I swear I’m not just letting her do it because of peer pressure

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life70 Comments


Sigh. I know how this looks. And I have no idea why this is such a sheepish thing to post, but here it is: my 12-year-old has a cell phone.

A few things involved in this decision:

1. I can track her down ANYWHERE in the mall.

2. I can track her down ANYWHERE in the mall.

3. I can track her down ANYWHERE in the mall.

And with this purchase/upgrade, I have committed myself to two more years with Verizon, so I think you can do the math on that one.

That’s right people. No iPhone for Cathy.

I worked it out. It’s all good. I barely use the cell phone I have, and every place I travel to, I take my laptop with me, so there’s my internet connection. In the end, I couldn’t justify the increased monthly expense. (Thanks for rubbing off on me, Dan!) And so, when the AT&T monopoly ends in a few years, maybe I’ll start whining about getting an iPhone at that point in time. Until then, my new LG Chocolate will have to do.

Going to the fair tonight to see Brandi Carlile (for free! fyi for any local fans, she’s playing for free tonight). Fried green tomato stand, here I come.

Also, thank you so much for all the tips and well wishes on my wrists. I appreciate them very much. Still trying to figure out what will be the next course of action. I will keep you posted.

And, I just realized that the first parenthetical statement in this blog post reads a bit questionably. Let’s keep it clean, people. Let’s keep it clean.


Cathy ZielskeI swear I’m not just letting her do it because of peer pressure

70 Comments on “I swear I’m not just letting her do it because of peer pressure”

  1. #3
    Dawn M.

    I can completely relate. My dd is 11 and going into middle school in a few days. We just bought her a phone. In my opinion, when your child is old enough to walk to school, hang out at the mall with friends(while I’m walking around there too, mind you) or walk a few blocks to the local store with friends, she is old enough for a phone. I see it as a way of ALWAYS being able to get a hold of her. Love that.

  2. #5

    I wouldn’t dream of judging you. My sons will have their own phones as soon as they are old enough to go anywhere without parental supervision. I’m all about the ACLU, but is it really such a bad idea to put some kind of GPS chips in our children at birth?

  3. #6
    Jennifer Stewart

    Hey, if it makes you feel any better…. the new Iphone isn’t getting very good reviews. Dh is a Macaholic and is passing on it, something I never thought I’d see.

    And as soon as Noah is going places without me, you bet he’s having a cell phone. Peace of mind and tracking and all that stuff. πŸ™‚ Smart mom you are!


  4. #8

    What does it say about me that I keep re-reading that parenthetical statement just to giggle over & over?
    Am I a 10 yr old boy? πŸ™‚

  5. #9
    Melissa Miller

    I have the chocolate too!!!! I had the Mint Chocolate Slidey phone for two years. I loved it so much I upgraded to the Ice Blue L3 Chocolate. Be still my heart. Lovve it!!!! LG was seriously thinking when they named a phone “chocolate” who couldn’t love that. Enjoy your new phone.


  6. #10
    Shannon in WA

    When my kids first got their first cell phones it felt ridiculous. They’re just kids, right? We survived just fine without them when were kids, didn’t we?

    Now there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful that the kids have their cell phones. My daughter sends me text messages from school when there is a change of plans. My diabetic son can call me from the bus stop if his blood sugar is too low to walk home. If soccer/track/wrestling/football practice is finished early they can call me. And best of all, I can track them down at the mall or store! Even better, when I can’t find my husband who left his phone in the car, I can call the kid that’s with him to track him down!!!

  7. #11

    I so enjoy your posts – there’s always a smile in there somewhere, and I love how you make us go “Huh?” and then scroll back to get it! Hoping the wrists are stabalising … alexa

  8. #12

    We got our son a phone at 10 (5th grade). At that point, we already knew quite a few kids the same age with one. Our purchase occurred after I couldn’t find him 3-4 times after school! I decided he needed one for my peace of mind. We got him a phone and programmed it with all the “acceptable” numbers he could call. You know — me, my dh, my mom, my sister, my best friend, my neighbor. Basically no one he’d actually want to talk to. tehehe the phone bill hasn’t been a problem at all.

    We’re looking at doing a new 2 year with Verizon — hopefully with a blackberry for me. So I’ll be iPhoneless for quite awhile as well. I am going to up the minutes and add texting so that ds can be a “normal” teenager (or almost) and actually use it to communicate with friends.

