Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Winning Partnership: How to Utilize the Police in Co-Parenting Your Children.

All right, so maybe the cops went a little too far, but she was totally trashing the place. They had to do something.

Plus, name one time when law enforcement hasn't practiced professional restraint and sound judgment when dealing with a disrespectful and potentially violent protester.

Okay, there was the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and the 1999 WTO thing in Seattle. Oh, yeah, also that Occupy dealio last fall in Oakland.

Yeah, well, forget that I asked, but what options did the men in blue have at their disposal when faced with a six-year-old Georgia girl visiting harm upon her school and its principal?

Police were summoned to Creekside Elementary School on Friday to respond to an unruly juvenile, and arrived to discover the child on the floor screaming and crying. After noting damage already inflicted on school property and attempting to calm the kindergartner, the officers handcuffed the girl "for her safety" and transported her to the local precinct.

I can't believe I never thought of that.

Over the past seventeen years, my two girls have choreographed the finest conniptions since Mel Gibson realized he'd been drinking Yiddish Pale Ale. They've performed so many blasphemous soliloquies, I'm waiting for John McEnroe to call and ask for his daughters back.

And all this time, all I had to do was phone the police.

I'm from Seattle, which is home to the "treat your kid like a small adult" school of parental reasoning. It's not uncommon to walk through a park or playground and overhear a conversation like, "Listen, honey. I'm not judging you, but the reason your friend Idaho is crying is right there in your clenched fist. It's a bloody clump of his hair, isn't it? I need you to walk over there and tell him that you're chi is off today and offer him some of your unsalted pine nuts, Mmkay?"

Granted, publicly disciplining your child is tricky. It's far easier to tolerate your child's tantrum in the sanctity of your household than it is at, let's say, a shopping mall.

Did I say shopping mall? That's odd, because it's the very locale where my wife encountered her parental Waterloo when my older daughter was five. To this day, my bride has retained only fragments of the experience due to obviously undiagnosed PTSD.

Our young family had been shoe shopping at a large apparel retailer in Southcenter Mall. I had assumed baby duty for our nine-month old, stroller- bound daughter while my wife tended to the needs of our older child. As we turned to leave after having purchased some sparkly new Stride Rites for our clan's soon-to-be kindergartner, her sonar locked onto a Madeleine Doll under the checkout kiosk.

"Mommy, can I have Madeline?" she asked, relatively calmly.

"No, honey," my wife replied. "We're done now."

"But I want Madeleine. Buy me Madeline."

"Not today. Come on, now. Let's walk to the car."

"I want it!"

A few people turned as my angel's voice grew in urgency and volume.

Now she wailed. "I want Madeline!"

We each descended upon our screaming kid, whispering emphatically about consequences and timeouts and...other stuff, but nothing worked.

Like most department stores, the kids' shoe area could only be located on the top floor with the assistance of satellite triangulation, and it would require considerable time to get the hell out of there.

"You take the baby down in the elevator and I'll meet you outside, in front of the store. We'll go down the escalator." My wife's voice waded through the piercing shriek of our splotchy-faced five-year-old.

She partially picked up the writhing child and dragged her away, and as I pushed the stroller into the elevator, I did my utmost to deny what I'd clearly heard spewing from the kid's mouth.

"Help! Help!"

Her pleas faded as the elevator door closed. Shit, I thought. My stupid, stupid daughter is screaming for assistance while being carried down the escalator by her own mom. If I'm lucky, I'll see them both before the mother of my children is tackled and arrested for kidnapping.

After a very long elevator ride, I wheeled the stroller out of the store and rendezvoused with my wife and the lunatic. They each sat silently on a large planter, their eyes glazed over, displaying the trauma they'd both freshly endured.

"I have never been more embarrassed in my life."

I wasn't sure to whom my wife was talking, but she said it slowly and calmly. "You would not believe the number of people who stared at us and I could tell they were wondering what to do. I'm sure half of them were about to call security. Oh, my God."

We walked to our car silently, wondering what we could have done differently to quell what's now referred to as "The Southcenter Affair."

When actually, all we had to do was call the police and ask them to arrive with handcuffs at the ready.

Lesson learned.

1 comment :

  1. That just blows me away they handcuffed a 6 year old for throwing a tantrum. When Olivia was 5 she yelled "I hate you" as loud as she could .. aisle after aisle after aisle in Safeway .. I wouldn't buy her the requested candy and of course it was located in the 2nd aisle we went down .. didn't think to call the cops! ;)