This past Saturday, Zoey, Greg and I went to Greg’s sister’s house for dinner. Everything was fantastic–Zoey actually ate more than just one forkful of dinner for once (she ate a TON of spaghetti before I could even put the delicious shrimp sauce on it), we all watched that crazy double overtime football game on tv and Greg and I got to chat with his sister and brother-in-law for a while. For Zoey, the best part was that she got to hang out with her older cousin, Lisa. Here’s the thing: Lisa is sixteen and just loves Zoey. And Zoey idolizes her–she’s older, she’s got a fun bedroom (two words: bunk beds!) and, of course, there’s the iPhone. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
I remember when I was really young, we went to visit my Aunt Becky and her family. I was too young to remember much about the visit other than my cousins’ bedroom walls were covered in posters of Duran Duran and I got to sit on the top bunk of their bunk beds while my sisters and cousins hung out and listened to music. I remember I felt like one of the older kids and it was AWESOME. It’s definitely a fond memory and I’m so glad that Zoey gets to experience something very similar with her cousin.
So, Zoey and Lisa were hanging out in Lisa’s room and every once in a while, Zoey would bring something she found out from Lisa’s room and stand at the top of the stairs to show Greg and I. Once it was a pompom, another time it was a pillow that had lights in it. She somehow found three beaded necklaces and two beaded bracelets to put on and when I went upstairs to check on them after a while, Zoey had to show me how she easily climbed up the ladder to Lisa’s top bunk. She was having a complete blast.
And then there was the iPhone.
Being a sixteen year old, of course Lisa has a cell phone–and it’s a really nice one; much better than my el cheapo Walmart special Tracphone. And that’s probably why Zoey latched right onto that thing when Lisa let her play with it. It has a touchscreen, so you can move icons this way and that (which Zoey loved) and there’s so much you can do on it. It took Zoey absolutely no time to figure out what button to push to turn the phone on and how to slide her finger across a bar on the bottom to unlock it.
And the built-in camera.
Oh good Lord, Zoey was all about the camera–holding the phone up to line up shots, pushing the button to capture a picture and then saying, “I got it.” Granted, most of the shots were of people’s foreheads and her own striped socks, but she was having a ball. That is, until it became apparent that the phone needed to be charged and we had to take it away from Zoey so that Lisa could plug it in or dock it or whatever to charge it.
Zoey burst into tears. Now, to be fair, it was towards her bedtime and she’d had a very big day (going grocery shopping with my mom and I in the morning and then dinner at Kim’s house), so a lot of it might have been just her being overtired. But her little heart was broken that she wasn’t allowed to, you know, take Lisa’s iPhone home and call it her own.
We finally got her calmed down enough to bundle her into her jacket, wrestle her into her car seat and head home. While Greg drove, I sat in the backseat with her to hold her hand and cuddle. I asked her if she had had fun at Aunt Kim and Uncle Kevin’s house and she said yes. I added that maybe we could go back soon for another visit. She replied, “Yeah,” and then after a couple seconds, added, “And I play with Lisa’s phone.”
So when she woke up the next morning, she informed Greg and I that she wanted to go to Aunt Kim’s house. She was kind of adamant about it, to the point of telling us that she wanted to start getting ready to go–at seven-thirty in the morning. After her asking over and over again to go to Aunt Kim’s house, I finally asked her why she wanted to go there so badly.
“To play with phone,” she answered. Of course.
Last night, she was watching her favorite show of all time, The Fresh Beat Band, and all four of them had phones JUST LIKE LISA OMG! When the Fresh Beat Band all called each other on their color-cordinated phones, Zoey told me she wanted a phone like that! Like Lisa’s phone! Now! But she must have realized her pleas for me to go to the store and get her an expensive phone right that second were falling on deaf ears because she rushed out into the kitchen to steal my phone off the counter.
Here’s the thing: Zoey knows she isn’t allowed to play with my phone because, in the past, when I allowed her to play with it, she accidentally texted people and on one memorable occasion called emergency services (who probably still think I’m a bad mother for letting my kid play with my phone). My phone is a lot easier than Greg’s phone to unlock, so, naturally, Zoey likes mine better. And she likes the fact that mine has a touchscreen and a sliding keyboard. So, whenever she gets the chance, she’ll try to sneak it off the counter to play with it.
Greg caught her doing it last night. She had apparently grabbed it off the counter and was standing near the refrigerator all hunched over with her back to the room–clearly up to no good. When Greg called to me and I came out in the kitchen with my hands on my hips, Zoey screamed and took off out of the room WITH MY PHONE. She ran into the bathroom and attempted to stand her ground, but when I took the phone away from her and told her for the millionth time that she knows she’s not allowed to play with Mommy’s phone, she launched into a huge tantrum.
Typically, Zoey doesn’t throw tantrums. She might whine or pretend to cry if she isn’t getting her way, but the actual tantrum is pretty rare. Last night, it was a doozy. We’re talking laying on the floor, legs just a kicking away in the air. Screaming and crying.
We offered her Greg’s phone–a bar that is much harder to unlock and doesn’t have a touchscreen–but she wanted none of that. I offered to hold her until she calmed down, but that just made her even angrier. We tried to console her, but nothing was working. So, I told her when she was done, she could go back into the living room where I’d be and we’d watch TV together. And then I walked away.
I sat in the living room and worked on my crocheting while she slowly got up off the kitchen floor, came into the living room and started to resume her tantrum. I ignored her. After a few seconds, she threw herself on the chair next to the couch (where I was sitting) and tried one last effort at getting my attention. When it didn’t work, she dropped the tantrum and walked over to stand in front of me, a big frown on her lips.
I pulled her up on my lap. She laid her head against my chest and I wrapped my arms around her. We sat like that for quite a while in silence and then I said, “It’s tough being two and a half, huh?”
She was quiet for a few seconds and then she answered, “I want to play with Lisa’s phone.”
I give up.