  9. #16

    We held out until they were 15….. it was suppose to be 16 but after their social lives took off we had to break down and get them cells ( phone that is LOL)

    We did remove texting from our plan though to save money on our bill.

    Enjoy the concert and I’ll skip the green tomatoes

  10. #17
    Bev Stephenson

    My 10 year old has one ( an LG Chocolate as it happens), she walks to school and goes to practices on her own, so I like to know I can reach her.
    I had a play with an iPhone at the weekend and it didn’t make me run straight out to the store and buy one, I found it a bit gimmicky, I think I’d rather have a very small laptop.

  11. #18

    My daughter just turned 12 and she almost jumped outta her skin when she found Her 1st phone sitting on the couch next to her! We did it for emergency reasons not to boost her social life. Although she did get the unlimited texting plan thank goodness (her first day she had over 200 texts in and out, Didn’t think she could move that fast).

  12. #19
    Kim K

    Got my 5th grader a phone after his school had a bomb threat. They took them to the nearby ice arena, but there was no phone available for them to call home. He had missed the lockdown drill day and was really scared. Two weeks later, we got him the pay as you go phone (so my husband could have the iphone). He has never used all his minutes…and they roll over! So by the time he DOES start using those, he’s already got thousands in the bank! He’s going into 7th grade now (same as Aiden), so I’m sure that time will arrive very soon!

  13. #20
    sue Treiber

    My soon to be 11 year old wants one. She doesn’t hang out at the mall, but I might let her get one, since I let her have mine whenever she goes somewhere!
    yum-enjoy the tomats!

  14. #21

    Our 12-year-old has a cell phone and I will never go back. It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch and figure out what is going on and what they’re feeling. i love getting her texts in the middle of the day. You’re doing a good thing.

  15. #23

    Cathy, if it makes you feel any better, I have the iPhone and, well… it has some bugs. Okay, maybe it’s the 3rd party apps, but… it does. Lotsa lots rumors going around about a price break in September… more memory by the end of the year… so there really are a lot of positives and I would imagine that by the time you DO get your iPhone (because, oh – my dear – you WILL get your iPhone!), you will feel like you got a much better deal than with the 3G.
    I mean it.
    Shall I send mine to you for some visitation? :->

  16. #24

    Ironically enough, I came to the same difficult decision about the iphone last night. Sigh. It’s so sexy. So, another two years with Verizon for me as well.

    I expect my nearly 10 year old to start the cell phone conversation any day now. Double sigh.

  17. #25

    I am totally and completely jealous that you get to see Brandi Carlile and I don’t.

    That aside, have fun!

    (hope your wrists are feeling better)

  18. #26
    Kate Griswold

    Love the chocolate – have had mine for a year.

    No judging here – both my kids got cell phones at a younger age than your daughter – for all the reasons detailed above. My oldest has diabetes, and we got her phone when she was going to sleep away at skating camp the summer she was 11. My youngest got hers after my dh dropped her off at the dance studio, only to pick her up an hour later to find out that the practice had been cancelled and she had just sat there in the lobby for an hour.

    Sometimes I wonder how our parents survived our adolescence without them!

  19. #27

    I work with junior high girls at church and 75% of them have their own cell phones..thus I get to be a bit stern with them at times that phones aren’t allowed on during our small group time together (one hour with the phone off isn’t too much time to ask)

    so I’m not surprised your daughter has one.

    it’s a GORGEOUS phone, by the way. she’s a lucky one to have you for a mom.

  20. #28

    Piece of mind is huge. I got my boys their cell phones when then entered middle school because they walk home and I work so this way they would call me when they got home so I know they made it. The rule was if I can’t get a hold of you then you don’t need a phone. Works like a charm but I did have to get them unlimited texting and the cost came out of their allowance. Sorry to hear about your wrist problems, is it carpal tunnel or tendonitis? I had tendonitis and it was caused by hunching over a keyboard, cutting blood circulation to your hands. I got an key board tray and ergonomic chair, have to keep your hands parallel to the floor. Physical therapy and massage therepy helped a lot and of course the dreaded brace. I also changed all our door handles to levers thus avoiding the wrist flicking problems you get when you turn a door knob. I did a lot of hand stretches and upper body stretches to increase blood flow. Good one is go to a corner of the room, place your hands elbow to palms flat against both walls and lean forward. This provides a good stretch to your upper body or you can do the same thing in a doorway by placing both hands on each side and leaning forward. Hope this helps! It does get better.

