Friday, October 17, 2008

Children Should Be Seen And Not Heard...

I have always hated this phrase, I mean just HATED it. As a kid I hated it because the only time any adult pulled it out and dusted it off was when they wanted me to be quiet and I am not, and never really was, into being quiet. As an adult I hated it because I really love hearing kids talk, my own and usually other people's too. A few times I've run into REALLY quiet kids and well, it's always a little unsettling for me.

BUT... that being said...consider the following...

So, when Dobbie was pretty small, say threeish, I had to pay the taxes on the car. Everything goes fairly smoothly until we are pulling out of the parking lot. The people planning the parking lot of the tax building used all the foresight of umm...let's say the people planning the war in Iraq...(But I'm sure they gave it everything they had, right? On both counts. I mean what would be the motivation for poor planning?) Anyway, it's pouring down rain, the parking lot is packed and I'm pregnant and freezing. I'm well into backing up (read...more than halfway out with the wheel poised to begin straightening action) when I hear the sickening thud that means I have made contact with something I did not want to.

I check on Dobbie, who is just fine as we were only traveling at 1.5 mph, and turn to get out of the car only to find an angry BYU student in my face.

"Well, what are we going to do? We have to call the police. What were you doing backing up into me like that? I saw YOU! Why didn't you stop? It's fine for you, there's no damage to your car but mine's a mess!"

I climb out of the car and stand in the rain, staring at bumpers with Joe Bozo, who just never quits I tell ya.

"I saw you in my mirror while I was backing up and I tried to honk the horn and step on the brakes and pull forward..."

I was kind. I didn't even ONCE mention to him that he had failed miserably at all three things that he had tried to do...not even once... any of the SEVEN times he told myself or the cop this.

Let's jump ahead fifteen minutes. The cop has arrived. She is a lady cop. A pleasant, tall lady cop with short, curly hair who has sized up Joe Bozo and mentally given him the same name I have. She invites Dobbie and I to sit in the back seat of the police car and fill out our papers out of the rain. She has sent Joe Bozo somewhere else (out of her sight and hearing) to fill out his papers. She is on my side.

"Mommy," says a little voice, "Mommy." I look over. "Mommy, all policemans are mans, huh? All policemans are mans."

", Dobbie, there are all kinds of police. Men and women can both be police...people."

"No, Mommy, policemans are just mans." His voice is rising with the power of his conviction, a trait I believe he inherited He reiterates, just in case I didn't hear him correctly, "Policemans are just mans."

I frantically gesture at him to be quiet, hoping against hope that the all-seeing mirrors that I believe are standard issue in all cop cars are not catching my motion. "No, no, no, honey, that is not true. I don't know WHERE you got that idea (and I don't) but you are WRONG!" I say through gritted teeth.

Ahh, but this is not adequate assurance for my son. He stands up, sticks his head through the little window and turns his head to face the now-slightly-less-sympathetic lady cop. He is six inches from her face as he says, loudly and distinctly, "All policemans are mans, huh? Aren't they? Aren't they?"

"No, they are not," she replies as I pull him backwards by the seat of his pants. There is tension in the air now and I sense that there is a definite shift away from the theory that I am completely innocent and maybe, just maybe, a whiff of sympathy toward Joe Bozo? We finish the papers and climb out of the car, walk through the rain back to our car and head home.

I still do not like the saying about children being seen but not heard.

But I concede it might come in handy.

In car accidents.

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