November 22, 2009

I Can't Help It

So we're sitting in Applebees the other night, John, the Jackster and me. Jack's new desire for a cell phone started to rear its ugly head at some point, and he started asking questions about buying his own phone. When he got the information that he would also have to buy the two-year calling plan, and that you had to be 18 to sign that contract, he got a little stumped.

And here is why I shouldn't be allowed to have life-question conversations with my kids. I just want to make sure my kids are informed, but I always seem to cross over from enough information to answer the question to way more information than they need, leading to more questions I cannot possibly answer.

J: "Why do you have to be 18?"

Me: "You just do. Like you have to be 18 to do most stuff."

J: "Why?"

Me: "Oh, I don't know. Someone randomly picked 18, after a bunch of psychological testing or something, to be the age that you can do stuff."

J: "Like what?"

Me: "Like sign a contract. Or vote." Should have stopped right here. "Or join the army," or here "buy a house," or even here "get married."

J: "You have to be 18 to get married?"

Me: "Well, do...." could have stopped here "unless your parents say it's ok to get married earlier."

J: "So basically your parents can tell you who to marry even if you don't like her?"

Me: "No, not like that. But let's say you're 16 or 17, and you think you're really in love, and you want to get married." Stop the train "The law says you can't, but if your mom and dad say it's ok, then they sign something and the law lets you."

J: "Why?"

Me: "Well, because when you're that young, sometimes you don't make the best decisions." Full speed ahead "You tend to get all caught up and think you're really, really in love, but most marriages don't last when they start at 17."

J: "Oh. When do they start to last?"

Too late.

John raises his eyebrows and looks at me, all smug and smart and shit.
"Yeah, honey. What age do they start to last?"

This is Husband of the Year, all Mr. Supportive alright.


  1. Isn't it fun? The questions get better and better and the answers get tougher and tougher!

  2. Come up with the answer to that question and you'll make millions. Guaranteed!

    And, poor Jack, didn't you know that *all* the other kids have cell phones? It's true, Abby told me so.

  3. Thanks for commenting. I went back and read the October entry. I am so sorry...a dear friend's son has just stopped speaking to her and has turned to being in porn movies. She is devastated. He is in his mid-20s. Several degrees, brilliant artist (had a few shows in MOMA in NY), taught at Harvard for gawd's sake, and now this......ouch....hardest job in the world....

  4. Yeah, if only I knew how to see those questions coming...or better yet, stop inviting them! As far as the cell phone goes, I'm just trying to make sure Jack doesn't become a conformist - that he marches to the beat of his own drum - that he isn't afraid of being am I doing, lying to myself?!