The other day, the first day of winter semester 2011 to be exact, I got a call from Tod saying that Anna was sick and that I needed to go get her since it was a non-teaching day for me. The school nurse said she had a fever and a headache. I quickly did what I needed to do and left the college to go and retrieve the sick one and brought her home. Her desire to play and have fun on her new day off was short lived, as I put a moratorium on the Wii, the computer, and any other special toy. I told her she could watch educational TV, read, or draw. That was it. I know, call Protective Services.
She wasn’t happy and didn’t seem sick at all. She was occupied reading, so I got busy making food for the week in the kitchen. At some point during this time, Anna called 911, but didn’t hang up the phone that she hid from me in the living room. This, unfortunately, has happened before and we got a call back from the 911 dispatcher asking if there was an issue. Yes, there was an issue. It was a very naughty 5 year old. I apologized and we had a talk with Anna. But since she didn’t hang up this time, the dispatcher couldn’t call back to check on us after her call. I am busy working in the kitchen when the doorbell rings. Yukon is barking his head off, and Anna comes in and says to me, “Papa, there’s a policeman at our door” so I go and see what’s up. He tells me that there was a hang up 911 call. I notice out of the corner of my eye that Anna is actively looking for a place to hide on the first floor. I call her name and she screams and runs away. The policeman, who thankfully wasn’t busy that afternoon, took a few minutes to give her a verbal smack down. She wouldn’t look him in the eye, and as I held her for the lecture, I noticed that she wet herself. The officer did his best bad cop imitation for our impromptu “Scared Straight” lecture. As I showed him to the door Anna was crying, realizing that she majorly messed up. I sent her to her room and she spent the rest of the afternoon in time out.
One of my former students is a 911 dispatcher, so I talked to her later that day on Facebook after I calmed down. Shannon said that these calls happen all the time and that her kids have actually done it. They would rather be safe than sorry, so they would rather have a child playing on the phone and not need an officer than to ignore the hang up and have something really bad going on. Shannon said that the calls aren’t really a big deal and that they hear some great stories when we call back and get a parent. Caution though, don’t ever say that you are going to beat the kid in joking, as YOU will get a visit from an officer. She said that she made the mistake of telling her 14 year old that she was going to kill him for playing on the phone. She got a visit from an officer for that, it was deemed a domestic issue. Nice.
The good news is Anna has been on her best behavior this week. We are working on a reward system for her behavior and she is responding very positively to its inception. Apparently this test of our city’s response system was on her junior bucket list and now she is content. We are mentally checking off the traditional milestones that kids go through (thankfully the haircutting is done), hopefully we won’t actually need to call 911 for the next one.
So kiddies, what have we learned today? Even though Flava Flav says 911 is a joke, it isn’t.