For the whole summer.
For destruction of federal property...he blew up a mailbox.
He was so cool.
I often think of how he told me he spent that summer talking on the phone and playing volleyball (by himself) up against the shed in his backyard.
He was bored, but he worked it out.
He didn't have a fancy smart phone to access unlimited You Tube clips and games and social media.
This was the early nineties, I don't even know what we were all doing. I didn't even have cable TV going up so I don't think TV watching was a big pastime.
I swear I have a point.
On Sunday Aiden had his iPad privileges revoked for a week for lying.
Lying is pretty high on our "never do" list. I
t's listed third on the Dadidakis Family Code, but it's punished like it's first.
Code you say?
Yes, we have a code.
The top reads "in progress," but it's pretty much finished.
No one around here has taken the time to retype it though and place things in the appropriate order, like moving God to the top, because we operate in a certain amount of chaos at all times.
No offense God, we're confident you understand.
Taking away iPad privileges is pretty much the worst thing you can do to Aiden. He would rather be isolated from friends, locked in his room, or miss any big event than to not get to play Clash of Clans and check his Instagram feed for seven days.
This bothers me.
This bothers me a lot.
In his defense, sort of, I feel in a constant state of panic when my kids are on their iPads so I limit their time anyway. Being allowed to play on an iPad around here is usually a daily thing, but only after everything else is done, a timer has been set for thirty minutes, and I can't find a way to bribe them in to doing anything else.
We are a little more loose on the weekends or during a lengthy road trip or appointment wait or when I am ill...because my comfort actual does trump the preservation of my children's minds.
Comfort is my idol.
So perhaps I/we have perpetuated the scarcity mentality my boys have for iPad time and have created their panic to be able to get on it.
You can't convince me that they should play it whenever they like though, I tried that last summer and I had pasty white boys that couldn't stop looking at the screen of their iPads long enough to speak to me, go out with a friend, or swim in our pool.
Needless to say, Aiden is a bit down these last few days.
In addition to his loss of iPad, he has started a losing campaign for his own phone.
To be clear, I would be all for giving him a phone to talk to people and make emergency phone calls.
He's not interested in a phone though, he's interested in a smart phone.
Most of his arguments revolve around the fact that "all his friends have them," which isn't true anyway and is totally irrelevant.
My stance is firm.
Aiden usually ends up teary and convinced he has the worst parents ever at the end of one of our discussions about a phone.
(Nothing could scream JOB WELL DONE LESLIE! more than my kid thinking I'm the worst.)
(That's a sincere statement, no sarcasm. If I am pleasing my kids all the time, I am failing and I am convinced that they will turn in to an ungrateful, lazy, entitled bunch that I will end up supporting for years post university...no thank you.)
Aiden typed up this adorable plea sheet for me a few days ago though.
I commended him for his effort, but quickly told him there is nothing he could do that would change my mind.
This led to more tears.
(I quickly pointed out to him that crying when told no only exemplifies my point of not being mature enough to handle a smart phone. Pointing this out did not help.)
He hated me, his life, his shared bedroom, Max's shouting, Stella's joy, the list could never end.
Tuesday though, he found a baby turtle.
He brought it inside, put it in a bowl and created a little turtle world for it out of a surprisingly appropriate collection of items he found in Stella's room, and focused on the turtle.
This is the type of stuff I want them to do all the time.
(And to be honest, they do love doing these things, and often do them, but not when iPad time is an option.)
So after school yesterday he decided to try to build it a home outside.
Max and I helped because it's fun to hang out with happy Aiden.
I gave him lots of good advice of about how to build the turtle structure. Aiden complimented my new highlights while we worked and discussed how unfortunate it is for me that I don't have his natural highlights...he's literally one of my favorite people to be around.
Max ate dirt...which was also helpful.
I was so happy he was working on something rather than moping around the house about his horrible lot in life in landing me as a mom.
I had visions of him playing volleyball again our imaginary shed like Mike did and growing as a person because he had to entertain himself and make his own amusement. This turtle and the building of a habitat were going to help prove to Aiden that he didn't need any electronics to be ok for seven days.
He would probably even drop his plea for a phone.
He also would probably make a new list of all the reasons I am the best Mom ever and then write me a poem about how I helped form him in to a self-sufficient, hard-working man.
(This was really a long term vision. I assume the poem would be something he would read to me at high school graduation, of course.)
Unfortunately, I might not have given the greatest advice and the turtle escaped when Aiden came inside to play a game of chess.
The speed with which that turtle escaped was pathetically fast for the reputation turtles carry.
I assume an owl carried it away.
That might not make sense, but it makes me feel better.
This was a major fail on my part, though in my defense, I never claimed to have actual turtle habitat knowledge.
Aiden was devastated.
He reverted back to his task of moping about his lack of iPad time and his loathing of me.
Does anyone else struggle with their kids finding peace without an electronic?
Is anyone else panicked about making their kids OK without them?
Does anyone have a turtle we could borrow?
Or a volleyball and a shed?