Parenting by text

I suffer from acute proactive energy conservationism (aka: laaaaziness). Until recently, this malady has affected only me. However, it’s become clear my wife suffers from a temporary onset during recovery from a torn rotator cuff, and my son is showing signs of a strong genetic predisposition toward multi-slacking.

All of this may best be illustrated by our new obsession with texting.

It may be important to introduce some working vocabulary here so you can follow:

1. fetch-text: When your wife texts ‘bring me a diet coke’ because she’s watching Chaz Bono drop-kick Nancy Grace on Dancing with the Stars.

2. cease-and-desist-text: When you text ‘stop yelling Booyah!’ to your son because you can’t hear Gordon Ramsey curse over the boy’s gleeful celebration of perfect head shots in Call of Duty 3.

3. text-of-denial: Texting ‘I’m in the shower’ after your son texts ‘get mom a diet coke’ after she texts ‘DC!’

4. remote parenting: From an important meeting (at Vaughn’s Pub):

Dad: r u ok?

Son: on fire

Dad: srsly

Son: it burns . . .


Son: what’s the number for 911?

Dad: there’s pizza in the freezer.

5. remote bonding:

Dad: just played shart in Scrabble


Dad: like a boss

Son: OMG stop txtng me!

Dad: Love you!

Son: Block you!

6. wireless banking:

Son: Hey, dad? Can I get the $20 you owe me for my A in biology?

Dad: My phone is dead.

Son: Lol, dad. You’re so funny. But seriously, I did get an A in biology and I could use that $20.

Dad: But you got a D in math. That’s -5 against the 20 leaving you 15 and you didn’t take out the trash this year, -120, so you owe me $100.

Son: Birthday check from Aunt Dora. You only gave me half. You owe me $70.

Dad: Review your invoice for taxi services in the amount of $532.19.

Son: I was telling my friends how funny you are. I love you dad.

Dad: Well played. Here’s 20 bucks. Are you on the back porch?

Son: on the couch next to you!

On the plus side, we’re a much quieter house. We now text silently, speaking almost entirely with our minds, as our alien overlords prefer. I used to bellow SHUT UP I’M ON THE %$%#$@! PHONE! But now I text: ‘zip it,’ which the neighbors can’t hear so the kid has no leverage. That makes me happy because I am finally “silent but deadly” in a way that only affects one of us.

Christopher Garlington is a Chicago dad and the author of the blog

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