Here’s what happened: Middle Dude cracked the glass on his iPhone. It was an accident, sort of. Let’s see, where do I begin?
Maybe with the fact that the friggin’ phone was a mere two months old. Or, maybe that I never, ever should have bought an iPhone for a 7th grader. I’m not even sure how I let that happen. His first cell phone was lost, after he let some “friends” screw around with it, with all of them denying they had it. My son was left with the battery and the back cover of the phone. The phone itself never materialized, even after my son tried to retrieve it from the “friend.” I did not replace that phone right away, but made him suffer phone-less for several months as a consequence of his carelessness.
When he was due for an upgrade, we went to the store and he begged for a smartphone. I was amazed at how limited the options were for plain old phones now. Verizon had maybe five models of regular phones on display and the rest of the store was filled with smartphones. In my warped mind, I decided that everyone has smartphones now, and if Middle Dude was going to get a smartphone, of course it would be an iPhone. We are Apple devotees – we’ve got everything from the iPad to the MacBook Pro to the big ol desktop, and the big daddy of them all – Apple TV. We are all Apple, all the time. Miraculously, my husband agreed to a smartphone, so that night we ordered the iPhone 4 online from Verizon because it was a mere $99 as the iPhone 5 was weeks away from being released. My son was bummed he was not going to be able to talk to Siri on his phone, or that he couldn’t brag to his friends that he had the new “5”, but still, he was pretty psyched to have his very own iPhone.
Meanwhile, Big Dude, 2 ½ years older than Middle Dude, still had his plain old Samsung phone, but that suited him just fine. He rarely sent texts or called people. His cell phone was usually stored in the bowels of his backpack. He could care less that his younger brother was getting a new iPhone. One time we bought Big Dude an iTouch as a present and he asked that we return it. No interest whatsoever. Plus, he had already lost his phone twice, so there was no way I was putting an iPhone in his forgetful hands.
Conversely, my twisted brain justified that this was the right decision for my 12-year old, who was mature and responsible and who constantly sent texts and used his phone to the full extent. I insanely convinced myself that Middle Dude NEEDED an iPhone if we were going the smartphone route. For the first two months, he took care of it pretty well. Occasionally, he’d forget where he placed it in the house or forgot to put it in his backpack before school, but for the most part, he was a good caretaker for his iPhone.
Until a few days ago.
I met him on the sidewalk walking home from school and he was tossing his phone in the air and catching it.
“Don’t do that, you could drop it,” I warned.
To prove me wrong, he tossed it higher…and caught it.
“Please stop that, it’s going to break,” I warned again as I raised my voice.
He tossed it waaayy higher, and you can guess what happened next. The phone slipped through his fingers and it crashed onto the sidewalk. When he picked it up, the screen was shattered. He was lucky we were in public, right outside a local store where all of his school buddies were buying snacks. Had we been at home, I can only imagine the string of obscenities and screaming that would have spewed from my mouth. Instead, I said in halting breaths, with the utmost control:
I. Cannot. Believe. You. Just. Did. That.
I repeated that phrase over and over, to keep my surging anger in check. The fact that he defied me was infuriating. He of course felt miserable about what he had done.
I know what you’re thinking. Phone insurance! Yes, of course we have insurance on the phones for our two accidental-prone dudes. While Big Dude’s cheap-o Samsung phone can be replaced for an easy $45, the iPhone is a whole different ballgame. $169.99 to replace a lost or damaged phone. The cheapest alternative I could find is to take the phone to Radio Shack where they will replace the cracked glass for $99. A little more palatable, but still, it’s an outdated iPhone 4!
We haven’t decided what we are going to do yet. We do know he needs a phone, as he walks home from school and I want to be able to reach him at all times, though clearly he doesn’t necessarily need an iPhone. We do know he will NEVER toss any phone in the air again. He has pleaded with us to replace the glass and he will pay for it out of his bank account, which has a few hundred dollars in it from birthday monies. But, we don’t want him to get off that easy. He has to earn a phone back. That means lots and lots of chores around the house. This could actually be fun (for me). Middle Dude will definitely feel the consequences of his actions and learn a lesson. In the meantime, he is using his cracked iPhone. Yes, it still works. I just hope he doesn’t cut himself on the shattered glass while texting his friends.
I can’t help but berate myself for buying my 12-year old an iPhone in the first place. What was I thinking? I know it was a bad parental move, so I know that both Middle Dude and I have learned our own lessons.
What would you do about the damaged phone?