Damage Control

Do Not Disturb

Andy, 9, and Alex, 4, know the rules: When mom's office door is closed, she shouldn't be disturbed.

"Normally, I would get someone to stay with them for something as important as a radio interview," says Loriann Hoff Oberlin. "But one time, I didn't. I thought they'd be fine watching TV for a few minutes." Unfortunately, the home office expert and author was wrong. In the middle of the show, the doorbell rang. "A neighbor was delivering grapefruit I had ordered as part of a school fund-raiser. Andy was engrossed in the TV show and wanted to get back to it quickly. Instead of handling the delivery himself, he dashed into my office and tried to get me involved. After frantically signaling him away, he finally left."

The problem was, he left the door ajar and Oberlin couldn't get over to close it. So conversation and TV sounds became background noise for the somewhat discombobulated interview on, of all things, how to work at home while the kids are there. What did Oberlin learn from the experience? First, she learned to use the mute button on the phone judiciously. Second, she learned to get her children's attention before giving them instructions. "Andy was just getting into the TV show when I told him about the radio interview and we talked about what was expected of him," she says. "I don't think he was listening very well."

Contact Sources

Lexi Communications Inc., (800) 594-LEXI, eneedell@mail.org

Loriann Hoff Oberlin, P.O. Box 515, Monroeville, PA 15146, http://members.aol.com/lhoberlin/author/htm

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