Disclaimer: I love my children in 1000 different ways. They are inventive, precocious, beautiful and smart. They are sweet, kind and gentle. They are also little terrors when I’m on the phone and I would gladly lock myself in the bathroom while they clawed at the hollow door just so I could get FOUR SECONDS to talk on the phone.
But I’m pretty sure that’s abandonment or something, so I don’t do that.
Talking on the phone used to be one of my most favourite pasttimes. I don’t live in my hometown (nor where my parents or sisters live) and so there are lots of people that I keep in touch with via phone conversations. When Lila was a baby, I would lie on the couch while she slept on my chest, and I would gab away to my mother, my long-distance friends, and my husband at work. Oh, I was so unsuspecting. So naive.
Now that I have two little girls in the prime of their attention-demanding, manners-deficient lives, phone conversations have changed. The telephone, instead of an escape, has instead become a prime source of embarrassment. My children see the cordless headset cradled in the nook of my shoulder and suddenly, their miniature Mr. Hydes come to the surface, frothing mouths and all.
“She hit me!”
“I want that!”
“Who are you talking to?”
“Can I talk?”
“She hit me AGAIN!”
The person on the other end of the line must envision me standing in a crowded room, or perhaps in the monkey cage at the zoo. The girls then complete their Animorphs transitions and transform into a flock of seagulls, squawking at my feet:
“I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry…”
Forget Chinese Water Torture. This is enough to break you. If I’m on the phone with the bank or customer service or somebody important (save us all), I desperately claw through the pantry to find something to keep them occupied. If I’m talking with friends, then I determine how badly I need adult interaction before I cave.
Once the food has been devoured, the intermission ends, and the “Get Mom Off The Phone” show resumes.
“Moommmmmmmmmm….. ? MOM! I need help/more food/this toy/this game/to poop/your-attention-right-now-because-it-has-been-divided!”
And typically, this is the time that the swan-song of the phone conversation is heard on the other end of the line: “I should let you go…”
No! No, I want to talk! But… yeah. I should probably go. I’m bound to lose my patience and say something that I’ll regret having broadcast over the phone to you, my grown-up friend, who is sitting in what seems to be absolute silence.
The phone conversation: it’s become an endangered species in my house.
I know that there are a million ways to curb this behaviour (and I’m trying them – don’t worry) and I know that one day, I will be wondering why they DON’T want my attention any more. But for right now, if we’re going to talk, you’d better text me. Or e-mail me. Or come over.
There are hungry seagulls lying in wait by my phone.
Umm it sounds like you have an issue with your children, it’s called normal! I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it doesn’t get much better when they’re teenagers, oh but interrupt them on the phone…totally different story!
Oh Mel… don’t say that! I’m still holding onto a magical age that will suddenly result in calm and quiet play whilst I’m on the phone.
(And the teenager on the phone part? I totally believe that. 🙂 )
Clydia @ THREE MANGO SEEDS
Cracked up when I read about interrupting their phone calls! So funny I do that too! 🙂 I love THE LOOK I get!
I feel your pain and my kid is only one! She can’t even talk and anytime she sees me texting or talking on the phone, she wants it. Spoiled brat!
I wish I could say that it gets better, Jenna, but *sigh* it’s crazy when I’m on the phone right now. It’s like the phone is their bat signal.
Hey Tara,I can totally relate to what you have written as I too have two daughters aged 4&6 and the same attention craving behaviour happens everytime I’m on phone 🙂 Hope this phase passes soon 🙂
Me too! Though it sounds like this isn’t a phase that zips by! Gah!
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Ha ha ha, and that is precisely why I haven’t called. Are you around on Tuesday? Sophie will be in daycare so it would be a good day on my end for a chat, what time is best? Let me know and I will give you a call. Glad you had a good camping trip! Talk soon!
Tuesday works well (especially during the afternoon) – I’ll only have one child, so that should decrease the odds of chaos on my line. 😉
Camping was great; can’t wait to catch up! 🙂
Amy of while wearing heels
Oh Tara. This is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Something funny, relate-able and light hearted. I can totally relate to the ‘I’m hungry’ 🙂
Oh man… the “I’m hungry” is the worst. I’m so glad that you were looking for a lighthearted read. You know I’m full of things-not-serious!
(I’m also full of my-children-are-driving-me-crazy! stories too, if you ever need to commiserate!)
