Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

iPod Arguments

My kids bickered all weekend about electronics—specifically about whether Ty is worthy of receiving an iPod touch for his upcoming birthday in November (birthday wishes start early in our house). Yesterday, I was so fed up, I took him to a movie for some forced separation while Leah stayed home with Dad. How did we get here, I asked myself?

A couple years ago, we—I, rather—promised Ty an iPod for his eleventh birthday, back in the day before we knew what iPod touches were (had they even been invented yet?). We had given Leah a nano for her eleventh birthday and it only seemed fair to give Ty the same.

But now that Leah owns a touch—a refurbished first generation gadget that she bought off the Internet with her own money—and Ty’s friends own touches and play games incessantly, Ty has decided the lowly nano is not worth his time. He’s told us straight out if we give him one, he will return it and contribute his own money to upgrade to a touch.

This weekend, while Leah was upgrading her cell phone (on her own dime), she mooned over the latest touches at Best Buy. Then she came up with the bright idea that she would deed her touch, which works just fine, to Ty and we would give her a new, fourth generation touch for Christmas, because she is older and more responsible and more deserving.

Ty was open to the idea at first when Leah proposed it on Saturday, much to her acquisitive delight, but by the next day, he’d realized she was using him to get herself a new touch, while he, whose birthday is looming, would wind up with a second-hand, old touch that doesn’t have the speakers Leah so badly wants. And now so does he.

They argued. Even as we explained that no one was guaranteed a touch.

As the parent of a teen and tween, I yearn for the electronic world to slow down. The ever-evolving smartEverythings drive me bonkers because they’ve got my kids in perpetual I-need mode. Never mind that their parents are frugal beyond reason, modeling living within one’s means every day (are we setting them up to rebel by going into credit card debt by age 20, I wonder?).

Case in point: I am still using the same cell phone I bought three years ago, to Leah’s horrified amazement, because, guess what?, it still works and why should I upgrade just to upgrade, even if it’s for free? Honestly, how many discarded cell phones does the world need, and who cares whether you can go online while out on a run? (I have this feeling I’m in a minority of about ten.)

In the midst of our culture’s (at least on the West coast) eco/recycle/buy local/eat local/eat at home/staycation kind of sensibilities, our electronics industry is operating on a different model, and it has created a frenzy with our kids. All that money saved on hotels? Gone, I suspect, on games and gadgets. (If I read “there’s an app for that” one more time…)

This NYT article, “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online,” paints a dismal picture of the invisible time spent on electronics, mostly online, and the difficulty regulating it as kids get older and more independent. It doesn’t address the wish-frenzy syndrome, but certainly that is part of the picture, as most parents of older kids have experienced. But perhaps most pertinent, the article shows me our wired future. I can’t get my head around it.

We don’t know how the birthday iPod is going to resolve itself yet, but we’ve declared a moratorium on the topic. And I’m trying not to feel like a 20th-century Luddite when I tell Ty to close out of Green Day’s You Tube videos and put on a, gasp!, CD of theirs instead.

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Toys for Christmas

Have you been into Yeagers’ toy department lately? The place is awash in new toys that look remarkably like the toys one could find at Fountain Galleria.

Here’s why: some of the toy staff at Fountain have gone to work Yeagers and are giving the basement toy area a facelift. While visiting yesterday, I overheard one of the staff say that four of the Fountain staff had come on board at Yeagers. I found many of the same things that Fountain carried–music boxes, Klutz kits, marble runs, Brio trains, science kits…the list goes on. But you can still find the old Yeagers’ standards too: baseball mitts, four-square balls, badminton nets, games, puzzles, and all that Playmobil Yeagers specializes in.

It’s still not quite as packed with little surprises as Fountain was–maybe it’s headed that way, I don’t know–but you can wile away a lot of time here, just like you could at Fountain. One of the best parts? They now offer complimentary gift wrapping, just like Fountain did. 

Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

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