So, have any of your kids dialed 911 yet? I can now cross that off my list of "Things Every Mother Must Experience". And did I tell you that I recently crossed off "Give Yourself A Haircut". Thank you, Emma for trying that one out on your sweet bangs.
But 911. I was kind of hoping this would never happen, but it did, last week. I knew, I knew that if any of my children did this, it would be Mary. She’s the con-artist in residence. The child that will tell you how cool the broken toy with dead batteries is, so you’ll trade her for the one you’re playing with. The child that when you tell her NOT to do something, kind of looks at you sideways. I can tell she’s wondering what would happen if I DID that thing you just told me not to do. I have to be careful what I tell her not to do to Elizabeth. Like, "Don’t let Elizabeth get a hold of those pennies." Or other safety things like, "If you touch that stove burner, Mary…." She gets this look and I can see the wheels turning and wondering, what if?? So two weeks ago when she was playing with the phone and Dan mentioned something to her about never calling 911 unless it was an emergency, I thought, "uh-oh."
So she was sitting beside me on the sofa last week, playing with the phone. And then it rang. "Hello, this is 911 Emergency Services. We just received a call from this phone number. Do you have an emergency."
Sputter. sputter. Face getting warm. I can feel the nervous blotches on my neck. Why am I so nervous? I didn’t make the call… "Oh! Um, my daughter was playing with the phone. She must have dialed 911 accidentally."
"Will you be home? We are required to send a policeman out to your home to be sure there is no emergency."
"Well, we were just leaving for dinner…."
"Ma’am. We need you to wait."
"Okay. We’ll be here." ugh.
Screaming, crying, freaking out ensues. Mary is worried they’ll put her in jail. Take her away. Be mad at her. Give her a ticket. (The speeding tickets and not wearing your seatbelt ticket-talk happens lot in our car.) She’s dragging me into the bedroom, begging me to hide in there with her. "Please call them and tell them not to come. Please, mommy, please!!" At this point her freaking out is becoming so deep, I’m worried she’s going to throw up.
Meanwhile, all the screaming wakes up Elizabeth, who begins screaming because her sister is screaming.
"Hello, officer. Yes, everything is fine. It was an accident. My daughter is four. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it. It won’t happen again."
So try as I might, I couldn’t get Mary to come outside and meet the officer. At this point I was worried she might throw up on him if I dragged her out the door. She was too petrified, having convulsions in the corner of her bedroom.
But once he left, I calmed her down and helped her regulate her breathing. I looked into those big, wet, puffy, panicked eyes and we had a good talk about Mr. Policeman and how nice he is and he’s here to help us and keep us safe. And, "Did you see how nice he was? He was so smiley and friendly! He wasn’t mad at all."
And a few days ago, when we pulled up along side a state trooper at the stoplight. She waved. Breakthrough, people. Breakthrough.