Summer of Pretty Good

So far we’ve had a pretty quiet summer, not so much awesome as pretty good. I was sick for a bit in there, and there was some bad weather, and then our fridge died and I have spent several days now at home waiting for repairmen in an ongoing saga that continues to this day. Also, I bailed on a few things that turned out to be farther than I thought I could handle, namely Parc Omega, which it turns out is an hour and a half away, and it was just so much easier to go down the street to the park instead, you know?

So as a result we haven’t really been keeping pace with my Summer of Awesome list, and there’s been a little more screen time than there should be, but I can say this – we are having a pretty good time. Relaxing, the kind of summer days you dream of when you’re in school, days when you don’t have to get up at any particular time and don’t have to get dressed until lunch and, other than a crappy math worksheet your mom makes you do, don’t really have to think about anything. Good times.

Speaking of screens, we spent yesterday at CHEO (nothing to worry about, just some tests for the Captain for obscure things he is 99% unlikely to have, but our doctor is being very thorough). On the way there I noticed that unlike every other car ride we have taken so far this summer, which has resulted in so much bickering from the back seat that I am considering driving with earplugs in, that there was silence. There I was, actually focusing on the road for a change, humming along to the radio with no one begging me to either CHANGE IT or TURN IT UP, no one trying to explain to someone else at top volume that they are TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT THAT ONE SMALL THING AND A COMPLETE STUPIDHEAD. What up?

The secret, it turned out, was that everyone had brought along some sort of video/gaming device for use in the hospital waiting room, and I assumed they’d pack them away until we got there, but instead they had all whipped them out and were each playing some sort of Simpsons game individually and happily and most of all, SILENTLY. We are having a screen time struggle around here lately but my heavens, there is definitely something to be said for those new cars with built in WiFi. A genius idea – it’s like it’s almost a requirement for road safety.

And speaking of devices, we have two new ones in the house – the Captain replaced his ancient iPod with a tablet he bought himself, and then Gal Smiley ran right out and got herself one to match. She’s nearly 11, the same age the Captain was when he got his first iPod. I find that navigating the world of screens and technology and the internet to be one of my greatest fears as a parent, mostly because I have NO idea how to handle it and I’m just wading in and hoping for the best. So I like reading about when other parents got devices for their kids, and what the rules are.

So for the record, we seem to be doing a thing where our kids are allowed their own device just before turning 11; devices are only allowed in the common area, not in their rooms, and must be left downstairs to charge at nighttime; internet games are allowed (the Captain plays Clash of Clans and Boom Beach) with our direct involvement (Sir Monkeypants plays with him), but so far they don’t have any social media accounts. Previously when the Captain had an iPod he was tied into our common family Apple account, and he didn’t have the password, so he couldn’t buy or install anything without our approval. To give him more privacy – he likes to instant message his cousin in Toronto about Clash of Clans, and their conversations were also showing up on the family iPad – we just now gave him his own email and Apple account, with no money in it. We’ll see how that goes – we’re playing it by ear – but so far, so good. Advice welcome!

And now back to waiting for the fridge repair guy…getting the kids to take a screen break…and summoning up the courage to drive to Gatineau Park, which as it turns out, is over an hour away. Happy summer!

3 thoughts on “Summer of Pretty Good

  1. Nothing wrong with a summer of pretty good! And yes tweens/teens with devices and social media etc is just like stumbling around in the dark. Here the 9yo has an ipad because she won it. The 13yo has a tablet that she bought herself, an ipod she won and a cell phone we supply her with. Planning a post on all of that.

  2. It seems like 11 is around the age where kids start getting their own devices. My Pathfinders are 12-15, and they seem to get their first cell phone in first year. None of them are on social media (except Instagram) as far as I know, and they’re just starting to get their own email addresses.

    My niece shares her address with my sister, which makes sense but means I often don’t know who I’m talking to initially.

  3. We are having a pretty good summer too. It’s not awesome because instead of being a teacher who is off all summer, the kids have to go to work with me at my husband’s shop. But there is wi-fi and a blow-up mattress, so they’re basically doing what they would do at home, except when we make them go outside and play before it hits 95 degrees.

    I love hearing what other parents’ rules for things are too. Ours are almost exactly the same as yours, except my kiddos had their own iPod/tablet (that they bought) at age 9. C started 6th grade last year, so she got a phone. Same deal as you with the common areas, phone stays plugged up in living room overnight. Now that she’s 12 I let her have a Pinterest account and an Instagram, but lately she’s over Instagram. (She never wanted Facebook or Twitter; that’s so, like, OVER, Mom.) She has learned my Apple ID but still asks to download apps…what a great kiddo. Oh, and I know the password to her phone and check it every so often–and she knows that.

    L (9 years old) has the grand ambition in life to make videos of himself playing video games and putting them on his own YouTube channel, but he has accepted that this will not be happening ANY time soon.

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