Since becoming a parent I feel that I am constantly having revelations about my own childhood, and more specifically, what my parents went through. There are just some things that don’t make sense until you’ve lived them.
I think my brother Tyler was about 2 or 3 years old. He was old enough to understand what my parents were saying when they said “Don’t do that” or “Go pick that up”, but he was still quite young. The whole family was in the den watching a movie together. I don’t remember what the movie was, but my dad was really into it. Tyler, being a toddler, wasn’t so much into it. Rather than watch the movie, he was playing with one of his favorite toys, his telephone. This toy telephone made a very loud ringing noise, kind of like an old rotary phone. The first time Tyler pushed the buttons, my dad calmly said, “Tyler, please don’t play with that right now. We’re trying to watch a movie.” Tyler toddled away & played with something else….for about a minute. He then came back to the phone & started playing with it again. “Tyler, please don’t play with that. I asked you not to do that while we’re watching the movie.” Again he went on his way & found some other mischief. And yes, you guessed it, that only lasted for a moment. He came back to the phone & started making it ring again. My dad didn’t say a word. He grabbed the phone, opened the side exterior door, & threw the phone out the door into the side yard.
At this point, it was beyond obvious that my dad was annoyed at the fact that he couldn’t hear the movie we were watching. My mom & I, understanding that he was getting ticked, did our best to stifle our laughter. We were doing okay until Tyler walked up to us & started saying, “He frew my phone out da door!” My mom said,”Shhhh! Tyler, be quiet.” But he kept going. “Momma, daddy frew my phone outside!” My poor dad. He was so sick of hearing that stupid phone ring, but my mom & I couldn’t hold back our laughter at this point. Thankfully, my dad ended up seeing the humor in it as well, and to this day, we all have a good laugh when we talk about this story.
I always thought it was kind of funny that my dad got so fed up with the noise that he threw that phone outside. Well, I’m pretty sure I understand now. Everything in our lives makes noise these days. Toy drums, guitar, cell phone, rattles. It seems that every time I move in this house, I trigger some toy & it starts singing. One of Lincoln’s favorite toys is a Leap Frog alphabet wheel. I swear I can hear that thing in my sleep. “Spin, spin a letter. Spin, spin a letter. ‘I’ is for inch worm!” When I set the diaper bag down on the table, it mashes against something in the bottom of the bag, & the music starts. Sometimes I just want to yell, SHUT UP ALREADY! And this is just the beginning. I have many, many more years of noisy kid toys. I’m dreading the day one of our family members buys him a drum set. I’m sure it’s coming at some point.
It took 15 years, but I finally understand why my dad threw that stupid phone out into the yard that night.
Jumping up & down in a very noisy contraption.
One of his favorite toys. This is the “spin, spin a letter” toy. Lord help me.