rides/visits with friends have now moved for my two oldest sons to the baseball fields/skate park that’s near our home. So they will take the extra phone with them when they go to the park, but not to friends’ houses, nor to school, nor do their friends know the number. And it is plugged in every night in the hall by our bedrooms.

We are also the least gadgetry of anyone I know. The kids do not have email as they do not need the privacy. ALSO we told them if they ever need to make a private call (meaning to a female which hasn’t happened) they can ask and they can use The Extra Phone because guess what—the phone in basement is a speaker phone. They also are the only middle schoolers it seems who do not use Facebook/My Space.

Given the Cross Country/coach history I would be considering the same changes on the policy that you are.

And I got really tickled hearing about the sharing of the science knowledge for school. We do that lots and I love getting educated on their topics and sharing what I know—but it would never be on phyla—only social studies and language arts.

Kudos to Sam on his studies and the cross country. He sounds like a great kid!

Sara said...

I am seriously appreciating all this input! I should've started here first. Duh!

Analisa, you have an interesting and valid point. I guess in the wrong (or ornery or wild child) hands, anything can go bad. Doesn't mean the technology is bad. And conversely, responsible kids may handle things A OK.
We're big texters here, though. Not sure how I'd do without it now!

Michelle Renee, You've got a pretty good system there, it seems. (Your neighborhood sounds dreamy for boys. We're flyin' pretty solo out here!)
I'm with you on the lack of email and Facebook, etc. Thankfully, there just isn't much time for them to be online, the computer is in the kitchen in plain view, and they'd usually much rather be outside. (oh, how I cherish this time!)

I'm really loving all this input! It's fascinating to see what solutions everyone else has come up with. I don't always get meaningful useful parental info in the folks I deal with in person. You guys are awesome. :)

Michelle Johnson said...

Hello Sara~ We're still working out our rules for MyKiah's cell phone. Where she drives now I ask that she keeps enough minutes on her phone so we can call each other if need be (emergencies).

We got her cell phone at Wal- Mart and buy minutes as needed. I have one too from Wal- Mart. It has saved me a great deal of cash. Before I was paying a monthly bill for a different cell phone and I didn't even use it that much. It just made sense to get a different phone and pay for minutes when I needed them. Good luck on your new venture. Have a great night.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much to say about teens and cell phones, other than that by the time my girls get there I'm sure phones will be considered something everyone's supposed to have, like fresh underwear every morning and a good nutritious breakfast. Hecks, maybe they'll come inside cereal boxes.

And can I just say I *LOVED* the picture you painted of the two of you two all into your journey of discovery on phyla. So very cool.

Becky said...

You are living my future, so I have no help to give, except to say, Sam sounds like a great kid.

And all your other readers have some great advice on structuring the child-phone relationship. So go for it!

And Fraught is probably right, in about five years, they will come in breakfast cereal.

honeypiehorse said...

Ah, yes, we all get nostalgic about high school biology. I mean, who didn't love memorizing phyla? I think my kids will get pre-paid cellphones but no iPhone until they can pay for it themselves. But we'll see how that conversation goes when the time comes.

Camp Papa said...

Sam sounds like a great kid and great kids deserve some consideration. I'm glad I didn't have the cell phone dilemma to deal with with my own children, but your readers seem to have a good handle on it. That, plus your innate good judgment will see you through.