Tuesday, May 29, 2012
From Tooth Fairy to Smart Phone
When my oldest child lost her first tooth, the family was excited for the fairy's inaugural visit to our home. While my daughter slept, I carefully considered what I thought was an appropriate amount for the tooth fairy to bring in the year 2010. If I got a quarter per tooth back in the early 80s, wasn't a dollar bill plenty? Yes, at an increase of 400% in 30 years, a single was certainly very generous of the tooth fairy.
When my daughter awoke the next morning, she found a crumpled dollar bill under her pillow. But there were no cries of joy. Just crying. Astounded, I quickly rushed to her side. What's wrong? I asked. She responded that the tooth fairy must not like her as much as Sally (real name withheld).
You see, Sally told my daughter that she got a twenty dollar bill for her first tooth.
And not only that, but Johnny says he routinely gets twenty dollars for each of his teeth. And Susie even claims she once got a cool fifty dollars for her left incisor.
Now, it could be that the first graders were telling fibs, and one fib compelled the other kids to join in. But our school district does include very privileged neighborhoods, and it's possible that Sally, Johnny and Susie were telling the truth.
I did my best to explain to my daughter that the tooth fairly loves her, too, and that perhaps the other kids were exaggerating. But her visions of big bucks were dashed, and she went to school sniffling. By the way, her younger sister was crying, too, because she didn't get any money at all. It was a memorable morning and I became cynical of the whole tooth fairy ruse.
If we continue to live in this school district, we'll no doubt have bigger material problems as our kids get older. Our family is on a budget, and our kids will never be the talk of the school for their expensive clothes, big birthday bashes, or new sports car.
From Tooth Fairy to Smart Phone
As I was writing yesterday's post about phone apps that teens use to keep secrets from parents, my husband inquired about the topic du jour. He's one of the most level-headed, practical, Mars-oriented men on Earth, and his reaction was typically straightforward: Kids don't need the latest and greatest smart phones. "Just get them a phone without the ability to download apps. And don't have a text plan," he said. "The kid may be chastised for it, but it would keep him out of trouble."
This angle hadn't occurred to me, and it wasn't expressed in the cited article, either. If a parent is truly concerned about risky behavior, sharing private information, or sexting with cell phones, there are additional options beyond trying to catch them in the act. One viable option is to not provide a teenager with a cell phone that has all the bells and whistles imaginable.
Of course, cell phone technology changes at a rapid pace, and in just a few years today's smart phone could be considered a dinosaur. It may become very hard to find a phone with just the basics - the Yugo of the cell phone world. But jokes aside, whether its money from the tooth fairy or the latest smart phone, keeping up with the Joneses - or Sally, Johnny or Susie - may not always in the best interest of the child.
At least I keep telling myself that.