Sunday, September 2, 2012

Get Off The Phone!

Get Off The Phone!
Ah, the phone. What a love-hate relationship I have with it. I'm going to share why by describing what it's like in my house when the phone is in use.

Scenario One

Bbbrrrrriiiiing......bbbriiiiiiiiiiingg....

Yep, that's the phone ringing.

Caller ID says it's a call I {probably} need to take.

I scan the room, OK, the kids are happily playing, Bebecita is napping...I should be OK to answer.

"Hello?"

I see and hear the kids' voices stop and their playing pause.

Oh no! Have I been discovered?

Maybe if I act nonchalant and make my way sloooowly to another room they won't notice.

I continue the conversation.

It's a potential client, which means it's an important conversation. First impressions are essential.

The plan: make the convo as short as possible while maintaining professionalism.

The convo continues...we are making headway and I can see the end in sight...just a bit further...almost there.

And then...

"Eeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Mommmeeeeeee! Mommmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Sharky Boy is sitting on me! Aaaaaooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Mommmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

And even more....

"Mommmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! MOMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

I am defeated.

"Oh as you can hear my children have discovered I'm on the phone. If you'd like we can meet up how we discussed and have a more relaxed and uninterrupted chat."

Thankfully she agrees and we settle on a time and place just in time cause I hear footsteps and they round the corner in unison calling out:

"MOMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

I need a snack. I need a drink. I hurt myself. I need a bandaid. I want to read a story. I want to watch TV. I can't do up my zipper. I can't figure out how to build this. I need to pee. I need to poop. I need you to wipe me. I want socks. I want a snack...

It is endless.

Then there's,

Scenario Two

I need to make some calls.

Because I want to actually be able to hear the conversation, I do a little prep work before I make my calls.

Do I need to actually tell you the success rate of my prep work?

No, cause you can probably guess. But I still have to try and this is usually how it goes.

"OK guys. I need to make some calls. Please find something fun and quiet to do while I'm on the phone. Please don't talk to me or interrupt me while I'm on the phone. Here is a snack and a drink. Does anyone need to pee? No? OK, now, please be quiet."

Ha, when hell freezes over, right?

I wait about a minute.

Everyone is settled.

Hmmm, maybe this will work.

Sharky Boy is playing with Iron Man.

Mermaid Girl is playing with her dolls.

Bebecita is sleeping (she sure likes naps!).

I dial the number.

I keep my fingers crossed that they answer quickly. And that I don't have to go through one of those ridiculously long automated-number-pressing-sprees.

"Good morning, I'm calling because I need to book an appointment. Mornings are better for me. Yes, that's me. OK. Alright, I can do that. Perfect, see you then."

Yay! Call number one successfully completed!

OK, moving on.

I need to schedule a meeting.

I dial the number.

It's ringing.

"Hi! how are you? Oh, we're good, yeah, it's been busy. So when do you want to meet up? The other girls can do Tuesday, is that good for you? OK, well, let's meet up at--"

"Mommmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I need help!"

I do the shhh sign. I point to the phone. I wave my hand telling them to go play.

It doesn't help.

Apparently the Barbie doll dress issue is an emergency.

"MommmmmmEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

And now Sharky Boy's in on it too.

"My Iron Man's arm won't go back down!"

Both in unison...

"MOMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

I could say, "I'm sorry I'm going to have to call you back. Thanks."

But this time, I decide not to.

"Sorry, can you hold on a moment."

I turn to them.

"Mermaid Girl and Sharky Boy, I asked you to please wait until I was done on the phone. If you need something come to me QUIETLY and if I can help you I will, if not you will have to wait."

"OK Momeee."

So Mermaid Girl hands me her doll and dress and Sharky Boy his Iron Man and I fix the problems while on the phone.

Other times I can't multi-task.

Other times the baby wakes up.

Other times, I usually choose to call whoever I'm talking to back.

If it can't wait, I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom.

{Like the time the doctor's office finally called me back to give me test results and book an appt for me. At least a door muffles the noise a bit. But the drawback is you sound like you're in a bathroom and that maybe the person on the other side will think you're peeing or pooping while on the phone. Hahaha. So if you're reading this and you've ever heard that echo-y background when on the phone with me, it doesn't mean I am using the toilet, it just means I am desperately trying to get some quiet so I can actually hear what you're saying!}.

Other times I'm just so tired of having to shhh and hide in bathrooms that I just don't call anyone.

Those times, avoiding the phone is the only way I can find peace and stay in Zen mode.

~~~

I've come to the conclusion that having Caller ID, voicemail set-up, and being ready and willing to deal with a similar-to-a-stock-exchange-environment as soon as my ear touches the phone, are the only ways to deal with this telephone magnetism children experience.

Caller ID helps you scan calls, so if it's your friend, who also has a houseful of kids, you take the call cause you know she gets it. If on the other hand, it's a business type call, you can call them back, hence the voicemail.

Also, my life got slightly easier when I got a cell with a texting plan. Ah, it did solve almost all of the problems when small children and phones mix. It did not however solve all my phone problems (like calling doctor's offices and similar places), but at least it helps me keep some of my sanity, which I can save for when I do need to make those other calls.

I'm sure in a few years I will have a whole other realm of phone problems!

And remember, if your children are happily playing and you want to get their attention, or if just for giggles you want to get them all riled up, just pretend you're on the phone, it's a surefire way to get the attention of previously entertained, calm and quiet children.

P.S.
And to the banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, utility providers, random customer service calls and those annoying phone surveys, please understand that when you call a household with young children, there will be chaos and it is annoying and stressful for the parents don't really enjoy answering all your questions. So perhaps you can send an email instead. Or maybe don't call at all {no, we really don't want cable.}

Look how silly and loud I can be!

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