Liam got a phone.  He’d wanted one since Christmas, when “everyone” got a phone.  Now he’s everyone too.

The phone is an old iphone that Husband de-razzle-dazzled: stripped all the apps, removed (or hid) the email function, installed a very limited call plan. He may also have installed a kid-tracking device, maybe an anti-candy-eating buzzer, maybe a few other iParenting apps, who knows?

Frankly, I’m still unclear as to why a fifth-grader needs a phone. Last time I checked, Liam doesn’t have a broker, a love interest, or even any friends who live outside a six-block radius (or who he doesn’t see every day at school).

But I confess: despite my misgivings, I gave in. “Everybody” won.  I was told (repeatedly) that everyone who didn’t get a phone at Christmas is getting one now, as fifth-grade graduation draws nearer, and I simply didn’t have the heart to be the bad cop.

We gave Liam the phone the night before I left for San Francisco—the third year in a row I have gotten it together to go away for an entire week by myself, and I had a wonderful time, but more on that later.   When we gave Liam the phone, he positively glowed, a little iHappy glow, and offered unprompted “thank yous.”

He was so happy, in fact, that I thought, “well, shit, we should just give in all the time.” I mean, there’s the solution to the mystery of how to have happy kids who love you, right? Just give them everything they ask for. Duh.

Off I went, cynically, to San Francisco, muttering to myself about kids and their damn expensive gadgets.  And of course, immediately as the plane landed, like any good iJunkie, I checked my phone (what? a contradiction? I’m checking my phone constantly because, you know, something really really important might have happened during the few hours I was in the air).

The only thing waiting for me on my phone was this:

The entire week I was away, Liam and I had a quiet little text conversation going: he texted me about his brother making him crazy (maybe even instead of yelling at his brother); he texted me about his day at school; he texted me good-night.  We had a whole new way to communicate.

You know? I’m thinking maybe I should get him the new white iPhone 4.