Friday, September 18, 2009
Just Find a Place to Make Your Stand and Take it Easy
"Mom, would it be okay if I sent an e-mail?"
Really? At 9 years old, is e-mail necessary? I'm inclined to say no, but that's generally my first instinct in any given situation.
"Well, I have my own e-mail address but I never get to use it. Please?"
"Uh, no. I don't think you need to send e-mail."
So is this me being a bit old-fashioned or behind-the-times? I don't know. What I do know is that these kids need to come with an instruction manual and a clearly defined timeline for things like this. I also know that, last summer, I accidentally fried our old computer with a virus and I'm a little nervous about my son opening e-mails from unknown sources. And, most importantly, I'm well aware of all the creepy-pervies on the internet and how easily a 9 year old could end up communicating with one of them (which is why my computer is on the dining room table where I can see every. single. thing. the kids are doing).
We seem to be in a transitional time here with James. I feel a nearly imperceptible shifting. The kid who used to fall asleep easily by 8pm is now the kid who can't close his eyes before 9:30 on most nights. After school, while the 3 younger siblings are running around the school yard, James hangs out by my side....wanting to take part in the grownup conversations. As if he's becoming bored by the playground antics. He's also the first to ask if we can leave. He's pushing for a little more responsibility and freedom. I'm sitting here deciding how much to give.
Luckily, the important stuff is still the same. He's still kind, friendly, helpful, loving, hard-working, funny, and polite. He still asks if I need help making dinner. He still showers his sisters with hugs and kisses. He is still fiercely protective of his little brother.
So this e-mail question is very simple for James. "Can I or can't I?" For me, it's one more item in a laundry list of parental decisions. And I'm discovering that sometimes the simple questions are the hardest. "When is it okay to __________?" "When is he old enough to ____________?" Fill in the blank with whatever quandary came up this week. For right now, I think the e-mailing is unnecessary for him. He sees his friends during the day and if there's any homework questions, he can just call someone on the phone. I just don't see the purpose of it.
So what do you think? Am I being silly? Am I being the crotchety old "Back in MY day, we didn't have computers" lady?
Cuz, really? I'm not old enough to be crotchety.