NEW CASTLE —
What is it about making a phone call that makes children turn into tiny terrors?
I feel as though my almost 3-year-old child is a very good listener.
If I ask her to do something, she will usually (eventually) do it.
If she makes a mess she will clean it.
If she spills her drink she is “sowwy.”
If she pulls the cat's tail and the cat runs away she seems to feel some remorse.
BUT, something about me picking up a phone, dialing a number and connecting with someone on the other end turns her into a monster.
When I was a teenager and even early 20s, I recall my mother saying how “hard” it was to talk on the phone with her obviously terroristic children home.
I, of course, thought she was grossly exaggerating.
What could be so difficult about making a phone call?
I silently judged her stupidity for not coming up with rational solutions such as turning cartoons on or offering snacks.
Then I had my own daughter(s) and NOW I UNDERSTAND.
Every morning around 10 a.m. I call my mother while I clean my house.
I hate cleaning and she would be sad to know that this is the main reason I call her. Sorry, Mom.
My children are not morning people, but the minute I dial the phone, no matter what I am doing with them, they become sociopathic tyrants. OK, maybe sociopathic is a bit harsh — but, actually no, it's not.
Usually, I have the phone on speaker, somewhere in the middle of the room while I tend to the kids.
I bathe them, feed them, talk to them, let my mom talk to them. But, it does not matter.
In the end, I believe their true goal is to make me lose my mind.
Usually the first thing my older daughter does when she sees me even near a phone is go into the drawer in the kitchen with the knives.
Luckily, we have it “childproofed” but I still have to stand there and repeatedly explain why my (bright and colorful pink and green) watermelon knife is not a toy.
Then she wants chips.
It's funny how me getting on the phone at 9:45 am causes her to crave parmesan garlic kettle chips, but I guess that's just how the universe works.
While she eats chips, my younger daughter eats a magazine.
That is, if she is not in the mood for cat hair.
Now, we’re six minutes into the phone call and I decide to do the unthinkable: sweep the floors.
So, because I am attempting to talk on the phone and sweep the floors, my daughter decides to pull my shorts down to my ankles: repeatedly.
I obviously cannot finish sweeping until they nap (which is usually my time to shower, so I will skip that for today) so I decide to sit down with them and let them talk to my mom, who is on the other end.
At least I think she is. Sometimes I lose the call, but don't even know it because of the yelping and giggling and whining and tiny feet smacking the hardwood floor as they jog away from me.
However, when I allow them a chance to talk to their grandmother (whom they typically are somewhat fond of) they both growl, stare blankly at me, pick the phone up and hurl it across the room.
I suppose the lesson here is that children almost never do ANYTHING on command.
I realize that being distracted, and on the phone and giving them less attention is likely the reason WHY they become little gremlins, but a girl's gotta stay sane somehow.
Well, sane-ish, anyway.