by Jackie Schofield
I don’t allow my kids to have much for “electronics” in my home. They don’t have iPads, iPhones or video game systems of any kind. I know they want them, I know they see that other kids have them, but I just don’t feel it’s something they need.
When Mia came home and asked me about a ” boogie board”, I immediately began my speech about electronics, but she explained that it was simply an updated version of the beloved 80’s etch a sketch- something you could draw with repeatedly and then erase to start fresh with the push of a button- no internet, no gaming, just drawing. I agreed, and both she and Max got one. I purchased Mia’s, Joe purchased Max’s. They became a favorite toy, something they could create masterpieces on during long car rides or stretches of boredom. Max especially loved his because he felt he had a little piece of coveted technology that his mean old mom always said no to, and his dad bought it, so that alone made it special.
Tonight I was distracted as we busily made our way into the ice rink for hockey and I never said to Max ( as I usually have to) as he attempted to smuggle in his boogie board from the car to the locker room, “toys stay in the car”. And so, my equally distracted son carried his latest Picasso in with him.
And of course- we were just as distracted leaving after hockey and my son didn’t notice that he didn’t still have his boogie board in his possession- until we were nearly home. Frustrated with his irresponsibility, I reminded him that “we don’t bring toys inside, that he’s responsible for his things, and that when toys aren’t taken care of, we don’t tend to buy more….” in my stern Mom voice.
He was visibly upset and I messaged Joe, his dad, and explained what happened. He took a ride up to the rink to look, and sure enough, it was there… and destroyed. The screen was shattered. We have no idea how it happened, it could have been accidental-locker rooms are busy places. But it broke my heart knowing I had to tell Max that he wouldn’t be getting it back. I know it’s a material possession, but it was also a gift from his dad and when Max gets a pencil from his dad he treasures it.
Tonight I tucked him in and a few minutes later he came in to see me with two notes he had written. One was for me: ” Dear Mom, if a kid loses something, I hope I always find it for them.”
And one for his dad: ” Dear dad, thank you for looking for my boogie board. Love, Max”.
Such a small parenting moment, so common, a blip among many more to come… but when you’re seven, the blips can feel big. I think he’s handling this experience pretty well for seven.
About the Author
Jackie Hersom is an early childhood Special Education Teacher and mother to Max, 7 and Mia, age 9. Having gone to school to write, busy every day life kept her too busy to make the time to do so. It was her daughter’s early understanding and love of sarcasm and her son’s way of making most situations end in laughter that had her realizing that the best material is found in the every day and she rediscovered her passion for writing through the humor and humility of parenting.