Monday, 30 January 2012

Why are wrong numbers never busy?

I love the different phases kids go through on their path to adulthood.  It is always so amusing to see how they handle various challenges that confront them and what they do to resolve conflicts.  At the moment, the challenge course of choice is Telephone Answering 101.  

In the beginning, it was always interesting to see their little faces light up when they put the phone to their ears for the first time and some bodiless person on the other side started speaking to them.  My lot, growing up in an era of Skype and computer-based communication, could not get the hang of speaking on the phone where the other person could not see what they were up to.  They had long conversations with Granny Moo, where they "showed" her all of their toys or other interesting things that they had been up to by taking the phone to various places and pointing a lot.  I remember them getting quite cheesed off when she seemed perversely unable to answer their questions such as "What's this?" (holding up an object to the phone).  I think they thought she was deliberately not answering their questions when she tried to guess at what they were doing.

Then came the excitement of discovering that, if they dialled out, someone would be sure to answer and talk to them.  The most surefire way to get someone to talk to them was to dial 111.  We were mystified a few times when some hacked-off operator phoned us back to ask us not to keep dialling their emergency number.  We then realised that the boys had been phoning up for a chat.  Luckily, they had not yet got to that stage where they shout into the phone "It's an emergency!" otherwise we might have had the fire service beating down our door on more than a few occasions. 

Now, however, they are of an age when we really need to start teaching them a bit about phone ettiquette.  I have phoned home from work on a few occasions where the phone has been answered by a heavy breather (and not the exciting sort!) who then proceeds to hang up on me.  Clearly an intervention is called for!  So far, we have had several dry runs, where the Sweetpea or I go onto the upstairs extension and "call" the downstairs one by beeping the intercom function.  Then we get one or the other of the twins to answer the phone in the correct way.  So far, so good.  When I recently phoned home, I was able to have an intelligent conversation with a little one (I could not tell who it was, though - horrible mother!) and also managed to be passed on to their dad without too much fuss and only five minutes of talking about everything else under the sun (which I really enjoyed, but the work-people listening in didn't).

However, now Little Miss Snoopy thinks this phone thing is a lark too and insists on being included in the tribe who "get to say hello to Granny Moo".  So Granny Moo has to sit for half an hour listening to the heavy breathing and the occassional "ess" or "no" coming from the girl-child.  Like a true woman, she is already able to clock up her time on the phone!

Photos today are courtesy of Paddy's new digital camera!  I particularly like his version of "self portrait".

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