The Latest Salvo in the Phone Wars

I’m not saying our daughter intentionally put one over on her mother and me, but here’s the upshot – she’s got a new cell phone.

And it’s not just a run-of-the-mill cell phone, either. She’s sporting an iPhone.

Granted it’s not the latest model, but it’s still a nice piece of hardware to hand over to a kid who is just turning 13 this summer.

If you said she got her way (and then some), you’d be right. However, it’s not like we just rolled over and gave into her wishes – at least, not right away. She had to wait until her parents were darn good and ready to replace her old one.

This episode of the phone wars at our house actually started several years ago, when my wife and I decided to get our daughter’s big brother a cell phone.

That was our first mistake.

Our son was 12 when we presented him with one on his birthday. It was my idea and I even patted myself on the back when he unwrapped it. His eyes widened and he broke into an even wider grin.

At the time, I viewed it as a win-win. He got a phone he could show off to his then middle-school friends and his mother and I had peace of mind that, as he spread his wings, we could keep tabs on him. And, from a purely practical perspective, it’s much easier to simply text him when it’s time for dinner rather than bellow at him from the top of the basement steps.

My satisfaction in a present well-given didn’t last long, though. When I looked over at our then 8-year-old daughter, she didn’t need to say a word. Her eyes had narrowed to slits. Although she clearly coveted her brother’s phone, we made her wait until she was on the cusp of middle school.

Unlike her brother, our daughter got her first phone when she turned 11 and was going into sixth grade. But while she was overjoyed to have one, it never really worked as well as she hoped. A few months ago, she began bugging me for a new one.

I kept telling her she’d just have to do what the rest of us do – suffer until she qualified for an upgrade.

It didn’t work out that way.

After spending the night at a friend’s house a couple of months ago, she came home without it.

Again, I’m not saying she intentionally misplaced her old phone in order to get a new one, but she sure didn’t seem too freaked out about losing it, either.

My wife did that for her. She insisted that she go back to her friend’s house to look for it. When it didn’t turn up there, the two of them turned our house upside down.

They didn’t find it.

After a month or so with no phone, my wife and I finally figured she had learned a lesson about keeping track of things and ordered her a new one. That’s when Murphy’s Law kicked in.

A few days after the new phone arrived, my wife came across the old one while cleaning out her car. It apparently fell out of our daughter’s overnight bag and slid into the crease of the passenger seat where, despite our daughter’s assurances that she had searched there, it remained undiscovered for weeks.

The takeaway from all this?

Murphy’s Law is alive and well at our house.

And, while our daughter may not have lost her phone on purpose, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her parents’ number.


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