Monday, February 18, 2008

A Little Update.

The 11 year old continues to test me. You know about her from reading the things I've already written, assuming you're a regular here. But, should you ever bump into us as we stroll around Colombo, or even London, please don't tell her that you know all this stuff. She'll only get proud and boastful and things will be even tougher.

I told you about the phone business here. And I think it's right that I give an update to all those who were interested.

On Friday evening I went to collect the girls fron their Mother's place for the fortnightly weekend, well Friday night, stay. I'm getting used to the regular "Why aren't you ready yet?" conversation, the awkwardness as I hang around in the corridor waiting for them and not knowing exactly how to behave. It used to be my house, it used to be my home, but now I'm a visitor of sorts.

There's always some post for me to collect and this time one of the envelopes had all the indications that showed it was a phone bill. I grabbed it, with some nervousness and some glee, as I explained to K that it was the bill that would show if she would have to give up her life savings of £162 or not. I had wondered why an 11 year old would have £162 as her savings, that £2 seems a strangely odd couple of nuggets. So I asked her.

"Because I had £160 of birthday and Christmas money and then I won £2 at cannasta against my Grandmother". She explained. Fair enough I thought.

I opened the bill, half expecting to see a figure several hundreds of pounds more than usual. K was hanging over my shoulder trying to see and I was trying to not let her see. Tension was everywhere and the atmosphere could have been cut with a large salami, maybe even a Pepperami, but not one of the spicy ones.

The total looked about normal and I scanned upwards to look at the itemisation bit for the calls. I found her dreaded call, the one at 7.45 AM made to her mobile number. And, as Ian S had suggested it looked as if the voicemail had hung up after a nice pleasant 4 minutes. This made me happy and my cunning and clever mind advanced to the next fatherly stage. The one that questioned whether I should tell K the truth or wind her up for a bit. I took the only viable option.

I made that face, the one when you purse your lips and make a straght mouth, trying to look glum and serious but smiling and laughing underneath. It's a face that all Dads are taught when we go to Dad school, one of the very first lessons, just after the one in which we're taught that no boy will ever be good enough for our daughters and that our dancing will always be impressive to the younger generation, they just won't admit it.

I showed her the bill, well I would have if she hadn't wrenched it from me. She looked at it and I told her that the 4.00 minutes bit actually said £400. It was no use though, she was onto me. She could smell my relief and, once an 11 year old detects that on you, you're a goner. Her face showed relief and bravado, a lethal mix. Off she waltzed to do the next bit of damage.

About an hour later we were sitting in my front room, she was on her laptop, doing MSN or whatever and her sister was lounging in my planter's chair and generally being sarcastic. I remembered a conversation earlier in the week with Academic Bro and sprang into action, like a spring, a drummer shaped one.

"K, we need to have a look and edit your profile on Facebook" I said.

You see Academic Bro had told me that both my daughters had FB accounts, which I was aware of. But the 13 year old's was relatively normal, talking about schoolgirl type of interests and interracting with ther friends. Her younger sibling however, had set her profile to say that she was interested in men and she'd ticked the box that showed she didn't want to disply her age. This worried me, for obvious reasons. It has made me think that I might actually cross over to the other side and get myself a FB account after all, that may be the only way I can keep an eye on the girls' shenanigans.

I explained the situation to K and she reacted with all the innocence of a Sri Lankan piano teacher. We looked at her profile and changed it so that it reflected her age and changed her interests to "friendship". This made me feel more relaxed. Not entirely comfortable with them being on FB but I also know that all their friends are and I don't want to be too strict. I just hope they don't get talked to by some weirdo, like Academic.

Job done. By now the profile's probably been changed back, but I did what I thought was right.

What else has been occurring?

Oh yes, I'm away for about a week from tomorrow, checking out sunnier climes. I've got a band practice tonight with the covers band and I'm seriously underpracticed. Damn.

And the biggest news is that I've taken delivery of my new black leather Converse All Star (cut offs). The All Star collection continues to grow.

See you in a week or so.


Darwin said...

You should probably explain to them exactly why you're concerned about the FB profiles. Teach them about the privacy settings. The default for any profile is to be pretty accessible, and you have to tweak the privacy settings to display the personal info ONLY to friends. Goodluck!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Darwin - Yes, to be fair K understood my concerns when I told her and there wasn't any stroppiness from her. Trouble is that keeping an eye on her is a bit like trying to keep a whirlwind in a wet paper bag. Nightmare!

Ian Selvarajah said...

Glad to hear the bill didn't come out to several hundred pounds!!

As to FB...I regularly keep an eye on my little sisters' accounts as to avoid any shenanigans, so yes, you may have to cross over to the dark [Facebook] side...

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine your relief on the phone bill issue.

On FB, I think Ian's suggestion of you joining facebook is a good one. Cos even I'm keeping an eye on two of my (adopted) sisters that way. And maybe if you had (one of those dreaded) sit-downs with K and spoke to her about your concerns, she'd understand what you're talking about.

Kids have a weird way of listening to dads when they talk in a very loving way. :)

Gallicissa said...

Rhythmic, Good one!. I enjoyed this post.

Anonymous said...

I do agree PBG. about dad's and kids sitting down to talk.
But the fact is , we dads end up getting in to more shit after the discussion and the kid walks away scot free. Especially daughters . I think Dad's school's curiculam has to be a bit updated to keep up with "Daughter's schools'" ones.

Anonymous said...

@Anon: Since I'm not a dad nor a daughter, going to go with your experience on this one... :)