Friday, January 29, 2016

He Texts, She Texts

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

Recently, I bought my son a cell phone so that I could communicate with him.

Ha ha ha! I know. I crack myself up sometimes.

I can all hear you parents laughing along with me, because as many of you know, giving your son a cell phone practically guarantees that you will hear from him even less than before, and possibly never again. Oh, sure, your son's friends will hear from him, but the only time your boy will actually communicate with you is to walk into the room and let you know he's lost or broken his cell phone.

His $400 cell phone.

Still, it was his 13th birthday, and as he grows older and participates in more sports, it's become ever harder to get messages to and from him at various practices and games. I figured he should have a phone of his own so I could get a hold of him.

Like I said, I crack myself up sometimes.

Take, for instance, this series of recent texts, each sent several hours apart, in which I ask him whether he had his basketball warm-up jersey for that evening's game.

It looks like I was talking to myself up there. That's because I was talking to myself up there. Yes, those of you familiar with the sweaty adolescent male of the species can predict when I got a response from him, which was namely, never. You are no doubt on the edge of your seat, wondering if the Hobo had his shirt, and the answer is yes, which I finally discovered when I saw him wearing it during the pre-game warm-up.

Later that evening on the car ride home, I asked him why he didn't respond to my texts earlier that day.

"We're not supposed to have our phones out during school," he said.

"I understand that," I replied, "but I sent two of those after school. Anyway, why aren't you checking your phone before the game? The whole point of you having a phone is so I can tell you important things before practices and games and stuff. Why don't you text me back? Can't you at least give me a 'K'?"

"I don't like to write 'K' - that's just rude," he said. "Anyway my battery was dead."

I looked at him in the passenger seat, where he was -- you guessed it -- texting his friends on his phone. With a battery that was clearly not dead.

Choosing to pick my battles, I continued driving home and thought about the verbal differences between males and females. I know exactly where my son gets his (lack of) communication skills - his dad. I could spend two hours composing the guy a 150 word text sharing emotions, recalling old memories, and detailing all the reasons I love him. His response?


That's just rude.

But getting back to my son's and daughter's texting habits. They are different. Very, very different.

Although there is an occasional non-response from the Princess, she generally replies to my texts. Several times. Several dozen times.

Sometimes I think she has psychic powers, because often I'm not even done typing my message to her before I see the ". . ." telling me she's responding. In fact, if you want to text my daughter, you better be sure that you're fully hydrated, your phone's 100 percent charged, and that you have a few hours -- perhaps an entire evening -- to converse. Because that girl will write you back.

All night long.

Yes, males and females have different communications styles. Consider the following examples of boy vs. girl responses.



You know, studies show that females communicate more often than males. Girls' verbal skills develop at a young age, they speak their first words earlier than boys . . .

. . . and have larger vocabularies and use a wider variety of sentences and . . .

. . . these same experts say that females use 13,000 more words a day than males. I think all 13,000 of those are texted by my daughter -- to me.

Hey, would you look at that. I think my battery is dead.

Ha ha ha! I crack myself up sometimes.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Old Fart's Guide to Parenting: Now vs. Then

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

The other day, as the kids tapped away on iPhones worth more than six months' rent on my first apartment, I marveled again at how much things have changed in the past 40 years. I'd been busy with my usual lunchtime routine of cooking two different meals for two different kids -- a.k.a. Picky and Pickier -- all the while tripping over them and kind of wishing they would go outside.

So I said, "Why don't you two go outside?"

They glanced up in horror from their screens.

"Mom, come on!" said the Princess (a.k.a. Picky).

The Hobo (a.k.a. Pickier) opened his mouth in disbelief. "It's only, like, 30 degrees out there!"

And before I could protest, both kids hunched back over their phones and returned to the important Instagram business at hand.

Feeling very old and tragic, I continued preparing their lunches -- plural -- and had several Get Off My Lawn epiphanies about life in the 70s compared to life  in 2016, so I grabbed a pen and jotted them all down. Read on for your handy Old Fart Guide to Parenting, Now vs. Then:

"Would you prefer pasta or chicken? You'd rather have steak? Of course, honey - whatever you want!"

"Oh, so you're tired of fish sticks. Is that right? Guess what - here's seven more. Don't leave the table till they're gone."

"Are you warm enough, honey? It's so cold outside! Let me bring you a blanket and some hot chocolate so you don't have to pause your video game."

"Aw, baloney. Nineteen degrees isn't that bad. Bundle up and go outside! I'm locking the door  till the street lights come on."

"We have $800 for your school clothes shopping  today! Let's see. We'll go to  Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie . . . crap, that won't be enough, will it? I'll grab another hundred."

"What do you mean your jeans don't fit? I just bought them two years ago! Alright, alright. Here's five bucks. Ride your bike down to Kmart, put some pants in layaway, and we'll pay them off by the time school starts. Maybe."

"Hop in, sweetie, and buckle up. You're such a big fifth grader! Only two more years and you'll be out of that booster seat."

"Get in the car. No, not the back seat - Grandma and Grandpa are sitting there. Sit in the way-back, and quit complaining. Seat belts? Hmm . . .there's some chains on the floor, I think. Strap yourself to the spare tire."

"Now, if you keep talking to Mommy that way, she's going to take away some of your XBox time . . ."

"Who do you think you are, telling me how to drive? There's 18 feet of road -- I use all 18 feet. You open your mouth again, and I'll kick your ass from here to the end of the highway!"

"Come over here, baby, and let Mom help you with your sunscreen. SPF 50 won't be strong enough for a bright day like this! We'll reapply in 40 minutes, and take a break from 10-2 when the sun's the hottest.

"What are you doing back in the house? What's that? You have a sunburn? Well, there's some baby oil in the bathroom. Rub it in, suck it up and go. I'm locking this door till the street lights come on."

"Whoo - is it hot outside! Let's hurry into the store, sweetie, before we dehydrate!"

"I have to run in for a few things, so stay in the car and keep the windows rolled up and the door locked. If it gets too hot, start the engine and turn on the A/C. Don't look at me like that. You're old enough to drive. In eight more years."

As you can see by my Handy Old Fart Guide to Parenting, things are indeed very different these days. I'll think I'll start showing this to my kids whenever they complain, and if they don't like it, you know what? I have no problem locking the door till the street lights come on.

Now get off my lawn.