Monday, September 15, 2008

Children and the Law

My children have recently become experts in the law. And because I’m fairly certain it’s not part of District 91’s curriculum, I’m not sure where they learned it. The Cartoon Network?

My children, who now seem well versed in various statutes that apply to children in the state of Idaho, have become the leading authorities on authority.

First they told me I couldn’t leave them alone in the car.

“Not even if I’m running to Little Ceasars to get a Hot ‘n Ready pizza?” I asked.

“You’ll get arrested,” Kaleb said.

“Even if there’s no one in line and we park right in front?”

“You’ll go to jail,” Leah added, gravely.

Okay. I can comply with the law as delivered to me by my minor children.

But yesterday they detailed this law in a manner that left me questioning. I was gassing up the car. They all unbuckled and poured out of the van.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“You’ll get arrested,” Kaleb said.

“For putting gas in my car? I’m right here guys; I can see you through the window.”

“You’ll go to jail,” Leah added, gravely.

My dear children—always looking out for my greater good. They don’t want a delinquent mom. I get that. But really, gassing up my car?

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not one to abandon my children in the vehicle and go off gallivanting. Except for those few times I’ve gotten pizza. And returned movie rentals. But that’s it. And that will happen no more, apparently, as my children are incredibly invested in keeping their mother out of jail.

However, they’ve taken the law too far. And by “they” I mean “Zack” who, after listening to his ever-wise older siblings, has started sharing his own version of child protection laws with me.

Like when I went to the garage to grab my forgotten cell phone from the van.

“Mom!” Zack yelled from the open doorway. “You’re gonna get a rested!”

Or when I threatened to send him to his room: “The police are gonna put you in jail!”

It’s a tough rap, parents, keeping these kids in line. Not only will it stretch your patience, endurance, and mental aptitude, but it may just leave you wondering how many episodes of “Law & Order: Trial by Children” your parenting style might inspire.

16 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think you could use some "a rest" time!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Are you sure they weren't taught that in school? Next thing you know, they'll be narc-ing on you! Little fascists...

Tola said...

i admit i always worry when i see a running car in a no-parking zone with a child inside. ive been known to just park nearby and start my mental clock as to when i got there. so far i havent had to call the authorities, and i hope i never do have to. since ive moved to Philly ive reported dangerous drivers about 5 times but only because they tried to kill me!

Thelissa said...

I'm thinking they heard it at school too. The gas station one made me laugh especially hard!

Gustogirl said...

My kids express the same sentiment often. Unfortunately, they learned it from me. It was a tactic to get them to come when they would scream they wanted to stay in the car while I grocery shop. Now it comes back to bite me when I run in for a hot-n-ready pizza, or drop off dry cleaning, return a video, etc. I say, in a glass store front when you are only 100 yards from your kids, you are exempt!!!

Kaye Butler said...

My kids, 13 & 12, nearly stroked last week when I told them to stay put in the van while I returned the movies to RedBox rental just inside the Wal-Mart front door...

They too know that I could be arrested for leaving kids in the car...yet they scream at me all the time that they are not kids anymore...

Kristi O said...

you should write a sitcom! hahaaha.

ThatGirl said...

I so don't want to be a downer, but where I live a child just died by getting his head caught in the auto window while his dad was quickly at the ATM. It happens!

Sorry, I know that's not the downer you're looking for...

shauna said...

Tola and ThatGirl, You know, I almost didn't post this because I know it really is a problem and didn't want anyone to think I was being too lighthearted about this issue. And I know that more parents than just me leave their kids in their cars for just a sec while they run and drop something off--regardless of how dangerous it can be. And that's when I decided it was important to post this after all. I've needed my kids to get in my face and remind me that there's no reason to risk their well being--not even for a 5-buck pizza or a rental return. And while it was a rare occurence, it's something I no longer do because of their "loving" reminders. It just means I have a lot of company gassing up the van...

1blueshi1 said...

Oh Dear God. The episodes I would inspire...I can just see myself being crossexamined by Jack as I sob on the stand and try to defend my decision to make Bookey take a NAP---
my kids like to critique my driving. One little swerve off the pavement while I dig in my purse and they're all "Oh My God" and looking around like it's the Titanic and maybe they can commandeer a life raft if they hurry. And don't let me steer with my knee. A suspicious voice floats from the carseat in the back and says, "Mommy, why aren't you driving?"
And I totally want to say, "LOOK DO YOU SEE THE VEHICLE MOVING DOWN THE ROAD AND STAYING BETWEEN THE YELLOW LINES I AAAAAAAAAM DRIVING HERE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!" But then I realize I am attempting to defend my motor skills against someone who does not know the entire alphabet.
Worse, I am losing.

Dianne said...

OOOOOHHHH!!!!I have SO been there. Load your kids up, take them to the local precint, substation, whatever, and tell them to FIX what they did! Sometimes those information talks at schools give WAY to mcu info at a WAY to young age (mine are now 11 and 17).Visit me at www.countryandlovingit.blogspot.com

Eileen said...

Your children are very, very clever. They know how to take a rule and push it to the limits. I love it, they make me laugh. So do you.

If it makes you feel any better, my teens still like to pull that on me.

Love your writing Shawna! You have such talent.

JustGramma said...

Confession time.....they probably got their info from me. Zack was sleeping in his car seat one day when we got home from grocery shopping. I decided to run the groceries in before I got him out. Needless to say by the time I got the frozen food into the freezer and got back out to the car he was awake and sobbing hysterically. I got him out and held him for a long time until he calmed down. And in the process I promised never to leave him in the car alone again. I reassured him that I could be arrested for doing such a dumb thing. All three of them have at one time or another since reminded me that I could be arrested if I left little ones alone in the car. Sorry, Shauna!!

shauna said...

Lynda, It's okay. And I really shouldn't be leaving them in there alone, even if it's just to get a pizza. The gas station though--that cracked me up. And now Zack comes unglued if I empty the garbage outside and leave him alone while I do it...

Melodrama Mama said...

I also get the

"Did you see that sign for the speed limit? Are you speeding?"

And

"Don't you think that you should have slowed down? That light was yellow you know."

kario said...

My girls told me this morning that I could not go to the gym because they didn't want to go to the Kids Club for an hour while I worked out and, "You can't make us do anything we don't want to do. Our bodies. Our rules."

Wanna bet?