It is virtually impossible for me to have a conversation with another adult if my kids are around. Like a moth to a flame, they are drawn in by this rarely-seen interaction that doesn’t involve or revolve around them.
I dread having to make phone calls if they’re in the immediate vicinity. It doesn’t matter if I give them their favorite snack and put on a favorite show and they’re 100% preoccupied with something else. As soon as I say “Hello, my name is Lynn…” they’ve never been hungrier, thirstier, or in more need of attention than they are now.
I’ve tried hitting the mute button on the phone, looking them dead in the face, and saying in a loud, clear voice “Mommy is on the phone. I need you to be quiet.”
This is met with a blank stare and zero comprehension of what I just said. The only thing this served to do is provide them with the opportunity to take a deep breath and launch into their list of demands and questions. Oh and I’ve tried hiding. Do you have young children? One does not simply hide from their children. They’ve got the nose of a bloodhound and a gritty determination to seek you out. Like a horror movie, you know that closet door is about to open and expose you to the killer on the other side.
My favorite is when they both decide to stage a fight-to-the-death cage match. Usually this happens when I’m specifically on the phone with the pediatrician. I’m toggling back and forth between the mute button on the phone as I scream for them to be quiet to the point where I forget whether they’re muted or not and surely they hear me being an awful mother with a complete lack of control over her offspring. Finally I reach a desperate point and I am ready to promise them anything – a lollipop, fruit snacks, a unicorn that poops out cupcakes – so that I can complete the two-minute phone call.
“Hi, I’d like to make an appointment for Olivia’s next well – STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHER OR I’LL GIVE YOU A TIMEOUT!”
Olivia: “NO TIMEOUT!” *blows world’s biggest raspberry*
Me *shoots a death stare in my daughter’s direction while mouthing for her to stop before I take away all that is precious: “I’m so sorry…yes, I’m available on Wednesday mornings.”
Olivia switches gears from harassing her brother and begins profusely licking the dog like it’s a rapidly melting popsicle.
Me: “DON’T LICK THE DOG! THAT’S DISGUSTING! Sorry again. What were you saying? We need to find another pediatrician? Oh…”
Then there are the in-person conversations I try to have with other adults. Remember that MADTV sketch “Stuart” where he does something totally random while yelling “LOOK WHAT I CAN DO?” This is how my kids behave in the middle of a conversation I’m trying to have with our contractor about grout lines.
It’s not as if they’re doing adorable stuff like sweetly coming up and asking to shake the person’s hand and introduce themselves. Nay, that is too tame for these kids. Olivia has a habit of just jumping up and down or spinning like a whirling dervish while she shouts weird babble that sounds a lot like “DADOOODAAAAAADO IT DODIDIDODT” and is usually punctuated with the word ‘poop’. It’s charming really. We’ve single-handedly made sure that our contractor never wants to have children.
Last week we had a landscaper come by to see about leveling our yard for a swing set. I told the kids that I needed five minutes to have a very important conversation and they could stay on the deck and play while we were in the yard. Simple instructions to follow, yet why would they? They open the gate on the deck entrance and let the dog out. Our dog hates people. Like she would go for someone’s jugular but she’s just too small to reach it. I hear giggles and then see the gate open to watch the dog go tearing down the steps towards the landscaper. The kids run after her, cackling with glee and behaving like wild animals recently escaped from the zoo. I excuse myself as politely as I can from the conversation and tackle the dog before she can reach the landscaper. That is not an exaggeration. I literally had to drop to my knees and fall on top of the dog to prevent her from reaching him. Demurely, I brushed myself off and put the dog inside the house and hissed in a low guttural whisper to the kids, “You stop it. You stop it now or else I will throw your iPads in the garbage. THE GARBAGE!”
Then, ever so calmly as one can be after such calamity, I nonchalantly ask the landscaper whether he has children of his own. He shakes his head and looks as if he thinks they are a terrible idea while Olivia and AJR start up with Preschool Fight Club in the background. My children are going to cause the human race to become extinct at this rate.
Why does this happen? My children are most interested in me when I’m trying to talk to a person or use the bathroom. Please tell me I’m not alone here. Does anyone else’s kids get like this?