Today I left Wiggles' bedroom after putting her down for a nap, and was greeted by Grins holding my phone, open. (Apparently I had left it in the other room while putting Wiggles down, and I hadn't heard it ring. But he obviously had.)
The following conversation then ensued:
(Grins): "I answered your phone when it rang. I told them you would be right back, but they hung up..."
"Who was it?" I immediately asked.
"Grandma" he said, but when I checked the call history it was not, in fact, Grandma, but actually an important call for which I'd been waiting. Fortunately, thanks to call history, I was able to connect with the woman, who told me my son had said I would come to the phone....but after waiting an extended period of time, she wasn't so sure when that would be, so she had hung up.
I decided it was high time we had a lesson in phone etiquette. I guess that, since we don't have a house phone, and the children are (generally) not allowed to touch our cell phones (except under direct supervision), this lesson has gone un-taught for far too long. And so it began. We spoke of how to properly answer the phone when it rings, how to politely take a message if necessary, what to say when YOU are the caller, and so on.
Then we decided to practice. Grins decided to call Grandma. I helped him dial her number, and left the rest up to him. It was adorable to see how excited he was....we speak with long distance family members on the phone fairly regularly, but he's never been the one in charge of the call, and it made a marked difference in his focus and seriousness. I heard the phone stop ringing and my mom answer "Hello?" To which Grins said "Hello. This is (Grins full name; first, middle, last). How may I help you?"
I couldn't stop laughing, thinking how cute it was that he had obviously remembered how to answer the phone (sort of - I never mentioned using his full name; that was his addition) - but was forgetting the 'caller' role....but my mom took it in stride and said "What can you do for me? How about give me a big hug and kiss?!"
He then went on to talk to her for over an hour, while I prepared for dinner (all the while thinking - this is Brilliant! Why didn't I think of this before??!!!) I didn't hear her side of the conversation, but chuckled frequently as he told her things from his point of view - how he was hoping to watch a movie if his mom would let him (ha!), how we would go pick up Angel from school at 3 (wow! first phone conversations, and now telling time, too? When did my little guy grow up?) Telling her about skating and sledding, and reassuring her that he was saving his money to buy a plane ticket to Oregon. And recommending that, if it ever did snow in Oregon, she try sledding down her big hill, since he strongly endorses sledding, now that he's a 'pro'. He mentioned things he's been working on, books he's read, gifts Angel and Wiggles got for their birthdays, and more! He just went on and on, pausing to listen, then answering her questions and even turning the conversation in new directions. I couldn't believe how at ease he spoke and at such length! It made me realize that, between his two sisters and me, the poor kid often can't get a word in edgewise, but actually has quite a lot to say! And that, despite how busy our life seems to get, I should take more time to just sit and talk with him. He is really very interesting, and a fine conversationalist! (Incidentally, he and I did enjoy quite a lovely conversation this morning as we washed dishes together. He has a new found love for handwashing dishes [the warm, soapy water feels SO good when it's as cold as it's been here lately!] - and we spent most of the morning doing just that together (since we had a big baking day yesterday and someone - ahem - shirked a certain dish duty last night. But it made for a wonderful morning chat for Grins and I.)
What turned into a simple little lesson in phone etiquette taught ME much more, as my children often do. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pick his brain about politics.....