Of all the games my children love, their favorite is hiding my cellphone.

My daughter put her hand on her hip and laughed. It was pity.

I knew one day she would gain the upper hand, but I didn't think it would be so soon.

Of all the games my children love, their favorite is hiding my cellphone. The aim of the game is to see how close one person can be driven to madness.

"You still haven't found it, huh?" she asked. "Boy, I guess it's lost forever."

"Where is it?" I replied, doing my best not to get angry.

Moments before, my cellphone went missing.

"We have 20 minutes until bedtime," I told them. I set an alarm on my phone for 30 minutes (because they were being so good), and set the phone down on my dresser. When I expected the alarm to ring, the phone was gone.

"What'd you do with it?" I asked my 6-year-old. She was on the floor with her feet in the air.

"Maybe it went on vacation," she laughed. I looked at her dryly. Her eyes got wide and guilty.

I exhaled, "Where did my phone go on vacation?"

"That's a great question," she answered. "Maybe it went to Disney World, or maybe the dining room."

Recently, I told her her when she is hiding something from me she gives it away by looking at the hiding spot. This was a mistake on my part.

So I looked around the dining room as she stared at the plants.

"Aha!" I exclaimed, searching through the plants. I did not find the phone.

"Oops!" my daughter laughed. "I guess it's not there."

I searched high and low, as both of my girls gave me bad directions.

"Daddy, you should look under the dining room table," my 3-year-old advised. When I ducked under the table, she let out a laugh. "Daddy, what are you doing under the table!"

During a quiet moment, I could hear the alarm ringing. Before I could figure out a location, they started stomping around the room and sang, "We are looking for daddy's phone! Oh where, oh where could it be?"

Every time the alarm went off, they sang.

I tried to outsmart them. I tried a tough act. I tried to convince them the game was over. And finally, I tried pleading. But they were loving the moment and the power and were not about to give it up.

So I told them I didn't care anymore, that I no longer required a phone. Then I pointed them to the bathroom to brush their teeth, and I looked around the house. They giggled.

"I think you're on your phone too much," my oldest said.

I told her she was right. "And I will try harder," I said.

"I'm glad to hear you say that," she replied. "You can have your phone back in two days."

We looked at each other, and she fell to the floor laughing. Her little sister chanted, "Two days! Two days!"

Then my phone started ringing, in a kitchen drawer, right where I was standing.

"Well, that was a fun game," my daughter said, walking way. "Come on, I'll read you a story."

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @DaveManley