Tony Woodlief | Author

Call and Answer

It was a tender moment. I held Eli in my lap last night, and began to sing:

“Ba-by Beluga in the deep blue sea
Swim so wild and ya swim so free
Heaven above, and the sea below . . .”

“Stop dat singing.”

“You want me to stop?”

“Yes. You sang dat song lesterday.”

“Oh. Well then. Do I, uh, need some new material?”


Ah, children. Aren’t they so refreshingly truthful?

Little stinker.

A new year means being buried under work. I called home yesterday to let the wife know I would be running late. After barely half a ring, my call was answered.

“Who is it?”

“Caleb? Is that you?”

“Oh! Hi Daddy!”

“So you’ve started answering the phone now?”


“Where’s mom?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you downstairs?”

“Yeah. We’re playing with the castle.”

“Is mom upstairs?”

“I don’t know. I don’t see her.”

“Can you go . . .”

“Do you want to talk to Eli?”

“Yes, but first . . .”

(in background) “Here, talk to Daddy.”

“Hi Daddy!”

“Hi Eli. Can you get mom for . . .”

“We’re playin’ wif da castle!”

“I know. Listen . . .”

“And wif da cars, and da trains. Caleb took dat one from me and I said ‘give dat back’ but he said . . .”

(in background) “No I didn’t.”

“. . . and I said ‘I want dat car’ and . . .”

“No I didn’t, Eli. That’s not true.”

“. . . and I cried . . .”

“It’s not true.”

“. . . da other car. Are you home?”

“Well, I’m on my way. Listen, go get m. . .”

“Want to talk to Caleb?”

“I already talked . . .”

(in background) “Here, Caleb. Talk to Daddy.”

“Hi Daddy!”

“Hi. Listen, I’m going to hang up now, because I can’t come home until I get off the phone.”

“Want to talk to mom?”

“YES! Yes I do! Where is she?”

“I don’t know. Just call her and see.”


“Bye Daddy!”


Note to self: unless it’s nap time, call wife’s cell phone.

On Key

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