Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phone foolishness

I guess we were about due for a meltdown. It had been awhile, we had all been getting along fairly well. Still when the tantrums come, they last much longer and involve more slamming doors than the ones of nine years ago when Earbaby was three.

This one started because when EB becomes fixated on something, she is like a dog with a bone. For instance, last fall she learned about a local dance school which has hip-hop, a genre she loves. They also have hip-hop dance groups that dance for local pro sports teams and compete nationally. EB fell in love with the idea of taking classes at this new school, believing her current hip-hop class isn't challenging enough. Unfortunately the classes for the school year had already started, so she would have to wait until this fall to take classes. She would have to audition for the dance group this summer.

Undeterred, she has gone online practically every day, learning the group's routines, looking for other hip-hop dance sites, and searching for music to use for her audition. In short, she has become obsessed with this group.

Her most recent obsession is a new phone. EB got her first phone three years ago and was grateful, although apparently not eternally. She was happy with the RAZR, a big step up from the children's Firefly phone with specified numbers I had initially thought to get her. The RAZR had been the phone when it first came out, but a couple of years of technology later, it was being given away free with a new contract.

Three years later, EB's phone is a dinosaur, crappy, laughable. She had been begging for a new phone, anything from a Droid, to something much better than I have. (She already had a better phone than mine, even with the RAZR until I was forced to upgrade.) We promised her the new phone as a reward for getting into one of the exam schools.

EB became fixated. We talked about going shopping for it Sunday after church and a drive-by peek at her new school. And she started talking about the phone first thing that morning. She and I sing in the church choir and between songs at choir rehearsal, she whispered about the phone. During meditation time at the service, she asked me if we could leave right afterward to get the phone. She helped me serve communion and as we stood waiting for the pastor to finish her blessings so she could receive communion from us, EB whispered about the type of phone she wanted. When she is obsessed, she has no perspective on inappropriate time and place. I had to keep reminding her of that.

When we came home, my husband, EB and I took off on our Sunday afternoon journey. We drove by the school she will be attending in the fall, took a drive to see the other one (she missed out on her first choice, the bigger school, but is more than happy with the one she is going to), then found our way to a nice restaurant for brunch. And EB kept asking about the phone. Unfortunately her dad had no interest in going phone shopping that day, he just "didn't feel like it." I thought I'd be able to change his mind, so when we stopped home briefly to get the grocery shopping list, I told EB to grab her old phone.

But her dad wouldn't budge. He wasn't in the mood that day. Of course EB pitched a fit. She cried and sobbed, moaned and wailed like someone just ran over her puppy. When it got beyond ridiculous, I told her to knock it off. I was appalled that she carried on because she couldn't get her way that day. And she didn't realize she was in danger of never getting the new phone. When we got home, the sobbing, wailing and bawling continued, punctuated by door slamming.

A couple of hours later, she had calmed herself down. She sat on the computer, looking at hip-hop videos (what else?), and then said to me, "Mom? I'm sorry." To which I answered, "I know." Then I explained I would try and get the phone she wanted online this week. I've already discussed this with my husband, so I'm not undermining him.

It's a phone. Was it worth the over-the-top meltdown because she couldn't get it that day? Of course not. All I know is when she gets this foolish phone, she'd better be grateful. And this time, eternally.

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