As I was laying in bed pondering life a couple of weeks ago, I rolled over to Chris and shared a troubling thought.
“I don’t think that Ali has the right idea about police. Did you see that wide-eyed look of fear in her eyes when those policemen walked into Chick-Fil-A tonight? I’ve done a horrible job in this crucial area of child rearing.”
Ali often anxiously reminds me, “Don’t go too fast or you’ll get a Bad Ticket from the Police!!” and morosely states facts like, “When adults disobey, the Police come and take them to jail!!”, and “I’m going to learn to be wise now so that when I’m big, the Police don’t come and take me to jail!!!”
Yes, it was clear that I had fallen down on my duty to our civil servants.
But I was not about to wake Ali up at 11pm at night and explain to her how Policemen actually protect us and such, so I made a mental note to do some proper training very soon.
Sometimes, mental notes have a way of biting you in the butt.
A few mornings ago, Ali wanted to call Gramamma.
I never realized this before, but Gramamma has a horribly un-grandchild friendly phone number – it starts with 914.
So of course, Ali’s clumsy little fingers dialed 911.
I heard it dialing, realized what happened, and instinctively hung up the phone. Immediately realizing I should have waited until they answered and explained our mistake, I told her we had to wait a minute, because they were probably going to call us back.
They didn’t, so I assumed it hadn’t rung long enough, and let her call Gramamma.
About 20 minutes later, I had completely forgotten about the incident – until the phone rang.
It was City Hall.
“Hello, we got a 911 call from this number. Is everyone okay?”
“Yes, I’m sorry – my daughter was trying to call her Grandmother whose number starts with 914 – it was just a mistake.”
“Okay ma’am. But I have a policeman stationed outside of your house right now – would you please go tell him that?”
“Oh – okay.”
Now normally this wouldn’t have been that humiliating (at least in comparison to other humiliation-by-child moments), but there was a small matter of, shall we say, The Predicament.
The Predicament had been caused by the shrill ring of our house phone (which hardly ever rings), that apparently sounded like a hungry crying baby to my, um, baby feeding system.
And so, in a twist of cruel fate, something else had happened that almost never happens, and I had a gigantic circle of soaking milk covering the entire upper-left quadrant of my shirt.
I looked out the window. I saw the police car staking out my house from across the street. I looked down at The Predicament.
In a panic, I started looking around for a dry shirt to magically appear. It did not.
As I was considering sprinting upstairs and changing before I made the Milky Walk of Shame to the police car, he got out of his car and walked up to the door.
Knock, knock, knock.
I opened the door, non-crying baby in one arm, Jupiter-sized milk circle on the other side, and Ali standing, wide-eyed, next to me.
“Um..is everything all right, ma’am?”
I rushed the words out, hoping (but already too late) to get them all out before he looked…down.
He took another glance at The Predicament.
“Well okay…I’ll be leaving now.”
And so, Ali now has a full understanding of Police and their many roles, what happens when you dial 911, and the sometimes faulty lactational system.