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Monday, November 24, 2008

The other day I was at the police station...

...waiting for someone to post my bond with the Daisy Girl Scout troop that I co-lead. We were doing a unit on respecting authority and I figured, what better place to see authority in action than at the police station? Personally, the sight of a loaded gun always inspires me to feel respectful.

We did the tour of the station, and concluded with a discussion about calling 911. 911 always brings a smile to my face. I have fond memories of 911. Are you curious yet? Of course you are. Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a mommy named KathyB! She had four young girls: Rachel was 4, Hannah was 30 months, and Abby and Emily were 6 months. The mommy was having a hard time adjusting to life with her four young girls. Everyone seemed to need her at the same time, and yet she only had two arms with which to meet everyone's needs. One day she was upstairs nursing her twins, and praying that they would both fall asleep. And stay asleep. Her two year old toddled in with an empty sippy cup and asked for some milk. If you've never nursed twins then trust me when I say that you can't exactly get out of your seat without shutting down the whole operation. And I really needed those twins to take a nap. I told Hannah to be patient and sent her on her way.

Hannah returned a bit later. I was still nursing the twins. Hannah really wanted milk. I begged her to wait just a few more minutes. I was so close to being able to put them down. If I got up.... heaven help me. The moment would be lost and the colic would intrude and the chance for an afternoon free of crying and rocking would evaporate forever. Or at least for today. I assured her that I was almost done, and I sent her on her way. Again. And made very little progress with the twins.

Poor Hannah. She looked a little deflated when she left the second time. It pulled at my heart strings that I couldn't meet her needs. I wasn't too worried, though, as she was a pro at filling her cup from the dispenser in the refrigerator door. I rationalized that she wasn't dying of thirst, and I let it go.

I really under estimated how badly she needed that milk. Apparently she went downstairs, picked up the phone and dialed 911. She had been going to preschool two days a week and Ruff the Crime Dog had come in to teach them how to dial 911. He even brought in a phone that they could use to practice, and a sticker to wear on their jacket to remind them. Well, Hannah took that lesson to heart. She embraced the lesson. She was desperate for that milk, she needed help, and mommy.couldn't.get.up. In her two-year-old world she had met all of the criteria to justify an emergency call.

The sheriff's department came in full force. After all, there was a two year old who needed milk. And her mommy couldn't get up. When the 911 operator pressed her on this crucial detail Hannah replied emphatically that I could not get up to get milk or come to the phone or even talk for that matter (I had told her that I couldn't talk to her or read her a book while I was nursing that day because I was hoping, hoping, hoping that those crazy babies would go to sleep!) and that the only other people at home who could help her were her new baby sisters. Can you imagine what the 911 operator must have thought? Medical emergency, baby.

I heard the sirens in the distance and didn't think much of them. I heard them coming up the street, and that got my attention. When I heard the authoritative banging at the front door I remember thinking I was trapped in the Twilight Zone. This is a joke, right? My husband's out of town. I'm not in control. And now the house is burning down. I think. Because why else would there be sirens and loud banging at the front door. I disentangled myself from the twins, and winced when the screaming started. As I rounded the corner at the top of the stairs I could see the officer peering through the window by the front door and Hannah standing in front of it looking confused. She's not supposed to open the door, but maybe policemen don't fall under that rule? By now I am running as fast as I can while carrying screaming twins and descending stairs. I was convinced that the house was on fire at this point even though there was no sign of smoke. Miraculously I didn't fall down the steps. It's not easy to carry wriggling, colicky, infant twins while racing down steps as though your life is at stake. Although I guess if I had fallen it would've been okay since all of the necessary emergency personnel were on hand to put humpty-dumpty back together again.

Once the officer and I convinced each other that there wasn't a problem he was very understanding. As were the other three who had been called to the scene. And the EMT, too. Sigh. They were just glad that we were all okay. Hmmmm. They seemed to think we were okay. At that exact moment I knew for sure that "okay" was a subjective state of mind because I felt anything but "okay" at that moment. I think I cried a little when they left. And then I got to explain it to the curious neighbors. Why is it that I can never have a humiliating moment in privacy?

Mother of the Year I was not.

Hannah, on the other hand, was so proud of herself. She had done what she had been taught at school. She had waited patiently just like mommy asked. And when push came to shove she got her milk. We did have a very specific conversation about what constitutes an emergency that afternoon. And I took the "Call 911!" sticker off of her jacket. I didn't think the men and women in blue would continue to be amused if the milk emergency became a daily occurrence.

At the time it was not funny. At the time I was truly at my wit's end. But now, looking back... I still smile when I think about it.

7 comments:

Leslie M said...

I can't believe I've never heard this story until now! You deserve a place of honor in the mothers of twins hall of fame for this!

:) said...

Ooooohhhh KathyB! You poor thing. I couldn't decide whether to laugh with you or cry with you. I have so had those days. The only difference being that the police didn't show up when mine went wrong...

andrea said...

THANK YOU for coming clean. i will sleep better at night now.

holidayfun221@yahoo.com said...

Thanks for sharing that! It's the best thing about blogging... free therapy :)

aGibby said...

OK, this was HYSTERICAL! I feel your pain, I don't know how you did it with 4 babies!

Michele said...

I made a short post regarding your 911 incident on my blog. I was going to relate my story here, but instead I'm going to tell my anecdote and link people back to your blog. I hope that's acceptable - I'm fairly new at blogging and I don't know all the SOPs.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the comment! Comments are what fuel my ego and keep me going? ;-)

Michele said...

Just curious - is Hannah still that tenacious and resourceful?