Sunday, December 18, 2016

Forgive me father for I have sinned... hahahahahahahah!

Let me just start by saying that most of the time I am a fairly good mother... for real. But today? I must admit that I tricked my own child because it was too easy and just too funny. So, yes, forgive me father because this incident happened on the ride home from church!

It can be challenging raising a child in an ever-consuming world of continuous electronic stimulation. With the availability iPhones, tablets, and dvd players right in the car, I can almost guarantee that having a conversation with my daughter will likely not happen. It is too tempting to have her face plastered to a screen where she can just engage in the life of someone else instead of her own.

This issue really bothers me and I try to dissuade too much electronic usage, especially during short trips in the car where my daughter and I have a moment to catch up. Some days I win the battle. Other days I lose.

This morning, before I could even shut the door and click my seat belt, the usual annoying question floated up from the third row seat. "Can I have your phone?" No please, no ma'am, no nothing.

"Why don't we talk instead?" I suggested. I had put the new Pentatonix Christmas CD in the car and heard the first funky melody of their version of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" playing through the speakers.

"I don't want to talk," she whined.

"Don't you like this new CD?" I asked. I could tell she was enjoying it when I looked in the rear view mirror and spotted her swaying in the back seat.

"Yeah, it's nice. Can I have your phone now?"

She had gotten to bed after eleven last night and was up at seven this morning to go to church. It was easier to give into her demands when she was tired but I was going to try one more time.

"What did you learn at children's church?"

"Nothing."

"You just sat there and did nothing for an hour?"

"No, we learned about the birth of Jesus. Can I have your phone now?"

Some days the struggle is not worth it. I begrudgingly handed her the phone and realized that I had forgotten to turn off the Bluetooth that automatically connected to my car's hands-free calling option. This is where the story gets funny.

The bellowing tones of Pentatonix are temporarily halted as Senia Mae hit the voice to text button on the Google app. After the initial Ding Dings ring through the dashboard I hear her say, "American girl doll videos" from two rows back.

The microphone is located somewhere close to the steering wheel and I am suddenly aware that it will not be able to pick up her voice from that distance. I can end her call and listen to my music with just the touch of my thumb. She'll never know it was me.

"Oh come all ye faithful, Oh come all ye faithful, Oh come all ye faithful to Bethlehem," booms out of the speakers once again. I am laughing but she doesn't notice because her face is buried in the screen. After another thirty seconds go by my music pauses and I hear the ding ding noise again.

"American girl doll videos," comes rambling from the back seat. I give it a little longer this time before I hit the end call button.

"Sing choirs of angels... sing in exultation," the female voice blares as the bass vocal hums. I am mouthing the words in the front seat while stifling my laughter. Senia Mae isn't aware that I am currently winning the battle. She thinks we are experiencing technical difficulties. I let this go on for one more round before I suggest that she type the words into the Google search field.

"Oh," she says and the phone disconnects the phone from the call.

Suddenly we are both getting what we want: me listening to my Christmas music and her watching other girls play with American Girl dolls. She won't know it was me cutting off her phone connection for a few more years at least. Is it wrong for me to want to be more interesting to my own daughter than a darn device?
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