Life With Ladybug: Hold the phone

By Shannon

For the first time ever today, my daughter asked to call a friend. It’s particularly amusing since she is not what I’d call a phone person. By age 6, most kids race to answer the phone and will gladly trip anyone else who tries to get it first. They’ll gamely chat with anyone unfortunate enough to be on the other line, telemarketers included. Except my kid. She’ll chat someone’s ear off in person, but we have to sell her on talking to my parents or her aunts and cousins in Philadelphia on the telephone. “Oooh,” we’ll say, enticingly, “Your aunt has something so funny to tell you about her dog, Nellie!” Or “Max the cat got a new toy today. Let Aunt Jane tell you all about it!” Or “MeeMe just brought home a chicken just for you that’s spotted like a Dalmatian!”

But today she suddenly felt the urge to speak into the tin can. I dialed the number for her (I’m friends with the friend’s mother) and handed her the phone.

She was shy at first. “Hello?” she said tentatively. I supplied a few questions in the background, cringing at my own helicopter-like involvement. “Ask her what she’s doing,” I urged in a stage whisper, adding, “Tell her what you’re doing.”

She complies and the conversation takes off. I leave the room, to give her some space.

When I walk back into the room a little later, I can’t help but eavesdrop.

My daughter apparently has an invisible cat I don’t know about (ours died over two years ago). “She’s going poo-poo in her litter box,” I hear her tell the friend. “Now I’m cleaning it up.”

Even later (this is a marathon call), I hear, “Do you want to hear a toilet flushing?


“Did you hear that?! Wanna hear it again?”

Next, she moves into her bedroom to let the friend hear the sound machine she listens to at night. She likes the rain, ocean and night sound settings.

“Look!” I hear her exclaim into the phone. “This is the sound of rain! Did you hear it?”

Then she’s back in the bathroom. “I’m going to tell you a story. It’s made up. I’m not reading this: Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Chassie. She was so silly she jumped in the bathtub when the water was running and she didn’t even take off her clothes!”

She laughs mirthfully. She cracks herself up.

When she (finally) gets off the phone at the mothers’ insistence, she makes kissing noises into the phone and reluctantly clicks on the “talk” button to hang up. She looks a little bereft.

Suddenly my mind morphs her into a moody tenth grader and I imagine the drawn-out hang-up with some boy. I remember those goodbyes well: “You hang up first. No, you hang up first. No, YOU hang up first.”

Breathing. Breathing. “Bye.” Ruluctantly.