Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS

JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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A bit of parenting support is genius

We’re at the helpdesk in the techie shop, waiting for a “genius” (a job title that’s asking for trouble) who can unblend my phone from Youngest’s. With the death of my mobile in a puddle, somehow she has usurped me on my new phone and the contacts and photos are hers, not mine. Her daft apps and selfies are annoying/entertaining, but her contact list is handy – now I have all her friends’ numbers, evil laugh.

My real problem is being locked out of my life, though, because guess where I saved all my passwords? I’m failing security questions left, right and centre and am locked in a Mobius loop of technohell. Banks, government agencies, credit cards, online groceries, the council (who I’m begging for a new bin since ours was whipped), none will entertain me because I can’t remember my first pet’s favourite colour. Please, just give me a bin. I’ll pay.

“While we’re here,” I say to Youngest, “We’ll get you a cover for your phone. We’ve used up my mobile insurance for the year already so any more breakages from now on, it’s no more fancy phones. It’s brick pay-as-you-go texts and phone calls-only jobs for us. I repeat, you are not leaving here without a cover for your mobile. Go and browse.”

She stays put, flicking through her messages.

“Hear that conversation,” says the man sitting opposite us on the other side of the “genius helpbar” (table) to his daughter. “That. Exactly. You too, a cover,” he says to her.

I could kiss him. At last, someone who agrees with my parenting style, who wouldn’t concur with Youngest that I’m the strictest of anyone’s parents she knows (as if), someone who doesn’t think I’m “a bit harsh” or, whisper it, “shouty”.

I flash him a smile of gratitude as our respective offspring sit meekly nodding, caring not a jot but playing along until they’re released back into the wild to smash up their expensive phones another day. That is what I call support, backup, help – in fact I’d go so far as to call it genius.