Sunday, September 26, 2010

Parenting by text.....

Some will say that technology makes our life better. Some will say it makes it worse. I think it all depends on how you look at it. For example, I spend a lot less time screaming for my kids now that I can text them. The texts go something like this: Me: 'mere. Child: Why? Me: Don't argue with me. Just come. Child: K. Then, the child arrives in front of  me and we have a conversation in a normal tone of voice instead of how it used to be, like this: Me: (insert child's name screamed at top volume, with syllables enunciated to distinguish between children - a curse of giving children names starting with the same first letter). Child: What? Me: Come here! Child: Who's here? Me: NO! COME HERE! Child: Let the dog out? See what I mean?

I enjoy parenting by text. I've had arguments, deep discussions, funny conversations and nice chats with my kids over text. Not that it's a substitution for face to face conversation. We have plenty of those, too. And they are punctuated by laughter, sometimes a little yelling, sometimes a lot of yelling, but mostly just good dialogue. Now, I'm not a fan of texting the person next to you (although I've done it) or texting at the dinner table (strictly off limits). My husband hates it when I text during a dinner out or at a school event (but sometimes I'm just checking up on the kids, really, I'm not on Facebook. Not always!). But I do enjoy texting instead of yelling. And I enjoy how I can keep tabs on the kids and not even be in the same room. For instance, I might hear a lot of yelling and raucous behavior, perhaps punctuated by a loud crash. And instead of rushing to see what happened, I might wait a minute then send a benign text: Save the pieces!

When my daughter is out late at night, and especially on nights she's with her father (who goes to bed before all the children!), I can have her text me when she's home, safe, without having to stay up and wait. I can get some sleep instead of trying to hold my eyes open over a book that keeps falling into my face, waking to that tell-tale chime of the text message. And, even though it's naughty and against the rules, I love it when I get a text during the school day saying I just got an A on my precalc test! I don't so much love the ones that say Mommy, I don't feel good or I forgot my lunch. But, still, it's nice to know I have this small link to my kids during the day, and that, when I once again forget to tell them I made an ortho appointment for right after school I can text them the good news and avoid a crisis (most of the time!).

Mostly, I love being able to parent from afar. When my kids are at their dad's, or on a vacation, and I can't be with them every day, I can still text and keep in touch. On my last trip to San Francisco, when I was exploring the city on my own, I took time throughout the day to text the kids pictures of my adventures and the sights. It was fun "sharing" it with them, especially since I didn't have anyone right beside me to share it with.

Still, there's no substitute for sending out a mass text to all the kids saying HOMEWORK, NOW! or Am I the only one who hears the dog barking? or even the occasional missive written in my kids' second language (text)........I LOVE YOU!

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