So Liam and I have Pink Eye. But that is not the point of this post.
Liam was home with Pink Eye yesterday, while the rest of us went off to school and work. Around 11am, I noticed an incoming call on my cell phone from the home number. I picked up expecting to hear Zoleka’s voice and was pleasantly surprised to hear Liam on the other end. So I’m like “hey, how you, who said you can use the phone?” And he says “nobody, I decided for myself.” So I say “ok, who helped you dial the number?” And he says “I dialed it myself” So I say “Where’s Gogo?” And he says “ironing and cleaning.” So I say “ok, but WHO dialed my number?” And he says “ME, I DID IT MYSELF!” So I say “you know my number??” And he says “YES!” So I say “who told you my number?” And he says “you did.” Then he says “can you also give me granny’s phone number please?”
I was gobsmacked. Our landline is newly installed.. as in two weeks old. The kids never just pick it up and use it, but I’m more shocked that he could pick up a phone and dial my number without assistance! I have always reiterated the importance of them knowing mommy’s number but they never get it right when I ask them to repeat it to me. And it’s always a big joke when they fake call me from their toy phones and they garble some silly number and I think to myself, how is it that they remember the month, day and time you jammed their finger in the door, yet they can’t remember a 10 digit number.
Well since then, he (and his sister who also stayed home today) have called my cell phone about eight times. I have to tell him to go easy on the phone or else his allowance will go towards the phone bill… now I know how my father felt when we sat on the landline for hours!
There’s a part of me that is so relieved that I know that HE knows the number… I explained to him again last night that now he KNOWS how to call me if he ever gets lost or if he ever feels in danger. He can go up to any adult and ask them to phone his mommy. He nodded his head and said “yes, and if anyone steals me I’ll just call you.” Gulp.
So I’m going to put up the numbers of the special people they enjoy talking to, so they have access (and can remember) these numbers too. BUT I’ll make it quite clear that they need to ASK for permission before dialing whomever first!
I also think it’s important to make them aware of the important emergency numbers – they know about the panic button and the house alarm and are VERY good about not touching UNLESS there is an emergency, so I do believe there will be no prank calling, well not until they reach 13 at least.
Do your small children know how to contact you in case of an emergency? If they don’t, don’t underestimate the power of good ‘ol parrot fashion repetition – that is clearly how Liam learned my number and I wasn’t even aware that it was working. We don’t give these little people enough credit sometimes!