Last night after we got home the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID on the home phone to decide whether or not to answer it. Just so you know, we don't answer 95% of the calls that come in on our land line. Yes, I admit it. When it comes to our home phone, we are militant call screeners. The fact of the matter is, for us, almost all of the calls that we get on our home phone are completely unsolicited sales calls, etc. If you don't have a number we know, you aren't calling from Cook Children's, or your name isn't flashing across the caller id screen you can pretty much forget it. There is no hope of us answering the phone. This is just an FYI. People that know us know not to call us on our home phone. They call us on our cell phones. We don't screen those calls. After all, those could be from another family with neuroblastoma.
Regardless, this particular call had a familiar name scrolling across the caller ID. It was one of the family's from Sydney's class. I answered the phone to hear a very tiny voice echo back. "This is Jillian. Can I speak to Sydney please?" Easy enough, I called Sydney in and handed her the phone. To say she was excited to receive a phone call is a gross understatement.
For the next hour or so Sydney would be on and off the phone. Being her first experience spending anytime on the phone their were many hiccups. There were several accidental hang ups as she tried to switch the phone to speaker. With all of the excitement there were also several phone drops which eventually led to hang ups. Surprisingly, on one occasion, the battery even ran out on the phone.
Though, even with all of these little issues, Sydney found great joy in talking to Jillian. There were lots of giggles. From what I heard, the conversations were silly in nature but, none the less, apparently very important to the girls. Getting Sydney to hang up the phone before dinner was next to impossible. Oh, and of course, the rest of the night she begged to get back on the phone. We put our foot down and said enough was enough. Regardless, she is already planning for their next phone call and the one after that.
To be honest, Lynley and I are out of our elements here.
At what age is it appropriate for little girls to be talking on the phone?
How long is it acceptable for them to be talking on the phone every night?
Is this a habit we want to allow?
How will this habit impact our family?
What rules do we establish to create a fair balance for her and the family?
As you can see, I really don't have any answers. So I am asking for help.
What do we do? What are the pitfalls? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (But you probably don't want to bother calling us at home;) I look forward to some educated feedback.
Just because you have purpose does not mean you have the answers.