Mom: "Hi! How are you?"
Me: "I'm g-" [voice drowned out by screaming toddler] "Ben! Ben, just let him have that. You're not using it. Sorry, mom, I'm good."
Mom: "There was a big accident on Harrison yesterday."
Me: "Ben! Ethan! Stop fighting! Just share! Can't you share? Honestly, Ben, you don't need that. You're not playing with it. Just let him have it and keep coloring! What, mom? Oh, yeah. I heard about that."
Mom: (Probably suppressing laughter at my expense) "A guy had a seizure while he was driving and went through the median and crashed into the Verizon building."
Me: [Lots of shrieking on the part of Ben and Ethan - "Aaaah! No! MAMA! Gah! Meh! Mine! LET GO!!!"] "For crying out loud, Ben! Why do you need that?! Let him play with it and he'll leave you alone! Wow, was anyone hurt?"
Mom: "The passengers had some bumps and bruises but nothing major. The guy had a suspended license and no insurance. He was treated and immediately went to jail."
Me: ["MAMA!!! NOOOOOO!!!! MIIIIIIINE!!!!] "Give me that! Just give me that!" ["I done! I done coloring!"] "Fine. Good. Great. I'll put everything away. It sounds like that guy shouldn't have been driving in the first pl-" ["MAMAAAAA!!! NOOOOO!!! I NOT done! I wanna color!!! MAMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!]"
(This goes on for roughly 15 minutes, during which time I retreat to another level of my home but it's no use because, dang, their voices can carry.)
Mom: "I hope your day improves from this point. I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you!"
Me: [Much whining and carrying on in the background about coloring, injustice, bad little brothers, etc.] "I love you, too, mom. It was...nice...talking to you?"
Barring details like the accident that took place on Harrison Ave. in Butte yesterday, this is pretty much every phone conversation with my mom. And now that I'm not on the phone, the boys couldn't be quieter and better behaved.
And the object that spurred the chaos was the lid to the coloring bin. The LID...to...the...coloring...bin.