Today is my oldest son's birthday. Big E will turn 12 at 9:02pm. We had a video camera in the room that day and we used it to "video tape" the Derby onto our birth video that afternoon. Derby Day has a special meaning for us, even though we aren't derby fans.
We celebrated on Saturday night with a sleepover that involved playing Ultimate frisbee at the clubhouse field, pizza, Oreo ice cream cake, kick the can in the dark and, of course, staying up late! It was the typical "no sleep" sleepover.
I am not one of those moms that gets sad at seeing my kids get older. Having three kids, I have experienced many stages. I am often asked, "What is your favorite stage?" and my answer is always the same, "Whatever stage they are in now." (I do have to mention though, I was NOT a big fan of 3. I don't know whoever coined the term "terrible twos" but I think I could have named year three as "homicidal threes" because I thought I was going to go postal, all three times!) I love seeing my kids grow up and become little people and now, for one of them, almost a teenager. I may change my tune when they start moving out, but for now, I think I am the only mom I have ever heard say "I can't wait until my kids can drive so I don't have to do the taxi shuffle." Not that I don't like doing the taxi shuffle. Like their stages, though, I pretty much enjoy the stage I am in with them (give or take a few things, of course. Hell, I don't think any stage is PERFECT!), and I think the "Yay, you can drive yourself to baseball practice!" stage sounds pretty damn exciting for all involved!
Big E is a good kid. He gets good grades, he chooses good friends and he has the potential to be a great litigation attorney. This kid can argue any side of anything, even if he doesn't agree with it himself. I am NOT sure where he gets THAT. Ahem. But I digress.
Because of his good behavior and ability to prove himself responsible for his age, we (well, really me, I think MG would have preferred to wait a couple of more years) got him a cell phone. There are lots of rules to the phone, many we can control via parental controls. No sending or receiving photos. Yep, there's a block for that (thanks, Mrs. 4444 for alerting me to that!). No sending or receiving calls or texts after a certain time of day or during the school day. Yep, there's a block for that. We will use that block, but more importantly, I will require he deposit the phone downstairs on the table before he goes to bed. No accessing the web on the phone. Yep, you got it, a block for that, too.
The clincher is that MG or I will be reading his text messages on a regular basis. A little too big brother, you say? I think so, too. But I recently read an editorial by a dad who does this every day. He quickly discovered that while his 14 yr. old daughter was responsible about the e-mails she sent, she had no control over the ones she received. And she was receiving some doosies (sp?); requests for nude photos and other inappropriate interactions. Even though she responded "no" or tried to ignore them, the boys would often keep asking, I assume hoping to wear her down. When the dad got to those text messages, he would respond to them with "This is Suzie's dad. If you text her again, I will alert your parents and the authorities. You are breaking the law." That would put an end to it. We will be doing the same thing, so maybe he will give his friends a heads up. We are also going to write up all of this as a "contract" for having the privilege of a phone and having Big E sign it so he understands the rules and has them in black and white.
So while I enjoy watching them grow up, I also know the necessity of implementing safety features to keep them safe and secure during that process!
Happy Birthday, Big E!
Here is Big E with his new phone and a football jersey trading card he wanted. CJ hopped in and stuck out his tongue!
Here some of the boys playing Ultimate yesterday.
Here are three of the boys that stayed all night. Two others had already left for church.