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A Sweet & Sweaty (Kinda) Wrong Number

March 3, 2013

The other day I was working in my office when I saw an incoming FaceTime call from an unknown number.

This is what the caller saw upon connecting –


It took me a few seconds to process who was calling…

Can I help you?

And then my brain caught up with the technology in my hand.

On the other side of my phone screen sat a 10 year old boy trying to call my soon-to-be 10 year old girl. By “call” I mean FaceTime and by “girl” I mean Hudson who doesn’t have a phone. But with an itouch and a wireless connection, she (like many) FaceTimes friends and family regularly. By “friends” I mean GIRLfriends and by “family” I mean Grandma and Daddy.

Until then.

Her first call from a boy. Real call. Real boy.

You’re calling for Hudson?

Oh sweet Jesus, this Pinocchio is trying to real time video chat with our barely-out-of-diapers child who just yesterday was watching JoJo’s Circus and carrying a blanket called “Baby”.

How did this happen?

I tried to hide my surprise. It was video after all – the little twerp could see everything. Trying to remember I was the adult, I authoritatively yet kindly let him know he had called my cell phone and I was at work but could I, uh, take a message?

I’m watching you, boy.

This next exchange struck deep. Said with sweet sincerity –

“Oh gosh Mrs. Orr, I’m so sorry.”

Wait, what? Who?

Stab, twist, and turn. I’m Mrs. Orr.

I didn’t know how to slice this multi-layered shock cake.

My baby was getting her first call from a boy.

The call was a live video chat.

The boy called me Mrs. Orr.

Seriously, how did ALL of this happen?

At this point, I wanted to go with a classic Raleigh move.

(Insert dramatic fake cry here.)

I thought back on just a couple of weeks ago when Hudson wasn’t feeling well on the eve of Valentine’s Day. She was clearly upset about the prospect of missing school. Ned asked if she had a special Valentine. She emphatically said no.

I shared with her a story about my fourth grade Valentine’s Day.

I got a fever at school and had to go home before the class party, where I was (not-so-secretly) hoping to receive a special Valentine from John Griffiths. I was crushed.


Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing (for Vday) still stings.

My earliest memory of a phone call with a boy was when I was 12.

We had met at an amusement park the weekend before. His name was Biff (or so he said although it was probably Lance or Mike or Steve but that was the time of the Preppy Handbook and Izods with the collar up) and my friend Mindy called him using her fancy three-way calling. I giggled into my banana phone as we talked about nothing and everything.

It was exhilarating.

That phone connected me with many Biffs over the years.

banana phone

Banana phone still going strong in high school.

I suppose three-way phone calling was cutting edge for 1985. But like I once wrote about another FaceTime call, the call for Hudson felt straight-up Jetsons.

We are navigating uncharted territory.

The role of technology in parenting is definitely a wild adventure.

When I clicked “connect” on that call, I was reminded Hudson IS growing up. What it will look like is very blurry and I know in many ways it will be different than my banana phone days. Communication is advancing faster than ever before and the social impact is unknown. It can be daunting.

As adults, we are all trying to get our heads around it. Staying empowered requires keeping current ourselves, setting boundaries, and having open discussions. Yet behind the technological complexities are the same coming of age feelings known since Cupid’s first arrow.

Perhaps this is how every generation has felt?

Just as Hudson is playing with her role as an almost 10 year old, I am playing with my role as the mom of an almost 10 year old. It’s uncharted territory for both of us. As we make our way, I’m realizing I will be leading often, but there will be critical times when I will follow her lead. FaceTime calls as a regular practice may be one of those times.

Regardless, we will get through it together.

Hopefully smiling a lot.


I love you sweet Hudson.

Oh – and BTW – I ended up going to a Homecoming dance with John Griffiths in tenth grade. Clearly all my dreams had finally come true.

john griffiths dance

SO excited!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy Deutsch permalink
    March 4, 2013 7:26 am

    You forgot to enter the tragedy that happened before the 10th grade Homecoming Dance. The part where your mother ruined your beautiful dress by trying to iron it and how your dad had to run you to the mall to buy a new dress while the boy was waiting at your house to leave for the dance. I will never forget that!!

    • March 5, 2013 2:03 pm

      Ha – Mom that is so funny! The dress was perfect for the next year and the navy blue last minute purchase worked out great. Plus I had my date was a bust any way. Can’t even remember his name. 🙂

  2. Gloria Matthews permalink
    March 5, 2013 12:58 pm

    You look beautiful btw and I love the great manners of the boy who called you Mrs. Orr.

    Maybe he is a great first call for your sweet baby! Have a wonderful day & enjoy all the moments ~~ soon your kids will be grown and going on Sweetlife Adventures like mine!

    • March 5, 2013 2:04 pm

      LOVE IT!! Can’t wait to adventure with you and your girls on the hut trip! PS – see comment below from the very sweet mother of the boy. I assured her the twerp comment was only jest – he’s darling and very polite!!! 🙂

  3. Barrie Ciulla permalink
    March 5, 2013 1:43 pm

    Oh my gosh Kristi I just signed up for your blog and read the most resent post about, “The caller,” I think it was my son, Jack. Too funny!

    I am mortified!

    Barrie Ciulla
    “The Caller’s” mom

    • March 5, 2013 2:06 pm

      HAHAHA Barrie – equally mortified on this end. Jack is so not a twerp!!! I’m glad someone as polite as Jack was her first real call. The bar has been set. 🙂

  4. Tom White permalink
    March 5, 2013 1:54 pm

    Making that phone call is a very difficult and brave thing to do when knowing that you have to get through the mom or dad first before being able to talk to the girl. All boys have to give themselves a pep talk before dialing those digits.

    • March 5, 2013 2:08 pm

      oh yes Tom, it’s great to think about the caller’s perspective as well. Especially to be staring the mom in the eyes while making the call. 🙂 Totally appreciate what it takes!

  5. Jack Ciulla permalink
    March 5, 2013 2:14 pm

    thanks Mr.White us boys must stick together!


    • March 5, 2013 2:44 pm

      Oh Jack – you are too cute! I’m glad Hudson has you as a friend! 🙂 But wait – why aren’t you at school?

      • Jackt Ciulla permalink
        March 5, 2013 2:47 pm

        We had a touch of the stomach flu at my house

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Jackt Ciulla permalink
        March 5, 2013 2:47 pm

        I meant house

        Sent from my iPhone

  6. kim mcconnellogue permalink
    March 5, 2013 2:46 pm

    so funny… at least he didn’t call you ma’am… yet! 😉

  7. Lisa Williams permalink
    March 5, 2013 9:34 pm

    You are ADORABLE! Love it! XO

  8. anne hanson permalink
    March 6, 2013 9:45 pm

    Kristi! I live for these SweetTalk blogs. You are hilarious. And you make a darned good actress, as well. Thank you for turning these amazing snippets of life into stories we can all relate to – or use when we need some solid parenting ammunition. Good stuff! Cheers,!

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The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)

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