The mute button
“Mom!” I heard my son shouting. I had just kicked off a conference call and since it was my call that I was hosting, I had to be “present.” Two of the four of us were late, so it got started late and I had about two minutes before I knew the pizza in the oven would be ready.
I pressed the mute button. “Coming, honey!” I tore down the stairs.
The timer was going off. The kids — the Bigs and two friends who were guests of my middle son — were already watching a movie and they must have had the volume on 11 because it was super loud! One louder. As I rounded the corner, I noticed that my oldest son’s playdate had arrived, too.
I took the phone away from my ear, put it on speaker, then realizing that only added to the chaos, pressed it against my shirt, as I said hi to my friend’s dad.
One of the kids had already shut the oven off. I assured my son’s friend’s dad that everything was under control…we were gonna watch the movie that my middle son’s friends’ mom had sent over, was his son hungry?, sorry about the call, he said he understood he was working at home today, I told him I work at home every day, and I’d drive his son home when I went to pick up my youngest…while getting the pizza out of the oven.
I realized the phone was silent — it must be my turn to speak — so after I quickly smiled and bid adieu to the dad, I dashed into the bathroom and shut the door, to rejoin the conversation regarding the need for someone to set criteria so we can add more meaning-blah-blah-blah-don’t want to discuss trade secrets here.
I was trapped in the bathroom, but as soon as I figured someone else was going to speak for 20 seconds, I put the phone on mute again and dashed back upstairs where I commenced my IM conversation with one of my colleagues who was also juggling kids today. I often feel comforted to see her online at 11 p.m.; I know I am not the only one!
“Ooh, craziness,” she said when I explained the scenario.
She told me “I’m on a call trying to get out 2 items before I need to leave in 2 minutes to pick up the kids.” She had told me previously she had been invited to speak about her job at her son’s class and was wondering how she was going to explain what we do in kindergarten terms.
My call ended, and I went back downstairs.
“Is the pizza ready yet?” one of the boys asked.
“It is!” I said. And it was ready to cut and serve, too.
I turned the oven on and it was only a few minutes before it was at the right temperature for the “ready-to-bake” (if it came out of my oven it’s homemade) chocolate chip cookies. I popped them in and went back upstairs to get ready for my next call.
Throughout the afternoon I checked in with the five boys (I didn’t want them to tell their parents I wasn’t around at all!). They sometimes split up into unpredictably interesting combinations, using the wii or playing with Nerf guns in addition to watching a movie. They’re all on the same school bus. My middle son’s two friends are identical twins. Thank God they wore different colored shirts today, the first letter of the colors corresponding with the first letter of their names. It is not like this every day at my house, but this is school vacation week and it was my turn to have kids at my house.
I used the mute button a lot today.