  21. #29

    You should get the Dare phone with Verizon. It’s exactly like the iphone…LOVE it! It’s not even that expensive. You have 30 days to turn in the one you just got…do it!

    PS – the last two lines were hilarious!

  22. #31

    I was embarrassed when I got my daughter Katie a cell phone two years ago at age 10. My justification was that her soccer practice and dance classes were a 30 minute drive from home and while her dad’s work was just around the corner from her, I felt better knowing I was a only phone call away. In two years, she has never called me for either of those places to say, “Mom, I broke my toe.” OR “Mom, Vienna parents forgot to pick us up.” But she could!

  23. #33
    Sharon T

    Cathy, I have three kids and haven’t regretted one bit about getting them phones. It really does make the mom’s life easier…and don’t we deserve that? I am with you that I totally want an iphone, but I am also Verizon. It really bums me out…actually, it really ticks me off that AT&T is the only carrier! I keep hoping that someday that will change…until then, I just keep renewing my Verizon contract. Also have a chocolate (an old one), but when it came time to upgrade, I gave the new phone to my dauther. But now since you can upgrade each year, I’ll just get one next year. Time flies quick enough anyways. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your new chocolate and the free fair concert. Those are always some of the best. Hang in there with your wrists. My mom had the same thing. You’ll make it through.
    Sharon πŸ™‚

  24. #34

    saw Brandi at Marymoore park in Seattle last week with Pat Monahan and Jackie Green. Amazing!
    But free is great too…enjoy the concert tonight

  25. #35

    i love you. dont forget who made you listen to A GIRL SINGER IN HER CAR a few years ago and that girl was brandi. say hi to her for me. lucky.

  26. #36

    I’m in the same situation, 12 yr old with a cell phone/Verizon contract/no iPhone for me. I do have the iPod Touch tho to tie me over. Going to be awhile, AT&T has extended their exclusivity, waaaaaah.

  27. #38
    mary bartolotta

    Hi Cathy,
    I don’t have an Iphone or a kid who’s getting their own phones..I just want to say hi and tell you how excited that I(and my best friend Sue) are to take your class in October..We just love you and I’m sure we’ll love the class too. Sending a few prayers for a better feeling wrist( I know that’s not grammatically correct, but the feeling is there.). have a nice week, mary

  28. #39
    Sarah (Hutchinson, MN)

    Kids these days, eh? Hard to imagine what life was actually like say, before they had CORDLESS phones and remote controls for the TV… or before garage door openers were common…..

    Sadly, my grandmother had a cell phone before I did. I think I was 25 before I entered the age of technology to get a cell phone (although, I did have a computer and she still does not…. ) It’s got to be a nice feature to know where your kid(s) are at….

    How long before Cole wants one now though?!

  29. #40

    LOL! I broke down and got my 12yo a phone too and I swore I would not until he was in High School! I too only did it for the tracking down purposes!

  30. #41

    Totally relate – my 80 year old mom and I used our cell phones to find each other in Costco!!! It worked wonderfully, we could both wander and then meetup.

    Wishing your wrists a solid recovery – it stinks when things don’t work prperly!

  31. #42

    My son got one last year for Christmas. He was in 7th grade and was the VERY last person in the two 7th grade classes at his school to get one. The rest had them by 5th grade. Sheesh!!

    My sister has big time hand/wrist issues too. She does not live far from you (Shoreview)if you need a doctor reference or want to commiserate send an email and I can put you in touch with her.

  32. #43
    chris jenkins

    necessary evil girl. necessary evil. especially how it seems the kids go from a life that is pretty close to home to blossoming into jam-packed social calendar full force.

    cell phones. call it the 12yr old right of passage.

    i feel ya on the iphone. it is the only beef i have with apple. why did they hook up with the wrong phone company?

  33. #44
    lynn whelan

    My daughter is in the 7th grade and does not have a cell phone. Her best friend (and her mother) went on a campaign for me to get her one on her 12th b-day. It didn’t happen, even though my daughter told me she would pitch the big one in front of her friends if she didn’t get one. (This did not happen, btw since I told her in no uncertain terms to not be surprised because it wasn’t going to happen!) Her friend has unlimited texting and I find it obnoxious. I have her friends’ mother’s numbers and that is all I really need. She can always borrow one from a parent should the need arise. I have just told my husband that Christmas or 13th b-day I may end up giving in. We did not get her brother one until entering high school, but girls are a little different. If I do get one though, it really is giving in to peer pressure. She absolutely does not need one. And I do not intend on getting texting. I think it’s asking for trouble. Her friend gets texts all times of the evening. I want to know who is calling her after 10:00 at night!

