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The phone is connected to the head bone

The minute my eleven-year old daughters started middle school the phone started ringing off the hook. I've met Rachel, Elaine, Myra, Julie, Heather, Ariel, Katie, Kelly and Jennifer all on the telephone.

So far the conversations have been short and centered on homework and 4-H. They haven't started discussing boys and no young men have started calling. Oh, goodie. I can't wait.

I still find it amazing, though. What on earth could they possibly have to say about homework that has to be repeated and confirmed with numerous phone calls?

"Hi, Rachel, did you get the homework assignment from Mr. Romo? Good. I'll call Jennifer."

"Jennifer called Myra and Julie. But Heather wants to know what Ms. Arthur assigned."

"Heather heard Ariel say that Katie and Kelly had the math assignment from Mr. Jordan, but Elaine doesn't."

I don't try to follow these intense quick spurts of telephonic homework confirmations. And I don't yet know whether I should be happy that the kids are so conscientious about their homework assignments or concerned that they are using homework as an excuse to be on the phone.

It's like they just got their speaker's permit. With the supervision of an adult speaker they can use the phone up to three times an evening. After they have logged 100 hours and prove they can parallel park the phone between the vase and the basket of fruit, they will be licensed 'phoners.'

But I'm not sure that my husband and I will spring for a second phone just yet. In time we may find we need one, so I have been keeping my eyes open for a good used phone, but there's no way I'm buying the girls cell phones. Have you seen the cost of insurance on those things? The newer sportier models tempt too many kids and far too many accidents have been caused due to excessive speed dialing. I don't even want to dwell on the dangers of drinking while using the telephone.

It's a good thing they have Phoner's Ed. at school. I think this program should be mandatory at all schools, especially the film they show to curb teenage phone recklessness. Kids need to see the reality of irresponsible phone usage. They need to have those stark images embedded in their memory. They need to realize the heart palpitations, soaring blood pressure and potential strokes that excessive phone usage and exorbitant phone bills can cost a parent.

But alas I fear that my sentiments and concerns will be lost on the younger generation. I'm so not with it and cool. Is 'cool' even a cool word anymore? I'd write more, but the phone just rang. It's Jennifer. She wants to know if Rachel heard from Elaine about the English assignment Heather was supposed to have gotten from Myra.

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