I just bought Raines a flip-phone. Yup, you read that right: Flip. Phone. The cell phone that literally flips up, circa 2003. The one that is almost impossible to text on. The one with excitement levels on par with…a graphing calculator. Or maybe a Speak-n-Spell. This flip-phone idea came from Raines’ principal. Blame him, kid.

We’re trying to give R more freedom…while acknowledging that he is very much our son. Directions are not what we’d call, a family skill. But he’s in 6th grade now, and wants to be able to walk a few places by himself. He has an iPhone — actually, no — MIKE AND I have an old iPhone that occasionally Raines is allowed to use — but I’m hesitant to let him bring it out of the house. The temptation to constantly play on it would be too strong. We want him to be able to call and check in…but not get sucked into all of the apps and games. 

And I don’t want a phone to be a crutch in social situations. I personally think emotions like feeling lonely, or left out, or embarrassed are all great things for kids to experience and work through…and if, instead of dealing with those situations, they could just play games on their phone…IDK. 

My Mom had bought Raines and Pax one of those Verizon Gizmo watches for Christmas. It calls and texts a small list of people, and parents can track it from the app. At first, it was great — Pax, in fact, called both Grandmothers, um….eight times a  day?? “Nana! We’re just going into the store now. Mom needs avocados. I’ll call you when we we’re out again!” And then, predictably, six minutes later…”Hey Nana! We left the store! Talk to you later!”

OMG.

But my kids didn’t love wearing the Gizmo — it’s a HUGE watch —  and too many times the software would get into some sort of annoying loop, and start notifying Mike and I bogus notifications “Pax has left school.  Pax has left school. Pax has left school” 400 times a second. I could barely get into the app to shut the thing down. And the battery never lasted the entire school day.

My next logical step was to simply allow Raines to use our old iPhone. Could we strip all of the fun apps off? Raines was aghast. 

I happened to be chatting about this at school pick-up one day when R’s principal overheard. “C’mere” he said.  The kids were about to come out, so he steered me over to the 6-8th grade exit. “Now watch” he said. “The kids with smartphones all immediately get on their phones — and stay on them — but the kids who don’t have phones…watch what they do.”

I waited. And as the kids came out, I could see that he was right. The kids with iPhones came out of the building, heads down, already on their phones. They’d stand in a clump somewhere, not noticing anyone, not talking, just on their phones.  

The kids without phones? They jumped on each other and wrestled around and gave chase and pushed and flirted and shrieked…and that entire time, the phone kids just stood there, heads down, messing with their phone.

“Get him a flip-phone” Raines’ principal said. “He can still call you and check in, but it’s too boring for anything else.”  

Done. I know we’re still going to have to take on this iPhone issue eventually, but…NOT TODAY, SATAN.

Bueller?  All I want to wear right now is a slouchy, oversized thermal from Free People. Specifically this one or this one. But….they don’t look great with high-rise denim (just TRY tucking that much fabric in) so I’m left…confused. Any ideas on how to wear these with jeans that feels fresh and current? Anyone?  

Up to no good with Social Threads.  I’ve been working on a little Fall edit with these guys — coming out soon — but two of my very favorite pieces are already up on their site, if you want a sneak peek. These jeans I’ve been wearing the heck out of this week (with sandals and graphic tees), and this top is one of my verrrrry favorite things right now. I’ll throw some selfies up on Instagram (@themomedit).

Just two.  The Nordstrom Summer Sale is going strong…and these art-gallery heels look much more expensive than they are. Also, my faux-leather Theory dress (see it styled here), is 40% off. Makes for one hell of a LBD, and can easily be worn to work.

Nothing boring about brown.  On our team call the other day, we were talking about which color we thought was going to be THE big breakout color of Fall 2019. Our answer? Unanimously BROWN. Well, technically we were all over the place in terms of the range of brown (tan, camel, goldenrod, mahogany, terracotta, just to name a few) but we’re all just booming* for brown. Personally, I’m eyeing up these Madewell clogs (Linz has been wearing them — they have the softest leather, and are actually comfortable), this insanely cute brown sweater by Alexa Chung (LOVE the heart) or this Everlane link-stitch sweater that’s been calling my name. We’re going to be doing a little homage to brown this month, so stay tuned to see how the TME editors are wearing it.

