Sunday, May 3, 2009

12 years

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.


  1. oh happy birthday, big E! for the next few months, your oldest and my youngest are the same age! you are SO right about monitoring the phone. i don't consider it spying, since i am completely above board about it. i also have the log-in info for moody teen's facebook page and i check it religiously! moody does a pretty good job of staying within appropriate limits, but some of his friends OBVIOUSLY have been given quite a bit of 'freedom'.

  2. Happy Birthday E! I wish now I would have done all of those things when w got the cell phone for The Boy. He is on it day and night!. We have taken it away form him but that only lasts so long.

    I know I spent my children's childhoods wishing they would grow up.. now that they are... I am sorry I got just what I wished for.

    So YAY! Good for you for enjoying them all the time

  3. Happy Happy Birthday E!!

    I'm printing out this post and tucking it away for when my boys hit that age. I can only imagine what type of technology will be available in 6 years. I wonder if I'll be able to block the chip in their heads?

    Did I mention Youngest just turned 3? Yeah. Glad to know I'm not alone in my thoughts.

  4. I couldn't wait for Zach to start driving last year. Then now he's had 3 speeding ticket and one ran a stop sign. Stressful. Don't know if he'll be driving come next month.
    I love your "contract" for a phone. Will be doing all those things with a phone for my daughter next year when she gets one. We wait til 12 or 7th grade.

    Happy Birthday E!

  5. Happy Birthday!

    What is kick the can in the dark? I'm intrigued...

    How about calling the 3rd year the "treacherous threes"???

    Great advice as far as the cell phone thing goes - mine are still too young for that, but I will certainly keep those things in mind! Sean, who's in 2nd grade told me recently a girl in his class has a cell phone & her Dad was texting her during class to say "I Love You", those AREN'T allowed to be on during school hours & he tells me it happens a lot. That Dad should know better. I don't see why a 7 year old would need a cell phone, but that's just me.

    :) Have a great day!

  6. Happy birthday to your E! In a few months, my oldest son will be 12, and I think we'll have to be resigning ourselves to the cell phone gift, with many of the same restrictions on it, too. He's wanted one forever, but based on his recent comments about getting a car and driving, he's already dreaming of bigger and better birthdays down the road!

  7. I would think the middle school years are the scariest. In sixth grade, most kids should not be around 8th graders - and they get bullied, etc. And in 8th grade, lots of different potential scares. Sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, even football. All scary.

  8. Happy Birthday to Big E! I, too, am looking forward to the day my oldest gets his driver's license. He rides his bike everywhere, but leaves his little sisters in the dust.

    Cell phones. Ahhhhhhhh. My kids have them and are pretty good in the sense that they only really use them when I ask them to call me or keep in touch with me.

    The text thing scares me. I'm glad there's a way not to send or receive photos, I'm going to look into that. Thanks for the info!

  9. That party sounds like tons of fun! And I love your yard!

    As for the cell phone--HOLY COW! Fantastic rules; I'm sure some kids would complain, but they all make sense to me!

  10. Happy Belated Birthday Big E! I agree about the terrible twos being a cakewalk compared to the 3's! Ugh!