A couple of weeks ago, I did something I never thought I would. I gave the Small Child a functioning mobile phone so that I could put him on the bus to school and not be worrying that he made it safely. The problem of course is Translink… they’re notoriously unreliable, with Mr K on occasion storming back into the house half an hour after leaving saying three buses never came, and constantly complaining that they’re late and of course the whole, having to change buses at a busy bus interchange to get to school from here. Just another one of those things I probably would never have bothered with if he were travelling with a sibling and they could look out for each other… oh, the joys of having an only child.
The Small Child has been in possession of the second hand iPhone since about March, when Mr K upgraded and was using it primarily on the wifi to play computer games and such, and had demonstrated his capacity to keep it charged, not treat it like a toy and to the best of my knowledge wasn’t surfing for porn on it. So, it was decided that sufficient levels of maturity and responsibility were being exhibited, and the phone was hooked up to a cheap BYO phone plan which allowed unlimited free calls to Mum and Dad. So far all good. But, of course, what happens once the phone is activated? It got ‘lost’.
Bugger. I had picked him up from BigSal’s after school, as per usual, and he had the phone with him then. We then drove to town to collect Mr K after work, not usual, and potential point of phone loss Number 1 occurs as they switched seats. On the way home, we decided to stop for frozen cokes because it was disgustingly hot and the Small Child took his phone into the store with him – potential point of phone loss Number 2. Came home and Small Child checked the letterbox – potential point of phone loss Number 3. After that the Child + phone should have been securely inside the domicile… ‘should’ being the operative word in this statement.
Phone was thence reported missing when getting ready to go to school the following morning. Mr K and the Small Child both asked me first thing in the morning if I had seen it – ‘Negatory Ghost Rider, no sightings of missing communications device’. They left for the day, sans phone, and I went back to attempting to read an article on ‘Demonic Possession and Mental Disorders of the Middle Ages’ and promptly forgot all about the entire incident.
Around midday, Mr K gave me a call to see how I was getting on and enquired if the Small Child’s phone turned up… a brief moment passed while I did a ‘Huh? HeLostHisPhone?WhenDidThatHappen?’ before the early morning conversation came back to me (yay marshmallow brain!). Bugger. I guess I had better try and track it down.
His school has a policy of all phones at school being signed into and out of the office every day, so I called Bev in the office to see if it was signed out the previous day or had he inadvertently left it behind… no luck. It had definitely gone home with the Small Child. Mr K had already rung both the building near where we picked him up and the frozen coke dispensary to see if an iPhone in a blue case had been handed in (yeah, as if!) and likewise, no joy there. I tried calling BigSal to see if it turned up at her place but as per usual she wasn’t answering her phone. So I figured – it had to be in the car. Three thorough searches, by three people of varying levels of competency later, and we determined it most definitely wasn’t hiding in the car. We now had one very distraught Small Child who was feeling disappointed, heartbroken and somewhat guilty for losing his prized possession.
Now here is the truly stupid bit… iPhones as we know, have a ‘Find iPhone’ application and it was the ONE THING this particular iPhone didn’t have installed and activated. I could open the application and find MY iPhone, my Macbook, track Mr K’s iPad and his phone, but for some reason the one device that was mostly likely to have been lost HAD NOT BEEN ACTIVATED WITH THIS FEATURE… sigh. Stupid rookie mistake – we are use to administering our own gear and not someone else’s, in this case the Small Childs. Bugger.
So, I signed into our phone provider’s website and was encouraged to find that no calls had been made using the handset or the SIM card. I was rapidly hitting the point where I was going to have to cancel the account/SIM and disable the IMEI before we copped any bills… when Yale had an lightbulb moment of absolute brilliance. We had tried calling it and it was ringing, but going to voicemail but at least it had some juice left. He logged into the house wifi router and could see the phone’s MAC ID! And, even better, when you called it, the wifi on that device activated, which meant the device was somewhere IN the house and connected quite happily to the wifi!!! Big sigh of relief… won’t have to blame desire for frozen cokes after all.
We checked everywhere. The Small Child had Drill Sergeant Mom looking over his shoulder as he cleaned his room, but alas, we found nothing but dust bunnies, old Pokemon cards and muesli bar wrappers. We cleaned and checked the kitchen, the living areas, dusted the bookcases, went through the kitchen cupboards – looked everywhere. And somewhere in among this hunting for the illusive iPhone, the Small Child told me he had a dream the night before that someone had taken his phone and broken it. Which ordinarily wouldn’t mean diddly squat… except that, well, his mother had a known propensity for frequent sleep walking around his age and it now seemed very likely that the Small Child had gotten up in the middle of the night to put his precious iPhone in that most dreaded of locations known as ‘somewhere safe’. Bugger! The poor child was forced to give up all his secret hiding spots where he keeps his childhood ‘treasures’ as we continued the hunt for the phone. But alas, the curse’d iPhone was no where to be found.
We searched high and low for this thing (well Mr K and Yale searched ‘high’ and the Small Child and myself searched ‘low’). We even called in backup to try and help locate it thinking that more eyes on the problem would help. We knew it was on the network, we knew it was on silent (school policy), and we knew the battery was probably running low by this point. Executive decision made to wait until nightfall, turn off every light in the house and call it hoping that the touchscreen lighting up would be enough to give away it’s location.
If you’ve ever been on a long car trip with children then you’ll feel our pain here… instead of ‘Are we there yet?’ being repeated every fifteen minutes, we had a constant rendition from about 4:30pm – 8:00pm of ‘Is it dark enough yet?’ We eventually turned out the lights and took up positions throughout the house and called the damn phone again. Convinced it was in the Small Child’s room, I vigilantly took up my post there expecting a flash of light… but no. The plan did however work! The iPhone that was previously known as ‘Steve’ and shall be henceforth known as ‘My Precioussss’ was located on the bookshelves in the dining room. The exact same bookshelves I had dusted several hours earlier in our futile hunt for the Too Carefully Stashed iPhone Incident of 2012. :S Whoops. My bad.
I think there’s a few morals to this pathetic ‘First World Problem’ saga… firstly, maybe kids don’t need the stress of obsessing about expensive electronics, so we just shouldn’t give them these things, no matter how sound or well intentioned our plans may seem. Second…hug an IT geek today! We would have given up on the iPhone and perhaps even stupidly replaced it if we didn’t KNOW for certain it was in the house somewhere. And finally, I wouldn’t ask me to help with the dusting if I were you… I’m obviously blind as a bat, off with the pixies or stoned out of my gourd. :S