Friday, April 16, 2010

As If It Wasn't Exciting Enough....


I knew yesterday was going to be a flurry of activity so I tried to plan ahead. I stayed up until almost midnight planning the meals for the next two weeks and compiling my grocery list.
Originally I was scheduled to chaperone a walking field trip for Alli's kindergarten class, this time to the fire station which sounded more fun to me than a shape walk and trip to the orthodontist. But as my list of "Must Finish Today" grew, I knew I couldn't do it all. Alli's teacher put me on stand-by for the field trip, so I got the older kids on the bus and Paige and I were at the first grocery store by 8:30. We rushed around the store then dashed home to stash the food. Got back in the car and made it to the gym in time for a yoga class. Left yoga five minutes early to hit another store before rushing to school to pick Alli up. Stopped at Subway for lunch which they ate in the back of one of those monster carts at Target. Finished at Target and ran through the craft store before we hit Costco.

By the time we arrived at Costco, the girls were getting crabby and I was running out of my new-found calmness. It had potential to be disastrous, but I remembered my Love and Logic class and found two choices to give them that didn't include "obey or else", and they had a quick turnaround. Alli reminded me multiple times "Isn't it great that I changed my behavior?" The girls sat on the curb in the beautiful sunshine while I played Tetras to fit an entire two-weeks worth of groceries in the back of the van. We got home and spent the next hour and half putting groceries away and getting organized for my in-laws, Mo and Carole, who would be arriving in a just a couple hours for their first trip to Oregon.

Their arrival was two hours and counting down by the time I got the groceries put away. I wanted the house to be perfectly cleaned with "Welcome to Our Home" signs taped up everywhere, kids perfectly dressed, toys picked up, candles burning, dinner ready, etc. You know the whole game of everything is perfect in my head, but then real life gets in the way?

The first dinner pan was on the stove when our neighbor called. Grant is going to take care of their salt water fish tank while they travel for a week and they were ready for us to come over and get some instructions. I put Katie in charge of Alli and Paige and told the girls they could play in the house or in the back yard, and then Grant and I headed two houses over for our ten-minute tutorial. We opened their door to leave and Alli was standing on their front step holding our phone, newly plastered with bright orange 911 stickers from her field trip, looking nervous.

Alli, holding phone out to me: "A man called for you."
Me: "What man?"
Alli, still nervous: "Uhhh... I don't know." I knew something was suspect because she is ALL about answering the phone and takes ridiculously precise messages. I checked the caller ID and it said "City of Dundee" which I thought was a little odd, but I mused out loud, "Well, if it's important, they'll call back. Thanks for giving me the message."

As I started heading across the cul-de-sac, two "City of Dundee" cop cars turned the corner. I glanced at Alli and she took off for our house. When the slightly grumpy police officer got out and asked me, "Do you live here?" pointed to my house, and Alli hid behind the pillar, I knew she was the source of this unplanned visit.

Mr. Grumpy Pants said, "We got a 911 hang up call. The dispatcher called back and a six-year-old answered. And you (big pause and surmises what I'm wearing) look like you just got back from a walk?"
Me: "No officer. I was at my neighbor's house getting instructions for home care while they're traveling. These are my gym clothes from this morning. Haven't had a chance to change yet." (Or shower, but I didn't put that part in there because Alli had already asked me earlier, "Did you remember to put on Dove so your arm pits don't get stinky?")

Mr. Grumpy Pants continued to grill me, wrote down my name (spelled incorrectly) and birthdate, and other pertinent information. While we're talking, kids and dogs continued to pour out the front door or holler "It wasn't me" out bedroom windows. It was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I assured him I would have a conversation with Stilp Children 1,2,3 and 4, figure out which child called 911 (as if I didn't already know), make sure they all had a new definition of what emergency is and isn't, and apologized for wasting his time. His partner, from the other car who never said a word the entire time, appeared to be fighting back a gut-busting laugh the entire time.

After the officers left, I sat the kids down on the couch and starting with Katie, asked each one if they called 911. I purposely asked Alli last because it was blatantly obvious that she was guilty and I wanted her to squirm a bit. When I got to Alli, I knew she'd be tempted to lie, so I asked, "Why did you call 911?" When she shrugged an "I don't know," I dismissed the other kids and she and I had a little talk. Apparently the orange stickers were too much temptation so she called 911 while I was gone to see what would happen. She hung up before the dispatcher answered and when the dispatcher called back, here's how the conversation went:

Alli: "Stilps, this is Alli."
Dispatcher: "May I speak to a parent?
Alli: "My Dad is at the airport picking up my grandparents from Minnesota and my Mom just left."

Apparently they talked a little longer and sent out the police cars to find out what kind of negligent mom leaves her six-year-old alone in the house. Next time Alli has a chance to go on a field trip to the fire station, I may just say NO. As if this day wasn't exciting enough....

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