The Phone Bazinga: Why Kids Get Extra Loud When You’re On the Phone

Before I was a parent, I talked on the phone without any problems at all. I could sit on the couch and quietly discuss with my wife the finer points of a romantic evening. I could pace around the house and talk with my friend Roger, trying to convince him that Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo is not only a dynamite pitcher but is also quite talented off the field too! I could talk—just talk—for however long I wanted. And I could do it in peace and quiet.

It. Was. Glorious.

Now that I’m a parent, those days are long gone thanks to a wonder of the world known as The Phone Bazinga.

The Phone Bazinga is a phenomenon which states that no matter how quiet and calm they currently are, your kids will suddenly be in your face and, most likely, screaming, the moment you make a phone call. It’s 100% true. There’s a secret Bat-Signal that goes off the second you say “Hello,” activating a molecule in kid brains where they lose their minds. 

What’s that? Dad’s on the phone! We must yell at the top of our lungs!

I hear Mom is calling grandma! This is the perfect time to unload all those questions we’ve been saving up the past two hours and ask her right now!

The 5 Principles of The Phone Bazinga:

1. It can happen at your house, in your car, at the store—anywhere your kids can find you.

2. Age doesn’t matter. Whether they are 6 weeks old, 10 months old, 5 years old or in college, they will make noise once that phone is in your hand.

3. You can’t escape it. They follow you around, like a cruel game of Follow the Leader, tattling on “so-and-so” or complaining about “so-and-so” or asking why their mom (your wife) won’t let you grow back your mustache(because she doesn’t like things that are awesome).

4. It can happen at any time. Think you’ve outsmarted them by waiting until nighttime when they are sound asleep? You silly fool. They’ll just pick that time to sleep-fall out of bed or throw up all over the covers.

5. The more important the phone call, the louder they get.

Phone Bazingas make it nearly impossible for parents to communicate, which is why there’s always so much confusion around the house. My wife is always saying that she asked me “five times” to cut the grass. What she fails to mention is that each time she asked me, it was over the phone—likely during Level 3 Phone Bazingas. In fact, I’m most certain that all important “reminders” she gives me happen during Phone Bazingas. This would also explain why last Thursday I didn’t take out the trash and why I didn’t pick up the dry cleaning (though in my defense, I did set a new all-time high score in Mario Kart—YEAH ME!).

Can Phone Bazingas be Stopped?

Don’t waste your time trying to stop it. You can’t. I’ve tried everything—setting them in front of the television, letting them play with the iPad, gating them in their playroom and then going upstairs and crouching in the corner of the bathroom tub (this only makes them louder and generally ends with an injury or something valuable breaking). I even tried bribing them with candy one time when I was trying to make a work call. This just led to two sets of screaming: 1) when they landed me with a high-pitched Phone Bazinga and 2) when they were furious that I wouldn’t give them candy after they failed to remain quiet during my important call.

So forgive us friends and family when we don’t answer your calls and when you haven’t seen our number show up on your caller ID in years. It’s not because we don’t want to talk or because we’re mad at you (though if you were the one who drank the last beer in our house we are probably mad at you). It’s because, quite frankly, we can’t. At least, we can’t peacefully, all because of the Phone Bazinga.

And that, my friends, is why the phone companies invented texting. 

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