Parenting out of control comes alive through these practices of connection. One white, professional middle-class mother of three waxed sentimental as she explained, “[The cell phone is] a way for [my daughter] to connect when she needs to, or a way [for me] to connect with her.” Another white, professional middle-class mother of three explained that frequent communication secured intimacy with her oldest daughter: “I think its kept us closer because I can always reach her—not that she always wants to hear from me or I want to hear from her, but she’ll call just to leave me a message.” Indeed, Marian English, who spoke so articulately about responding to a baby’s “needs,” finds that cell phones enable a kind of private communication that she believes helps ensure occasions for open and intimate relationships with her teenage children:
I will call one or the other of them [while in the car], and we will just talk. . . . Just a couple of times this year on the phone I could ask [my daughter] about [things that seemed to have upset her], and because we both have time and there’s nobody else around [she will open up]. I think it was a very good move; it keeps us available to each other.
Marian then told a story about how she had sent a text message to her daughter wishing her luck on a final exam and how her daughter was impressed by her mother’s ability to text.’6