  34. #46

    Yeah my 12 year old son got a cellie this summer too. So I can track him down anywhere, anythime in the neighborhood, at the pool, at football practice.

    I make no apologies

    And fortunately he doesn’t look over my shoulder while I post because that one is WAY cooler than his!

  35. #47
    Megan Renfree

    Hi Cathy, I can totally relate with you about your wrists! I have terribly sore arms and hands that they were thinking was carpal tunnel. I actually just went and had a nerve conduction test yesterday so they could investigate further. Is that something they have offered you? I know with CP you can then have injections or surgery. the injections might give you some relief anyway! Just letting you know what they told me anywho :o)

  36. #48
    Donnelly Webb

    Cathy, I am glad to see that you are back and that you are seeing a specialist about the wrist!

    Three words that have saved our lives in the land of cell charges are “unlimited text messages”. We have a 16 year old that has had a phone since about the age of Aidan. It has made the stress of family minutes bearable, I swear. She never goes over her minutes because she would rather text both her dad and I as well as all of her friends. Just a thought.

  37. #49

    No iPhone, eh Ziel? That IS a bummer, but I’m so with ya. I just picked up the rate plan information for the fabulous phone this weekend, and I was amazed at the rates. Yikes! I’m afraid I’m going to be right there with ya – holding out for the monopoly to end. Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

    So jealous that you’re going to the fair tonight. SO jealous. I love fairs. Fair food. Fair shopping. The fair super slide that you ride down in potato sacks. Get outta town! It doesn’t get any better than that. Hope you’re having a blast.


  38. #50
    Debbie-Leigh Crofutt

    Hi Cathy,
    Read your comment about Brandi Carlile, I saw her in Bellingham and she is freaking amazing. Her song the story inspired me to make a mini scrapbook for my husband using the words to the song to tell the story of our lives. He loved it so much it is on his desk at work.(I have the book online if you’re interested) I agree with you totally, her performance was one of the best I’ve ever seen. She is simply awesome.I can’t wait to hear your blog AFTER the concert. I even considered trying to hide somewhere on her tour bus (I parked in front of it) and going on the road with her..

  39. #51

    So sorry to hear about your wrists, I had the same problem..one time the right one was so bad that it woke me in the middle of the night headed outside to the freezer for ice bags. That night I had painted, and just holding the brush was enough to send me over the edge…luckily there were screwdrivers involved!

    Many months of ice packs, and sports massage therapy they are all cured.

    Hang in there!

  40. #52

    I think mobiles for girls are important for safety once they get to Aidan’s age. Go with that!

    On a different matter – you know your super cool and helpful ruler hint for rub-on packaging? I think Making Memories have outdone you. Sorry. I opened a pack of stickers yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find the sticky stuff stayed on the package, not the flap. Now, it could have been a packaging malfunction but I like to think of it as a helpful product development strategy.

    The only problem is, I can now buy nothing but MM supplies until other companies catch on…

  41. #53

    I can totally relate. Five years ago when my daughter was 12 we did the same thing….I rationalized it in the same ways you did.
    In retrospect it was a great act.
    It taught her responsibility. If she went over her minutes she paid the overage. She only did that once…..then the texting kicked in…..she only went over texting once…..she had a weekend refereeing gig and now she pays $15 a month for unlimited texting…..

    Became a great learning tool…..

  42. #54
    June Ferguson

    Hi Cathy!
    Have loved your work in Simple Scrapbooks for years, but only now discovered your blog–go figure! I just wanted to tell you how I solved the iPhone craving I had. I use a cell phone so little (yes, I’m old–just turned 50!) that I just use a TracFone, but man, I wanted that iPhone so bad!! Being basically frugal (read: cheap), I couldn’t justify the expense of the phone contract either. Sooooo, what did I do? I bought an iPod touch, which is exactly like the iPhone without the phone! There is an upgrade that you can purchase/download so that you can give your Pod all the features of the Phone (but still without the phone part)and it is absolutely great!! I’ve got the calendar, the notes, the iTunes, the Apps store, Safari, YouTube, maps, the whole nine yards. I am totally LOVING it, and carry it with me everywhere. All I have to do is remember that if my cell phone does ring (which is rare), that I still need to rummage in my purse for my old cheapy TracFone and not try to answer on my Pod (although I’m sure that I would look cool doing so)!
    Just my 2 cents….hope it helps.
    Take care,
    June in KS

