The child, who is hardly that anymore -- so much so that Ruth, who was grazing her horse yesterday under the trees as we took in the enormity of the 108 degrees of Little Tujunga Canyon, said "Oh my goodness, she's a woman-thing" as Minky came bounding over in breeches, brown locks flying about her shoulders in a way that Jilly Cooper might describe as 'filly-like' -- has gone to Catalina Island with the school to do a Naturalists At Large adventure which introduces them to Marine Life and Outdoor Pursuits and Camping. And best of all, there are no cell phones or computers or IM or BBM or DM or Anything Like That. (Beware, I feel Sandra Tsing Loh taking over my body as I Type Using Upper Case.) The weening off was not easy. She gripped it to her body, the little Blackberry that is now attached to her right hand, as we drove to school, a car full of sleeping bags and camping supplies and new shampoo & conditioner from Ralph's, which also supplied peanut M&Ms and red vines. "Could you not text please" I ask and realize it's a little like asking a dog not to sniff another dog's bottom. The girl that was in the Guinness Book of Records for most texts in a day (which did not, surprisingly, thrill her parents) has nothing on my 15 1/2 year old. Deliberately she gripped a Sophie Kinsella novel in the other hand as my New Ploy is to have her read trashy novels because Anything is better than Nothing. I've become one of those mothers who bribes their children. Shamelessly. Four whole books and I will pay for the Keratin straightening she so desperately wants. My friend Eric, whom I haven't met, but who makes me snort with laughter on Twitter, says that Brazilian Hair Straightening was the beginning of Lindsay Lohan's downfall and should be avoided at all costs. I say Dina and Me, we're Like This. But I like that she's showing off The Book She's Taking On The School Trip even though it's because there won't be bbming and the bbm friends will be there anyway. The major culprit is someone called Rel who had a birthday party this weekend. Both girls spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon getting ready for it, putting up balloons and streamers and hanging fairy lights in the trees of Rel's garden. "Oh we got the most amazing banner" said Minky. "It's really cool, from Anthropologie. Rel found it. It says 'Happy F***ing Birthday'." She watched me as my eyes popped out of my head just a bit. "Oh that's great" I said cheerfully. "Oh my God. You're totally shocked. I can't believe it. Rel's mom thought it was cool" she said. "No, it's totally cool," I said, "I just wasn't paying attention..." my voice faded out to a trickle. I can't believe my own shock-dom. It's so hypocritical of me. We've been driving down the 405 at 70mph listening to Cee-Lo Green's "F*** You" which I have declared The Best Song of The Year and we chuckle ryely at the creative use of the F word to punch up our speech and extol its many uses as every part of speech -- as noun, adjective, adverb and so on -- and yet there am I gobsmacked that a 16 year old girl called Rel who lives in a pretty cottage in Santa Monica with roses outside and a mother who is, according to Minky "way spiritual" has a banner which says "Happy F***ing Birthday." I stand with a foot in each camp. On one side, ladies and gentlemen, The Coarsening of America and on the other It's Just a Word And we shouldn't give it So Much Power.