(*thesaurus fail — that’s the best I got)

So many reasons to love Billie Eilish.  The German edition of Nylon mag featured an avatar of Billie Eilish on its latest cover. Not only was she not consulted, but the cover made her look both bald and naked. Her response? “You’re gonna make a picture of me shirtless?? that’s not real?? at 17?” Sing it, Sister. (Nylon removed it.) Full story here.  

“…but probably should have called the National Guard”  One of our IG readers, on calling for help from the fitting room during a bodyshaper try-on gone wrong. Girl, we get you. If you guys have any other dressing room horror stories, join in. My latest — the leggings that were like a frame for my, uh, you know is here.

Mildly annoyed, but supporting it anyway.  Do you guys have the book, Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls? I love everything about it…except for the title. The first time I read it to my boys (and you should, in fact, read it to boys), they were like, “WHY IS THIS ONLY FOR GIRLS?”  Fair point. It’s the kind of book that’s just as important to read to boys. I wish they had called it “Goodnight Stories ABOUT Rebel Girls”. But whatever. I moved on. Now, there’s a counterpart for boys with the exact same problem: “Stories For Boys Who Dare To Be Different“. This book celebrates “introverts and innovators, sensitivity and resilience, individuality and expression”…instead of slaying dragons. Down with toxic masculinity! I’m all for it. But why do we insist on defining such strict gender lines, even in the context of blurring them? Wouldn’t girls benefit from hearing how a different type of guy is celebrated? It drives me crazy. The content of these books are too good to pass up…but I think all kids (regardless of gender) would benefit from books that offer a counter to common stereotypes.  

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. 🙂

Happy weekend!

xo,

S

13 COMMENTS

  1. Do you read the goodnight stories to them? Or do they read them alone? Trying to decide what language to buy for my bilingual boys who read better in German for now.

  2. We have a copy of the better titled “Not One Damsel in Distress” with girl protagonists. There’s also a “Mightier than the Sword” with boy protagonists. All traditional fairy tales from around the world.

  3. Your principal is right! We got our oldest a flip-phone in 7th grade because he was taking the bus. We got him an iPhone at the beginning of 10th grade – he was the last one in his class, but we are so glad we waited, we’ll follow the same rules for our younger son. There was cyberbullying last year amongst fourth graders – my son knew nothing about it because he does not text!

  4. Brilliant! My daughter is now in 6th grade and has friends who have had smartphones for the last two years – yikes! I am saving my old iPhone 6 for her for next year when she moves on to junior high but are planning on “dumbing it down” and removing apps, games, social media, etc. so it is really just a phone that has a camera and she can text. I feel that’s the best compromise we can make right now. Stay strong, parents!

  5. This is such an interesting conversation. My son recently met a kid at camp – maybe 8? 9? who texted his mom on his watch when he started his bike ride home. I thought this would be a great start instead of a phone. But then, one of our favorite podcasts (Smash Boom Best!) played an ad by some company that basically GPS tagged your kid for you. My son said, “wouldn’t you love this, mom? You could know where I was all the time!” (He’s 7, so it wasn’t sarcasm.) And I realized I don’t WANT to know where he is all the time. And I want him to be comfortable with that idea.
    But I’m also intrigued by the notion of jump-starting the tech use in some way that makes a phone less of a novelty at 12; getting the idea seated in early years that a flip-phone/smart-watch is a tool rather than a toy. Your principal sounds very astute, but I wonder how observant most educators are in this arena, especially if they are young themselves.

  6. Yes to the flip phone! My child is in 6th grade too – haven’t gotten a phone for this child yet but probably will soon and it will definitely be a flip phone. Not opposed to a smart phone someday – probably in later high school and not without a phone contract between us so we’re on same page with expectations etc at the get go – but we want our child’s brain to develop a bit more first. Your principal is right in the observations noted – I see the exact same thing at our middle school. Not judging the kids or their parents, but it’s very interesting to see the behavioral patterns, quite a stark dichotomy.

  7. Mom of a 4th grade boy here. Thanks to you (and to others here!) who are resisting the smartphone insanity for our kids! And I’m digging the Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different…about to buy it right now for my son.

  8. 40 something parent here that has been teaching for almost 20 years. I’ve been watching the rapid decline of social skills. It is horrifying. Flip phone ALL THE WAY. Surprised by the comment above wondering if other educators are as astute as your principal. Trust me this is a big topic in education. I’ve yet to meet an educator promoting middle schoolers with smart phones. They cause more troubles than they solve.

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