We took Lulu’s phone off her last night. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last either, but it’s been the most dramatic so far.
Lulu has a new boyfriend. We noticed with the arrival of a boyfriend, Lulu’s phone ramps up. It goes up in a certain way – in an obsessive FOMO way. You can’t speak to her, she doesn’t hear you. In some ways I expected the development of a boyfriend might make her obsessive phone behaviour of the last three months slow down a bit. She has security after all. That’s the idea. With Lulu though, it seems to heighten her insecurity.
It had been my fault. We’d set a rule about duration of phone use that she wriggled her way out of by helping do the chores. I forgot about the phone limit. I am, after all, a premium sucker. When she got back on her phone, the difference in her was so palpable we felt we had to reverse the decision of giving her back her phone. Foolish perhaps but we don’t have a manual for it either. Jack wrestled it off her like they were in a western brawl. It was hard to see who’d win. Lulu started screaming and in the end, she took herself outside for a walk – probably the best thing she could do.
Lulu has this knack, call it a gift, where she goes from being hysterical to being very calm very quickly. Like nothing happened. She was in this zone when she got back an hour later. We didn’t punish her for it either. A kid has to feel she can leave so she’ll be happy to return. I saw it on a TED Talk once. There are only a few things I remember from TED Talks but that’s one of them. Thank you Esther Perel.
‘Lulu,’ I said, ‘I’m sorry you felt like you were missing out for a long time by not going to mainstream school. I’m sorry for this. But you aren’t missing out now honey, and you don’t have to push your experiences to try and maximise everything. You can take it easy and go with the flow.’
She shook her head. ‘Yeah, but I’ve realised I used to think I was so smart at InterHigh I could do anything. Going to school has made me realise that I can’t just do anything I want to do.’
Full disclosure – I was doing a word puzzle game app at the same time as talking to her. I find it very relaxing. ‘Ongoing!’ I yelled.
‘Are you listening to me?’
I looked up. ‘Sorry. You’re right. You can’t be anything you want to be. It’s true. You can’t be a pilot and a scientist and a rockstar at the same time. But you can have fun and enjoy yourself. I think that’s all the kids at school really want anyway. Sure, the studying is there but everyone wants to have fun first.’
I suddenly remembered my last blog. Going on Quest holds a heavy responsibility for me. I have this impossible feeling the girls shouldn’t be missing out on stuff that they have at home. This is, itself unreachable, unattainable because they’re not at home. You can’t be anything you want to be. You can try and have fun though. Aha.