This past weekend, my father and stepmother gave the girls iPod shuffles as early birthday presents. To say the girls were thrilled is an understatement. I thought Grace was going to cry with joy, she's wanted an iPod of her own that much.
The new iPod shuffles are just amazing. They're not much bigger than a postage stamp and clip to your shirt or some other article of clothing. And they come in a fun array of colors.
We loaded the girls' music onto their iPods on Sunday and it has been an interesting few days since then. We have now learned that we can get the girls to clean up their toys a lot easier if they have music going straight into their brains via their ear canals. Homework goes more quickly too if there's the promise of music after the homework is done.
The house is quieter when the girls are plugged in. Well, not entirely. Often one of the girls will burst out in song. Elegant tends to sing softly and more or less in tune. Graceful, on the other hand tends to sing very loudly. Usually off-key. Unfortunately, my girl is not a good singer. Like me.
(True story: Last night I had a dream (nightmare?) in which Graceful kept singing opera at the top of her lungs. In my dream it was stressing me out greatly, because how would I break it to the child that her voice was horrible and she had no future in opera?)
There are drawbacks to the iPods of course. Pete and I don't want the girls to be plugged in and tuned out for too long, so we're trying to figure out guidelines for iPod use. On car trips and airplane flights, definitely. At the dinner table, hell no. What we're leaning toward is a that little iPod time every day is okay, but we haven't decided on a time limit.
One guideline we established within the first five minutes is that, if I walk by a child who's plugged in and I can hear any evidence of her music, then the music is too loud. If I can hear actual voices and lyrics, then the child has probably just blown out her ear drums. Given Grace's hearing loss, we'll give her a tiny bit more latitude, but not much.
So my girls are one step closer to being teenagers and one step further from being little girls. My sister emailed last night and asked what the girls wanted for their birthdays. I responded that Graceful would like a cell phone, a Vespa scooter, and her own keys to the house.
Only, I wasn't completely joking. Graceful would in fact love to have those things. But she's only eight -- for 24 more days -- and too young. She, on the other hand, is a full-blown tween and already looking eagerly to her teenage years. And with her very own iPod, it would appear that she's already on her way.
* "Listen to the Music" by the Doobie Brothers