Well, I’ve been doing some confessing about parenting errors but I completely forgot about about this little gem that the Artiste pulled on me when he was about 6 years old. After this one I’ve earned the right to an error or two. A special thanks to visiting middle sister who remembered this event.
As I said, my son must have been around 6 at the time. It had just been either his birthday or Chanukah. My father in law gave him a very novel gift. The Artiste was into Sponge Bob big time back then. There existed a telephone that was the likeness of the very annoying animated character. What kid wouldn’t love this in his bedroom? You can only imagine the obnoxious ring that it emitted.
We used the common 1-2-3 time out method back then. Something had happened (3 times in a row) that warranted my son being sent to his room. After a very short time I snuck up the stairs to make sure that he was not crying too hard and much to my surprise I heard this one-sided conversation instead,
“She just sent me To my room.”
“No, she wasn’t yelling or anything.”
“My dad? Sometimes I get in trouble with him too.”
“No, it doesn’t happen a lot.”
“He sends me to my room too.”
“Yeah, sometimes I do things I shouldn’t do.”
“O.K., I guess it’s normal for mommies and daddies to get angry sometimes.”
“O.K. Thank you, it was nice talking to you too.”
Yes, that was a phone call to the Kids’ Helpline and yes my heart was racing. We then sat our son down and explained to him that, that special phone number from the t.v. was for kids who couldn’t talk to their mommies or their daddies about their problems and whose parents did a lot more than just give time outs. He responded by saying, “Oh no, they said it was really nice talking to me and I could call again any time.”
Sponge Bob mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again.