Monday, September 12, 2011

at least I didn't get another ticket

I had a little run in with a very nice police officer on my way to pick up my big four and a half year old from preschool today. I hate being pulled over. I get nervous, my heart starts to beat too fast and I feel as though I might burst into tears at any moment. I hate it so much that you would think I would just slow down. Which, despite what my husband thinks, I have. I have really slowed down. There are times that I have caught myself so wrapped up in what the boys are doing in the backseat or in having a conversation with them that I am surprised to find that cars are passing me, some not too happy. So I have slowed down. Today was not one of those days...

A while ago, maybe last summer, my oldest son and I were on the way to Amish country for a family "girls and small boys under 4 years old weekend". I was within inches of getting off the highway when I was pulled over for speeding. My son, ever helpful, leaned forward in his car seat and very loudly, but politely informed the officer that the other cars were driving faster than Mommy. The officer, not missing a beat, replied, "Well, I didn't pull over the other cars, I pulled over your mommy. And now I am giving her a ticket."

At least today I didn't get a ticket. As soon as I saw the lights come on behind me I started to shake a little. I just have this thing about being in trouble. I don't like it. It's a weird personality trait, seeing as I am perfectly capable of taking down a store for poor customer service or holding my own when it comes to messing with my kids. But authority is different. You should have seen how sweet and nice I was in all of those immigration offices on my way home from Russia. I knew the laws stated I could travel in and out of their countries with a baby Russian immigrant, but still I held my tongue and bowed to authority. Which, of course, is always the right thing to do when in a foreign country. But back to today.

After a quick trip to the bank located inside my least favorite grocery store, (or my second least favorite, I should say. Walmart tops my list as least favorite places to shop in many categories.), I tied down lovingly strapped my screaming two year old into his car seat and got in the car. I am not driving the favorite car this week so I had to take some time to mess with the air conditioner, which comes and goes in this car. I fought with the seat belt because it is stuck down inside the seat belt thing in the door and so doesn't pull out properly. Which means that when it is finally latched it is so tight that I can barely turn my head to back out of the parking spot.

564 radio stations later my sweetie is still screaming. It would seem that he had other plans for this afternoon that did not include running errands and riding around in the backseat of the car. Maybe he was missing his favorite XM radio stations. Maybe he likes the toys in the favorite car better. Maybe he was just working on his plan for world domination. Who knows why he was screaming. All I know is we needed to get to the church to pick up his older brother like five minutes ago. I swear, I didn't realize I was speeding. And to be honest, I was barely speeding. Barely.

So there is the officer at my window, which doesn't stop my tiny toddler from screaming. The officer pokes his head into the window and asks me if everything is OK, ma'am. Ma'am? No time to worry about that now. Look at this car, officer. There is a screaming two year old in the back seat. There is another car seat, so clearly this family has at least two small kids. There are toys, clothes, books, and crayons covering the entire floor of the backseat. My hair needs washed, there is a  mystery stain on my shirt and I am sweating due to the a/c issue. There is a shoe and a pacifier resting on the dash - where they landed after being launched at my head from the backseat. OK, officer, I do not need a ticket. Clearly I am being punished enough today.

Of course I didn't say any of that. It didn't seem as though the officer had a sense of humor. Or maybe I am just not all that funny. Who knows. Instead I looked around me, mentally inviting him to do the same.

It seems he agreed. Or he didn't want yet another strung out mommy to burst into tears on his watch. After being told to "slow down but have a nice day" he sauntered back to his car. My tiny toddler stopped screaming long enough to strain his neck trying to see where the man with the shiny badge was going. As soon as the officer ducked into his car and was out of sight my little man started screaming letting his opinions be known again. And didn't stop until we pulled into the church, which he recognizes as the place we go every day to pick up his favorite big brother. Suddenly he was all smiles and sweetness. Me, on the other hand, not so sweet. At least I didn't get another ticket a ticket...

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