Gracie walked through the family room last night after I had put the girlies to bed and was trying to watch a little television before bed. Searching for that old, familiar routine. One of the characters was trying to reach his grandkids and kept getting a rather annoying tone beeping in his ear.
“Mom…that’s a busy signal,” Gracie informed me.
I was a bit proud because I’d had to explain the phenomenon of a busy signal to her just the week before the flu descended. You know – the day she came home fully formed pre-tween without any notice and spent the entire afternoon on the phone.
It was a Wednesday. Gracie told me that she had collected most of her friends’ phone numbers in her planners and that she was supposed to call some of them later. Apparently they had schemed over lunch. As if on cue, as soon as dinner was over, the phone rang. Our house phone never rings. Usually the only people we call on that are my fam back in New England. That phone? Is for long distance without the cell static and for emergencies that’s it. Oh, and now apparently it’s for Gracie. Because good gracious did that girl talk. She talked to Girl D. for about ten minutes and then called Boy D. and twittered on and on about what she and Girl D. had just talked about. Then she hung up and tried some other friend. But she wasn’t home. So then she tried Boy D. again. And that’s when it happened:
“Mom – the phone is making a weird noise.”
I smiled to myself and imitated a busy tone. “Yeah, that’s it!” she told me. “Does that mean it’s long distance?” So I explained the concept of the busy signal to my very spoiled daughter. Girl D. called in the middle of our chat, interrupting the generational-differences discussion.
You guys, I knew the day would come when Gracie would discover the phone. My best friend Julie and I started spending every afternoon on my phone (that was a rotary phone) when we were in third grade. So that didn’t seem out of the ordinary. (All the same, I picked up my cell and blah!ed over Gracie and her friends to Julie right then and there. It just seemed appropriate.) What was making me worry just a leeeetle bit was the fact that Gracie, Girl D. and Boy D. were talking about how Girl D. thought Boy D. was cute!!! I mean !!! Surely that doesn’t happen until at least sixth grade! The kids didn’t even know how phones worked! (Gracie at one point said she had to call Boy D. but he wasn’t answering. Only Girl D. had just called him and she was supposed to call too. I told her if you’re on the phone with one person, you can’t pick up another person too. “But how do we talk to Auntie Kim and Auntie Rhi at the same time?” she asked. Uh…because they live in the same house? “Oh yeah.” Sigh.)
Anyway, this calling back and forth thing happened for the rest of the night until Boy D. called for the umpteenth time right after 7 p.m. Since Gracie had been talking to them for over an hour, I felt okay telling her to explain to her friends that she couldn’t have any calls after 7:30 p.m. She was pretty good about it, too. I imagine skirting Mom’s rules doesn’t come until full-fledged tweendom. Definitely teenagerdom.
I just really, really thought I had more time.