Charge It!

Rich and Harrison are at the movies.  (They are seeing “The Dictator” which is one of those movies I have no interest in seeing.  Much like “Dark Shadows” which, in a quest for fun family time with Jessie, I saw and hated last night.)  In her father’s absence, Jessie has just borrowed his iPhone charger.  I can tell you with complete certainty that this is not going to end well.  Despite her deep and sincere well meaning-ness to return the charger to its rightful owner, my ten plus years having attempted to parent her tell me otherwise.

Here’s how I see it playing out.  Rich’s iPhone (which doubles as his work phone) is his lifeline, at the very least between the hours of sun-up on Monday until sun-down Friday.  Without it at the ready he is literally incapable of conducting business, knowing where he has to be and functioning at as close to one hundred percent as possible.  Sure, it is fully charged now, as Jessie removes it from the wall, but I suspect that there will be some sort of mechanical drain which will render it only partially charged come tomorrow morning which is when, upon discovery, all hell will break loose.

I will somehow be blamed for the misstep.  Rich will inquire as to the charger’s whereabouts and I will, in a moment of bad parenting, rat out Jessie for having made off with it.  She, in turn, will swear that I told her that she could use it but will manage to leave out the part when I told her she must return it once her iTouch is charged unless she is prepared to suffer, er, face the consequences.  Yelling between the upstairs and downstairs of the house will ensue.  At some point, likely early on in the game, I will be held accountable.  I will try to gently remind her of her promise and everyone will be aggravated.  This will all happen prior to seven a.m. (on a Monday morning, no less.)

Oh, sure, I have the power to arrange things so that none of that happens by simply retrieving the charger on my own and re-attaching it to the phone before I pass out, er, go to bed tonight.  I could continue to remind Jessie of her obligation to return that which she borrows, particularly when the owner of said item has not officially sanctioned the borrowing in the first place.  Or, I could let it alone and hope that this will be the one time that my child who cannot manage to get herself from the kitchen to the car without losing something might suddenly become responsible.  No matter which path I choose, it somehow lands on me.

So, as usual, I am torn.  Do I make things easier for everyone (okay, mostly me) by retrieving the charger and plugging the damned thing back in with Rich none the wiser?  Or do I actively encourage Jessie to try to follow through on her obligation and return it herself once her iTouch (or iPad or Kindle Fire or GameBoy or whatever the hell else she has going on up there) is fully rarin’ to go?  Perhaps this will be the turning point – the time when she recalls that which I have, in the past ten minutes, reminded her of.  Whaddya think?  Yeah, I’m pretty sure it ain’t happening, too.

File this under one of the many trials and tribulations of raising a child of any gender.

p.s. As I was posting this I got a shout out from upstairs: “mommmmm, my Kindle won’t charge!”   Is this kid trying to charge her Kindle with the iPhone charger?

p.p.s.  And now: “ohhhh, there’s my iTouch charger!”  And she dutifully returned Rich’s.  Well there a real-time blog for ya!

20 thoughts on “Charge It!

  1. I’m thankful the charger has been returned. I was fearful and anxious about how it would all end, which I suspect would be badly. Reason number 82450 that I don’t have kids.

  2. Having 3 kids, I was going to suggest just getting it from her and plugging it in yourself. Good for Jessie! She’s showing responsibility and caring for another’s needs. Nice work, Mom!

      • Hey..half way there is better than nothing at all. After all… did you also tell her to plug it in, or just return it? I’ve been been told many a time by my kids to be more specific! Lol

      • Good point — I neglected to tell her to plug it in. But, one would hope that a ten year old would know that, right?

  3. I recently read a book called “I don’t have to make everything better” about refraining from trying to fix other people’s problems (whether solicited or not) and your story sounds like one of the anecdotes in the book! It is largely aimed at the parent/child relationship, but also applies their ideas to business and other family relationships as well. So, well done!

  4. So glad the saga found a good end for now! But I’m guessing it will come up again.
    I had a boyfriend once who dropped his wet towels on the floor, and stupid me actually picked them up after him. I could still kick myself for that. He was not trainable and I guess I’m glad now he’s an ex (other reasons too, but the wet towels were a big clue). But those kids of yours are still subject to your authority.
    I would be inclined to invest a bit of time in some ‘Do as you promised or some horrible consequence will befall you’ type of training. Make her promise that she’ll return that charger (or whatever) by a specific time. Make clear that if she fails then she will get to do some specific penance (a task she hates would do nicely) – she could even get to pick which one (as long as you’re the one picking the options to chose from). Then watch and see if she remembers (okay, you might be kind enough to give her a head’s up about the time but only once, okay?) and if she does not do as she promised, then make sure you stand over her while she carries out the penance task. You would be very much forgiven for doing so while smirking: she brought it on herself after all. I think that if you do this once or twice then she’ll learn a valuable lesson: it pays to carry through on a promise.
    You might only need to smirk if the same situation arises again in future: that might be galling enough to make her decide to best do as agreed or you will get to smirk some more.
    The trick will probably lie in projecting every serene molecule in your body and pretend utter nonchalence from the point of the promise given right to the end of task done. You can then give her lots of praise and a big hug that will probably make you feel better about the temporary leave of absence of the nice you. And the next time she fulfills her promise without the dreaded task, then the praise and hug are even more important and making you both feel good.
    You could of course just invest in lots more chargers but that would almost feel like cheating, no? You’ll have much more fun getting her to agree to a horrible task and watch her having to do it.
    What do you think?

  5. Oh the angst of letting your child “fail” and suffer the consequences – as those seem to be the only real teachers of life. As they get older, it gets SO much harder to let that happen – especially when the repercussions affect you, uh..your household….too.

  6. Awesome post, hilarious really. Real time post. Wowee! I’m sure I’d be going through the same angst had I been in the same situation. I’m such a control freak, I admire your strength to let it flow! 😀


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