It's my twins' 11th birthday on Monday and over the past year they have not let me forget that they're due their first phone.
Their older brother received one on his 11th, after much persuasion from him about how his friends had had one for years. That week, I watched my son disappear into his screen, never to emerge.
Devices create zombies. For example, I asked the kids to strip their beds this morning so I could wash their sheets. After much-exasperated prodding for him to get off the couch and deliver his sheets ready for the next load, the oldest must've finally moved, for I heard the machine beeping its alert - signalling either the lid had been lifted or something had jammed.
Upon investigation, I discovered he'd stripped his bed in zombie-like fashion, delivered his sheets to the machine, lifted the lid and stuffed them in on top of the current load on its final spin – all the while with phone in hand.
I have to admit I lost my **** at this point. It being school holidays and me trying to work and conduct the annual spring clean at the same time, it was not going so smoothly.
But it's seldom I lose my cool and it seemed to get their respect - or maybe they were just scared of me, for they pulled their heads in and sprang into action, negotiating the list of communal jobs between themselves.
The captain was back at the helm and, after a few other mishaps leading to the confiscation of the phone, together we got through the jobs and I even got the oldest out mowing the lawns.
He'd never admit it, but I'm sure he felt refreshed after the blast of wind, plus, as he's a perfectionist I think he may actually have taken pride in his job.
But all the while, Miss 10 has been in my ear about her impending birthday and the mobile phones they will be receiving and, knowing what I do now, it's with a sense of doom that I view this birthday. I am not looking forward to my twins disappearing into their devices, never to emerge, but fair's fair, I will get them each a phone.
And I'm not alone. According to a survey reported on Seven Sharp this week, 25 per cent of parents said they expected their kids would be on screens for five hours or more a day during these holidays. More than 12 per cent said more than seven hours.
It's definitely time to call a family hui for stricter screen time rules for my lot and I'm looking forward to having their full attention once again, as well as running our ship together.
Plus, my lawns have never looked sharper.