Having worked in a call center for a summer during college, I can assure you I have nothing against telemarketers. That said, I think we can agree popular opinion about telemarketers is, well, not great. Now that I have children, I’ve started to notice some similarities between my 3-year-old and my former co-workers from back in the day.
- They never fail to demand your attention when you’re making dinner. Preschoolers are always clingy attention-mongers, but they really step up their game during dinner prep. In all my years of mothering (I have 5 children) I don’t think I’ve ever managed to make dinner without burning it because I had to solve a meltdown, dress a Barbie, bandage an invisible injury, or Google “how to remove smashed Play-do from hair.”
- They rarely let you get a word in edgewise. Whether she’s alone or with others, my preschooler maintains a constant running commentary that may or may not include made-up songs about various bodily functions. If I’m really quick, I can sometimes get in an “uh-huh” before she launches into another 10-minute monologue.
- They pester you to buy stuff you don’t want. From checkout aisle candy to the cute gerbils they saw at Petco to the stuffed animal that would make #237 in their collection, preschoolers beg you to buy things you have no desire to own pretty much every moment they’re awake. If you inadvertently walk past Build-A-Bear at the mall, heaven help us all.
- They can’t take a hint. Subtly suggesting you’re busy or that it’s not a good time right now will go nowhere with your preschooler. Even if you make it really obvious by, say, locking yourself in the bathroom with a Snickers bar, your child will be right there sticking his fingers under the door and asking to come in. You need to be incredibly direct when dealing with a preschooler, but unfortunately…
- They won’t take no for an answer. When a preschooler asks, “Can I _____?” don’t think for a second that a simple ‘no’ will end the conversation. She knows what she wants and she’ll keep on asking like her paycheck depends on it until your ‘no’ turns into a ‘yes.’ Every explanation you give for why you can’t accommodate her request will be immediately countered.
- They’ll be back. You know how if you hang up on a telemarketer they’ll just call again tomorrow? Your preschooler also won’t give up until he’s tried and tried again. He may retreat to plan his next attack (to the untrained eye this looks like playing Duplos,) but he’ll be back. Probably tomorrow night at dinnertime, with yogurt on his face and ready to play that temper tantrum card he’s been saving all afternoon.
Good luck with your little telemarketer today, moms. And don’t even ask about being put on the “do not whine” list. I tried that. It doesn’t exist.