Dad! Come In, Dad!

I think it’s about time someone finally said it: Telephones should come with child safety locks just like prescription medicines.

There -- I’m glad I got that off my chest.

The reason is quite evident -- if the phone manufacturers would concede, maybe I could actually get something done during the day. Otherwise, I will continue to hear those dreaded words every day when I pick up the intercom on my office phone: "Ken, your son is on line one."

When the school day is done, my kids call me… at work… while I’m in a meeting... with important questions like:

"Dad, can the dog take a shower?"

Or, "Dad, what do I smell like?"

Or, better yet: "Daddy, I just ran into the door and swallowed my loose tooth. Mommy said the Tooth Fairy would probably pay up even before I pass it. Guess what ‘pass it’ means?"

Now, for those of you who have answered the "pass it" question while there are clients sitting in your office, sipping a hot beverage, starring at you while you attempt a normal expression, you will understand when I announce that I have memorized the exact number of days until my children leave for college.

You will also know the standard response passed down through the generations of fathers to their children in situations like these: "Why are you calling me -- where’s your mother?"

I have discovered, however, that children call their fathers when they can’t locate their mothers. And so, as the moms of this world step into their bathrooms, or are away from their desk at work, or hide under the house for some peace and quiet, dads are called away from their staff meetings to referee fights, grant permission for friends to spend the night, and tell baby dolls to "listen to your mother and take a nap right now!"

Once again I am having the typical week. The kind where my assistant wonders out loud who she works for -- my kids or me. I think my boss wonders the same thing.

So, the other day, I laid down the law and told my children not to call me UNLESS there’s no way they can ask their mom the same question.

The reprieve lasted exactly 15 hours. Then my son called.

"Where’s your mom?" I asked him.

"She’s locked in the car."

"Don’t you mean locked out of the car?"

"No," he explained. "She’s in the car."


"I don’t know -- I was drying my shoes in the microwave and she just sort of flipped out."

"What?" I asked.

"Yeah, I know," he said incredulously. "I think mom thinks we can’t see her but who else would be in the backseat under the dog’s car blanket?"

I paused to catch my breath. "So, where’s your sister?"

"She’s in the garage tapping on the car window. I have to relieve her in 10 minutes. If mom stays out there all day, can I eat the Jell-O right out of the box?"

And so the cycle continues until college -- or, as I like to say, 3,285 days, 18 hours and 46 minutes.