Telephone Syndrome

I regret to inform you that all children suffer from a serious disorder.

Your children may be currently exhibiting symptoms. There is no known cause or cure, but it is prevalent across the country. If you are a mother, you may be familiar with something I like to call TS: Telephone Syndrome.

It usually doesn’t rear its ugly head until three or four years old, but I’ve heard of it occurring earlier in some. Symptoms only occur while you are on the phone and can include: whining, screaming, crying, or misbehaving in any way.

The amazing thing about this disorder is that it can strike at any time. Your child could be quietly coloring or playing calmly, but once the phone rings and you answer it, his or her demeanor will immediately change. This change is akin to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of situation. It will make you want to scream, but since you would be talking on the phone, this is next to impossible to do. Kids are so darn smart.

Just today, the phone rang and it was a friend I hadn’t spoken with in a long time. One minute my preschooler is coloring like a little angel and the next he is hiding Easter chocolates in the dining room and trying to secretly eat them. You may be smart, kid, but not THAT smart.

My favorite is when you are speaking with the dentist’s office or a company that has put you on hold for twenty hours. You finally have a live person on the other end and the moment they are on the line, loud screaming, singing, or crying will ensue. I always wonder if people are curious about what is happening on the other end or if this syndrome is prevalent throughout neighborhoods across the land. I’m hoping that I’m not the only one.

I can remember being eight or nine years old and my younger brother and I were running around the house while my mom was on the phone. We were probably being loud and disruptive and this was before the days of cordless phones, so she could only go as far as the cord would let her. I recall running through the family room chasing my brother and knocking over the Christmas tree. My mom was thrilled. As the tree toppled over, my brother and I both sprinted to our rooms and awaited our fate. Once the phone call ended, our mother came to scold us, though I don’t remember what happened afterwards. We all survived and the tree got put back together.

So, it seems that this syndrome is nothing new and there is still no vaccine for it. I cannot believe that doctors aren’t working on a cure for this terrible malady.

In the meantime, mothers will just have to take matters into their own hands.

Do you have any accounts of Telephone Syndrome?

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