  43. #55

    what did you think of brandi’s show? did they play any of their new stuff?

    the twins are friends of my husband. they used to have a punk band in seattle and later hooked up with brandi. they write many of her songs then she delivers them with grace and rocks it.

    we “stalk them” all around oregon and washinton when they are here. we saw them this summer with the indigo girls and last fall my 8yr old son made it to stage and caught the guitar pick. hehehe

  44. #57

    Was so glad to see that there was at least one other 10 yr. old out there with a phone…I leave my dude on a football field, soccer field or hockey rink by himself quite often (OK – not alone – but with a team and coaches) I like to know that he will be able to get me without having to try and find a pay phone (are there still those out there) or worry about asking for help….

    He doesn’t have it yet – it is his 10 yr. old present on the 9th —- but since we made the decision – 4 times I have wished he had it already — and we only decided on Saturday!

  45. #59

    I certainly don’t judge you. I had to get my son a phone at the age of 9 so he could call me if he needed to from his Dad because DS’s StepMom turned off all long distance service from their house. He couldn’t call if something happened. He has asthma really bad and my ex can’t be trusted to call me and let me know anything. DS is 14 now. He turned out fine. It’s great for communication if plans change, etc.

  46. #61

    Cathy – we made getting a cellphone a right of passage for middle school in our house because the boys’ after school clubs end at 4:30 and they walk home before my DH gets home at 5:15. Our phone rules are – you pay for what you download out of your chore $ and the phone stays downstairs after 8pm.
    No iPhone in da house here either – I just can’t beat Verizon’s Family plan in this area. Up for my renewal soon so I think I will treat myself to a new phone – how are you liking the chocolate – looking at that or the Dare (poor man’s iphone – LOL)
    Looking forward to your class in October too πŸ™‚

  47. #62

    My 13 yo (almost 14) has his own Pay as you go phone. It’s pretty awesome actualy, saves having to talk to his dad very much when he’s at his house. I don’t fault ya.

    I do however, mourn the passing of your iphone.

    In 2 years, they’ll be 3 for a $1.00!!


  48. #65

    Ahhh, my 5th grader is already wearing me down with the “all-the-kids-have-a-cell-phone-in-middle-school” whine-fest. But seriously, it seems they need them at younger and younger ages these days…As to the iPhone, really, you should get an iPod Touch (or better yet, wait till next month and get the new one that will be cheaper and higher capacity) Almost all of the yummy goodness of the iPhone, and no shackles with AT&T. The wifi, app store, pda and iPod functionality are amazing. Rumor has it that the new one might even have bluetooth stereo and synching…what are you waiting for? πŸ˜‰

  49. #66

    I just go the same exact phone for myself!! It arrived today! So it was a surprise when I came here and saw that it was the one you got your daughter! Mine is the same color even!

  50. #67

    Hey Cathy: You won’t regret the cell phone thing. It’s hard to come to grips with, but I’ll never forget getting a text from my son during his freshman year at high school that said, ‘bomb threat’. You would not believe how quickly I replied ‘r u ok’…’yes’ was his answer. In the end, it was all a prank, but one can only imagine what might have been!

    Just signed up for Desingin My Life on Big Picture SB and working on my prework. Good stuff!! Oct 2 can’t come quickly enough!


  51. #68

    Well, you just re-upped your Verizon contract for two more years (my daughter has a cell phone, too…true confessions of a 21st century mom, huh?).
    So why not run on down and get yourself an LG Voyager or an LG Venus or an LG dare or other equivalent iPhone knockoff? You’d only extend your contract by a few days.

    Me? I’ve got an enV. An old enV, not the cool new ones. And an iPod. So far, so good.

    And, yeah, what did they do to my Firefox?

  52. #69

    Girl you gotta do what you gotta do boo hee hee .. nah I love that phone .. might have to get me one, but you are right everything and all your reason, my son is 9 almost 10 and he has one for those reasons..and umm please share .. I would so love to learn how to get my lil Nikon to do that .. I have a D40 and hubby has the D60 and we cannot figure out how to get that SHOT you have .. the up close and blurry everything else in the back SPILL .. umm please LOLOL .. I know you get tons of emails daily and I am just a girl .. so hopefully this one will not get lost .. LOL .. such a fan .. such a fan.

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