Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quick! Happy Birthday!

On Monday, August 25, Emma turned ten. It's not a vast age, but while I was all excited about a trip to Toys R Us, she looked at me with her (then) nine year old patience, and announced, "Mom, I want a new computer, not toys. It's not like I'm five."

Right. She's not five, but she is only ten, and already her friends have laptops, cell phones and separate phones to text. One of her closest friends has a Blackberry.
She's ten and a half. I can't imagine what she enters on it: "Suite Life of Zach and Cody Saturday morn" or maybe just the week's spelling words.

In fairness, these are the kids who grew up with the Internet. None of them can remember a time when there weren't computers in the house, or when pictures took up to a week to get back from the developers. A few parents we know assist their children with blogs (remember diaries?) Their homework is online, they take keyboarding in second grade, and they are computer savvy by about the third grade.
Each year, along with nutritional guidelines, bus rules and field trip permissions, the Internet safety code comes home. Emma learned how to use a mouse and how to click on icons in kindergarten. She has only seen her teachers take attendance on computers that are now built in to teachers' desks.

So she got her laptop. She didn't want a party, just a family trip. For Christmas, she wants a cell phone, but she does think her friend's Blackberry is silly.

I can't imagine her opening a copy of Little Women or Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights and understanding that time. I look at most tween books, and I wonder if she will understand how life used to so much less immediate, so much less global.

Today, I answered my own question. Since she can only go on the Internet with someone present in the room (someone = older than 13), I have been watching her navigation. So far she has watched:

-a man claiming he can count to infinity

- a fashion show for dogs

- kittens (and more kittens, and yet more kittens)

- several episodes of a show involving a castle,a princess, and a witch

- music videos of bands she likes

When I asked her this morning what she liked best about her birthday, she replied,
"Two things: the wipeout (which is a water park slide) and the cake."

I don't think kids change; just their toys do. When I asked her about the laptop, she replied, "Oh, that's really just for homework so I don't have to borrow one of the boys."


TerriRainer said...

SHE IS TOOOO CUTE! Hope she had a great birthday.

But just wait...boys are NEXT. My oldest started High School this fall...she's in 9th grade, but has Spanish class w/ Seniors, and Juniors, and Sophmores....SCARY!

The football players all surround her in class, like she is to be protected (she's in Pom) from the others in the class....but who is going to protect her from THEM?

Aye yi yi!

JUST WAIT...Tiffany's had the cell phone/pda and laptop for a few years now, and I thought that was bad....not so much now.

:) Terri

Anne Spollen said...

Remember that first line, "When you think about it, boys are like frogs"? -- Emma actually said that. So far, she can't stand boys and her Dad and I feel 37 is a reasonable age to begin dating.

Her fourth grade friend put numbers in my cell phone memory; I used to program my mom's VCR. It will probably always be like that.

Sorry, don't know what Pom is...

TerriRainer said...

Hmmmm, Pom Pon (yes, it's w/ an "N")? It's like the cheerleaders, only they have pom poms and dance, instead of throwing each other up in the air!

The High School here has BOTH.

Oh, and I wouldn't get too comfortable with the number 37!

:) Terri

Marcia said...

"Cell phones and separate phones to text"? Tell me they DON'T have 2 phones.

I wonder if she will understand how life used to so much less immediate

I love this observation. I seriously think "life being so immediate" has affected my writing, not for the good. It makes me live more on the surface, whereas a writer I need time and space to go deep.

It's with some relief that I read her favorite parts of her birthday were the waterslide and the cake. To me that does affirm that kids are still the same. And I think her opening remarks are typical, too. I remember being nine when my little sister was five. I practically considered myself an adult compared to her.

Anne Spollen said...

Ohh, gotcha, Terri. We had boosters and cheerleaders at my high school, so I remember that.

And, yes, Marcia, some of the kids have two devices with them at school. Usually, one is like a trac phone of some kind (the Juke is really popular with the younger kids), and the other is a "real" cell phone.

I keep wondering if they really want this stuff or if they just see older kids with it. And how much does our use of PDA's and cell phones influence them?