Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

May 17, 2007

Welcome to the wild kingdom

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 4:56 am

Sometimes I wonder what people think when they call me on the telephone.

I always answer my phone if I can. I could be changing a diaper, making dinner, wiping a runny nose, breaking up a fight.. I will answer the phone.  The phone is my lifeline to the outside world, and I am not going to miss a chance to talk to another adult under any circumstances.

HOWEVER, my conversations are never peaceful or focused. I often have to stop talking mid-sentence and tell one kid or another to stop doing something. Often I have to respond to a child’s demands, or I will be forced to hear it over and over and over and over again until I do. Mommy more milk. Mommy more milk. Mommy more milk. OKAY ALREADY. I will get you the milk if you let Mommy talk for 2 minute with Grandma.

I am now the person I was irritated with, before I had children. You know, THAT mother who holds two conversations at the same time…. one with the person on the phone, and one with little Johnny who is trying to color on the walls with permanent marker.

I can hear the frustration in other peoples voices, but I can’t help them. They have to either deal with the fact that I will be distracted at times, or they shouldn’t call. My kids are awake until about 8:00, and at that point I don’t want to talk to people on the phone anymore because I am tired and want to be with my husband. So there you have it. Who’s with me?

The worst part about it is that when I am really really focused on the conversation and actually completely ignoring my kids – people think that my kids are chopping off one of their limbs in the background. This is because they are usually screaming or laughing at the top of their lungs and it sounds like a pack of hyenas. Unfortunately, I dont’ even hear them. I have tuned them out, like a person going partially deaf and can’t hear low noises. I am the other way… I can’t hear my children. The only time I clue in to the fact that they are making noise is when the caller says, “what in the hell is going on over there”. Then I hear the noise and make appropriate explanations.

The other day, I thought maybe I should start screening my calls.  This way, I could find out who was calling and gauge their receptiveness to my kids in the background. My screening process would be like this:

family – pick-up because they have to learn how to deal with it
parent of multiple children – pick-up because they can relate on every level and will be talking over me at times to their kids as well
parent of one child – possibly pick-up if they are a good friend and can be patient
non-parent – don’t pick up because it’s frustrating for everyone involved
sales person – pick up and let them talk to my kids only

In the end, that strategy wouldn’t work either because once they heard my message all they would hear was the kids screaming in the background and would not be able to discern our last name on the answering machine. They might end up wondering if they dialed incorrectly and reached the local zoo.

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