OK…so Jack has organizational issues. And he only did his homework when Shani reminded him 10 times.
So entering 4th grade we said to him: “If you get straight As and do your homework without us bugging you all year, we will get you a cell phone.” We’re rewarding instead of punishing. Good parenting, right? Right? Save your judgments – you’ll have a lot more as you read on.
Well, as you can tell by the title, the boy nailed it. He did a terrific job all year and absolutely hit the mark. So as the end of the year came around, Shani and I started talking about actually getting this phone.
Originally, my plan was to get the cheapest, free-est phone that AT&T offers. But as luck would have it, Shani’s parents had upgraded to iPhone 4s and given our boys their iPhone 3s. So Shani and I said to each other: why not just activate Jack’s iPhone? We did our research and found that it was about $30 a month. The crapass phone was $15 a month – so we decided to go with the iPhone. It already had Jack’s music, games, all that stuff.
So this Sunday we head on over to the AT&T store feeling as pleased as punch. We work our way through activating Jack’s phone. And quickly we are falling into a quagmire.
“So what data plan do you want?” the lady asks and then rattles off the various options.
“Um…none,” I say. “Phone and texting. That’s it. Anything else he can do when he’s on our wireless.”
“It’s a smart phone. It has to have a data plan.”
CRAP! So then we go through the complex math for what’s the right data plan to get, but it’s priced like soda at a movie theater. It’s crazy NOT to get the biggest plan. So swearing under my breath we choose the data plan. The lady adds up what our new bill is going to come up to…
And it’s BIG.
“Wait a minute – that’s more than you just said.”
“Well, that’s the service, but there are fees and taxes…”
End result…we’re looking at $60 a month. SIXTY GODDAMN DOLLARS A MONTH FOR A 10-YEAR OLD TO HAVE A CELL PHONE.
Before you are a parent, there are all kinds of things you say you’ll never do. I’ll never throw my kids expensive birthday parties. I’ll never yell at my kids. I’ll never tell my kids they have to do something because I said so. Oh man, was I ever a good parent before I had kids.
Well, here I was eye to eye with one of those situations.
“We cannot spend sixty dollars a month for this,” I barked. “That is absurd.”
I pulled Jack over to the display of the free phones. The ones that are $15 a month. Jack frantically wriggled and literally ran away from the row of cheap phones like they were turds.
At this point, I can make a lot of excuses: we’d already promised him an iPhone, it’s good for his self-esteem to be ahead of his peers, it’s good for him to start learning to deal with technology. I can go on with the rationalization, but the fact is, we got the phone.
NOW…it’s time to judge us. Oh wait, two last things:
1) Jack and Shani’s phone are linked on the same apple ID. So all of Shani’s contacts are in Jack’s phone. Shani told Jack to delete all her contacts and just leave home, Shani and myself.
Jack got right to work and deleted all 214 contacts. Shortly thereafter, Shani checked her phone for something. She says to me:
“Texts from you are now saying they come from Demented Cow. What’s going on?”
The kids giggled madly. Jack had changed my contact name from “Mike” to “Demented Cow.” But then Shani realized what that meant.
“Wait! It changed on my phone too. The contacts are linked. That means…OH NO!”
All her contacts were erased.
2) I told Alex that he could use my phone and send Jack his first text. Here is the very first text he sent to his brother:
Alex then sent Jack about 50 more texts. Most of them that read like this:
And finally, Alex sent his honest feelings about Jack’s phone: