Clara came walking into the room holding something up to her ear.

“Hello,” she said cheerily.

I turned and started to respond, but she waved an apology and pointed at the phone held up to her ear. “I’m on the phone…” she mouthed quietly.

I folded my hands in my lap and waited for the predictable nonsense that I knew was coming.

“Oh!” She said, turning away. “You are at the beach! That’s great!” She looked towards me again, holding a hand over the device. She whispered softly, “They are at the beach.”

“Yes, I heard,” I said stoically. “Could you tell them tha-”

“Just a second,” she cut me off. “My Dad is talking.” She held her phone out in front of her and twisted a volume knob to drown me out. Suddenly the room was full of the sound of waves crashing soothingly against a rocky beach.

I stared at her.

She stared back and then she slowly pressed another button and the sound of the beach transformed into relaxing whale noises. “There…” She held the noise maker back up to her ear. “I can hear you a lot better now.” She grimaced at me for interrupting and then headed back up the stairs.

I listened as the little girl and the moaning whale disappear into the living room before I finally turned in my chair and continued my work. Inside I had to smile. I mean, I’m happy that my children have such good friends. Who else gets to wander around the house on a Saturday afternoon and have conversations with an apparently beached whale on the noise maker that they pulled from the belly of their little brother’s Sleep Sheep? That is a once in a life time opportunity to expose my daughter to new and interesting people and creatures. And then suddenly I frowned inside as I remembered that I would have to pay the phone bill.