“Hey Mom, do you remember when the police pulled you over here and gave you a ticket last year?”
*sigh* “Yes, Scorch- I do remember that.”
“Did you have to go to jail?”
“Nope, I didn’t go to jail, buddy. I was pulled over by mistake* so the police officer just gave me a ticket so I could go tell a judge what happened. The judge saw that it was a mistake, so he just let me go.”
I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation, but needless to say, Scorch and the Bean had a gazillion questions and I spent the next 15 minutes in the car getting grilled by my kids about the judicial system, traffic laws and car insurance. Don’t you wish you were there?
The only upside to that long conversation (that I’m sure wasn’t entirely factual) was that now every time I ask the Bean to do something, she’ll ask me if she doesn’t do it, will the policemen give her a ticket? I wish I could tell you had the strength to be straight with my kid and tell the truth. No, the police won’t give you a ticket for hitting your brother. No, the police won’t give you a ticket if you don’t go potty. No, the police won’t give you a ticket if you don’t come here right now.
But that would be a lie.**
As far as Beaner is concerned she could be ticketed for anything at anytime. And not just by the police. We may or may not have mentioned to her the concept of a citizen’s arrest and that may have resulted in one of the most peaceful weeks we’ve had in forever. Judge me all you want, but I may have finally found something that works for this kid and I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. She’ll catch on soon enough.
*I got pulled over well over a year ago because the policeman ran my plates at a routine seatbelt check and found I didn’t have insurance. This was 2 weeks after we bought the car I was driving and it was insured, but there was a glitch with the insurance company reporting this fact to the state. My insurance guy came to court with me on the appointed day to explain to the judge that the error was on their site and that I was in no way at fault and that was that.
**Before you think I’m poisoning my kid against the law, please remember The Hubs is a police officer. So while I may lie to my kid about what she can get tickets for, we also make sure to stress how awesome police officers are, how they will always help you and so on. And if she does grow up with a complex- well, insurance covers therapy and she’ll get over it soon enough.