I don’t like phones. Never have. I don’t really like chatting on them. They feel impersonal. They are also hard to hold. I don’t think God meant for our arms to be held up to our ears for hours on end or our shoulders shrugged to hold a phone in place while we chat endlessly to whoever is on the other end.
My kids, on the other hand, LOVE phones. My daughter has several fake phones. My son has several fake phones. My wife has a cell phone that is never off and several phones strategically located around the house. If I could live without a phone, I would. But I can’t…so I have a cell phone…which is too small for my fat fingers and which is so thin that I have literally been holding it and it has fallen out of my hand almost without me knowing except for the clunk of metal on the sidewalk.
Anyway, when I’m at work, I like to call home and talk to my children. Christopher is 5. Ava is 3. Seriously, I usually have no idea what they are talking about when I’m at home, standing directly in front of them, making direct eye contact. The wide variety of topics that pop out of their mouths at any given time, whether they make sense or not, usually require me to come up with a response. Now…if I don’t understand, how am I supposed to respond? Well…that is a problem now, isn’t it? But they still require a response…so I usually find myself trying to make something up until one of us gets so frustrated that yelling ensues and then I win…because I’m bigger.
That doesn’t happen on the phone. On the phone, I am at their mercy. Depending on their attention span, a conversation can last 20 seconds or 5-10 minutes. For example, if I call when they are watching a movie, I can usually squeak out a “Did you have a good day?” and there is a laugh and a yes and then silence. Oooookay. “Can I speak to your mother please?” And that’s the end.
Then there are the days like yesterday. Everytime I call Christopher I say, “Hey buddy! What’s up?” and, for some unknown reason, he always says “Good.” I’m not sure what that is all about. Maybe he thinks I’m saying “How are you?” I dunno…
Anyway I begin the conversation that way and then he proceeds to tell me EVERYTHING that happened to him that day. Occasionally he pauses to take a breath, but for the most part it is a long story of his adventures throughout the day and how he was playing at school and somebody did something and he did some math questions and he played with Jack and then someone got hurt but it was okay because someone didn’t mean to hurt somebody else and he ate 4 bowls of cereal and a banana for breakfast and he likes to make paper airplanes and mom took them to this place and that place and…on and on. It’s a sounds like a very good story and he is definately excited to tell me all about it! However, usually the mouthpiece of the phone is placed against his cheek and I can’t understand a word of it.
When he’s done, I gratiously say “Well that sounds like a full day there buddy!” and he laughs and I tell him I love him and I hope he gets a good night’s sleep.
“Do you wanna talk to Ava?”
“Yes.” I say.
“Okay. Goodnight! Love you daddy!”
“Love you too buddy!”
“Okay! Love you too! Goodnight!”
“Love you too! Is Ava there?”
“Yes. You wanna talk to her?”
“Yes, Christopher. I already said I want too. You get a good night’s sleep now? Okay? Love you!”
“Love you too daddy. See you tomorrow! Love!”
“Love you too! Goodnight!”
“Christopher…please give the phone to Ava. I love you. Now goodnight!”
“Okay…here she is. Love you! Goodnight!”
And he finally hands the phone to his sister. Begin the whole process over again. Except Ava likes to hold the phone so that the mouthpiece is down by her neck and all I hear is “Bbgartylaskdhljkwer. LAKjhakjlsdjrjrjrjr (laugh). Aslhfhrereth sdlkjlk mommy asdjhwerjhrwer daddy.” And then it ends with…”Ava, I love you too? You get a good night’s sleep! Please give the phone back to your mother now.”
“Okay daddy. Love you!” And the phone crunches and muffles and finally I hear my wife on the other end say “Didja get that?”
And then I talk to my wife and the whole process begins again…just at a more mature level. However I’m still usually on the other end with no idea what is going on. And I realize…they are definately more like their mother.
(If you liked this blog, go check out …is this thing on? for a story that inspired this one!)