Hahahaha…I have been that person on the other line but lucky for you I am not sitting in absolute silence…mostly I am trying to keep my crazy 2 year old alive as she uses the time that I’m on the phone to climb to new heights, jump off of wobbly things, and try to get into the oven.
Is your kid quiet while she’s doing those things? It’s a hard decision… quietly scaling the kitchen cupboards or clutching to my pants wailing that they’re malnourished babes who are obviously being neglected by their mother?
Either or, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
bwaahahaha…. love it Tara. Too funny! The only way to get through with our sanity is to see the humour in it all. Thanks for bringing back the humour! Love your writing,
Thank you, Krista! This post was based on actual events (are you surprised)?!?! I’m wondering if there’s a way to do “talk to text” so that I can gab my face off, but the other person won’t be able to hear the craziness happening on my end.
I could not agree more. Humour is my most favourite coping skill. 🙂
Ha! I remember those days! The kids don’t do that anymore, but I find my little shihtzus are terrible for wanting to be in my lap when I’m on the computer trying to work! Have a great long weekend Tara! Angie xo
I’m glad to hear that these days don’t last forever. I’d glady take a dog in my lap over a begging child at my heels! 🙂 It’s a good thing they’re cute!
Hope you have a lovely long weekend, too, Angie! 🙂
Clydia @ THREE MANGO SEEDS
Your post is hilarious but so true! Just so you know — all of mine are teenagers now and it still holds true! I think my home life is even more hectic now then when they were toddlers! Life is just plain busy! LOL Great post Tara! XOXO
Oh no… MORE hectic? Clydia… I’m going to have to get a babysitter so that I can make all of my phonecalls in silence! 😉
I’m glad that you enjoyed the post – sometimes I just need to “write my feelings” so I don’t verbalize them too often ’round these parts! 🙂
This is so funning…a parent on the phone seems to be the quintessential magnet for kids. Not sure why. I remember it so well as a child. Mom would be on the phone and for whatever reason, I HAD to ask her something! I think it’s in the genes. The kids can be as calm as can be…they’re reading, playing quietly, eating or even napping, but low and behold as soon as you reach for that phone their little radars go off and it’s Mommy time!! Have-to-talk-to-Mom…Must get her attention…Get her, Get Her, GET HER!!! (;
When I read the “Get her, get her, GET HER!” part of your comment, I was like, “Yes. This is exactly the way it is.”
I am targeted. There is no doubt. The kids can sense that I am giving my attention to someone else, and they will take any means necessary to get it back.
What’s amazing is that within seconds of me hanging up the phone (usually after many sighs of exasperation and a few “I’m sorrys” on the phone), they will happily trot back to whatever they were doing before the phone converasation, as if nothing ever happened. This is what baffles me.
haha (; We just have to face it…they’re little heat seeking missiles when it comes to Mom’s attention and the phone is the trigger (; Ah, but what a blessing those little missiles can be…tugs for attention and all (;
You’re so right. I know that I’m going to miss these constant bids for my attention. I have to stop and appreciate that.
And sometimes I have to write blogs about it. It’s the sanity thing. 😉
I about snorted Diet Dr.Pepper out my nose reading this! ha,ha,ha My kids are the worst at this! If it is someone important it is crazy-ness trying to get any information from or to the other person. I walk around with one finger stuck in my other ear so much that my 2 year old thinks that’s how you talk on the phone, and has started plugging her ear when she is on the “phone”. Here is your silver lining…… at least you only have 2 and not 5. 🙂
Oh Kadie – I laughed out loud when I visualized your little one walking around with a finger stuck in her (his?) ear. My kids practially yell when they’re having their fake phone conversations… I wonder why??
I love your silver lining. Can I make that into a t-shirt? “At least I only have 2 and not 5.”
It will come in handy when I’m at the grocery store and my children insist on unloading every. single. item. from the cart by themselves while the lady behind me wearing Coach ballet flats tsk-tsks impatiently.
“Lady – look at my shirt! Count your blessings!”
p.s. Awesome to see you here, by the way! Don’t be a stranger!
amy @ one artsy mama
Hahaha…I am SO there right now with my son. “Who are you talking to, Mommy? Can I talk? Mommy! Mommy! Listen, Mommy! Mommy I have to tell you something!” Lol. Funny but not funny at the time…
That’s a good way of putting it: “Funny, but not funny”. My husband has taken to going OUTSIDE when he’s on the phone!
Sounds just like my house!
Have you resorted to texting or emailing everything? I’m using my cell phone more than ever these days, and not for talking! 😛