Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My children's emergency broadcasting system (aka my cell phone)

You remember those wonderful public safety announcements? The ones that always came on and interrupted the most interesting part of a show to inform us that "This is only a test. Had it been a real emergency, no one would have known because they'd already have changed the channel." Now they no longer show the annoying striped screen, but the voice is still there as the protestations of no real emergency roll across the bottom of the screen. My children must be paying attention because they, too, like to test our emergency broadcasting system (aka my cell phone).

After a disastrous attempt to take all 6 kids grocery shopping last week, this week I wizened up and only took Kirsti and Matthew. The rest were left at home with Elise. I love that my worry is lessened when leaving my kids because, in case of emergency, I can always be reached on my cell phone. I think, however, I may need to review the meaning of emergency with them. The following are examples of things too pressing to wait till I got home:

  • What's for dinner tonight?

  • What are you going to assign us for our chores today?

  • What can we eat for an afternoon snack when you get home?

  • Can we go on the beach later?

  • When are you going to get home? (3 times)

  • Ryan and Ethan are throwing the full size mattress at each other.
This one might actually qualify as an emergency, except it happened 10 minutes before the call was made and was only added as a side note to the dinner question. You really don't want to know the details of why (or how) they were throwing a huge mattress at each other.
  • Can I play on the computer first today?

So, I am now not sure if it is less annoying to bring the kids with me or leave them at home. I'm leaning toward leaving them because
  1. the chore question was so they could get a jump start to get to the beach faster,

  2. the computer question reminded me I had promised Ethan 1st turn on computer and saved me the hassle of accidentally promising two people,

  3. and the dinner & snack question was asked because Elise wanted to make both (which is exactly what she did),

The only information I would have rather not known was the only thing close to an emergency: the mattress throwing incident. Mostly because I prefer to think of my life as normal and my children's fighting habits as usual.

These calls are not an isolated incident. It happens every time I leave the house. It might actually be more obnoxious than trying to use the bathroom with privacy. The worse part is that I know if I ignore the call, it will be the time the house is on fire. So I answer the phone. I referee fights, make simple household decisions, tell people where to find their shoes (or socks or favorite toy or common sense), and solve you-could-have-figured-it-out-on-your-own dilemmas. I remind myself it is a small price to pay for a little freedom.


  1. I hear you. I thought when my kids were old enough to leave I would feel liberated. Instead I get phone calls asking me where I am, when I will be home, and Josh hid the remote.

    As long as the remote is found before I get home, there is no emergency.

  2. You win the patience award for this (probably because you have a fair amount of practice). Do grocery stores in your area deliver?

  3. Have I told you lately how much I enjoy all your posts?! You are a most excellent writer. Also, I meant to respond but didn't healthy M&Ms are simply ones without artificial colors and have less refined sugars. It was sort of a joke for my sister. She has health problems and tries to make the rest of us feel guilty that we can tolerate the good stuff. Oh yes, and if you ever brought your beautiful blond kids over here they wouldn't last 5 minutes without getting 100s of photos taken of them.

  4. Oh how completely I know your pain. Half the time my kids will call the cell phone and say, "ummmm...I forgot what I was going to tell you."

  5. Just bring them over to my house next time! I would gladly watch them while you went shopping.....either that or I would leave my kids with them as well and join you at the store!

    Remember the good old days when you had 3 kids and I had 1 and we would take them all to macy's grocery store together? I remember picking out the $0.10 monkey bars out! Ahhh the good old days.

    (my budget back then was $25/ week can you believe that!!)

  6. I remember those days well. I didn't have cell phone then and the decisions were made by you. We can home once to find Barlow locked in the closet. The freedom is nice. I loved the picture of Matthew.

  7. I totally remember doing that to Mom. The questions just seemed so pressing at the time.

  8. oh how I wish I could leave my kids at home when I go shopping. I would take the "important" phone calls over the "no don't touch that its glass" x50 :)

  9. Steph- exactly. And I think hiding the remote is a definite emergency!

    Claudia- I need to check on that.

    Bikmans- Thanks! And I swear, I have never seen M&M's like that.

    Cami- I get those calls sometimes, too. Mostly Elise will cover her forgetfulness with something like, Uh, um, uh, how are things going?"

  10. Davis family- I remember those days well. Oh, how I miss Macey's monkey bars.

    Tucker Mom- I don't know how you did it pre-cell phone. I bet my brothers never threw a mattress at each other. And I think we had Barlow pinned to the ground, not locked in the closet. Boy he was a tease.

    Boyer family- Gave away my ancient age by admitting you had cell phones at that age and I didn't.

    Mom at Our House- in the long run it is SO worth it.