When I saw "Police Department" pop up on Caller ID, I got nervous.
Thinking that we haven't lived in this town all that long and wondering if my reputation had really caught up with me already, I answered. It was a police officer doing a series of presentations to my tween's class and the teacher had given her my name as a parent who may be able to assist her. I asked what she needed. The officer said that she would like me to dress up in a colorful outfit in a way that would be unrecognizable to my kid, run into the classroom, take her bag and run out.
"So, officer, you are saying it would help you out if disguised myself and I robbed you?" I asked. "Sure thing. Name the time and place."
I did as instructed. I showed up in the school yesterday in a ridiculous outfit, met my kid's teacher, ran into the classroom and grabbed the bag. While standing in the hallway awaiting further instructions, I became curious about what was in the bag I was still holding, but decided not to investigate. No sense in turning a pretend crime into a real one.
After the students wrote down their observations of the perp -- me! the former prosecutor! a perp! the excitement was almost too much for my inner bad girl -- the officer escorted me into the classroom where the kids compared their descriptions to the real thing and then realized that their powers of observations are lacking. Note to inner bad girl -- these kids will tell the cops anything they want to hear, don't count on them for an alibi.
The officer then unveiled me by taking off the sunglasses and the hat, and my kid was none too happy to realize that it was me. She had said she thought it was her teacher. My kid was in fact mad that I had pulled one over on her, and mad that I had been a thief. Thief with permission was apparently not much of an improvement over regular old thief.
I'd like to think that my tween learned a few valuable lessons today:
- I am in fact connected to the cops and she has no idea quite how,
- the police know where to find me whenever they need me, (and of course I made it a point of telling her that that means whenever they speak with her it will be every bit as easy for them to also speak with me),
- I can keep a secret,
- I am fast.
The last item may be the most surprising to both of us, but her classmates told her I was speedy. Sweet!
My tween is a good kid. But I also know that most parents believe their kids are good, especially in the early tween years when they can still give you looks that melt your heart. Hopefully I will never have another encounter involving both the police and my child until the kid is 18, the point at which I am no longer legally responsible for her, or beyond, and I'm hoping that today's experience will go a long way toward making that reality.
Filed under: Parenting