It seems to me that telephone use and/or important work of any kind must give off a high-frequency pitch that only dogs and children can hear. Dogs, because they seem to be able to hear things of this nature. Kids, because, well, have you ever answered an important phone call in the close vicinity of a child?
The idea of this high-frequency pitch has been tickling the back of my brain for a while. Each time I spend the better half of the morning wasting time on Facebook, perusing around the house participating in not much of anything or, say, watch a show on Netflix, the kids seem to forget about me altogether.
I can usually get through one and a half episodes of Orange is the New Black before one of them is telling me they’re hungry — and that is just short of a miracle because recently they seem to be a never-ending chasm of consumption.
I can walk past the bedroom where they play 27 times before they note my presence and begin questioning what I am doing. There was this one time I read an entire short story without having to break once — that was one in a million, however.
Yet as soon as my body gets close to a telephone or my work laptop, it is all, “Mama, I’m hungry.” “Mama, I’m bored.”
Today we started out fabulously. We woke up and I got in a quick workout while the kiddies ate their breakfast and watched Pokémon. We then got ourselves readied in our finest threads and met some friends for lunch at the local Boston Pizza. The kids were angels. Well, as close to angles as kids can be. There may have been some crawling around on the floor and table licking going on, but we can’t ask for the world, right?!
After our outing we took the dog for a walk and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Oh we laughed and talked and laughed some more. It was a glorious afternoon filled with magical moments had by all.
It was when we got home that things took a hairy turn for the worst.
I was prepping for dinner when the phone rang; it was my sister-in-law Ashley. The kids seemed occupied with a game of Monopoly for the moment so I believed I was safe to answer. As generally happens, we became absorbed in our conversation and as usual at the worst possible time, Sophie decided to begin screaming at the top of her lungs. I have no idea, though, what she was screaming about. There were no tears on her face and she was not physically hurt.
I gave her one of the silent but deadly arm waves accompanied by the dreaded mom fury eyes.
The sheer terror of the mom fury eyes would stop Lars in a jiffy, but not Soph — never Soph. She barreled through my obstinate arm flapping and continued to scream that she was hungry. Or maybe it was that Lars called her a tattletale. Possibly she had lost her sparkly Sophia the First lip-gloss and thought I had stolen it from her.
I eventually had to tell Ashley I would let her go. I know how annoying it is trying talk to someone on the phone when there is some little brat in background ranting and raving — super annoying, ultra-annoying, terrifically annoying.
After hanging up, I explain to the girl that it is unacceptable to scream at me when I’m on the phone and unless it is an emergency she can wait until I am done. I realize as she is walking away, though, that her emergency and mine are probably very different.
When it isn’t Sophie, it is Lars. The boy has learned that trying to get my attention while on the phone is not a wise decision — he probably considers it child’s play.
His aim is to bombard me each and every time I open my laptop to get some work done. It is like he knows the difference between screwing around on the web, which is done on the living room’s desktop, and being on a roll with a great set of prose on my laptop located on the corner desk in the kitchen. He always chooses to find me when I am smack dab in the middle of the latter.
So quite some time ago, the decision to leave work to the early morning hours or long after the children’s bedtime was made.
I’m pretty sure I’m on to something with this high-frequency pitch of a phone or laptop, but even if I am — what am I going to do about it?
I suppose at this point in the parenting game it is a matter of sitting back and appreciating the time we do have with those special little humans. While frequently picturing a day when we will not have to lock ourselves in the bathroom for two minutes of peaceful telephone time.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.