The Telephone Magnet


It happens every single time. The phone rings, or I make a call. I’m having a conversation with someone, and it’s usually a conversation of substance, whether it be with friends or family, or business-related. Suddenly, out of nowhere, one of my two darling (the italics are there to signify sarcasm, by the way) daughters starts yapping away in my free ear. About something completely inconsequential, of course. And when I’m having a really great day, it’s sometimes both of them at once.

Sophie, being only two, is not the primary culprit, although she does tend to yell a lot when she sees that my attention is not fully focused on her. Chloe, on the other hand, is a different story. She’s almost 7 and knows full well that when someone is on the phone it is exceedingly rude, not to mention extremely grating, to interrupt.

Chloe has mastered this behavioral faux pas, and Sophie is Chloe’s star apprentice. It’s as if the telephone were this outerspace-like magnetic field that draws my two children into its orbit. No matter where Chloe is located in the house, her ears magically hear my voice and voilà! she’s at my side, recounting all of the things she’s been meaning to tell me since she woke up.

This habit drives me crazy. Not just because it infuriates me every time it happens, which it does. I’m a mom to two young children, which means that I am constantly repeating myself. I have no idea how many times I’ve asked Chloe (or Sophie) to refrain from talking to me while I’m on the phone. How many times I’ve told Chloe, through clenched teeth, “I feel like a broken record.” Which I realized today is an absolutely useless analogy to use on a kid born in 2001. Chloe doesn’t even know what a record is (except for the Guinness World Record kind).

I know that lots of kids put their parents through telephone hell. And it is a small consolation to know that I am not alone. My mom tells me that I did the same thing to her when I was younger. Which makes me laugh, but only a little. Because five little words now ring through my head whenever I pick up the phone (and I’m not talking about the inevitable Chloe and Sophie onslaught of meaningless chatter): “What goes around, comes around.” Indeed, it’s my turn to suffer. And I can only hope that if Chloe and Sophie have children of their own, those five little words will resonate with them as well. And when that happens, I will laugh and laugh, joyfully.

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