They say that the youngest child tends to learn things more quickly than his or her older siblings because they have all that modeling work off of. That should be especially true for the fourth in line, as Miles is. However, in the case of learning to use a telephone, it seems Miles may be a bit behind on the curve. Perhaps it can be explained by his love of nature and all things outdoors, rather than gadgets (but he does love TV and computers so that theory may not hold up). Whatever the reason, he is only now getting acquainted with using a phone, but he can't seem to get enough of it.
So how does this new fixation manifest itself, you might ask? Quite simply, he calls me incessantly, whether I am out or at home. One morning, for example, I was in my bathroom getting ready for the day. I was running late for everyone's homeschooling schedule, so I was rushing (not uncommon for me). My phone rang about 20 times, in 15 minutes. All of the calls were from Miles. Sometimes I picked up and other times (like when I was trying to blow dry my hair), I let it go to voicemail. No matter, he just kept calling. By the time I was done in the bathroom, I had about 12 voicemails from him.
So what is so compelling that he has to call me so frequently? The simple answer is nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but let's just say his reason for calling would not be classified as urgent. The calls usually consist of him professing his love for me, "Mommy, I love you," punctuated by long periods of silence. The truth is, he likes using the gadget, also known as a phone. Once he makes the call and gets me on the line (very exciting), he has to think of something to say. "I love you," seems to be the go-to line. Don't get me wrong, my heart melts every time, but I also know that the excitement is more about the novelty of learning how to use this gadget, than telling me he loves me, which can easily do by walking over and telling me face-to-face since he is often calling from the next room over.
Sometimes he calls when I'm sitting at my desk and he is in the family room, twenty feet away. He looks at me through the panes of glass on the door that separate the two rooms, smiles, and waits for my phone to start ringing. I smile back, pick up my phone and we have our usual conversation - a profession of true love followed by long silences.
Remembering back, he seems to be entering this phase much later than my other kids. Somehow I remember the twins being much younger than Miles' six years when they became fixated with the phone. If I went out for the evening, or even to run a quick errand, they would call me (especially Graham) just to talk. I would explain that I had only been gone a short time and would be back soon, but that did not dissuade them. They wanted to use the phone and they wanted to hear my voice. How can anyone find that anything other than flattering?
However, in the case of the twins, their favorite person to call was my mom (I may have been a close second). And oh how she loved to get their calls and hear their sweet little voices on the other end. She would always try to guess which one of them it was. Graham and Catherine have very different voices and eventually, she got it down. She would stay on with them forever. They never had much to say, but that didn't bother her. I remember how thrilled she sounded when she picked up the phone and heard their adorable babbling on the other end, telling her of this and that. There would be long periods of silence on those calls too, but she would keep asking them questions or just chat with them about what she had been up to that day. Their lives (hers and theirs) were quite simple at that time, so they had that in common. She simply loved the idea that they thought of her and wanted to call.
When Miles calls me now I think of how much my mom would love to get his calls. She didn't make it quite long enough for him to reach that stage. I know that Miles would be calling her day and night if she was still here, telling her that he loved her, as he tells me. And her heart would have melted, just as mine does. Probably more since a Granny's heart always does.