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because-I-said-so-REDYou know those times when you call to your children but for some reason they don’t respond to your requests? Or when you plead nicely with them to come do their chores already or please wash their hands for dinner, and their lack of response makes you wonder if you should have their hearing tested?

Well, I’ve discovered a surefire way to quickly summon my children to my side without saying a word to them. That’s right, no loud talking, shouting, hollering or yelling required. All I do is pick up the phone to make a call. As soon as I say “hello,” my children magically appear at my side, and get this: they are desperate to talk to me. The more important the call, the more anxious they are to chat with me “rightthisverysecond.” They’ve got questions — Where is my Jigglypuff Pokemon card? Why did Jesus make ants? Can you wipe my bum? — and they need answers, stat.

It’s almost funny how predictable this behavior is. They don’t care for my advice or input at all until someone calls me and then I’m irresistible. It can be  frustrating, too, because I rarely talk on the phone. Most of the time I rely on email and text messages to communicate with friends and family. Texting is ideal for short questions or conversations and is a huge timesaver for busy moms (and busy anyones, really) who need to multitask.

But there are times when only a phone call will do. At those singular times it would be nice if I could actually hear what the person on the other end of the line is saying. Like when I’m on the line with insurance company trying to get prequalified for a procedure. Or when I’m calling an airline to change a flight. Or when I’m doing a recorded interview on the book I cowrote for a podcast and my kids keep following me around the house and won’t stop talking no matter what bribes I throw their way. (True story, by the way.)

I once told them that if I was on the phone and they urgently needed to talk to me, they could quietly hold my hand until there was a break in the conversation and I could answer their question. But my definition of what is urgent — The baby found my finger paint and is pouring it on the carpet! I picked my nose and now it’s bleeding everywhere! — and their definition of what is urgent — I can’t find the right Lego piece I need to complete my Cloud Cuckoo Palace! My Harry Potter cloak is missing! — vary greatly.

I’ve also tried to lock myself in the bathroom to make important calls. But wouldn’t you know it only amplifies my supernatural kid-summoning powers? Turns out my kids’ ears are attuned to hear that magic little “click” anywhere in the house. As soon as they hear that sound, they know it’s a good time to try to find me and bang on the door as loud as possible.

So if you really need to talk to me, call me … maybe.

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