Apr 23

I Know What Doesn't Work

Hollywood Noble - age 2?

I love you Noble, I really want to talk to you.  What you have to say to me right now is probably life alteringly important, and I’m dying to hear it.  I can’t wait to turn the hands of time to ‘pause’ so that I can sit forever and listen to your pearls of widsom.  But I’m on the GODDAMN PHONE right now!  SO SHUT IT!

How is it that every time I put the phone to my ear, suddenly Noble needs to tell me something.  If I were a detective, I’d say this has the stink of an attention battle.  But I’m not a detective, so….jury’s still out.

I would love to write a post that tells the reader exactly what works in this situation.  A step by step guide, perhaps, that details a nonviolent way to get a child to sit like the Buddha while the parent enjoys a long, gossipy phone call with an old friend.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the data to give you that awesome post.  But I do have plenty of data on what doesn’t work!

So the next time you are on the phone and your kid keeps chanting your name over and over again, and you can’t hear yourself think, remember, don’t do this:

  1. Don’t say, “Please be quiet, I’m on the phone” – What are you, an idiot?!  All that means to your child is that you think what you are doing is more important than what they have to say.  But clearly you don’t understand how important it is to show you how two blue crayons are the same, so your child will just try to convince you WHILE YOU ARE ON THE PHONE!  This comment also elicits a response of “Get off the phone! Hang up the phone!  Say goodbye!”
  2. Don’t snap your fingers, wave an angry finger, or some other pissed off gesture – My mom used this on us, and it worked fine.  It let us know that if we didn’t shut the hell up, right away, then we’d pay for it when she was off the phone.  I don’t think she started this move until we were a little older, maybe school age.  I’ve tried it on Noble, and it just ended up making him cry, probably because he thought I turned into the devil, and I was silently snap-throwing demon mist on him.  Dealing with a crying child, while on the phone, is a bit harder than dealing with a talker. It’s a call ender.
  3. Don’t do what your kids say to get them to be quiet – This includes making a snack (you will inevitably bring him the wrong thing, causing him to scream at you without mercy), turning on a tv show (it will be a neverending game of “Not that show, a different show“), or playing with them (Trying to appease a child whilst talking on the phone, while potentially easy for the multitasking-able mothers out there, is unhealthy for the male gender.  It will cause our head to implode).
  4. Don’t have them hold your hand while you talk, to show them they are important blah blah blah - I read this in one of those lovey dovey flowers and sunshine parenting books.  He did hold my hand, which was fantastic, but then spent the entire phone call tugging at my arm to see, like the tootsie pop owl, how many tugs it would take to rip an arm out of a socket.
  5. Don’t stop and talk to your child - Here’s the catch 22.  You need them to be quiet, but in order to do so, you need to talk to them. When you stop your conversation with the adult on the other end to talk to your child,  you become “one of those parents”.  Nobody wants to be “one of those parents.” If you’ve ever been on the phone with someone who has kids, and their speech went like this, “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your….Alexis!  Mommy is on the phone.  Ooooh that IS pretty!  Yes, we can do that as soon as I’m off the phone…..I’m sorry, you must just be devastated!  To lose someone so…..Alexis we don’t put those in our mouths….” then you know what I’m talking about.

There is a tricks that I haven’t tried just yet.  So the next time the phone rings and Noble starts up with his talky talking, I will try, “Noble!  Hurry, hurry!  The Chocolate Princess just crapped in our backyard!  There are Hershey’s EVERYWHERE!  GO GO GO!” And as soon as he races into the backyard, I slam the door shut, lock it, and answer the phone.  My hope is that it will buy me at least 5 minutes, and that the weatherstripping around the door will block out most of his “disappointment.”  It’s worth a shot, I think.

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