The odds of having an uninterrupted phone conversation with your grown children (who are now parenting your beloved grandchildren), are roughly the same as the cast of Duck Dynasty agreeing to shave their beards and wax their legs.
I was talking to one of the girls on the phone the other day when she abruptly asked, “Do you have to go potty?”
I was momentarily stunned. Perhaps she’d been watching some of those pharmaceutical commercials about problems that strike women of a certain age. I calmly said, “No, but thanks for asking.”
When talking on the phone, it is difficult to tell when a question is being directed to me or to someone else—say in the two- to five-year-old range.
“What are you doing out of bed? You’re supposed to be asleep.”
“If you thought I would be asleep, why did you call?”
Asking why I am out of bed is a close second to my all-time favorite: “Why are you crying?”
“I’m not crying. Why did you think I was crying? Should I be crying?”
Naturally, I understand our kids are often talking to their own kids, but I like to respond all the same, as it seems like more of a real conversation that way.
“We’re out of dried fruit snacks.”
“Thank goodness,” I say. “Those awful things taste like an old shoe.”
Other times we can be in the midst of discussing a matter when I receive unsolicited instructions on how to dress.
“You’ll need your coat—and zip it up!”
“But I’m not going anywhere!”
It’s not all bad. There are times I receive lovely compliments. “You look beautiful, sweetie.”
“Thank you. It’s probably that new under-eye concealer I’m using.”
Sometimes the admonitions are invigorating. “Stop somersaulting off the back of the sofa and put those cushions back on right now!” It’s wonderful to think they still think I am capable.
I also love when we are attempting to make family plans, and suddenly, with a great sense of urgency, one of them shrieks into my ear, “You didn’t put that in your mouth, did you?”
“I did,” I say. “It was an orange. There’s nothing wrong with oranges, is there? Tell me they’re not the new gluten.”
Other times I don’t take the interruptions so well and find myself getting defensive.
“Go get a tissue. You need a tissue.”
“You go get a tissue,” I snap back.
Other times our fragmented conversations are quite agreeable.
“You eat that right now! Don’t get up until you finish your plate.”
“OK, if you insist.”